Britain: Death of a Playwright

Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell were the very best of friends. They met at a London drama school, and for ten years they lived together, visited friends together, took their vacations together. In 1962, they were even arrested together—for putting obscene pictures in library books. They shared everything they had, and they made out their wills to each other. Then they died together, and a coroner's jury last week determined why: their friendship had ended.

The problem was Orton's sudden success as a playwright. His first effort, Entertaining Mr. Shane, was a homosexual, black comedy (boy meets girl, boy bludgeons girl's...

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