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 Joe Orton

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Joe Orton

  • Birth 1 Jan 1933 Leicester, Leicester Unitary Authority, Leicestershire, England
  • Death 9 Aug 1967 Islington, London Borough of Islington, Greater London, England
  • Burial Golders Green, London Borough of Barnet, Greater London, England
  • Memorial ID 3473

British playwright. Born: John Kingsley Orton. Specialized in black comedy; the term "Ortonesque" was coined to mean "outrageously macabre" after his work. After an uneventful childhood, except for bouts of ill health, he became interested in theatre and joined several dramatic societies. He also used this period to improve his appearance, language and make up for a lack of education. He was accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art which he entered in 1951. He met Kenneth Halliwell there the same year and began a relationship that lasted until both their deaths. They collaborated on a number of novels, most of which are unpublished. Later, ideas from the novels would surface in the plays for which Orton became famous. A colorful and controversial career as an openly gay playwright began in the early sixties, however Halliwell's contributions and career were eclipsed by Orton's success and personality. Halliwell came to rely on drugs to combat his depression and frustration. It ended when he murdered Orton on August 9, 1967, and committed suicide directly afterwards. The next morning was to have been a meeting between Orton and the Beatles to discuss a script he was writing for them. Cremated at Golders Green Crematorium his ashes were mixed with Halliwell's then scattered in the Garden of Remembrance at Golders Green. Orton's most famous plays are: The Ruffian on the Stair (1964), Entertaining Mr Sloane (1964), Loot (1965), and What the Butler Saw (1969 posthumous).

Bio by: Vincent Astor

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 20 Aug 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3473
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Joe Orton (1 Jan 1933–9 Aug 1967), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3473, citing Golders Green Crematorium, Golders Green, London Borough of Barnet, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .