Obituary: Lindsay Anderson

MAY I add to the obituary of Lindsay Anderson (by Adrian Turner, Peter Cotes and Penelope Houston, 1 September)? writes Sir John Gielgud.

We first became friends when he directed the original production of David Storey's Home in 1970, though I had been cautious in accepting the engagement. Not only was I somewhat mystified by the play itself, but I also thought that Lindsay did not like me. Two previous meetings, in London and in New York, had not turned out well. But, thanks to Storey's persuasiveness, I finally agreed to attempt the part and was of course delighted when Ralph Richardson agreed to join the cast. The successful result was a joy to us both and our great friendship with Lindsay became close and affectionate ever after. I am very sad to remember that other work prevented me from acting in what was to be Lindsay's penultimate film, the charming Whales of August (1988), though I gathered he had had a difficult time in shooting it.

Always rather abrasive in his manner, and full of prejudices and dislikes, he was yet as a director and critic extremely sympathetic, devotedly loyal to the people he admired and restive in his ambitions and high ideals. He had not been happy lately. There seemed to be no one ready to employ his strong, original talents. His warm and generous heart managed, it seemed to me, to conceal itself behind the outward mask of a brusque and apparently hostile personality.

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