The Sixties: Diaries:1960-1969, Page 91Christopher Isherwood
Moffat, Ivan (1918–2002). British-American screenwriter, educated at Dartmouth; son of Iris Tree and her American husband Curtis Moffat. He worked on government-sponsored documentaries for Strand Films in London, served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps Special Coverage Unit under the American film director George Stevens during World War II, and returned to Los Angeles in 1946 as Stevens’s assistant. He worked with Stevens on A Place in the Sun (1951), was Stevens’s associate producer for Shane (1953), and co-wrote Giant (1956), before going on to work for David Selznick on Tender Is the Night (1962). Other screenplays include Bhowani Junction (1956), Boy on a Dolphin (1957), and Justine (1969). Moffat’s first wife was Natasha Sorokin, a Russian, once part of a ménage à trois with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Their marriage broke up at the start of the 1950s, leaving a daughter, Lorna. Moffat then had a number of beautiful and talented girlfriends, including the writer Caroline Blackwood with whom he fathered a daughter, Ivana, born in 1966 during Caroline’s second marriage to the composer and music critic Israel Citkowitz; Ivana’s paternity was kept secret until Caroline Blackwood’s death in 1996. In 1961, Moffat married Katherine Smith, known as Kate, a well-connected English heiress. The marriage ended in 1972. Moffat appears often in D.1 and Lost Years. Although Moffat was always heterosexual, Isherwood identified with him, as an expatriate and as a romantic adventurer, and based both the main character in the first draft of Down There on a Visit and “Patrick” in A Meeting by the River partly on him.
Moody, Robert L. (1910–1973). British psychotherapist; raised in Surbiton and educated at Bromsgrove School. He began the Bachelor of Medicine course alongside Isherwood at King’s College Medical School, London, in October 1928 but left in 1930 without taking any exams. Later, he became one of the first directors of the Jungian organization, the Society of Analytical Psychology, when it was formally registered under that name in 1945. He was also an editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology and wrote various articles. He married three times, last to Louise Diamond. He appears as “Platt” in Lions and Shadows.
Moreau, Jeanne (b. 1928). French stage and screen star and singer; daughter of an English chorus girl. She was educated at the Paris Conservatory of Dramatic Art and became a leading actress for the Comédie Française and the Théâtre National Populaire before coming to international prominence in Louis Malle’s Frantic (Ascenseur pour l’Echafaud, 1957, in France; released as Lift to the Scaffold in the U.K. and later retitled Elevator to the Gallows in the U.S.) and The Lovers (1958). Her many film roles after that, for a range of celebrated directors, include Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1959), Moderato Cantabile (1960), La Notte (1961), Jules and Jim (1961), Eva (1962), The Trial (1963), Diary of a Chambermaid (1964), Chimes at Midnight (1966), The Bride Wore Black (1968), and Going Places (1974). She was married twice, briefly both times, and had many love affairs, including a complicated one with Tony Richardson while she was working with him on Mademoiselle (1966) and The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967).
Morgan. See Forster, E.M.
Morris, Phyllis (d. 1982). English character actress and author. She was a student with Dodie Smith (later Beesley) at the Academy of Dramatic Art (precursor to RADA) in London during World War I, and they sometimes shared lodgings. She came from a wealthy family and had a lifelong income; in youth, she was briefly married to a doctor thirty years her senior. She published a volume of poems, Dandelion Clocks (1917), two children’s books, Peter’s Pencil (1920) and The Adventures of Willy and Nilly (1921), and wrote plays, including Made in Heaven and The Rescue Party staged in London in the 1920s. She appeared in a number of Dodie Smith’s plays and had minor roles in a few Hollywood films, for instance, That Forsyte Woman (1949). Isherwood met her in Hollywood after the war, and he mentions her in Lost Years. Eventually, she settled in a retirement apartment at Gosfield Hall, a restored Tudor manor house near the Beesleys’ Essex cottage. She wrote for T.V., took up painting, and continued her stage career until near the end of her life.
Morrow, Vic (1932–1982) and Barbara. American actor and his wife, an actress and T.V. writer. He was born and raised in the Bronx, joined the navy, then attended college in Florida on the G.I. Bill. Afterwards, he studied acting in Mexico City and at the Actors Workshop in New York where he appeared off Broadway and was discovered by MGM and cast in The Blackboard Jungle (1955). His other films include God’s Little Acre (1958), Cimarron (1960), and Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974), and he directed Deathwatch (1976), which he adapted with his wife from Jean Genet’s play. Morrow starred in the T.V. series “Combat!” from 1962 to 1967 and wrote and directed some episodes. He married Barbara Turner in 1958, and they had two daughters, one the actress Jennifer Jason Leigh. Barbara Morrow worked on several projects with her husband, but the marriage ended in 1965. She later married T.V. director Reza Badiyi. In later years, Vic Morrow acted in made-for-T.V. movies and mini-series, including “Roots” (1977). He died in a helicopter accident on the set of Twilight Zone—The Movie (1983).
