John Coldstream

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Photograph: Kate Shemilt


Assistant: Molly Jamieson


John Coldstream was Literary Editor of the Daily Telegraph from 1991 to 1999 and is Dirk Bogarde's official biographer. He is married and lives in London.

Latest Publication:

EVER, DIRK: THE BOGARDE LETTERS (editor), Weidenfeld and Nicolson

The success of John Coldstream's bestselling biography of Dirk Bogarde demonstrates that the interest in one of Britain's leading actors, memoirists and novelists does not diminish, even though it is a decade since his death. Bogarde was a secretive man, who destroyed many of his own papers and diaries. Fortunately, the recipients of his letters treasured them, enabling John Coldstream to bring together this fascinating collection of hitherto unpublished material. Bogarde wrote to each correspondent according to the nature of the friendship, but invariably he was frank, gossipy, funny and often malicious. The joy of writing, particularly as he grew older and chose to live in France, was never far away. The letters display the qualities familiar to those who knew the private Bogarde: acute observation, laser-like intelligence, impatience with the foolish, compassion for the needy, a relish for the witty metaphor, and a catastrophic disdain for correct spelling and punctuation. Above all, to read his letters is to hear him talk, and no coversation with Dirk Bogarde was dull. Recipients included the film director Joseph Losey, Bogarde's first publisher Norah Smallwood, the film critic Dilys Powell, and the novelist Penelope Mortimer.


"Notable for their poetic charm, cantankerous, bitchy honesty and their author's total inability to spell or use conventional syntax." Time Out

"Enormous and inexhaustibly fascinating... The book's other hero is John Coldstream... so pleasurable." Daily Express

'What an egregious conundrum Dirk Bogarde was... This collection remarkably reveals a fascinating, original and in some ways haunted man in shockingly unmediated form', Simon Callow, Guardian

"At his best... his letters are engaging and informative... Bogarde has been beautifully served by Coldstream." Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph

"A funny, petulant and wildly entertaining selection." Sunday Times


Publication DetailsNotes


The collected journalism of Dirk Bogarde



Dirk Bogarde holds a unique place in the world of the arts. As a Rank contract actor he was the Idol of the Odeons` but in 196l broke free of celebrity's straightjacket to make VICTIM, a modest thriller with a big theme, which helped to change the law on homosexuality. He went on to become a giant of the intellectual cinema in films such as DEATH IN VENICE, ACCIDENT and PROVIDENCE, working with Losey,Visconti, Resnais, Fassbinder and Tavernier. Famously protective of his privacy and that of Anthony Forwood, who shared his life for forty years, Bogarde left England in 1069 to live first in Italy and then, for two decades, in France, where, with A POSTILLION STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, he began a second career as a bestselling autobiographer and novelist. In all he had fifteen books to his credit, one of which, A PARTICULAR FRIENDSHIP, revealed him as a copious and scintillating correspondent. He was also a published poet, a respected painter in ink and watercolours, and an incisive book reviewer.