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Sumner Locke Elliott
(October 17, 1917 - June 24, 1991) Australia - U.S.A.

Sumner Locke Elliott



Elliott was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, his father a freelance journalist and his mother a playwright and novelist. His parents enjoyed only 10 days of marriage before his father was sent to England with the Australian army. Nine months later his mother died the day after giving birth to Elliott, but not before christening him with her surnames.

At school he became involved in amateur thatre, both as a writer and an actor, and at sixteen he joined the Independed Theatre group in Sidney. He also began acting in radio plays and writing for radio serials. He appled to immigrate to the US, but WWII intervened.

In 1942 he was drafted into the Australian army and spent four boring years as a clerk in army posts in various parts of Ausrtalia. Permission to migrate to the US came in 1948 and Elliott seized the opportunity. His interest in that country had been intensified by an affair with a US officer in Sidney after the war.

He became an American citizen in 1955. Although he loved acting, he soon realized that his abilities were modest, the competition was fierce and his accent restricted him to "British" roles. Elliott became very successful as a television playwright. He left television writing in 1962 to write novels. Although strongly autobiographical, none of the novels had any significant homosexual flavour.

But in Fairyland, published the year before he died, Elliott at last "came out" as a homosexual after a lifetime of avoiding the issue. Until he left Australia in 1948, Elliott was uncomfortable about his homosexuality and did his best to keep the secret. He had furtive and sometimes dangerous casual encounters, and a few unsatisfactory affairs, but no stable sexual relationships. It is uncleas wether Elliott ever had a significant homosexual relationship in the US.


Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001

Picture source: http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an21935834-v

His work include:

  • Interval : a play in three acts (1942)
  • Buy Me Blue Ribbons : comedy in three acts (1952)
  • Careful, He Might Hear You. (1963)
  • Some Doves and Pythons (1966)
  • Edens Lost (1969)
  • The Man Who Got Away. (1972)
  • "Going": a novel (1975)
  • Water Under the Bridge : a novel (1977)
  • Rusty Bugles (1980)
  • Signs of Life : a novel (1981)
  • About Tilly Beamis (1985)
  • Waiting for Childhood (1987)
  • Fairyland : a novel (1990)
  • Radio Days (1993)
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