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Blakemore, Michael (Howell) 1928-

BLAKEMORE, Michael (Howell) 1928-

PERSONAL: Born June 18, 1928, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; son of Conrad Howell (an eye surgeon) and Una Mary (Litchfield) Blakemore; married Shirley Mary Bush, 1960 (divorced, 1986); married Tanya McCallin (a set designer), 1986; children: (first marriage) Conrad; (second marriage) Beatrice, Clementine.

ADDRESSES: Home—18 Upper Park Rd., London NW3 2UP, England. Office—11-A St. Martin's Almshouses, Bayham St., London NW 1, England. Agent— Lantz Office, 888 Seventh Ave., Suite 2500, New York, NY 10106.

CAREER: Director, actor, and writer. Director of stage productions, including The Investigation, Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow, Scotland, 1966; Little Malcolm, Citizens' Theatre, 1966; Stephen D., Citizens' Theatre, 1966; Nightmare Abbey, Citizens' Theatre, 1966; The Visions of Simone Machard, Citizens' Theatre, 1967; A Choice of Wars, Citizens' Theatre, 1967; Rosmersholm, Citizens' Theatre, 1967; A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Citizens' Theatre, 1967 then Comedy Theatre, London, England, 1967, produced as Joe Egg, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York, NY, 1968; The Strange Case of Martin Richter, Hampstead Theatre Club, London, England, 1968; The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland, then Saville Theatre, London, both 1969; The National Health, Old Vic Theatre, London, 1969; Widowers' Houses, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1970; Long Day's Journey into Night, National Theatre, London, 1971; (with John Dexter) Tyger, National Theatre, 1971; Forget-Me-Not Lane, London, c. 1971; The Front Page, National Theatre, 1972; Macbeth, National Theatre, 1972; The Cherry Orchard, National Theatre, 1973; Design for Living, Phoenix Theatre, London, 1973; Knuckle, Comedy Theatre, 1974; Grand Manoeuvres, National Theatre, 1974; Don's Party, Royal Court Theatre, 1975; Engaged, National Theatre, 1975; Plunder, National Theatre, 1976; The Madras House, National Theatre, 1976; Privates on Parade, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, London, 1977; The White Devil, Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN, 1977; Separate Tables, London, 1977; Candida, London, 1977; Hayfever, Denmark, 1977; Deathtrap, Garrick Theatre, London, then Players Theatre, New York, 1978; The Wild Duck, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London, 1980; Make and Break, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, 1980; Travelling North, 1980; All My Sons, London, 1981; Noises Off, Savoy Theatre, London, 1982, then Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 1983-85; Benefactors, Vaudeville Theatre, London, 1984, then Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 1985-86; Made in Bangkok, London, 1986; Lettice and Lovage, Globe Theatre, London, 1987, then Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York, 1990; The Day Room, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, 1987; City of Angels, Virginia Theatre, New York, 1989-92, then Prince of Wales Theatre, London, 1993; ; The Ride down Mount Morgan, 1991; Money and Friends, Center Theatre Group, Doolittle Theatre, Hollywood, CA, 1993; Uncle Vanya, London, 1995; Death Defying Acts, Variety Arts Theatre, New York, 1995; Tosca (opera), Houston Grand Opera, Houston, TX, 1997; The Life, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 1997-98; Alarms and Excursions, London, 1998; Copenhagen, Royal National Theatre, London, 1998 then Royale Theatre, New York, 2000-01; Kiss Me, Kate, Martin Beck Theatre, New York, 1999-2001; and The Sisters Rosensweig, Old Vic Theatre, London. Also directed touring productions Noises Off, U.S. cities, 1985; Tosca (opera), Welsh National Opera, 1993; and Mr. Peters' Connections, British cities, 2000.

