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Godfrey (Herbert) Winn
(October 15, 1908 - june 19, 1971) U.K.

Godfrey Winn

Actor, novelist, and journalist


Born in Edgbaston, Birmingham, Britain, his parents were Joan and Ernest Winn. His mother had been an actress. He went to St. Christopher's school in Eastbourne and King Edward's school in Birmingham. He was a junior tennis champion at age thirteen when he won the South of England Championship..

At the age of sixteen he was appearing in an amateur theatre production when he was spotted by Eddie Marsh (later Sir Edward), an influential patron of the arts, who took a fancy to him. Eddie Marsh introduced him to the world of Ivor Novello and Ned Lathom. This led to him also meeting Beverley Nichols for whom Godfrey Winn developed a crush.

Godfrey Winn began his professional career as a boy actor in Galsworthy's Old English at the Haymarket Theatre, London. He then played in St. Joan and in Noël Coward's The Marquise, at the Criterion Theatre, London.

He began writing with his first novel Dreams Fade in 1928, and after several more novels he turned to freelance journalism which included pieces in Woman and Woman and Home with titles such as "Do We Understand Our Parents" and "The Girl That I Marry".

Godfrey Winn was an accomplished bridge player and became an ornament at the bridge table at Blenheim House. It was at one of these events when he was spotted and then bedded by J. R. Ackerley. It was also at a bridge evening in 1928 at the London home of Ned Lathom that he met Somerset Maugham who immediately invited him to spend a month at Villa Mauresque. They were lovers for a time and remained friends until Somerset Maugham's death.

Godfrey Winn became a star columnist for the Daily Mirror from 1936 to 1938, and then for the Sunday Express from 1938 to 1942. By 1938 he was claiming that he was the most highly paid journalist in Fleet Street (where he was known as Winifred God). In the Autumn of 1939 he was the first British war correspondent to enter the Maginot Line. Later in the Second World War he served in the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman.

After the Second World War he lectured across the United States on two occasions. He continued to write books and he also appeared on the radio and television. The Infirm Glory was the first volume of his autobiography. His second volume was The Positive Hour. A third volume was in preparation called Here is My Space, but it was not published. He died of a heart attack while playing tennis.


Source: excerpts from: The Knitting Circle, U.K. - http://www.sbu.ac.uk/stafflag/people.html

His writing include:

  • Dreams Fade (1928)
  • Squirrel's Cage
  • The Unequal Conflict
  • Fly Away, Youth
  • Communion on Earth
  • I May be Wrong
  • Personality Parade
  • A Month of Sundays
  • For My Friends
  • Going My Way
  • The Bend of the River
  • This Fair Country
  • Personal Pages
  • Infirm Glory (1967)
  • The Positive Hour (1970)

His performances in films include:

  • Blighty (1927)
  • Very Important Person (1961)
  • Billy Liar (1963)
  • The Bargee 1964)
  • The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966)
  • Up the Chastity Belt (1971)
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