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Joe Orton (1933-1967), Playwright

John Kingsley ('Joe') Orton

Sitter in 11 portraits
Playwright and actor; a pioneer of black farce, Joe Orton's plays include Entertaining Mr Sloane (1963) and Loot (1964-5, filmed 1970) and What the Butler Saw (1967); his other great works generally characterised by a stylish and macabre outrageousness; also wrote novels, three brief years of international fame were bought to a sudden end when he was murdered by his partner, Kenneth Halliwell, who subsequently committed suicide. Orton's plays The Ruffian on the Stair and The Erpingham Camp were first shown at the Royal Court in 1967, a few weeks before he was murdered, as a double bill under the title Crimes of Passion.