Dirk Bogarde


Actor
Dirk Bogarde

About

Also Known As
Sir Dirk Bogarde, Dirk Van Den Bogaerde, Derek Niven Van Den Bogaerde
Birth Place
Hampstead, England, GB
Born
March 28, 1921
Died
May 08, 1999
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

With the refinement of Britain's national cinema after World War II came the rise of Dirk Bogarde as one of its shining stars. A former stage actor whom playwright Noël Coward begged not to forsake the theatre, Bogarde became a box office powerhouse with his charismatic performances as a cop killer in "The Blue Lamp" (1950) and as the medical school hero of "Doctor in the House" (1954). ...

Photos & Videos

So Long at the Fair - British Lobby Cards
Libel - Lobby Cards
Doctor in Distress - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

Anthony Forwood
Companion
Manager. Together from the 1960s until Forwood's death in 1988; formerly married to Glynis Johns.

Bibliography

"For the Time Being"
Dirk Bogarde, Viking (1998)
"Closing Ranks"
Dirk Bogarde (1997)
"Backcloth"
Dirk Bogarde (1986)
"West of Sunset"
Dirk Bogarde, Viking (1984)

Notes

Bogarde's favorite stage roles: Cliff in "Power Without Glory" and Orpheus in "Point of Departure"

Bogarde worked five times with director Joseph Losey and nine times with Ralph Thomas, director of Rank's popular "Doctor" series

Biography

With the refinement of Britain's national cinema after World War II came the rise of Dirk Bogarde as one of its shining stars. A former stage actor whom playwright Noël Coward begged not to forsake the theatre, Bogarde became a box office powerhouse with his charismatic performances as a cop killer in "The Blue Lamp" (1950) and as the medical school hero of "Doctor in the House" (1954). Equally adept at drama or comedy, Bogarde attracted the attention of Hollywood but his star turn as composer Franz Liszt in "Song Without End" (1960) came close to being a career-killer. At home, Bogarde gambled on his reputation as a romantic lead by accepting edgy roles in films that hinted at his safeguarded homosexuality, among them the fetish Western "The Singer Not the Song" (1960), the courtroom drama "Victim" (1960), and "The Servant" (1963), with Bogarde cast as a scheming valet who manipulates his naive employer. Having worked with such top-flight directors as Basil Dearden, John Schlesinger and John Frankenheimer, and enjoyed a long-running collaboration with American expatriate Joseph Losey, Bogarde capped his career on the Continent, making films in Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and France for Luchino Visconti, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alain Renais, and Liliana Cavani. Felled by a stroke in 1996, Bogarde devoted his final years to finishing his memoirs, leaving behind at the time of his death in 1999 an admirable body of work and a detailed chronicle of a life lived entirely on his own terms.

Of Flemish, Dutch and Scottish descent, Dirk Bogarde was born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde in West Hampton, London on March 28, 1921. Raised for the better part of his childhood in East Sussex, Bogarde and his sister were encouraged to play-act by their mother, a former actress whose own childhood had been spent traveling the provinces with her father, Scottish actor-artist Forrest Niven. While still a boy, Bogarde was introduced to family friend Lionel Cox, founder of the Newick Amateur Dramatic Society, with whom Bogarde made his stage debut in a production of R.C. Sherriff's World War I drama "Journey's End." Educated at University College School in Hampstead and Allan Glen's School in Glasgow, Bogarde attended London's Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, but acting remained his passion. Though he auditioned successfully for the drama school of the esteemed Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, the outbreak of the Second World War prompted the Old Vic's temporary shuttering. Bogarde made his West End debut in 1939, as Derek Bogarde, in J. B. Priestley's "Cornelius," but his career was put on hold when was called up for wartime service.

