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Famous Like Me > Writer > L > Gavin Lambert

Profile of Gavin Lambert on Famous Like Me

Name: Gavin Lambert  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 23rd July 1924
Place of Birth: East Grinstead, Sussex, England, UK
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Gavin Lambert

Gavin Lambert (born July 23, 1924 - died July 17, 2005) was a British-born screenwriter, novelist and biographer who lived for part of his life in Hollywood.

Early Life

Lambert was educated at Cheltenham and Oxford, where he became friends with filmmakers Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson. At Oxford he also founded, together with Reisz and Anderson, the short-lived but influential journal, Sequence. From 1949 to 1955 he co-edited, together with Anderson, the periodical Sight and Sound. At about the same time Lambert was deeply involved in Britain's Free Cinema movement which called for more social realism in contemporary movies. He also wrote film criticism for The Sunday Times and The Guardian. In 1957 he moved to Hollywood, California, in order to work there as a screenwriter and personal assistant to director Nicholas Ray, whose movie Bitter Victory (1957) he co-wrote. He claimed he became Ray's lover for a period of time.

Screenplays and Hollywood

Lambert became a notable screenwriter of the Hollywood studio era. In 1954, while still living in England, he wrote his first screenplay, Another Sky, about the sexual awakening of a prim English woman in North Africa. In 1955, he also directed Another Sky in Morocco. This was followed in 1958 by the Hollywood screenplay, Bitter Victory and in 1960 by Sons and Lovers. The latter, for which Lambert gained an Academy Award nomination, is based on a novel by D. H. Lawrence. The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961), adapted a novella by Tennessee Williams on the affairs of an older actress with a young Italian gigolo. It was not until 1965 that Lambert adapted his own Hollywood insider novel Inside Daisy Clover (1963) for the screen. Clover, starring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford, tells the cautionary tale of a teenage movie star involved in the Hollywood studio system of the 30's and her unhappy marriage to a closeted gay leading man. However, in the film version he was not fully identified as gay because at Redford's request, the husband he played was changed from homosexual to appear as though he might be bisexual. From this time on, Lambert and Wood became lifelong friends. Another of Lambert's screenplays was I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977), based on a novel by Hannah Green it describes in layman's terms a teenager's schizophrenia. Later, the author also wrote the scripts for some TV movies such as Second Serve (1986) on transgender tennis player Renee Richards and Liberace: Behind the Music (1988) on gay performer Liberace. In 1997, he contributed to Stephen Frears's film A Personal History of British Cinema. He was heavily quoted in William J. Mann's book, Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969.

Books and Final Years

Lambert was also an accomplished biographer and novelist. He wrote biographies on some Hollywood stars, such as On Cukor (1972) on homosexual film director George Cukor and Norma Shearer: A Life (1990) on the Canadian actress Norma Shearer. His book, Nazimova: A Biography (1997) was the first full-scale account of the private life and acting career of lesbian actress Alla Nazimova. He was the author of the memoir Mainly About Lindsay Anderson (2000) and wrote seven novels primarily with Hollywood settings, among them The Slide Area: Scenes of Hollywood Life (1959), a collection of seven short stories that portray a bevy of tinsel-town lowlifes, Inside Daisy Clover (1963), The Goodbye People (1971) about Hollywood's beautiful people, and Running Time (1982), a portrait of an indefatigable woman from child starlet to screen goddess, but also a unique life history of the American film industry. In 1996, Lambert wrote the introduction to 3 Plays, a collection of works by his longtime friend, Mart Crowley.

His final biography, Natalie Wood: A Life (2004) supplied an insider's look at actress Natalie Wood and chronicled everything concerning her life, as Lambert was a Wood friend for 16 years. The Guardian newspaper says that "For bitchy, witty and perceptive high-class gossip about Hollywood, there was no better source." The book was praised by Natalie Wood's daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, as "a wonderful biography on my Mom ... that we are all involved with - everybody that knew my Mom and was close to her ... It will be the definitive biography on my Mother." Lambert's biography includes Wood's relationship with Elvis Presley, interviews with the people who knew Wood best, such as Robert Wagner, Warren Beatty, Paul Mazursky, and Leslie Caron. She also dated many other Hollywood personalities such as Dennis Hopper, Nick Adams, Raymond Burr, and Warren Beatty. Lambert claimed that Wood supported homosexual playwright Mart Crowley (a later lover of Lambert's) in a manner that made it possible for him to write his play, The Boys in the Band (1968). Lambert's final book was The Ivan Moffat File: Life Among the Beautiful and Damned in London, Paris, New York and Hollywood (2004).

Gavin Lambert became an American citizen in 1964. From 1974 to 1989, he chiefly stayed in Tangier, where he was a close friend of the writer and composer Paul Bowles. He spent the final years of his life in Los Angeles, where he died of pulmonary fibrosis on July 17, 2005. He left behind a brother, niece and nephew.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Gavin Lambert