Osborne, John

Osborne, John (John James Osborne), 1929–94, English dramatist. He began his theatrical career as an actor and playwright in provincial English repertory theaters. Osborne's plays usually focus on an individual character and the sheer force of his language rather than on action. His first commercial success was Look Back in Anger (1956), concerning a restless and vociferous young man of the working class who is at war with himself and society; it became the seminal work for the so-called angry young men. His other plays depict the frustration of living without hope in a world filled with false values. Among Osborne's other plays are The Entertainer (1957), Luther (1961), Inadmissible Evidence (1964), A Patriot for Me (1965), The End of Me Old Cigar (1974), Watch It Come Down (1976), and Déjà vu (1991). He also wrote the screenplay for Tom Jones (1963).

See his autobiographies, A Better Class of Person (1981) and Almost a Gentleman (1994); biography by J. Heilpern (2007); studies by H. Goldstone (1982) and A. P. Hinchliffe (1984).

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