Joining the Queen's Royal Regiment in 1943, Bogarde eventually reached the rank of captain while serving as an intelligence officer in both the European and Pacific theaters. He performed in a number of plays during the war, among them Patrick Hamilton's "Rope" (later the source of the 1948 Alfred Hitchcock film) and wrote and directed at least one musical revue in Java to lift the morale of British soldiers freed from Japanese captivity. Upon his demobilization, Bogarde sought work as a journalist but found a more welcome reception from the Reunion Theatre Association, a charitable concern rehabilitating British theatre actors in peacetime England. Billed as Dirk Bogarde for the first time, the 26-year-old actor was appearing in a production of "Power without Glory" that had the good fortune to be moved from the downmarket New Lindsey Theatre Club to the West End's Fortune Theatre, where his performance was praised by no less than playwright Noël Coward. Bogarde was also invited to make a screen test for Gainsborough Pictures and soon found himself in possession of a contract with the J. Arthur Rank Organization. After recreating his performances in "Power without Glory" and "Rope" for British television, Bogarde made his feature film debut as a policeman in the quota quickie "Dancing with Crime" (1947), starring Richard Attenborough as a crime smashing cabbie.

Next, Bogarde replaced a Hollywood-bound Stewart Granger in "Sin of Esther Waters" (1948), playing a caddish Victorian footman who compromises the reputation of servant Kathleen Ryan. Enjoying his first prominent billing, Bogarde would never again have to settle for less. Though Coward had counseled him not to forsake the theatre for the hollow promise of films, Bogarde did just that, and swiftly racked up a string of charismatic performances, from the cop killer of "The Blue Lamp" (1950), to Jean Simmons' hero in "So Long at the Fair" (1950), to calamity-prone medical student Simon Sparrow in "Doctor in the House" (1954), "Doctor at Sea" (1955), and "Doctor at Large" (1957). Bogarde turned his hand again to dastardy as a fortune hunter not averse to murder in "Cast a Dark Shadow" (1955) and was the conflicted Sidney Carlton in "A Tale of Two Cities" (1958), performances that solidified his standing as a major star of postwar British film.

A shot at Hollywood stardom playing composer Franz Liszt in Charles Vidor's musical biopic "Song Without End" (1960) was short-circuited by the film's failure at the box office, though Bogarde made a lifelong friend in co-star Capucine. Also poorly received was his jaw-dropping turn as a leather-clad gaucho in Roy Ward Baker's "The Singer Not the Song" (1961), whose homoerotic overtones fueled rumors about the committed bachelor's sexual orientation. Given the gossip about his private life, Bogarde risked his status as a reliable romantic lead by playing a closeted gay barrister in Basil Dearden's "Victim" (1961), whose bid to bring down a blackmailer of homosexuals exposes his own secret inclinations. The actor played for laughs again as an older, wiser Simon Sparrow in "Doctor in Distress" (1963) and as an amateur spy up to his neck in intrigue in "Agent 8 ¾" (1964), a spoof of espionage thrillers. A deceptively gifted comedian, Bogarde's stock-in-trade remained nervy dramas, the best of which included Lewis Gilbert's maritime adventure "Damn the Defiant!" (1962), Dearden's science-based thriller "The Mind Benders" (1963), and Joseph Losey's "The Servant" (1963), in which Bogarde played a shady valet who undermines insecure employer James Fox.

A bleach-blonde Bogarde breezed his way through Losey's swank spy satire "Modesty Blaise" (1966) without breaking a sweat, but was required to work harder in Losey's quietly discomfiting "Accident" (1967) and in Jack Clayton's "Our Mother's House" (1967), in which he played the untrustworthy absentee father of orphans attempting to make a go of family life following the death of their invalid mother. Bogarde traveled abroad to work with Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti, playing conflicted, flawed aristocrats in "The Damned" (1969) and "Death in Venice" (1971), again courting rumors in the latter by playing a titled composer who falls in love with a teenage boy. Long a talented writer, Bogarde also turned his hand to fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and several volumes of memoirs, resulting in fewer film appearances. Bogarde drew on his wartime experiences for Liliana Cavani's "The Night Porter" (1974), as a former SS officer who enjoys a torrid, tortured affair with a female concentration camp survivor, and Richard Attenborough's sprawling, all-star WWII reenactment "A Bridge Too Far" (1977), as Lieutenant General Frederick "Boy" Browning.

