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Lambert, Gavin (1924-2005)  
page: 1  2  

In the early 1980s Williams invited Lambert to his Key West home to discuss a play entitled Masks Outrageous. Lambert was intrigued by the premise: "A woman who has the greatest fortune in the world is mysteriously kidnapped and wakes up in bed with her husband and her husband's boyfriend in a beach house. They don't know where they are or why they've been kidnapped."

Lambert offered some suggestions about "gaps in the play" and, at Williams's request, took away the "quite disorganized" manuscript to work on. Williams's death prevented their further collaboration, but Lambert eventually wrote a revision. A New York production of the play is scheduled for early 2006.

Lambert also wrote the screenplay for the film version of his 1963 novel Inside Daisy Clover (1965, directed by Richard Mulligan). Natalie Wood played the title role in the story of a poor young woman who rises to stardom in the studio system of 1930s Hollywood but eventually comes to grief. A sham marriage to a closeted male star, the decline of her career, and a nervous breakdown bring misery to the actress who once was the toast of the town.

Inside Daisy Clover forms part of Lambert's "Hollywood Quartet," along with The Slide Area (1959, a collection of short stories), The Goodbye People (1971), and Running Time (1983). His Norman's Letter (1966) won the Thomas R. Coward Memorial Award for Fiction, and he also authored A Case for Angels (1968) and In the Night All Cats Are Grey (1976).

Writer Armistead Maupin praised Lambert's depictions of the film community, stating, "Decades before it was fashionable, Gavin Lambert expertly wove characters of every sexual stripe into his lustrous tapestries of southern California life. His elegant, stripped-down prose caught the last gasp of old Hollywood in a way that has yet to be rivaled."

Among Lambert's nonfiction writing are The Dangerous Edge (1975), about suspense writers, and a number of biographies. He profiled gay director George Cukor in On Cukor (1972) and lesbian actress Alla Nazimova in Nazimova: A Biography (1997). A review in Publishers Weekly concluded that "this gossipy but reliable life of Nazimova, emphasizing her defiance of social norms, may transform her from a forgotten theatrical heroine into a feminist icon."

Lambert's other biographies include Norma Shearer: A Life (1990), Natalie Wood: A Life in Seven Takes (2004), and The Ivan Moffat File: Life among the Beautiful and Damned in London, Paris, New York and Hollywood (2004).

He told his own story in Mostly About Lindsay Anderson (2000), the chronicle of his decades-long friendship with the British director.

Lambert became an American citizen in 1964, but between 1974 and 1989 he spent much of his time in Tangier with his Moroccan lover, Mohammed Cherrat.

Thereafter, Lambert lived in southern California, where he was, wrote David Robinson of The Independent, "an indispensable figure at Hollywood parties," renowned for both his knowledge of film history and his often biting gossip.

Mart Crowley, the author of The Boys in the Band (1968) and a friend of forty years, called Lambert "very droll" and "terribly fun to be with," adding, "He liked to go to every party and be out almost every night, but he was an intense worker every day. His work habits were extraordinary."

Lambert died of pulmonary fibrosis on July 17, 2005 in Los Angeles.

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  Film

Since cinema began, Hollywood has been fascinated with finding ways of representing homosexuality.

arts >> Overview:  Screenwriters

Although film may be a director's rather than a writer's medium, gay and lesbian screenwriters have made significant contributions to both mainstream and independent film.

arts >> Anderson, Lindsay

Influential in shaping British cinema in the 1960s, director Lindsay Anderson, who often presented homoerotic elements in his films violently and disturbingly, was tormented by his homosexuality.

literature >> Crowley, Mart

Playwright Mart Crowley deserves honor for having blazed the trail for gay-themed theater with his 1969 groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band.

arts >> Cukor, George

Responsible for many of the most popular and critically praised films of Hollywood's golden age, George Cukor became typed as a "woman's director," a phrase that may have also alluded to his homosexuality.

arts >> Dean, James

Although he spent only two years in Hollywood before his untimely death, James Dean became an enduring icon of American film, one whose brooding non-conformity helped challenge rigid notions of masculinity.

literature >> Maupin, Armistead

A sharp social critic, novelist Armistead Maupin places his gay characters within a large framework of humanity, creating a social history of San Francisco during the tumultuous decades of the 1970s and 1980s.

arts >> Quintero, José

Director José Quintero made a significant contribution to theater by reviving interest in the works of Eugene O'Neill.

arts >> Richardson, Tony

Bisexual British film and stage director Tony Richardson was instrumental in challenging British censorship codes, especially regarding the representation of homosexuals.

literature >> Williams, Tennessee

Conflicted over his own sexuality, Tennessee Williams wrote directly about homosexuality only in his short stories, his poetry, and his late plays.


Bergan, Ronald. "Gavin Lambert: Critic and Screenwriter on the Inside Track of Hollywood Gossip." The Guardian (Manchester, U.K.) (July 22, 2005): 29.

Cuthbert, David. "Gavin Lambert's Dish Is a Whole Set of China." Times-Picayune (New Orleans) (March 25, 2005): Lagniappe, 22.

Lambert, Gavin. Mostly About Lindsay Anderson. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.

McLellan, Dennis. "Gavin Lambert, 80; British-born Screenwriter, Chronicler of Hollywood." Los Angeles Times (July 19, 2005): B10.

"Nazimova: A Biography. (Review.)" Publishers Weekly 244.8 (February 24, 1997): 72.

Robinson, David. "Obituary: Gavin Lambert; Incorrigibly Witty Hollywood Writer." The Independent (London) (July 20, 2005): 34.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Lambert, Gavin  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated October 11, 2007  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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