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Kenneth Anger

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Also Known As: Kenneth Wilbur Anglemyer Died:
Born: February 3, 1927 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Santa Monica, California, USA Profession: director, actor, author

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the major figures of the avant-garde "New American Cinema" of the 1950s and 60s, Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Anglemyer) grew up in Hollywood, was a child actor (most notably in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" 1935) and was allegedly making films by the age of ten (e.g., the short "Ferdinand the Bull" 1937; "Who Has Been Rocking My Dream Boat?" 1941). After meeting famed underground filmmaker Harry Smith in 1947, he adopted the name 'Kenneth Anger' and, over two weekends, completed his first important work, "Fireworks" (1947). This personal psychodrama received a public screening and won critical acclaim in 1949 at Jean Cocteau's "Festival of the Damned" in Biarritz. Its protagonist, played by Anger, is a guilt-ridden homosexual who dreams of being viciously beaten by a group of sailors and his punishment leads to images of sexual liberation and fertility. The film's final images are of Anger asleep with another man, the dream only temporarily abating his internal anguish over his homosexuality. Shocking in its time for its sexual content, "Fireworks" was praised as a imaginative and daring personal expression.

One of the major figures of the avant-garde "New American Cinema" of the 1950s and 60s, Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Anglemyer) grew up in Hollywood, was a child actor (most notably in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" 1935) and was allegedly making films by the age of ten (e.g., the short "Ferdinand the Bull" 1937; "Who Has Been Rocking My Dream Boat?" 1941). After meeting famed underground filmmaker Harry Smith in 1947, he adopted the name 'Kenneth Anger' and, over two weekends, completed his first important work, "Fireworks" (1947). This personal psychodrama received a public screening and won critical acclaim in 1949 at Jean Cocteau's "Festival of the Damned" in Biarritz. Its protagonist, played by Anger, is a guilt-ridden homosexual who dreams of being viciously beaten by a group of sailors and his punishment leads to images of sexual liberation and fertility. The film's final images are of Anger asleep with another man, the dream only temporarily abating his internal anguish over his homosexuality. Shocking in its time for its sexual content, "Fireworks" was praised as a imaginative and daring personal expression.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Lucifer Rising (1980) Director
5.
  Eaux D'Artifice (1953) Director
6.
  Rabbit's Moon (1950) Director
7.
  Puce Moments (1949) Director
8.
  Scorpio Rising (1963) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 FLicKeR (2008)
2.
 Anger Me (2007)
3.
5.
6.
 Jonas in the Desert (1994) Himself
8.
 Lucifer Rising (1980) Magus
9.
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Appeared in Baby Burlesk musical shorts; reportedly appeared in one with Shirley Temple; Anger later claimed to have attended dancing school with Temple
1935:
Played the role of a changeling in Max Reinhardt's film, "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
1937:
Made first film at age ten, the short "Ferdinand the Bull"
1941:
Directed, photographed, edited and conceived short subject, "Who Has Been Rocking My Dream Boat?" at age fourteen
1944:
Made silent film "Demigods"
1946:
First exhibited film, sound version of "Demigods" now titled "Escape Episode"
:
With USC classmate Curtis Harrington, formed Creative Film Associates
1946:
First arrested for homosexual behavior
1947:
Changed name to Kenneth Anger
1947:
Met renowned underground filmmaker Harry Smith
1947:
Completed first extant film, "Fireworks"
1948:
Completed "Puce Moment" (fragment of unfinished feature "Puce Women," about Hollywood in the 1920s)
1950:
Went to France
1953:
Shot "Eaux d'artifice" in Italy
1954:
Returned to California
1955:
Made "Thelema Abbey" (no longer extant) in Sicily for the BBC
1958:
Appeared in Stan Brakhage's "The Dead"
1959:
Published book "Hollywood Babylon" in France
1959:
Worked on, but never completed, feature "Histoire d'O"
1964:
Received Ford grant to make a feature but completed only fragment (until death of actor playing protagonist), "KKK/Kustom Kar Kommandos"
1966:
Began feature, "Lucifer Rising", but abandoned project after rough cut was stolen
1967:
Placed ad in VILLAGE VOICE: "In Memoriam Kenneth Anger 1947-67", announcing end of filmmaking career
1974:
Completed second version of "Lucifer Rising" ("Invocation", released 1980)
1985:
Acted in experimental film "He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life"
1992:
Was advisor on TV series derived from "Hollywood Babylon"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Santa Monica High School: Santa Monica , California -
University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California -
Maurice Kossloff Dancing School: Hollywood , California - 1935

Notes

He received a Ford Foundation Fellow Grant in 1964.

Family close complete family listing

grandmother:
Bertha Coler. Interior designer. Anger later claimed she worked as a costume mistress at film studios.
father:
Wilbur Anglemyer. Electrical engineer.
mother:
Lillian Coler. Left crippled from a childhood horseback riding accident; older than her husband.
sister:
Jean Anglemyer. Born 1918.
brother:
Robert Anglemyer. Born 1921.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Hollywood Babylon"
"Hollywood Babylon II"
"Anger: The Unauthorized Biography of Kenneth Anger" HarperCollins

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