In 1988, Bogarde suffered the loss of his longtime companion and manager Anthony Forwood, the former husband of actress Glynis Johns. Having suffered a minor stroke in 1987, the newly-knighted actor was felled by a massive stroke in 1996, after undergoing an angioplasty. His last film role - as the title character in Bertrand Tavernier's "Daddy Nostalgia" (1990) - long behind him, an incapacitated Sir Dirk Bogarde devoted himself to finishing a final volume of his memoirs. He died of a heart attack on May 8, 1999, at the age of 78. In compliance with his final wishes, Bogarde was cremated and his ashes scattered over the grounds of the estate he had shared with Forwood in the south of France.

By Richard Harland Smith

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

A Letter to True (2005)
Himself
Daddy Nostalgia (1990)
Daddy
The Vision (1987)
An Act of Love: The Patricia Neal Story (1981)
Despair (1978)
Hermann Hermann
A Bridge Too Far (1977)
Providence (1977)
Permission to Kill (1975)
Alan Curtis
The Night Porter (1974)
Max
Le Serpent (1973)
Death in Venice (1971)
Gustav von Aschenbach
Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)
Stephen
The Damned (1969)
Friedrich Bruckmann
Justine (1969)
Pursewarden
Sebastian (1968)
Sebastian
The Fixer (1968)
Bibikov
Accident (1967)
Stephen
Our Mother's House (1967)
Charlie Hook
Modesty Blaise (1966)
Gabriel
McGuire, Go Home! (1966)
Major McGuire
Agent 8 3/4 (1965)
Nicholas Whistler
Darling (1965)
Robert Gold
King and Country (1964)
Captain Hargreaves
The Servant (1964)
Hugo Barrett
Doctor in Distress (1964)
Dr. Simon Sparrow
The Mind Benders (1963)
Dr. Henry Longman
I Could Go On Singing (1963)
David Donne
Victim (1962)
Melville Farr
The Password Is Courage (1962)
Charles Coward
The Singer Not the Song (1962)
Anacleto
Damn the Defiant! (1962)
Lieutenant Scott-Padget
We Joined the Navy (1962)
Song Without End (1960)
Franz Liszt By arrangement with The Rank Organization
The Angel Wore Red (1960)
Arturo Carrera by arrangement with The Rank Organization
The Doctor's Dilemma (1959)
Louis Dubedat by permission of The Rank Organization
Libel (1959)
Sir Mark Loddon/Frank Welney/Number Fifteen by permission of the Rank Organisation
The Wind Cannot Read (1958)
Flt Lt Michael Quinn
A Tale of Two Cities (1958)
Night Ambush (1958)
Major "Paddy" Leigh-Fermer
Campbell's Kingdom (1957)
Bruce Campbell
Doctor at Large (1957)
Simon
The Spanish Gardener (1956)
Simba (1955)
Howard
Doctor at Sea (1955)
Dr Simon Sparrow
Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)
The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1955)
Flight Sergeant Mackay
Doctor in the House (1955)
Dr Simon Sparrow
The Sleeping Tiger (1954)
Frank Clements
For Better For Worse (1954)
They Who Dare (1954)
Lieutenant Graham
Desperate Moment (1953)
Appointment In London (1953)
Hunted (1952)
The Gentle Gunman (1952)
Penny Princess (1952)
So Long at the Fair (1950)
The Woman in Question (1950)
The Blue Lamp (1950)
Quartet (1949)
George Bland
Boys in Brown (1949)
Dear Mr. Prohack (1949)
Once a Jolly Swagman (1948)
Esther Waters (1948)
Dancing With Crime (1947)
Come on George (1939)

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

A Letter to True (2005)
Other

Cast (Special)

Schindler: The Real Story (1994)
Narrator
Little Moon of Alban (1964)
Kenneth Boyd

Misc. Crew (Short)

LIONPOWER FROM MGM (1967)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1939

Film debut (as an extra) in "Come On George"

1941

Enlisted in British Army; took part in the Normandy Landings

1948

Film acting debut in "Esther Waters"

1948

Received first major notice as Cliff in stage play "Power Without Glory"

