John Osborne biography
At Writers Theatre: Look Back In Anger
John Osborne (1929 - 1994), an English dramatist who first came into prominence when his play, Look Back in Anger, was produced at the Royal Court Theatre by the English Stage Company. It was their first outstanding success, and the date of the first night, 8 May 1956, is something of a landmark in the modern theatre. Osborne, who was for some years an actor, making his first appearance in 1948, and remaining a member of the Royal Court company until 1957, wrote a number of plays, including The Entertainer (1957) in which Laurence Olivier gave an outstanding performance as the seedy music-hall artiste Archie Rice. Epitaph for George Dillon (1958) and The World of Luther (1959) were less successful, but Luther (1961), which had its first productioni by the English Stage Company at the Theatre des Nations in Paris, with Albert Finney in the name-part, again caused something of a stif. In 1962 Osborne was responsible for a double bill at the Royal Court, but none of these plays reached the standard of his first two, which have been translated and acted in cities all over the world. In 1964 Inadmissible Evidence, in which Nicol Williamson gave a fine performance, was a success. A year later, A Patriot for Me was refused a license by the Lord Chamberlain and was therefore staged privately (by Tony Richardson) for members of the English Stage Society Club. The chief part was played by a famous Swiss actor, Maximilian Schell, making his first appearance in England. Osborne won an Oscar for his screenplay of Tom Jones.
[Bio as of November 1998]