John Mortimer


Novelist, Playwright, Screenwriter

About

Also Known As
Sir John Mortimer, John Clifford Mortimer
Birth Place
Hampstead, England, GB
Born
April 21, 1923
Died
January 16, 2009

Biography

John Mortimer, world-class British writer and lawyer, brought the world some of the best television series and films of the 20th century. Mortimer attended Oxford, and after being told he was unfit to serve in World War II he began to work for the Crown Film Unit, mostly on propaganda films. He soon found work in radio, but at 25 was called to the bar where he worked on a variety of lega...

Family & Companions

Penelope Mortimer
Wife

Bibliography

"The Summer of a Dormouse"
John Mortimer (2001)
"Charade"
John Mortimer (1948)

Biography

John Mortimer, world-class British writer and lawyer, brought the world some of the best television series and films of the 20th century. Mortimer attended Oxford, and after being told he was unfit to serve in World War II he began to work for the Crown Film Unit, mostly on propaganda films. He soon found work in radio, but at 25 was called to the bar where he worked on a variety of legal cases, most notably defending the publishers of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" against obscenity charges, and later the publishers of "Last Exit to Brooklyn." He worked in the courts for 30 years, and this work inspired his most famous creation, a barrister named Horace Rumpole who worked at London's Old Bailey in the series" Rumpole of the Bailey." The 42 episodes of the show based on his books ran from 1978 to 1992. Throughout his career he worked on a number of scripts for famous films, including Jack Clayton's 1961 thriller "The Innocents" and Otto Preminger's 1968 classic "Bunny Lake Is Missing," among many other films and series. Mortimer is also credited for adapting the popular 1981 mini-series "Brideshead Revisited," which was based on the heralded Evelyn Waugh novel. Though he worked consistently until the end of his life, his most notable later film was the Franco Zeffirelli-directed "Tea with Mussolini." A self-proclaimed 'champagne socialist,' he wrote over 50 books, plays and screenplays throughout his lengthy, brilliant career. Mortimer died in January 2009 at the age of 85.

Filmography

 

Writer (Feature Film)

In Love and War (2001)
Screenwriter
Don Quixote (2000)
Screenplay
Tea With Mussolini (1999)
Screenplay
Maschenka (1987)
Screenwriter
John and Mary (1969)
Screenwriter
A Flea in Her Ear (1968)
Screenwriter
Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)
Screenwriter
The Running Man (1963)
Screenwriter
Guns of Darkness (1962)
Screenwriter
Ferry to Hong Kong (1961)
Additional Dialogue
The Innocents (1961)
Adaptation

Dance (Feature Film)

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
Choreographer

Director (Special)

Rumpole and the Quality of Life (1990)
Creator
Rumpole and Portia (1990)
Creator
Rumpole and the Barrow Boy (1989)
Creator
Rumpole and the Tap End (1989)
Creator
Rumpole and the Age of Miracles (1989)
Creator
Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation (1989)
Creator

Cast (Special)

Oscar Wilde: Wit's End (2001)
The Alistair Cooke Salute (1992)

Writer (Special)

Cider With Rosie (1999)
Writer
Rumpole and the Miscarriage of Justice (1995)
Writer
Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle (1995)
Writer
Rumpole and the Children of the Devil (1995)
Writer
Rumpole on Trial (1995)
Writer
Rumpole and the Family Pride (1995)
Writer
Rumpole and the Reform of Joby Jonson (1995)
Writer
Titmuss Regained (1992)
Writer
Summer's Lease (1991)
Writer
Rumpole and the Quality of Life (1990)
Writer
Rumpole and Portia (1990)
Writer
Rumpole and the Age of Miracles (1989)
Writer
Rumpole and the Barrow Boy (1989)
Writer
Rumpole and the Tap End (1989)
Writer
Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation (1989)
Writer
The Ebony Tower (1987)
Writer
Rumpole's Return (1984)
Writer
Rumpole of the Bailey, Series I (1980)
Writer
Married Alive (1970)
Writer
Twenty-Four Hours in a Woman's Life (1961)
Writer

Special Thanks (Special)