Actor in stage productions, including (as doctor) The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Theatre Royale, Huddersfield, England, 1951; (as Jack Poyntz) School, Prince's Theatre, London, 1958; (as senator) Coriolanus, Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon, England, 1959; (as Sir Toby Belch) Twelfth Night, Open Air Theatre, London, 1962; (as Holofernes) Love's Labour's Lost, Open Air Theatre, 1962; (as Dogberry) Much Ado about Nothing, Open Air Theatre, 1963; (as Theseus) A Midsummer Night's Dream, Open Air Theatre, 1963; (as Badger) Toad of Toad Hall, Comedy Theatre, 1963; (as George) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Citizens' Theatre, 1966-67; (as Maitland) Inadmissible Evidence, Citizens' Theatre, 1966-67; and Copenhagen, Duchess Theatre, London, 1999-2001. Also appeared in touring productions (as captain) Titus Andronicus, Eastern European cities, 1959; and (as Palmer Anderson) A Severed Head, Australian cities, 1965.

Director of films, including A Personal History of the Australian Surf (documentary), Adams-Parker Films, 1981; Privates on Parade, Orion Classics, 1982; and Country Life, Miramax, 1994. Actor in films, including (as officer) CatchUsIfYouCan (also known as Having a Wild Weekend), Warner Bros., 1965; (as narrator and father) A Personal History of the Australian Surf, 1981; and (as Alexander Voysey) Country Life, Miramax, 1994.

Director of television specials, including Long Day's Journey into Night, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 1973; "The Old Reliable," Great Performances, Public Broadcasting System (PBS), 1988; and Kiss Me Kate, 2003. Actor in television programs, including (as public relations officer) Countdown at Woomera (movie), 1961; (as Prime Minister John Curtin) The Last Bastion (miniseries), 1984; and (as himself) Larry and Vivien: The Oliviers in Love, 2003.

WRITINGS:

SCREENPLAYS

(With Peter Wood; and director) Long Day's Journey into Night (television special), adaptation of the play by Eugene O'Neill, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 1973.

(And director) A Personal History of the Australian Surf (documentary), Adams-Parker Films, 1981.

(And director) Country Life, Miramax, 1994.

OTHER

Next Season (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1968, reprinted, Applause Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Contributor to periodicals, including New Yorker.

SIDELIGHTS: Australian-born director Michael Blakemore is best known for his work directing stage productions in Great Britain, but he has also worked in film and television and written a semi-autobiographical novel, Next Season, loosely based on his early years as a member of the National Theatre company in London. He has also written the screenplay for the film Country Life, based on the play Uncle Vanya by nineteenth-century Russian author Anton Chekhov.

Blakemore directed a stage version of Uncle Vanya for the National Theatre shortly before shooting his film version, and he used largely the same cast in both productions. The plot of both the play and the film involves a hard-working, honest farmer, Uncle Vanya—Uncle Jack in English—who toils on his farm while also caring for his niece and supporting the girl's father, Vanya's late sister's widower, who is living in the big city and writing. The family firmly believes that the widower—who is played by Blakemore in the film—is a great writer, but when he finally returns home to live they must face the fact that this is not true, and that the relative has been frittering away the farmer's hard-earned money in idleness. In the film, Blakemore moved the setting from Russia to a sheep farm in rural Australia, but he kept the time period roughly the same. There have been several other adaptations of Uncle Vanya, Roger Ebert noted in his review of the film for the Chicago Sun-Times, but Ebert declared Country Life the "funniest" he had ever seen: it "bring[s] out the play's buried potential for farce as well as tragedy."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Banham, Martin, editor, Cambridge Guide to World Theatre, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1988.

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 38, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2002.

Esslin, Martin, editor, Encyclopedia of World Theater, Charles Scribner's Sons (New York, NY), 1977.

PERIODICALS

Advocate, December 21, 1999, Don Shewey, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 54.

America, February 18, 1984, Catharine Hughes, review of Noises Off, p. 114; March 29, 1986, Paul J. McCarren, review of Benefactors, p. 248; January 27, 1990, Thomas P. O'Malley, review of City of Angels, p. 66; April 21, 1990, Thomas P. O'Malley, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 410.

