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LGBT People of History 77 - John Schlesinger

Updated on April 18, 2012
John Schlesinger
John Schlesinger | Source
Michael Childers
Michael Childers | Source

John Schlesinger

John Richard Schlesinger, CBE (1926 – 2003) was a British movie and stage director and actor.

He was born in London to a middle class Jewish family. His father was a doctor. After he attended Balliol College, Oxford he took up a career in acting.

His acting consisted of supporting roles in both film and TV. He began his directorial apprenticeship in TV programmes such as ‘Danger Man’ in the late 1950s. By the 1960s his acting had virtually ceased and he started directing successful movies such as ‘A Kind of Loving’ (1962) and ‘Billy Liar’ (1963). He continued directing in the UK with ‘Darling’ (1965) and ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ (1967) before moving to the US for ‘Midnight Cowboy’ (1969). This was the story of two hustlers living on their wits and won Oscars for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Picture’.

Later he made ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ (1971), a controversial film about a man and a woman who both have a relationship with a young man. Other films include ‘The Day of the Locust’ (1975) and ‘Marathon Man’ (1976). At the same time he was also directing for the West End theatre and opera.

John was openly gay. Many of his movies deal with the subject sometimes in an unflattering and seedy way. Schlesinger himself seemed to have had no problem finding partners even though he was described as ‘short, solid and fat’. His life partner was photographer, Michael Childers.

Seemingly when he was being invested with his CBE by The Queen, she had problems with the ribbon and she commented ‘Now, Mr Schlesinger, we must try and get this straight’ – with the emphasis on the ‘straight’. He took this as a Royal Seal of Approval!

In 2000, John had a stroke after having had a quadruple heart bypass 2 years previously. He was on life support before dying in 2003.

Ian and Callum.

With thanks to Wikipedia.


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    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      He certainly was, Callum - another trailblazer!


    • calpol25 profile image

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

      Brilliant hub Ian x

      John was a brilliant man.