John Osborne was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor and critic of the Establishment. The success of his 1956 play Look Back in Anger transformed English theatre.
In a productive life of more than 40 years, Osborne explored many themes and genres, writing for stage, film and TV. His personal life was extravagant and iconoclastic. He was notorious for the ornate violence of his language, not only on behalf of the political causes he supported but also against his own family, including his wives and children.
Osborne was one of the first writers to address Britain’s purpose in the post-imperial age. He was the first to question the point of the monarchy on a prominent public stage. During his peak (1956–1966), he helped make contempt an acceptable and now even cliched onstage emotion, argued for the cleansing wisdom of bad behaviour and bad taste, and combined unsparing truthfulness with devastating wit.
My father lived a simple life
But he was a man apart
With gentle ways and humble mind
And an understanding heart
He loved and cared for people
Helping those in need.
He strove to make folk happy
For kindness was his creed.
He never aimed for dizzy heights
Of luxury or fame
But where he walked and where he talked
With love he carved his name.
He was like a rock to lean upon
Each problem he would share.
He found his strength in his belief
And in kneeling down in prayer.
He loved his home and lived his life
With fullness to the end
He taught me much I owe him much
A father and a friend.
Death was peace and joy to him
It was no fearful thing,
His faith was simple and sincere
And God alone his king.