Gavin Lambert: ‘Inside Daisy Clover’ novelist & Natalie Wood + Norma Shearer + George Cukor biographer has died
Novelist, biographer, film critic, and screenwriter Gavin Lambert died on July 17 at Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles. The British-born Lambert, who would have turned 81 on July 23, had been living in West Hollywood for the last 10 years, after spending more than a decade in Tangier.
Following a stint as the editor of the British film publication Sight & Sound, Lambert came to Hollywood in the mid-1950s to work as an assistant to director Nicholas Ray. Lambert then turned to writing both novels (The Slide Area: Scenes of Hollywood Life, Inside Daisy Clover) and screenplay adaptations (Tennessee Williams’ The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, his own Inside Daisy Clover). Neither The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone nor Inside Daisy Clover was well-liked, though both movies had a certain appeal thanks to their stars: Vivien Leigh, in top form, was Mrs. Stone spending her Roman spring in the company of escort Warren Beatty (as an Italian), while Natalie Wood – supported by Robert Redford and Ruth Gordon – was troubled 1930s Hollywood actress Daisy Clover.
Two Academy Award nominations
Gavin Lambert went on to receive two Academy Award nominations as co-screenwriter for the adaptations of Sons and Lovers, which became a 1960 movie directed by cinematographer Jack Cardiff, and starring Trevor Howard, Dean Stockwell, and Wendy Hiller, and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, a 1977 psychiatry drama with Kathleen Quinlan and Bibi Andersson.
Yet, Gavin Lambert is probably best known for several classy biographies about film personalities. Those include books on Norma Shearer, Alla Nazimova, Lindsay Anderson, George Cukor, and, most recently, Natalie Wood.
See also: “Gay author & screenwriter LACMA Movie Series.”