American Prospect, July 31, 2000, Peter Schrag, review of Copenhagen, p. 40.

American Theatre, January, 1992, Matt Wolf, review of The Ride down Mt. Morgan, p. 52.

Back Stage, March 30, 1990, David Sheward, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 48A; March 17, 1995, David Sheward, review of Death Defying Acts, p. 48; September 8, 1995, Ellis Nassour, review of Next Season, p. 44; May 2, 1997, Irene Backalenick, review of The Life, p. 60; April 14, 2000, Simi Horwitz, "Creating Copenhagen," p. 5; April 21, 2000, David A. Rosenberg, review of Copenhagen, p. 64; December 21, 2001, Lisa Martland, review of Kiss Me, Kate, pp. 38-39.

Back Stage West, September 13, 2001, Polly Warfield, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 10; January 17, 2002, Kristina Mannion, review of Copenhagen, p. 16.

California Magazine, April, 1984, Kenneth Turan, review of Privates on Parade, pp. 116-188.

Chatelaine, July, 1984, Gina Mallet, review of Privates on Parade, p. 6.

Chemistry and Industry, December 20, 1999, Bryan Reuben, review of Copenhagen, p. 984.

Chicago Sun-Times, August 4, 1995, Roger Ebert, review of Country Life.

Christian Science Monitor, January 9, 1990, John Beaufort, review of City of Angels, p. 14; April 2, 1990, John Beaufort, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 10.

Connoisseur, May, 1990, Lloyd Rose, review of City of Angels, p. 40.

Current Biography, May, 2001, Christopher Luna, "Michael Blakemore," pp. 12-16.

Daily Variety, January 18, 2002, Matt Wolf, "Brits' Oliviers Reward Revivals," p. 52.

Dance, March, 1984, Kevin Grubb, review of Noises Off, pp. 84-85.

Financial Times, November 19, 1999, Brendan Lemon, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 15.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), August 18, 1995, Rick Groen, review of Country Life.

Hollywood Reporter, August 27, 2001, Ed Kaufman, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 2; November 27, 2001, Jay Reiner, review of Copenhagen, p. 20; February 25, 2003, Laurence Vittes, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 79.

Hudson Review, winter, 1999, Richard Hornby, review of Copenhagen, pp. 751-758.

Independent (London, England), October 31, 2001, "Michael Blakemore: The Showman Cometh."

Independent Sunday (London, England), August 25, 1996, Michael Blakemore, The Name below the Title, p. 12.

Lancet, March 17, 2001, review of Copenhagen, p. 894.

Los Angeles Magazine, April, 1985, Dick Lochte, review of Noises Off, p. 90; February, 1987, Dick Lochte, review of Sweet Bird of Youth, pp. 218-218; July, 1991, David Lochte, review of City of Angels, pp. 120-122; March, 1993, Dick Lochte, review of Money and Friends, p. 96.

Los Angeles Times, January 31, 1984, Sylvie Drake, review of Noises Off, p. 5; June 20, 1984, Kevin Thomas, review of Privates on Parade, p. 4; April 19, 1996, John Anderson, review of Country Life, p. 6.

Maclean's, August 28, 1995, Brian D. Johnson, review of Country Life, p. 53.

New Leader, May 8, 1995, Stefan Kanfer, review of Death Defying Acts, p. 23.

New Republic, April 24, 1995, Robert Brustein, review of Death Defying Acts, pp. 32-34; September 11, 1995, Stanley Kauffmann, review of Country Life, p. 26.

New Statesman, June 20, 1980, Benedict Nightingale, review of Travelling North, pp. 942-943; October 17, 1980, Benedict Nightingale, review of The Wild Duck, pp. 33-34; January 29, 1982, John Coleman, review of Manganinnie, p. 24; March 5, 1982, Benedict Nightingale, review of Noises Off, p. 30; January 28, 1983, John Coleman, review of Privates on Parade, p. 31; June 3, 1988, Victoria Radin, review of Uncle Vanya, p. 31; July 21, 1995, Jonathan Romney, review of Country Life, p. 35.

