Exton, Clive 1930–2007

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Exton, Clive 1930–2007

(Clive Jack Montague Exton)


See index for CA sketch: Some sources cite birth surname as Brooks; born April 11, 1930, in London, England; died August 16, 2007. Playwright, actor, and stage manager. Exton moved from television writing to screenplays to the stage, and back to television. It was in this last incarnation that he may have had his greatest impact on American viewers—by adapting the fiction of classic mystery novelists such as Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, and P.G. Wodehouse for television. But in his native England it is his original material that readers and viewers are likely to remember. After a brief and unsuccessful attempt at an acting career, Exton turned to technical theater, working as a stage manager until he allegedly realized that he could write better scripts than the ones he was staging. His first stage play actually premiered on television, and that venue lured Exton for many years. He wrote serious plays, comedies, and finally satires, some of which were deemed too daring for British television in the mid-1960s. The big screen may have offered more artistic freedom, for Exton wrote more than half-a-dozen screenplays between 1963 and 1976. Most familiar to American audiences are probably Night Must Fall (1963), starring Albert Finney, Isadora (1968), the story of dancer Isadora Duncan, starring Vanessa Redgrave, and Entertaining Mr. Sloane (1969), based on a work by British playwright Joe Orton. Exton also dabbled in writing for the stage. The political satire ‘Have You Any Dirty Washing, Mother Dear?’ was produced in London in 1969. The Boundary, which he wrote with award-winning playwright Tom Stoppard, was published in 1991. Exton also contributed episodes to popular television series throughout his career, including the program Rosemary and Thyme as recently as 2003.



Times (London, England), August 22, 2007, p. 49.