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LGBT People Of History Part Sixty Four Dirk Bogarde

Updated on April 12, 2012
Dirk Bogarde
Dirk Bogarde | Source

Sir Dirk Bogarde

Born 28 March 1921 Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde in West hampstead. The son of a Dutch Baron Ulric van den Bogaerde and his mother a former actress Margaret Niven.

He attended University College School in Glasgow, and went on to study at the Chelsea College of Art & Design.

During the Second World War Dirk served in the British army being commissioned in 1943 to the Queen's Royal Regiment.. He reached the rank of captain and served in both the Europe and the Pacific campaigns.

His first major movie role was as a hoodlum in ‘The Blue lamp’ (1950). He rapidly became a ‘matinee idol’ in the 1950s starring in various crime and war films and the famous ‘Doctor’ comedy series.

In the early 1960s he started taking on more demanding and controversial roles. In ‘Victim’ (1961) he played a gay barrister who is involved with a client who is being blackmailed. For a major star to accept such a role at the time took courage. The movie helped the process of decriminalising homosexuality in the UK (1967). Other films at the time include ‘The Servant’ (1962), ‘The Damned’ (1969), ‘The Night Porter’ (1974) and ‘A Bridge too Far’ (1977).

Perhaps his finest performance was in Luchino Visconti’s ‘Death in Venice’ (1971), where he played an ill and aging composer who was distantly in love with a young man and beauty. The movie is set in a beautifully lit and cholera-infested decaying Venice and is renowned as one of the most exquisitely shot movies of all time.

He was nominated 6 times for BAFTAs and won twice. He was also a prolific author of autobiographies and novels.

He never married and there is little doubt he was homosexual. He met Anthony Forwood in 1939 and they were lifelong partners. They lived in the South of France near Grasse and after Forwood died in 1988, Bogarde became directionless and withdrew into himself.

He was knighted by the Queen in 1992.

He suffered a minor stroke in 1987 and in the September of 1996 he underwent angioplasty to remove blocked arteries leading to his heart. He became paralyzed on one side of his body, which affected his speech and left him in a wheelchair.

Sadly Dirk died in London from a heart attack on 8 May 1999, aged 78

Callum & Ian

With Thanks To Wikipedia

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    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thanks Ian they certainly were, he was a great :)

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      I love his later movies, Callum - very provocative!