John Osborne

(Landsdown Grange Farm, Weston, Bath)

John Osborne
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John James Osborne (12 December 1929 – 24 December 1994) was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor and critic of the Establishment. The success of his 1956 play Look Back in Anger transformed English theatre.

In a productive life of more than 40 years, Osborne explored many themes and genres, writing for stage, film and TV. His personal life was extravagant and iconoclastic. He was notorious for the ornate violence of his language, not only on behalf of the political causes he supported but also against his own family, including his wives and children.

Osborne was one of the first writers to address Britain's purpose in the post-imperial age. He was the first to ... more »

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  • ''Talent got a bit thin when it came down to me. And the courage, too.''
    John Osborne (1929-1994), British screenwriter, and Tony Richardson. Frank Rice (Alan Bates), The Entertainer, about not going into show business (196...
  • ''I never thought as it was any harm to say a young man was handsome. But I shall never think of him any more now. For handsome is as handsome does.''
    John Osborne (1929-1994), British playwright, screenwriter. Honor (Patsy Rowlands), Tom Jones (1963).
  • ''What are we hoping to get out of it, what's it all in aid of—is it really just for the sake of a gloved hand waving at you from a golden coach?''
    John Osborne (1929-1994), British playwright. Jean, in The Entertainer, no. 10 (1957).
  • ''We all of us waited for him to die. The family sent him a cheque every month, and hoped he'd get on with it quietly, without too much vulgar fuss.''
    John Osborne (b. 1929), British playwright. Jimmy, in Look Back in Anger, act 2, sc. 1.
  • ''Why do I do this every Sunday? Even the book reviews seem to be the same as last week's. Different books—same reviews.''
    John Osborne (1929-1994), British playwright. Jimmy Porter, in Look Back in Anger, act 1 (1956). Opening words of play.
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