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The Sixties: Diaries:1960-1969, Page 93

Christopher Isherwood

  Vidyatmananda remained in Gretz for the rest of his life. When he arrived the center was in decline; the first generation of devotees had died or left follow ing the death of the founding Swami, Siddheswarananda, and only a few new devotees had appeared. Vidyatmananda, as manager, saw to reorganizing, rebuilding, and modernizing the property; he learned how to speak French and how to farm. The center was run as an ashram, and eventually thrived on the physical labor of young spiritual trainees who generally returned to secular life after a period of retreat there.

  presidential election 1960. As Isherwood records in his diary entry for November 15, the result was not confirmed for some weeks. Kennedy won by just over 100,000 popular votes out of more than 68 million cast. His margin in California was about 40,000 until California’s more than 150,000 absentee ballots were counted on November 17, and it turned out that Nixon, not Kennedy, had won California with its thirty-two electoral votes. Six of Alabama’s eleven electors were “unpledged” and could vote as they liked when the Electoral College convened. Hawaii’s three votes, which eventually went to Kennedy, were still under dispute in January, and the Republicans challenged the vote in Illinois (twenty-seven electoral votes), Texas (twenty-four electoral votes), and nine other states. But they did not press for a recount. When the Electoral College met in December, Kennedy won 303 of the 522 votes.

  presidential election 1968. The Twelfth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides for equal votes in the Electoral College to be decided by the House of Representatives. The Democrats voted down the minority peace plank at their 1968 convention and nominated Johnson’s vice-president, Hubert Humphrey, whose position on the war was much like Johnson’s. This left antiwar voters with no candidate, so, as Gore Vidal evidently told Isherwood, McCarthy considered running as a fourth-party candidate with a view to extracting a peace promise from Humphrey in the event of a tie. The third party was George Wallace’s American Independent Party.

  Preston, Jonathan. A young Englishman introduced to Isherwood by Phil Burns when Preston came to live in Los Angeles towards the end of 1958 with a Canadian companion, John Durst. Isherwood found him attractive and they became friends. Later, Preston returned to England, where he became a publicist, and Isherwood occasionally met him there. He appears in D.1.

  Prince, Hal (b. 1928). American theatrical producer and director; born in New York, educated at the University of Pennsylvania; winner of more than twenty Tony Awards for his many Broadway hits. He expressed an interest in 1959 in an Auden-Isherwood-Kallman musical based on Goodbye to Berlin, but the project didn’t progress. In 1966, he produced and directed the spectacularly successful version which he commissioned from Joe Masteroff (book), Fred Ebb (lyrics), and John Kander (music).

  Prosser, Lee (b. 1944). American author, painter, musician, Vedanta devotee, student of ancient religions, shamanism, witchcraft, and Wicca. He composed “The Ramakrishna Waltz” and wrote a memoir, Isherwood, Bowles, Vedanta, Wicca, and Me (2001). He married three times: first to Mary, from whom he was divorced in 1970, then to Grace, with whom he had two daughters, and, much later, to Debra.

  puja. Hindu ceremony of worship, a watch or vigil; usually offerings—flowers, incense, food—are made to the object of devotion, and other ritual, symbolic acts are also carried out depending upon the occasion.

  Rabb, Ellis (1930–1998). American actor, director, and producer, from Memphis, Tennessee. He appeared in and directed Shakespeare, Chekhov, Shaw, Pirandello and contemporary drama, including Tennessee Williams. In 1959, he founded a group called the Association of Producing Artists (APA) of which he was Artistic Director. The APA worked in affiliation with The Phoenix Repertory Company, and many of their productions had Broadway runs in the 1960s, usually as a group of plays in repertory, including You Can’t Take It With You, Right You Are If You Think You Are, The Wild Duck, War and Peace, The Show Off, The Cherry Orchard, Pantagleize, The Cocktail Party, The Misanthrope, and Private Lives. Rabb starred in some of the productions. His wife from 1960 to 1967, actress Rosemary Harris, was also in the company. The APA-Phoenix lasted until 1969. In their penultimate Broadway run, Rabb himself played Hamlet (March 3, 1969–April 26, 1969), evidently replacing the actor Isherwood saw in the role in San Diego in May 1968. Afterwards, Rabb continued to act and direct, and he won a Tony Award for his 1975 production of The Royal Family.

  rajas. See guna.