Mortimer, Raymond (1895–1980). English literary and art critic; he was writer and editor for numerous magazines and newspapers and wrote books on painting and the decorative arts as well as a novel. He was at Balliol College, Oxford, with Aldous Huxley and later became a close friend of Gerald Heard, introducing Heard to Huxley in 1929; he was also intimate with various Bloomsbury figures and an advocate of their work. From 1948 onward, he worked for The Sunday Times, spending the last nearly thirty years of his life as their chief reviewer. He appears in D.1.
Mortmere. An imaginary English village invented by Isherwood and Edward Upward when they were at Cambridge together in the 1920s; the inhabitants were satires of generic English social types and were all slightly mad. As part of their rebellion against public school and university, Upward and Isherwood shared an elaborate fantasy life which was described by Isherwood in Lions and Shadows. The fragmentary stories the two wrote for each other about Mortmere were eventually published as a collection in 1994; Upward’s The Railway Accident appeared on its own in 1949.
Murdock, James (1931–1981). American actor; born David Baker. He worked mostly in T.V. Westerns in the late 1950s and 1960s: “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide” (as Harkness “Mushy” Mushgrove, the cook’s assistant), “Have Gun, Will Travel,” and “Cheyenne.” Isherwood tended to misspell his name as Murdoch.
namaskar. Salutation; see pranam.
Natasha. See Spender, Natasha Litvin.
Narendra, also Naren. See Vivekananda, Swami.
National Institute of Arts and Letters. The National Institute of Arts and Letters had 250 members chosen in recognition of their individual achievements in art, literature, and music. In 1976 it amalgamated with the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was called the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, then later simplified its name to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Members are chosen for life, and they confer several awards of their own, including the E.M. Forster Award. The organization maintains a library and museum in Manhattan. Isherwood was elected in 1949.
National Portrait Gallery, London. After acquiring Bachardy’s 1967 portrait of Auden in 1969, Roy Strong left the NPG to become Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1974 and went on to a career as a writer and broadcaster. He was succeeded at the NPG by the art historian John Hayes, who was director from 1974 to 1993. Hayes was an expert in the paintings of Thomas Gainsborough. It was not until 1996, when Charles Saumarez Smith was director, that the NPG acquired Bachardy’s portraits of Ackerley (1961), Forster (1961), John Osborne (1968), and Thom Gunn (1996) and commissioned portraits of James Ivory, Ismail Merchant, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. In 1998, the NPG purchased a ninth portrait, of Dodie Smith (1961).
Neddermeyer, Heinz, Gerda and Christian. Isherwood’s German boyfriend and his wife and son. Heinz was about seventeen when he met Isherwood in Berlin, March 13, 1932. Their love affair, the most serious of Isherwood’s life until then, lasted about five years. Hitler’s rise forced them to
leave Berlin in May 1933, and they lived and travelled in Europe and North Africa. In a traumatic confrontation with immigration officials at Harwich, Heinz was refused entry on his second visit to England in January 1934, so Isherwood went abroad more and more to be with him. In 1936, Heinz was summoned for conscription in Germany, and Isherwood scrambled to obtain or extend permits for Heinz to remain in the ever-diminishing number of European countries that would receive him. An expensive but shady lawyer called Salinger failed to obtain a new nationality for him. Heinz was expelled from Luxembourg on May 12, 1937 and returned to Germany, where he was arrested by the Gestapo and sentenced—for “reciprocal onanism” and draft evasion—to a three-and-a-half-year term combining imprisonment, forced labor, and military service. He survived and married Gerda in 1938, and Christian was born in 1940. Isherwood did not see Heinz again until 1952 in Berlin, though he corresponded with him both before and after this visit. It was Heinz’s conscription that first turned Isherwood towards pacifism. Their shared wanderings are described in Christopher and His Kind, and their friendship also serves as one basis for the “Waldemar” section of Down There on a Visit. Heinz is also mentioned in D.1 and Lost Years.
Neil. See Hartley, Neil.
Nelson, Allyn L. A girlfriend of Jim Gates and Peter Schneider. She lived in Oxnard, California, and attended Claremont College, where she met Gates and Schneider. Schneider later recalled she may have been studying nursing.
