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(John) Beverley Nichols
(September 9, 1898 - September 15, 1983) U.K.

Beverley Nichols

Writer of books, plays, music, and lyrics

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Born in Bower Ashton, Bristol, U.K.; died in Kingston, London. He was also sometimes an actor and broadcaster. When young his good looks made him one of the most photographed men of his time.

Nichols went to Marlborough College and Balliol College, Oxford. He was President of the Oxford Union for a time. He was editor of Isis, and founder and editor of the Oxford Outlook. His writing made it possible for him to have an expensive life style.

Beverley NicholsHe met Godfrey Winn through his theatrical contacts and their paths crossed over a number of years. They became rivals as newspaper columnists, but still continued an arkward friendship and visited each other's houses. They broke up when Beverley Nichols wrote A Case of Human Bondage (1966), which appeared to be critical of Somerset Maugham who had been Godfrey Winn's lover for a time.

He appeared as the Hon. Richard Wells in the film Glamour in 1931. His most commercially successful writing was his book Down the Garden Path, which is regarded as a gardening classic.

He involved himself in campaigns against such things as the poor treatment of African Americans in the 1950s. He also challenged anti-homosexual legislation and homophobic behaviour. He took part in a number of radio broadcasts, like Not Only Down the Garden Path in three parts in March 1983.

He had a partner for 40 years and was relatively open about his sexuality in public lectures, though not in his radio broadcasts. However, his demeanour gave a lot away. Notwithstanding his relationship, he had a promiscuous sex life, including his penchant for rough trade and masochistic sex.

On September 16, 1983, the day after his death, a celebration of his life took place at St Paul's, Covent Garden, the 'Actors' Church'. Ned Sherrin had arranged a programme of Beverley Nichols's work.

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Work:

  • Prelude (1920, novel)
  • Twenty-Five (1926, autobiography)
  • Down the Garden Path (1932, gardening book)
  • Merry Hall (1950, true story)
  • The Sweet and Twenties (1958)
  • A Case of Human Bondage (1966)
  • Father Figure
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