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Dirk Bogarde dirt and more!
[quote]Sexy self-image that revved up Dirk Bogarde
[quote]Candid memoirs of fellow actor John Fraser reveal how reclusive star became a Narcissus seduced by his own leather-clad likeness
The billboard outside the Odeon cinema, Leicester Square, said: "Michael Redgrave and Dirk Bogarde in The Sea Shall Not Have Them". Passing by, Noel Coward said: "I don't see why not. Everyone else has."
As the actor John Fraser suggests in his remarkably candid memoir, Coward's quip would have baffled the film's audiences. Redgrave's bisexuality remained unknown during his lifetime. Bogarde had hoped to have taken the secret of his sexuality with him to the grave when he died five years ago.
But Fraser - in his book due to be published on October 8 - goes further than any previous author towards unravelling Bogarde's secret.
Bogarde, says Fraser, indicated to him that the physical side of his homosexual affair with his long-term companion, Tony Forwood, had ceased but that he dared not take casual lovers for fear of publicity.
Then the top British romantic screen star of the post-war era gave the younger actor a demonstration of the substitute he had found to turn him on: high-revving a static Harley-Davidson motorcycle in his loft while gazing at a poster of himself clad in crotch-hugging leather trousers as a Spanish bandit in the 1961 film The Singer Not the Song.
"It looked like a Narcissus fantasy come to life," Fraser said yesterday.
Fraser was one of the most handsome UK leading screen actors of the 1950s and 1960s. His best-known role was as Lord Alfred Douglas in The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960), opposite Peter Finch. He acted with Bogarde in The Wind Cannot Read (1958). Fraser's own gay orientation was unknown to audiences.
His autobiography, Close Up: An Actor Telling Tales, though intelligently generous about his contemporaries, is also exceptionally open in portraying some of the celebrities he worked with:
· Bogarde lived in "a wonderland sustained by doting fans";
· The British star Laurence Harvey was "a whore";
· Harvey's lover and career booster, the producer James Woolf, joint boss of Romulus Films, whose output ranged from The African Queen to Room at the Top, used the casting couch to snare young men;
· Rex Harrison, star of My Fair Lady and of films stretching back to the 1930s, "was a cruel, manipulative man";
· Harrison's fourth wife, the actor Rachel Roberts, was "a wild Welsh witch to whom moderation was a stranger";
· The dancer Rudolf Nureyev - "bewitching, vulnerable, generous, and above all, scruffy" - often made love to Fraser without showering after a performance or workout.
Fraser, now 73, lives in retirement in Tuscany, writing books. Yesterday he said in an interview: "I am old, and I live in Italy, and, I suppose - what the hell?
"Most of the people I write about are dead. It seems mealy-mouthed not to tell the truth. Honesty is one of my first priorities, although kindness is even higher. I paid to be psychoanalysed when I was 20. It gave me a lot of understanding of other people."
In the book, he describes supper with Bogarde and Forwood at their mansion near Pinewood in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, in one of a series of visits after filming The Wind Cannot Read. This was at a time when consenting homosexual relations between adults were still illegal.
Fraser's then lover was with him. "I was in my 20s at this time, and both Dirk and Tony, though supremely handsome men, seemed to me settled and middle-aged", he writes.
When he and Bogarde were alone, he asked: "Do you and Tony still make love?" Bogarde, smiling, answered: "We've been together a long time. Now, we're like brothers."
Fraser asked: "What do you do for sex? Do you have casual affairs?" Bogarde said: "God, no. How could I possibly in my position?
"Everyone knows me. I can't go anywhere without being recognised. There's blackmail ... the News of the World. I would be ruined."
- Never found Bogarde attractive at all. A decent actor, yes.
This book should be an interesting read.
- "When he and Bogarde were alone, he asked: "Do you and Tony still make love?" Bogarde, smiling, answered: "We've been together a long time. Now, we're like brothers."
Fraser asked: "What do you do for sex? Do you have casual affairs?" Bogarde said: "God, no. How could I possibly in my position?"
Sounds like Bogarde was coy and played games. He was seducing Fraser, who was taking everything Bogarde told him as truth.
- Thanks for bringing this book to our attention,
By the way, the date on the linked article is
2 October, 2004, and the book was apparently
published in April, 2006. I just ordered a copy on Amazon.
- When was this article published Fraser is 81 now not 73
- Did Fraser have an affair, or one nighter, with Bogarde? I'm assuming Bogarde knew all the actors who were gay.
- [quote]Now you know.
- The Servant
- Noel Coward got around also. He and his longtime boyfriend Graham Payn had a 3 way with Gore Vidal in a hotel in NYC when they were all still youngish according to Leo Lerman's memoir. According to Leo, Gore hated to be reminded of that fact.
- Yeah, what a nightmare
- Bogarde worked with Visconti and Zeffirelli many times, and they were notorious (and infamous) for their "teen boy" castings. For "Death in Venice" they did a tour through Europe that lasted several months in the search of beautiful blond kids (really). I wonder if sweet Tadzio got his job after a homosex sandwich?
- If you didn't know Bogarde was gay after seeing him play JUDY GARLAND's ex-husband in "I Could Go On Singing", then you were either blind or stupid or both.
- Dirk Bogarde came off more like Judy's gay BFF than ex-husband in 'I Could Go On Singing.' Like r11 said, you would have to be blind or stupid not to know which way he swung after seeing him in that.
I didn't realize he died way back in 1999, I thought it was within the last 10 years.
- I read this book by John Fraser about 5 or 6 years ago and saw in do readings from it and sign copies at the National Theatre here in London. The book has been available in paperback on Amazon for years and is indeed a great read.
Apart from the Bogarde stories he tells of an amazing night out with Bette Davis at her most vicious in 1965 when Bette was making The Nanny with Fraser's pal Jill Bennett. Bette was in a foul mood all evening and ruined the party for everyone, they ended up in a club and met The Beatles. Ringo Starr was impressed to meet Bette as his mother had seen all her films.
- Yes that Guardian link is a 2004 story. At least it shows the real Bogarde.
- Link is to a blog with other links to dirk's home movies (on a BBC doc about him with lots of juicy revelations from his family)
OP, an elderlez who appreciates male beauty
- I had bookmarked The Sea Shall Not Have Then a while ago but when I went to watch it they had deleted it - damn snitches.
It's back if you want to see it.
- You can see in the documentary they made during the filming of "Death In Venice" how Visconti and Bogarde acted like they were Pasolini's masters in "Salo". Boy after boy is carted before them and graded like a piece of meat. The actor that won the role - Bjorn something - went public years later about how awful the experience was for him. Surrounded by salivating gay men who carted him off to gay clubs. Didn't Visconti even come on to the kid?
- I don't think so because at the time 65yo Visconti was already screwing 20yo Helmut Berger in a regular basis. I do know though that a couple years after "Death in Venice" Bjorn Andresen FLEED from a casting for a Franco Zeffirelli movie. After that he broke all contact with the italian movie industry so you can pretty much guess what was going on there.
- Was Dirk Bogarde a big star in the US? Or was he more like Jude Law to our Tom Cruise?
- FLEED? I'm sure Luchino gave little Bjorn a box giftwrapped before he tried to DOP him.