Newsweek, December 26, 1983, Jack Kroll, review of Noises Off, p. 68; May 5, 1997, Jack Kroll and Maggie Malone, review of The Life, pp. 70-73; November 29, 1999, Marc Peyser, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 101.

New York, January 2, 1984, John Simon, review of Noises Off, pp. 103-104; April 23, 1984, David Denby, review of Privates on Parade, p. 100; September 3, 1984, John Simon, review of Benefactors, pp. 62-63; January 6, 1986, John Simon, review of Benefactors, p. 50; January 4, 1988, John Simon, review of The Day Room, p. 45; January 8, 1990, John Simon, review of City of Angels, pp. 56-57; April 9, 1990, John Simon, review of Lettice and Lovage, pp. 102-103; March 20, 1995, John Simon, review of Death Defying Acts, pp. 64-65; May 12, 1997, John Simon, review of The Life, pp. 61-62; December 6, 1999, John Simon, review of Kiss Me, Kate, pp. 91-92.

New Yorker, December 19, 1983, Brendan Gill, review of Noises Off, p. 123; January 6, 1986, Brendan Gill, review of Benefactors, p. 64; January 11, 1988, Mimi Kramer, review of The Day Room, pp. 74-75; December 25, 1989, Edith Oliver, review of City of Angels, p. 77; April 9, 1990, Edith Oliver, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 80; May 12, 1997, Nancy Franklin, review of The Life, p. 103; November 29, 1999, John Lahr, review of Kiss Me, Kate, pp. 130-133.

New York Review of Books, May 25, 2000, Thomas Powers, review of Copenhagen, pp. 4-6.

New York Times, June 16, 1982, Frank Rich, review of Noises Off, p. 24; December 16, 1983, Nan Robertson, review of Noises Off, p. 16; December 18, 1983, Benedict Nightingale, review of Noises Off, p. H1; July 23, 1984, Frank Rich, review of Benefactors, p. 14; January 28, 1985, Frank Rich, review of Noises Off, p. 16; December 23, 1985, Frank Rich, review of Benefactors, p. 14; December 30, 1985, Leslie Bennetts, interview with Blakemore, pp. 16, C13; January 5, 1986, Mel Gussow, review of Benefactors, p. H3; February 2, 1986, Myra Forsberg, review of Benefactors, p. H5; December 21, 1987, Frank Rich, review of The Day Room, p. 16; August 25, 1988, Richard F. Shepard, review of A Personal History of the Australian Surf, p. 18; December 12, 1989, Frank Rich, review of City of Angels, p. B1; March 26, 1990, Frank Rich, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. B1; May 6, 1990, Matt Wolf, "For Michael Blakemore, a Twofold Task," p. H5; August 30, 1990, Frank Rich, review of After the Fall, pp. B1, C15; March 7, 1995, Vincent Canby, reviews of Hotline, Interview, Death Defying Acts, and Central Park West, p. B1; March 12, 1995, Benedict Nightingale, "Curtain Going up on Another British Invasion," p. H5; July 28, 1995, Caryn James, review of Country Life, p. B12; August 16, 1995, Mel Gussow, "A Director Re-emerges as Actor and Novelist," p. C11; August 18, 1995, Mel Gussow, "Director Returns as Author and Actor," p. B1; March 15, 1996, review of Country Life, pp. B16, D17; April 28, 1997, Ben Brantley, review of The Life, p. B1; October 5, 1997, Vincent Canby, review of The Life, p. AR5; November 14, 1999, Ethan Morden, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. AR5; November 19, 1999, Ben Brantley, review of Kiss Me, Kate, pp. B1, E1; December 5, 1999, Vincent Canby, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. AR8; April 9, 2000, interview with Blakemore, p. AR7; April 12, 2000, Ben Brantley, review of Copenhagen, p. B1; May 21, 2000, Robin Pogrebin, "A Director Who 'Makes It Seem Easy,'" p. AR10; September 28, 2001, Ben Brantley, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. E3.