  Ramakrishna (1836–1886). The Hindu holy man whose life and teachings were central to the modern renaissance of Vedanta. He was widely regarded as an incarnation of God. Ramakrishna, originally named Gadadhar Chattopadhyaya, was born in a Bengali village sixty miles from Calcutta. He was a devout Hindu from boyhood, practised spiritual disciplines such as meditation, and served as a priest. He was a mystic and teacher, and in 1861 he was declared an avatar: a divine incarnation sent to reestablish the truths of religion and to show by his example how to ascend towards Brahman. Ramakrishna was also initiated into Islam, and he had a vision of Christ. His behavior was sometimes highly unconventional, in keeping with his beliefs and with the extreme spiritual practises which he undertook. For instance, in youth, he put his tongue to the flesh of a rotting corpse as part of his Tantric discipline, and in order to emulate the gopis, he undertook madhura bhava, identifying himself as a female devotee of Krishna, assuming a feminine attitude, and actually dressing in women’s clothes. He several times danced with drunkards because their reeling reminded him of his own when he was in religious ecstasy. His followers gathered around him at Dakshineswar and later at Cossipore. His closest disciples, trained by him, later formed the nucleus of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, now the largest monastic order in India. Ramakrishna was worshipped as God in his lifetime; he was conscious of his mission, and he was able to transmit divine knowledge by a touch, look, or wish. Isherwood’s biography, Ramakrishna and His Disciples (1964), was written with the help and encouragement of Swamis Prabhavananda and Madhavananda.

  Ram Nam. A sung service of ancient Hindu prayers which invoke the divinities Rama, his wife Sita, and the leader of Rama’s army, the monkey god, Hanuman. In Ramakrishna practise, Ram Nam is sung on Ekadashi, the eleventh day after the new or full moon, generally observed with worship, meditation and fasting.

  Ranganathananda, Swami (1908–2005). Hindu monk, born in Kerala. President of the Ramakrishna Order from 1998 until his death and Vice-President from 1989; before then he had prominent roles at other centers, including Secretary of the Delhi center, which he made a gathering place for Indian intellectuals, from 1949 to 1962; President of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture in Calcutta from 1962 to 1967; and President of the Hyderabad Center for a long period beginning in 1967. He was a self-taught Sanskrit scholar and an orator, and he lectured extensively in over fifty countries. Many of his lectures were recorded for sale and he also published a number of books. He suffered extreme privation in Burma during World War II; afterwards, in order to be able to travel, he kept a very strict personal diet, which Isherwood mentions, of bananas and milk made up with Horlick’s, a powder of dried milk and malted cereals.

  Rattigan, Terence (1911–1977). British playwright and screenwriter; educated at Oxford. He wrote mostly comedy at the start of his career, including French Without Tears (1936). After World War II, during which he served as an air-gunner, he turned to social and psychological drama, achieving repeated acclaim with The Winslow Boy (1946), The Browning Version (1948), The Deep Blue Sea (1952), Separate Tables (1954), Man and Boy (1963), A Bequest to the Nation (1970), In Praise of Love (1973), Cause Célèbre (1977), and others. He adapted a number of these plays for the screen, and he wrote numerous further films, among them The Day Will Dawn (1942), Brighton Rock (1947; based on Graham Greene’s novel and called Young Scarface in the U.S.), and the musical remake of Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969). Isherwood and Bachardy were introduced to Rattigan in London in 1956, and he appears in D.1.

  Ray, Andrew (1939–2003). British child actor. His first movie was The Mud
lark (1950), and he played Geoffrey in Tony Richardson’s Broadway production of A Taste of Honey. He appeared in a made-for-T.V. “Great Expectations” (1975) and as George VI in the mini-series “Edward and Mrs. Simpson” (1978). His father, Ted Ray, was a violinist and a music hall and radio comedian who also appeared in a number of movies.

  Rechy, John (b. 1934). American writer; born in El Paso, educated at the University of Texas and then at the New School for Social Research in New York. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany and for many years taught creative writing at the University of Southern California. His novels about the homosexual communities of New York and Los Angeles generally explore marginal themes of violence, drugs, and crime. City of Night (1963), which includes his story “The Fabulous Wedding of Miss Destiny,” tells about his experiences as a hustler. Later novels are Numbers (1967), with thinly disguised portraits of Isherwood, Bachardy, and Gavin Lambert, The Day’s Death (1970), The Vampires (1971), The Fourth Angel (1973), Rushes (1979), Bodies and Souls (1983), Marilyn’s Daughter (1988), and The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gómez (1991). Rechy also wrote The Sexual Outlaw (1977), a documentary study of urban homosexual sexual practices. In his memoir, About My Life and the Kept Woman (2008), he tells about his trial, mentioned by Isherwood August 4, 1967. He was arrested in Griffith Park for oral copulation (a felony) with a partner who had a previous conviction for the same offense, but he was found guilty only of a misdemeanor and fined $1,000.

