John Osborne (1929-1994)
Born in London, John Osborne would eventually change the face of British theatre.
He became involved in the theatre when he took a job tutoring a touring company
of young actors. Osborne went on to serve as actor-manager for a string of
repertory companies and soon decided to try his hand at playwriting. When George
Devine placed a notice in The Stage in 1956, Osborne decided to submit one of
his plays, Look Back in Anger. Not only was his play produced, but it is
considered by many critics to be the turning point in postwar British theatre.
Jimmy Porter, the protagonist, came to represent an entire generation of "angry
In his next play, "The Entertainers" (1957), Osborne continued to examine the
state of the country. After this, however, the quality of Osborne's output
became erratic. Although he produced a number of hits including "Luthor" (1961),
a play about the leader of the Reformation, and "Inadmissible Evidence" (1965),
the study of a frustrated solicitor at a law firm, he also produced a string of
Osborne died as a result of complications from Diabetes on December 24, 1994, in
Shropshire, England. He left behind a large body of works for the stage as well
as several autobiographical works. Several of his plays were also adapted for
film including "Look Back in Anger" and "The Entertainer". In 1963, Osborne won
an Academy Award for his screenplay for Tom Jones.