Skip to main content

Home Culture Culture Sexuality

Late gay playwright Joe Orton celebrated by ‘Maleficent’ star Kenneth Cranham and Attitude Magazine Foundation

Orton, who was killed by his lover Kenneth Halliwell in 1967, is set to be honoured with a statue in his hometown of Leicester.

By Will Stroude

The life of late gay playwright Joe Orton was celebrated by the Attitude Magazine Foundation last Wednesday (8 January) at a special dinner attended legendary British actor Kenneth Cranham.

Cranham, 75, was guest of honour at the dinner at London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park to mark the Attitude Magazine Foundation’s recent donation to – and successful crowdfunding of – a statue commemorating playwright, author and diarist Orton in his hometown of Leicester.

Cranham, who has made countless onscreen appearances in films including Oliver!L4yer Cake, Maleficent and Made In Dagenham, was discovered by Orton as an 18-year-old, and was starring in the West End production of Orton’s play Loot when the writer was murdered by his love Kenneth Halliwell in 1967 at the age of 34.

Olivier Award-winner Cranham shared his personal recollections of the late writer with guests including BBC LGBT Correspondent Ben Hunte and Holby City actor David Ames, as he reflected on Orton’s influeence on the British sixties arts scene and continued literary legacy.

The recent GoFundMe campaign to commemorate Orton with a statue received a £5000 from the Attitude Magazine Foundation, as well as donations from his contempories including Sir Ian McKellen.

Check out some of the highlights from the evening below (images courtesy of Jonathan Phang):

Kenneth Cranham (left) and Attitude Publisher Darren Styles (Photography: Jonathan Phang)

BBC LGBT Correspondent Ben Hunte (left) and Tom Ratcliffe (Photography: Jonathan Phang)

Holby City star David Ames (Photography: Jonathan Phang)

Attitude editor-in-chief Cliff Joannou (Photography: Jonathan Phang)

Kenneth Cranham and Roja Dove (Photography: Jonathan Phang)

Former Attitude editor Matthe Todd (left) and Paul Burston (Photography: Jonathan Phang)

Suki Sandhu (left) and Manuel Heichlinger (Photography: Jonathan Phang)

Attitude Commercial Partnerships Manager Mike Buckley (left) and Commercial Director Craig Lewis (Photography: Jonathan Phang)

Attitude Web Editor Will Stroude

Kenneth Cranham and wife Fiona Victory (Photography: Jonathan Phang)

Chris Thompson and Tom Tillmon (Photography: Jonathan Phang)