Nichols, Mike (b. 1931). American actor, director, producer; born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin. He emigrated to New York at seven and was educated at the University of Chicago. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg and became famous with Elaine May in a comedy duo which they took to Broadway as An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May (1960). He directed many Broadway hits, including Barefoot in the Park (1964), The Odd Couple (1965), The Little Foxes (1967), Plaza Suite (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971), The Real Thing (1984), Death and the Maiden (1992), and Spamalot (2005). His Hollywood successes were just as numerous, among them: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? (1966), The Graduate (1967), Carnal Knowledge (1971), The Day of the Dolphin (1973), Silkwood (1983), Working Girl (1988), Postcards from the Edge (1990), Primary Colors (1998), Closer (2004), and Charlie Wilson’s War (2007). When Isherwood knew him, his wife was Pat Scot. His fourth wife, since 1988, is newscaster Diane Sawyer. Niem, Jan (d. 1973). Chauffeur to Tony Richardson, for twenty years. He was born in Poland and sent to a camp in Siberia by the Russians during World War II. After the war he came to the U.K. on a training scheme Churchill offered Stalin and was made a British citizen. He married an English woman with whom he ran a car service for the film industry. According to rumor, Tony Richardson “won” him in a poker game with Cubby Broccoli. He died on top of a prostitute while on location in the South of France.
Nikhilananda, Swami. Indian monk of the Ramakrishna Order; a longtime head of the Ramakrishna-Vedanta Center in New York, on the Upper East Side; author of numerous books on Vedanta and translator of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna from Bengali into English with the help of Joseph Campbell, Margaret Woodrow Wilson, and John Moffitt who put Nikhilananda’s translations of the songs into poetic form. He appears in D.1.
Nin, Anaïs (1903–1977) and Rupert Pole (1919–2006). American writer and her second husband. She was born in Paris, raised in New York after the outbreak of World War I, and spent the 1920s and 1930s back in Paris seeking out the company of writers, intellectuals, and bohemians. She became a psychoanalyst as well as writing novels, short stories and literary criticism. Her six-volume Diary began to appear in 1966, and tells, among other things, about her friendship with Henry Miller. Her other books include Children of the Albatross (1947)—which Isherwood read and admired before he met her—The Four-Chambered Heart (1950), and A Spy in the House of Love (1954). Some of her work, like Miller’s, was published in Paris years before it appeared in the U.S. She had many love affairs and married twice. Pole, much younger than she, was a stepgrandson of Frank Lloyd Wright. He had a Harvard music degree and acted before studying forestry at UCLA and Berkeley. He worked as a forest ranger, and, as Isherwood tells in Lost Years, Nin lived with him at his forest station in the San Gabriel Mountains among all the other rangers in defiance of the rules. By the 1970s, the pair settled in the Silver Lake District of Los Angeles in a house designed by Wright’s grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright.
Nirvanananda, Swami. Hindu monk; he was a direct disciple of Brahmananda (Maharaj), initiated as a brahmachari in 1914, and became Brahmananda’s personal attendant. His original name was Surya, pronounced Surja in Bengal, and this was the basis for the affectionate name, Sujji Maharaj, by which he was mostly known. He was manager of Belur Math and became a vice-president of the Ramakrishna Order in the 1960s. He died in the early 1980s.
Oberon, Merle (1911–1979). British film star, raised in India and discovered in London by her first husband Alexander Korda who made her internationally famous during the 1930s. Her films include The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935), Wuthering Heights (1939), The Lodger (1944), and A Song to Remember (1945). She divorced Korda in 1945 and married cinematographer Lucien Ballard, whom she divorced in 1949. In 1957 she married again, to Bruno Pagliai, an Italian industrial tycoon with vast holdings in Latin America and especially Mexico, where they went to live until she divorced him in 1973. Her fourth marriage was to actor Robert Wolders, her co-star in her last film, Interval (1973), which she produced herself.
O’Hilderbrandt, Mrs. Isherwood’s neighbor. As Mary Miles Minter, she was a teenage star of silent films. Her career ended in scandal before she was twenty when her director, and, by rumor, her lover, William Desmond Taylor, was murdered, possibly by her mother. The crime was never solved, and she once offered to tell Isherwood what had happened if he would write a book about it on her behalf.