Opera, August, 2001, Rian Evans, review of Tosca, pp. 1001-1002.

Opera News, March 13, 1993, Maurice Dunmore, review of Tosca, pp. 41-42; January 11, 1997, William Albright, review of Tosca, p. 46.

Reason, June, 1990, Michael Konik, review of City of Angels, pp. 47-48.

Sight and Sound, July, 1995, Robert Yates, review of Country Life, p. 43.

Spectator, April 10, 1993, Sheridan Morley, review of City of Angels, pp. 42-43; May 25, 1996, Sheridan Morley, review of Sylvia, p. 40; June 6, 1998, Sheridan Morley, review of Copenhagen, pp. 42-43.

Time, July 12, 1982, review of Noises Off, p. 66; January 30, 1984, Denise Worrell, review of Noises Off, p. 79; August 6, 1984, review of Privates on Parade, p. 64; August 13, 1984, Richard Corliss, review of Benefactors, p. 95; January 6, 1986, William A. Henry, review of Benefactors, p. 86; March 13, 1995, Brad Leithauser, review of Uncle Vanya, pp. 106-107; April 24, 2000, Richard Zoglin, review of Copenhagen, p. 79.

Times (London, England), February 18, 2002, Daniel Rosenthal, "A Novel Sense of Direction," p. 18.

Times Literary Supplement, February 12, 1988, Patricia Craig, review of Next Season, p. 172; June 10, 1988, T. J. Binyon, review of Uncle Vanya, p. 648; June 29, 1990, Stephen Fender, review of After the Fall, p. 697.

Variety, November 17, 1982, review of Privates on Parade, p. 14; April 25, 1984, review of Benefactors, p. 94; January 30, 1985, review of Noises Off, p. 90; December 25, 1985, review of Benefactors, pp. 62-63; March 26, 1986, review of Made in Bangkok, p. 104; November 23, 1988, review of Tales from the Hollywood Hills: The Old Reliable, p. 90A; March 28, 1990, review of Lettice and Lovage, pp. 103-104; May 11, 1992, Markland Taylor, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 126; April 12, 1993, Matt Wolf, review of City of Angels, p. 82; August 20, 1993, Matt Wolf, review of Here, p. 29; February 20, 1995, Markland Taylor, review of Death Defying Acts, pp. 184-185; March 13, 1995, Jeremy Gerard, review of Death Defying Acts, pp. 61-62; November 22, 1999, Charles Isherwood, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 92; April 17, 2000, Charles Isherwood, review of Copenhagen, p. 5; August 7, 2000, Matt Wolf, review of Mr. Peters' Connections, p. 23; July 9, 2001, Markland Taylor, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 30; September 10, 2001, Charles Isherwood, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 73; November 12, 2001, Matt Wolf, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. 36; March 11, 2002, Matt Wolf, review of Life after George, p. 42.

Vogue, April, 2000, Reggie Nadelson, review of Copenhagen, p. 272.

Wall Street Journal, December 14, 1983, Edwin Wilson, review of Noises Off, p. 28; December 26, 1985, Edwin Wilson, review of Benefactors, pp. 5-6; December 18, 1989, Edwin Wilson, review of City of Angels, p. A9; April 2, 1990, Edwin Wilson, review of Lettice and Lovage, pp. A11, A13; November 23, 1999, Debra Jo Immergut, review of Kiss Me, Kate, p. A21; April 12, 2000, Amy Gamerman, review of Copenhagen, p. A24.

Washington Post, August 4, 1995, Hal Hinson, review of Country Life.

ONLINE

ReelViews,http://movie-reviews.colossus.net/ (April 14, 2003), review of Country Life.

TV Guide Online,http://www.tvguide.com/ (April 14, 2003), review of Country Life.*

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