  Redgrave, Vanessa (b. 1937). English star of stage and screen; she trained at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, made her stage debut in 1957, and established her reputation with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 1960s. Her films include Morgan (1966, Academy Award nomination), Blow-Up (1966), A Man for All Seasons (1966), The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967), Camelot (1967), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), Isadora (1968, Academy Award nomination), Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971, Academy Award nomination), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Julia (1977, Academy Award), The Bostonians (1984, Academy Award nomination), Prick Up Your Ears (1987), The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991), Howards End (1992), Mission Impossible (1996), Mrs. Dalloway (1998), Girl, Interrupted (1999), The Cradle Will Rock (1999), Running with Scissors (2006), Atonement (2007). Her stage roles are too numerous to name, and she has often appeared on T.V. Much of her work during the 1960s was for Tony Richardson, whom she married in 1962 and with whom she had two daughters, actresses Natasha Richardson (1963–2009) and Joely Richardson (b. 1965), before divorcing in 1967. In 1969, she had a son with actor Franco Nero, whom she married in 2007. She is well-known for her leftist political activism and has un success fully run for parliament as a member of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party.

  Regester, James Robert (Bob) (19[32]–1987). American theatrical producer and advertising executive, from Bloomington, Indiana. He met Tony Richardson in Los Angeles in the 1960s and worked for him in Europe as a member of the production team for Mademoiselle (1966) and The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967). He became a longtime companion of Neil Hartley, and they shared a house in Maida Avenue. With financial backing from a friend, Louis Miano, he co-produced Design for Living with Vanessa Redgrave, Jeremy Brett, and John Stride at the Phoenix Theatre in 1973; The Seagull, in 1985, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Natasha Richardson; Gerald Moon’s Corpse, with Keith Baxter and Milo O’Shea in 1984; and Legends, starring Mary Martin and Carol Channing, which toured in the U.S. in the mid-1980s. He died of AIDS.

  Reinhardt, Gottfried (1911–1994). Austrian-born producer. He emigrated to the U.S. with his father, Max Reinhardt, and became assistant to Walter Wanger. Afterwards he worked as a producer for MGM from 1940 to 1954 and later directed his own films in the United States and Europe; his name is attached to many well-known films, including Garbo’s Two-Faced Woman which he produced in 1941 and The Red Badge of Courage which he produced in 1951. He was Salka Viertel’s lover for nearly a decade before his marriage to his wife, Silvia, in 1944. Through Salka and Berthold Viertel, Reinhardt gave Isherwood his second Hollywood film job in 1940, and he remained Isherwood’s favorite Hollywood boss. During the war, he enlisted and wrote scenarios for films on building latrines, preventing venereal disease, cleaning rifles, etc. Reinhardt and his wife eventually returned to Germany and settled near Salzburg. He appears in D.1 and Lost Years.

  Reinhardt, Wolfgang (1908–1979). Film producer and writer; son of Max Reinhardt, brother of Gottfried Reinhardt. He produced My Love Come Back (1940), The Male Animal (1942), Three Strangers (1946), Caught (1948), and Freud (1962), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award as co-writer. Isherwood probably met Wolfgang Reinhardt through Gottfried soon after arriving in Hollywood, and as he records in D.1 and in Lost Years, he and Wolfgang tried to work together several times during the 1940s when Wolfgang was a producer at Warner Brothers. With Aldous Huxley in 1944, they discussed making The Miracle, a film version of the play produced by Max Reinhardt in the 1920s, and in 1945 Wolfgang hired Isherwood to work on Maugham’s 1941 novel Up at the Villa, but neither film was ever made. Much later, in June 1960, Wolfgang approached Isherwood to write a screenplay based on Felix Dahn’s four-volume 1876 novel, Ein Kampf um Rom (A Struggle for Rome), about the decline and fall of the Ostrogoth empire in Italy in the sixth century, but Isherwood turned the project down. Wolfgang’s wife was called Lally.

  Rembrandt. The drawing Isherwood mentions in his entry for August 11, 1962, of the angel leaving Manoah is probably “Manoah’s Offering” (circa 1639, Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett; cataloged as Number 180 and shown as Figure 210 in Otto Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt (1954), vol. 1, p. 49). It was exhibited in Berlin in 1930, and Don Bachardy possesses a small book of forty-eight Rembrandt drawings, Rembrandt Handzeichnungen (Leipzig), which includes it under the title “Der Angel verläßt Manoah und sein Weib” (“The Angel Departs from Manoah and His Wife”); the book is inscribed “Christopher from William / Christmas 1936” in, evidently, the hand of William Plomer.