1961

Appeared in memorable role as closeted homosexual barrister married to Sylvia Sims in Basil Dearden's ground-breaking "Victim"

1963

Deliviered an award-winning performance in Joseph Losey's "The Servent"

1964

TV acting debut, "Little Moon of Alban" (NBC)

1965

Starred opposite Julie Christie in John Schlesinger's "Darling"

1971

Gave what many consider his finest performance as Gustave von Aschenbach in Luchino Visconti's film of Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice"

1977

Played Lt General Frederick Browning in Richard Attenborough's all-star "A Bridge Too Far"

1978

Starred in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Despair"

1981

Portrayed Roald Dahl in the CBS TV-movie "Act of Love: The Patricia Neal Story"

1984

Served on Cannes Film Festival Jury

1990

Returned to screen in Bertrand Tavernier's "Daddy Nostalgia"; final film

1992

Received knighthood

1996

Suffered a stroke in October; became a virtual recluse

1998

Resurfaced in the news when it became public he had adopted a "living will"

Photo Collections

So Long at the Fair - British Lobby Cards
Here are a few original-release British Lobby Cards from So Long at the Fair (1950), starring Dirk Bogarde and Jean Simmons. British lobby cards were printed on slick paper stock and were also known as "Front of House Cards."
Libel - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from MGM's Libel (1959), starring Dirk Bogarde and Olivia De Havilland. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Doctor in Distress - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for the British comedy Doctor in Distress (1963), starring Dirk Bogarde. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Darling - Movie Poster
Here is a British Quad movie poster for Darling (1965), starring Dirk Bogarde, Julie Christie, and Laurence Harvey.
The Servant - Movie Poster
Here is a British Quad movie poster for The Servant (1964), starring Dirk Bogarde and Sarah Miles.
The Angel Wore Red - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The Angel Wore Red (1960), starring Ava Gardner and Dirk Bogarde. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Doctor's Dilemma - Publicity Still
Here is a photo taken to help publicize MGM's The Doctor's Dilemma (1958), starring Leslie Caron and Dirk Bogarde. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Spanish Gardener - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Rank Films' The Spanish Gardener (1956), starring Dirk Bogarde. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Victim (1961) - I'd Rather Know Than Guess Barrister Farr (Dirk Bogarde), investigating a homosexuality scandal in which he's implicated, arrives home to wife Laura (Sylvia Syms), who reveals her own suspicions, in Victim, 1961, directed by Basil Dearden.
Night Porter, The (1974) - Open, Vienna Evocative but geographically incoherent, Dirk Bogarde (title character) traverses Vienna, taking in Maria-Theresien-Platz, Hofberg Palace and Josefsplatz before arriving at the fictional Hotel Zur Oper, opening director Liliana Cavani’s provocative English-language, Anglo-Italian financed international hit The Night Porter, 1974.
Night Porter, The (1974) - My Keys, Please Not much background about Max (Dirk Bogarde, title character), at the desk of a Vienna hotel in 1957, has been revealed, but he sure takes notice when Charlotte Rampling appears, the refined spouse of a visiting American conductor, and director and co-writer Liliana Cavani uses her first flashback, early in The Night Porter, 1974.
Night Porter, The (1974) - The Magic Flute Now shooting at the Volksoper opera house in Vienna, during a performance of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” staged by the husband of Nazi concentration camp survivor Lucia (Charlotte Rampling), further flashbacks from director Liliana Cavani reveal more of her past with the title character, Dirk Bogarde, also in the audience, in The Night Porter, 1974.
Night Porter, The (1974) - Arrange The Lights Detailing another relationship between Dirk Bogarde as Max (title character) and guests at a Vienna hotel, 1957, he’s summoned by Bert (the Italian dancer and leading choreographer Amedeo Amodio), who appears to have been among his captives at a Nazi concentration camp, in director Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter, 1974.
Night Porter, The (1974) - Max Had Imagination We’ve learned, through flashbacks, that the title character (Dirk Bogarde as Max, employed in a Vienna hotel, 1957), has a Nazi history, which two of his associates (Philippe Leroy as Klaus, with the monocle, and Gabriele Ferzetti as Professor Fogler), who have checked-in for a mysterious private event, are discussing, in The Night Porter, 1974.
Victim (1961) - A Law Which Sends Homosexuals To Prison Rising barrister Farr (Dirk Bogarde) is summoned before the very crafty Inspector Harris (John Barrie), making delicate inquiries about possible blackmail, in director Basil Dearden's Victim, 1961.
Victim (1961) - Between You And The Blackie When Eddy (Donald Churchill) arrives with an incriminating photo, Barrister Farr (Dirk Bogarde) realizes his culpability in the suicide of their mutual friend, in director Basil Dearden's Victim, 1961.
Angel Wore Red, The (1960) - The War Is On! Reporter Hawthorne (Joseph Cotten) is pleased to tell his editor that war has come to his nameless Spanish city, Soledad (Ava Gardner) makes her first appearance, with newly-ex priest Aturo (Dirk Bogarde), while his superiors (Finlay Currie, Aldo Fabrizi) make emergency plans, in The Angel Wore Red, 1960.
Death In Venice (1971) - Opening, von Aschenbach Ending the credits by director Count Luchino Visconti (descendant of the 13th century Milanese dynasty), with music from composer Gustav Mahler, and the liminal introduction of the protagonist, composer Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde), from Death In Venice, 1971.
Mind Benders, The (1963) - The Physics Of The Soul Following the suicide of Oxford professor Sharpey (Harold Goldblatt), military intelligence officer Hall (John Clements), who suspects he was a spy, is shown a film of his experiments in sensory deprivaton, with a first appearance by Dirk Bogarde as Longman, in The Mind Benders, 1963.
Mind Benders, The (1963) - What We're Not Daring To Say Scientist Tate (Michael Bryant) visits Oxford professor Longman (Dirk Bogarde), who’s been hiding out at home for weeks, indirectly reporting the death of their colleague Sharpey, with his wife (Mary Ure) reviewing a tape related to their experiments in sensory deprivation, in The Mind Benders, 1963.

