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LGBT People of History 15 - Jean Cocteau

Updated on April 25, 2012
Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau | Source
Jean Marais
Jean Marais | Source
Cocteau's signature
Cocteau's signature | Source

Jean Cocteau


Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (1889 – 1963) was a person of contradictions and a leading light in the avant-garde artistic movement in France in the early part of the twentieth century. He counted the likes of Picasso, Modigliani, Proust, Jean Marais, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Edith Piaf, Sergei Diaghilev and Nijinsky amongst his friends and lovers.

He was born in Yvelines near Paris to a well-to-do family. When grown up and having served as a Red Cross ambulance driver in WW1, he started to exert his influence in the Parisian artistic circles. He was active in poetry, art, film-making, dance and writing. Perhaps his most famous and influential works were the book Les Enfants Terribles and the movies La Belle et La Bête and Orphee.

In the 1920s he became and opium addict for a time and then became involved in the surrealist movement. His politics were to the right and he was convinced that Adolf Hitler was a pacifist, although he did help some Jewish friends to escape.

Cocteau was openly gay and had many lovers during his life. The most important and longest lasting relationship was with Jean Marais, an actor who starred in many of his movies. His other major relationship was with Edouard Dermit, who was actually adopted by Cocteau.

He was made a member of the Academie francaise and created a Commander of the Legion d’Honneur. He died of a heart attack after hearing of the death of his close friend Edith Piaf.


Ian and Callum.


Thanks to Wikipedia.


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    • calpol25 profile image

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

      This One Is Brilliant Ian absolutely love it :)

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thanks, Cal - links sorted now too!

      Ian.

    • profile image

      Nomadic View 5 years ago

      His Bf (pictured in your article) played in one of the best renditions of "The Beauty and the Beast." Considering the extremely difficult conditions they were working under, it is an amazing cinematic achievement.

      Another one to add to your list is the director, F.W. Murnau (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._W._Murnau) I recently saw a couple of his films and these were way ahead of their time. The last one, Tabu, was his greatest but he died before the film was released. And.. well, I'll let you tell that story worth telling.

    • calpol25 profile image

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

      Thank you so much Nomadic View :)

      We shall certainly have a look at your suggestion.

      Thank you again and please do feel free to suggest any one you think we may have missed. :)

      Calpol 25 :)

    • alian346 profile image
      Author

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thankyou for the information, Nomadic View - and I agree with you about B/B. We will certainly be investigating FW Murnau. There were many unbelievably imaginative people working in the early days of films.

      Ian.

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