  Renaldo, Tito. Mexican actor; he played the first son in Anna and the King of Siam (1946). Isherwood met him in 1947, apparently through Bill Caskey, who first came across him when Renaldo was a companion of Cole Porter. Renaldo took up Vedanta as a disciple of Swami Prabhavananda and for a time lived at Trabuco as a monk; he left and returned to Vedanta many times. He was an exceptional cook and in the late 1950s and 1960s worked in Carlos McClendon’s shop in West Hollywood. He suffered from severe asthma. In the 1970s, in frail health, he returned for good to his family in northern Mexico. He appears in D.1 and Lost Years.

  Renate. See Druks, Renate.

  Reventlow, Lance (1936–1972). American Grand Prix driver, son of Barbara Hutton, the Woolworth heiress, and her second of six husbands, Count Curt Haugwitz-Reventlow, a Danish aristocrat. Reventlow was born in London, and his mother built Winfield House in Regent’s Park, now the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, to protect him from kidnapping threats when he was a baby. He was brought back to the U.S. during World War II when his parents divorced, though his mother continued to travel constantly. He began racing in California at nineteen and shared his hobby with the actor James Dean, whom he saw on the day of Dean’s death. His first Grand Prix start was in the Belgian Grand Prix in 1960. After racing Maseratis and Coopers, he began building his own cars, and produced the Scarab sports car during the 1950s. His Formula 1 model was less successful, and after producing a third car during the 1960s he eventually lost interest in racing. He was briefly married to the actress Jill St. John. Reventlow died in a small-plane crash in Colorado. He appears in D.1.

  Richard. See Isherwood, Richard Graham Bradshaw.

  Richardson, Tony (1928–1991). British stage and film director; educated at Oxford where he was president of the Oxford University Dramatic Society. During the 1950s, he was a T.V. producer for the BBC, wrote about film for Sight and Sound, and was a founder of the Free Cinema movement, collaborating with Karel Reisz on a short, Momma Don’t Allow
(1955). He co-founded The English Stage Company with British actor and director George Devine (1910–1966) and under its auspices directed John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court in 1956. Then he and Osborne formed a film company, Woodfall, and Richardson went on to make movies, many adapted from his stage productions. In 1960, when Isherwood first mentions him in D.1 (he also appears in Lost Years), Richardson was involved with Wyatt Cooper, a young actor, and he was directing for screen and stage virtually simultaneously. He was filming Sanctuary (1961)—amalgamated from Faulkner’s Sanctuary (1931) and its sequel, Requiem for a Nun (1951), which he had already staged separately at the Royal Court in London in 1957—and he was also directing Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey in New York with a mostly English cast brought over from London. As Isherwood tells in this diary, he worked for Richardson on film scripts of Evelyn Waugh’s 1948 novel The Loved One (1965), Carson McCuller’s Reflections in a Golden Eye (later directed by John Huston with a different script), The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967) based on Marguerite Duras’ novel, and, with Don Bachardy, adaptations of Robert Graves’s I, Claudius and Claudius, the God, though much of the work was never used. Richardson’s other films include The Entertainer (1960), A Taste of Honey (1961), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), Tom Jones (1963, Academy Award), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), Hamlet (1969), Ned Kelly (1970), Joseph Andrews (1977), The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), and Blue Sky (released posthumously, 1994). He was married to Vanessa Redgrave from 1962 to 1967 and had two daughters with her, and he had a long affair with Grizelda Grimond, producing a third daughter in 1973.

  Rickards, Jocelyn (1924–2005). Australian-born artist and costume designer, she attended art school in Sydney, lived at the artists’ boarding house Merioola with Alec Murray, and became friends there with Loudon Sainthill and Harry Tatlock Miller. At the end of the 1940s, she moved to London, where she became a lover of the philosopher A.J. Ayer who introduced her to his London literary friends during the early 1950s. She painted decorative murals, designed theater costumes as Sainthill’s assistant, then assisted Roger Furse on the film The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). She worked on several of Tony Richardson’s films—Look Back in Anger (1959), The Entertainer (1960), The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967, Academy Award nomination)—and also on From Russia With Love (1963), Blow-Up (1966), Ryan’s Daughter (1970), and Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971). From early 1960 until the autumn of 1961, she lived with John Osborne who was then still married to Mary Ure and who, when Isherwood met them, was leaving Rickards for his second wife, Penelope Gilliatt. Graham Greene was another lover. In 1963, she married the painter Leonard Rosoman; later, she moved in with the film director Clive Donner and married him in 1971.