Trailer

Family

Forrest Niven
Grandfather
Actor.
Ulric van den Bogaerde
Father
Journalist. Art correspondent for the London <i>Times</i>; Belgian.
Margaret van den Bogaerde
Mother
Actor. Discontinued acting after marriage; Scottish; according to Bogarde's memoirs was an alcoholic.
Elizabeth van den Bogaerde Goodings
Sister
Gareth van den Bogaerde
Brother
Brock van den Bogaerde
Nephew
Bogarde left the bulk of his estate to his nephew.

Companions

Anthony Forwood
Companion
Manager. Together from the 1960s until Forwood's death in 1988; formerly married to Glynis Johns.

Bibliography

"For the Time Being"
Dirk Bogarde, Viking (1998)
"Closing Ranks"
Dirk Bogarde (1997)
"Backcloth"
Dirk Bogarde (1986)
"West of Sunset"
Dirk Bogarde, Viking (1984)
"An Orderly Man"
Dirk Bogarde, Alfred A. Knopf (1983)
"Voices In the Garden"
Dirk Bogarde, Alfred A. Knopf (1981)
"A Gentle Occupation"
Dirk Bogarde, Alfred A. Knopf (1980)
"Snakes and Ladders"
Dirk Bogarde, Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1978)
"A Postillion Hit By Lightning"
Dirk Bogarde, Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1977)
"A Particular Friendship"
Dirk Bogarde
"A Short Walk From Harrods"
Dirk Bogarde
"Jerico"
Dirk Bogarde
"A Period of Adjustment"
Dirk Bogarde
"Dirk Bogarde: Rank Outsider"
Sheridan Morley, Bloomsbury Publishing

Notes

Bogarde's favorite stage roles: Cliff in "Power Without Glory" and Orpheus in "Point of Departure"

Bogarde worked five times with director Joseph Losey and nine times with Ralph Thomas, director of Rank's popular "Doctor" series

Two of Bogarde's drawings of the Normandy Landings, made during World War II, are exhibited in the Imperial War Museum in London.

Several of his poems have been published in an Anthology of Contemporary Poetry.