Cider With Rosie (1999)
Writer
Rumpole and the Miscarriage of Justice (1995)
Writer
Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle (1995)
Writer
Rumpole and the Children of the Devil (1995)
Writer
Rumpole on Trial (1995)
Writer
Rumpole and the Family Pride (1995)
Writer
Rumpole and the Reform of Joby Jonson (1995)
Writer
Titmuss Regained (1992)
Writer
Summer's Lease (1991)
Writer
Rumpole and the Quality of Life (1990)
Writer
Rumpole and Portia (1990)
Writer
Rumpole and the Age of Miracles (1989)
Writer
Rumpole and the Barrow Boy (1989)
Writer
Rumpole and the Tap End (1989)
Writer
Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation (1989)
Writer
The Ebony Tower (1987)
Writer
Rumpole's Return (1984)
Writer
Rumpole of the Bailey, Series I (1980)
Writer
Married Alive (1970)
Writer
Twenty-Four Hours in a Woman's Life (1961)
Writer

Misc. Crew (Special)

Rumpole on Trial (1995)
Other
Summer's Lease (1991)
Source Material (From Novel)

Life Events

1948

Became a barrister

1957

Garnered attention with third radio play, "The Dock Brief"; wrote stage adaptation in 1958

1958

First play, "What Shall We Tell Caroline?"

1963

Penned the screenplay for "The Running Man"

1966

Appointed as a Queen's Counsel

1969

Wrote the feature film "John and Mary"

1970

In a well-known court case, defended the publishers of <i>Oz</i> magazine against pornography charges

1975

Became a Master of the Bench, Inner Temple

1981

Wrote the teleplay adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited"; aired in USA in 1981

Videos

Movie Clip

Guns Of Darkness (1962) - Just An Old English Custom With a New Year’s midnight coup brewing in a fictional South American republic, British sugar firm boss Bryant (James Robertson Justice) parties with spooky local Hernandez (Derek Godfrey) and his own unruly P-R man Jordan (David Niven) and wife (Leslie Caron), early in Guns Of Darkness, 1962.
Guns Of Darkness (1962) - You Must Feel Strongly Jordan (David Niven), the British corporate P-R man stationed in remote South America, has unintentionally taken in the wounded newly-ousted president (David Opatoshu), leaving him without time for his already justifiably angered wife (Leslie Caron) in Guns Of Darkness, 1962.
Guns Of Darkness (1962) - You Can Hate The Same People After behaving badly at a company New Year’s party in a South American republic, British P-R man Tom (David Niven) tangles with his French wife Claire (Leslie Caron), who’s grown tired of covering for him, both unaware of a military coup taking place, in Guns Of Darkness, 1962.
Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) - The Fours Are Packing Up Mystified American Ann (Carol Lynley) can't find her daughter after the first day at the new London school, though a teacher (Jill Melford) is unworried, in Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake Is Missing, 1965, co-starring Laurence Olivier.
Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) - Have You Got A Snap? London Inspector Newhouse (Laurence Olivier) in his first scene, debriefing distraught American mom Ann (Carol Lynley) whose daughter has gone missing in her first day at school, husband Keir Dullea joining, in Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake Is Missing, 1965.
Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) - Only Ten Minutes The Germanic cook (Lucie Mannheim) has bigger problems and happily assures American Ann (Carol Lynley) that she'll watch over her daughter in her first day at her new London school in Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake Is Missing, 1965.
Running Man, The (1963) - Opening, Memorial Opening title credits leading to a widowed Lee Remick (as "Stella Black") attending a memorial service for her English flier husband in Carol Reed's The Running Man, from a novel by Shelley Smith.
Running Man, The (1963) - Not Very Tidy With "dead" husband Rex (Laurence Harvey) in the wings, "widow" Stella (Lee Remick) receives insurance investigator Maddox (Alan Bates), in Carol Reed's The Running Man, 1963.
Running Man, The (1963) - It Pays to Crash! Crash-survivor pilot Rex (Laurence Harvey) and spouse Stella (Lee Remick) appear in her flashback on their visit to a stingy insurance man (Allan Cuthbertson) in Carol Reed's The Running Man 1963.

Family

Clifford Mortimer
Father
Barrister. Mortimer reportedly based his famous character of Rumpole of the Bailey on his father; died in 1959.
Kathleen May Mortimer
Mother
Emily Mortimer
Daughter
Actor. Born in 1972.
Rosie Mortimer
Daughter

Companions

Penelope Mortimer
Wife

Bibliography

"The Summer of a Dormouse"
John Mortimer (2001)
"Charade"
John Mortimer (1948)