Star Archive

Sir Dirk Bogarde (1921 - 1999)

He was the biggest star of fifties cinema: a heart-throb whose protestations of being a "serious actor" was seen as just another pretty boy's whinge. Now he's considered to be one of our greatest screen actors.

He was born Derek Van den Bogaerde. His father was art editor of the Times and young Derek first tried his hand at art school. It wasn't long before he chucked that in to act. He did rep and was an extra in the George Formby film Come on George before the war interrupted his career.  When he came back he was soon appearing in the West End and he got one line in the film Dancing With Crime. He starred in his next film Esther Waters.

In his early films he mostly played spivs and crooks (memorably bumping off George Dixon in The Blue Lamp) but then moved into his big star period with Doctor in the House. He was uncomfortable with his star status and impatient with the restrictions it placed on his acting (he describes himself as the Loretta Young of Pinewood because they only photographed him from his prettier side).

He made several films which stretched his range but it was with Victim that he really broke out of his straightjacket. In it he played a married homosexual fearful of blackmail. He himself always denied he was homosexual, though in later years he did reveal his long term relationship with his manager Anthony Forwood. Whether or not he was gay, acting in Victim was a very brave move and made people more aware of his acting ability.

The Servant consolidated his position as a great actor and got him a BFA award. He got a second one for Darling. By now he was in demand by great European directors. He worked with Resnais, Fassbinder and Visconti for whom he did The Damned and Death in Venice (which contains possibly his greatest performance).

As his career ran out of steam he began a remarkable series of autobiographies and then moved into writing novels. He had lived in Provence since the seventies, only returning to England to live fulltime when Forwood needed medical treatment during his final illness. He continued to live in England after Forwood's death for the last ten years of his life. After his death his body was buried in Provence.

As an actor he was never easy to like. There was reserve about him that bordered on contempt and yet, in the right role, he could suggest limitless suffering behind his austere facade.   

Photo of The Blue LampDirk Bogarde in a still from HuntedDirk Bogarde in a scene from The Gentle GunmanPhoto of The Spanish GardenerPhoto of Campbell's KingdomStill from LibelSet photo of The Singer Not the Song 


1939 Come on George
1947 Dancing With Crime
1948 Esther Waters
1948 Quartet
1949 Once a Jolly Swagman
1949 Dear Mr Prohack
1949 Boys in Brown
1949 The Blue Lamp
1950 The Woman in Question
1950 So Long at the Fair
1951 Blackmailed
1952 Hunted
1952 Penny Princess
1952 The Gentle Gunman
1953 Appointment in London
1953 Desperate Moment
1954 They Who Dare
1954 Doctor in the House
1954 The Sleeping Tiger
1954 For Better, for Worse
1954 The Sea Shall Not Have Them
1955 Simba
1955 Doctor at Sea
1955 Cast a Dark Shadow
1956 The Spanish Gardener
1957 Ill Met by Moonlight
1957 Doctor at Large
1957 Campbell's Kingdom
1958 A Tale of Two Cities
1958 The Wind Cannot Read
1959 The Doctor's Dilemma
1959 Libel
1960 Song Without End
1960 The Singer Not the Song
1960 The Angel Wore Red
1961 Victim
1962 HMS Defiant
1962 The Password is Courage
1963 The Mind Benders
1963 I Could Go On Singing
1963 Doctor in Distress
1964 The Servant
1964 Hot Enough for June
1964 King and Country
1965 The High Bright Sun
1965 Darling
1965 Modesty Blaise
1966 Accident
1966 Our Mother's House
1968 Sebastian
1968 Oh What a Lovely War
1968 The Fixer
1968 Justine
1968 The Damned
1971 Death in Venice
1973 The Serpent
1974 The Night Porter
1975 Permission to Kill
1977 Providence
1977 A Bridge Too Far
1978 Despair
1990 These Foolish Things

 Dirk Bogarde at Amazon UK

 Dirk Bogarde at Amazon US