“Old, Vernon” (not his real name). American painter. During Isherwood’s first visit to New York in 1938, George Davis introduced him to Vernon Old at an establishment called Matty’s Cell House. Blond, beautiful, and intelligent, Vernon matched the description Isherwood had given Davis of the American boy he’d like to meet, and Vernon featured in Isherwood’s decision to return to New York in 1939. They lived together in New York and Los Angeles until February 17, 1941, when they split by mutual agreement. Vernon then lived unsteadily on his own, painting, drinking, and being sexually promiscuous, until a suicide attempt later that year. During World War II, he tried to become a monk, first in a Catholic monastery in the Hudson Valley and later at the Hollywood Vedanta Society and at Ananda Bhavan in Montecito. Eventually, he turned to heterosexuality, married “Patty O’Neill” (not her real name) in November 1948, and had a son before divorcing. His painting career was increasingly successful, and in the late 1950s he tutored Don Bachardy. He appears in Christopher and His Kind and in My Guru and His Disciple (as “Vernon,” without a surname) and throughout D.1 and Lost Years.
Olivier, Laurence (1907–1989). British actor, director, producer; celebrated as the greatest Shakespearian actor of his time. He became a Hollywood star by the start of World War II in Wuthering Heights (1939), Rebecca (1940), Pride and Prejudice (1940), and That Hamilton Woman (1941), and was appointed co-director of the Old Vic with Ralph Richardson near the end of the war. In 1963, he became director of the National Theatre in Britain. He directed and produced himself in a number of movies, beginning with Henry V (1944) and Hamlet (1948), which together won him several Academy Awards for acting and directing, and he appeared in more than fifty other films and over a hundred stage roles in London, New York, and elsewhere. He was married three times, to actress Jill Esmond from 1930 to 1940, to Vivien Leigh until 1960, and then to Joan Plowright until his death. Isherwood became friendly with him during 1959 when Olivier was in Los Angeles filming Spartacus (1960). He appears in D.1.
One, Incorporated. Homosexual advocacy and support group founded in 1953; publisher of One magazine. One was the subject of a lega
l struggle with the U.S. Post Office during the 1950s; in 1958 the Supreme Court ruled that gay publications were not a priori obscene and could be sent and sold by mail. The business manager at One, Inc., and its driving force for over a decade, was Bill Legg. He had several names: Dorr Legg, William Lambert, and Marvin Culter.
O’Neill, Donna (d. 200). A companion of Ivan Moffat. She was beautiful, an accomplished horsewoman, and married to a wealthy man who objected to her involvement with Moffat. She remained with her husband, and she spent many years in analysis. She often sat for Don Bachardy in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She appears in D.1.
Osborne, John (1929–1994). English playwright, born in Fulham, West London. He worked as a journalist briefly and then acted in provincial repertory until his third play, Look Back in Anger (1956), established him as the center of a generation of working-class realist playwrights called “the angry young men.” During the 1950s, his work was mostly produced by George Devine and Tony Richardson’s English Stage Company at the Royal Court. Other plays include The Entertainer (1957) starring Laurence Olivier, Luther (1961), Inadmissable Evidence (1964), A Patriot for Me (1965), West of Suez (1971), A Sense of Detachment (1972), Watch It Come Down (1976), and Déjàvu (1991), a later sequel to Look Back in Anger. Several of his plays were filmed. Osborne also wrote the screenplays for Richardson’s Tom Jones and The Charge of the Light Brigade. Their collaborations ended with the latter because Osborne was sued for plagiarizing Cecil Woodham-Smith’s The Reason Why. The rights to her historical account belonged to Laurence Harvey, who agreed to sell them and abandon the suit if he could be in the film. So Richardson gave Harvey a small role previously promised to Osborne. Osborne and Richardson quarreled and never worked together again.
In D.1, Isherwood records that he met Osborne in Hollywood in 1960, when Osborne came to join Mary Ure (his second wife) and Richardson, both working there. In September 1961, as Isherwood tells in this diary, he and Bachardy were guests at La Baumette, the house which Osborne rented from Lord Glenconner during August and September in Valbonne in the South of France. About three weeks before the visit, Osborne’s “A Letter to My Fellow Countrymen,” sometimes called his “Damn You, England” letter, appeared in the Tribune sparking enormous controversy in the British press. Isherwood copied into his diary on August 20 a few phrases from Osborne’s letter quoted by J.W. Lambert in The Sunday Times that day (p. 3), and he paraphrased reactions the paper printed on the same page from the Angry Young like Shelagh Delaney (b. 1939), playwright of A Taste of Honey, John Braine (1922–1986), whose first novel was Room at the Top (1957), and Arnold Wesker, and from more established figures like Oxford Regius Professor of Modern History, Hugh Trevor-Roper (1914–2003), known for The Last Days of Hitler (1947), and critic, broadcaster, novelist, and playwright J.B. Priestley (1894–1984).