Incidental Acts of Spontaneous Cerebral Violence

Monday, September 13, 2004

I actually find this strangely touching

From the Telegraph:
Sir John Mortimer, the celebrated playwright and author, has discovered that he has an illegitimate son from a brief but passionate affair with Wendy Craig, the actress, more than 40 years ago. The result of their liaison was a boy, Ross. Miss Craig and her husband, who already had their own son, brought him up as their own.

Sir John, 81, found out about the child only in the past year, when Miss Craig, now 70, fearing that the story was about to become public, confirmed to him that the child was his.

"I am not ashamed about this and I don't think that my son, Ross, is either," he said at his Oxfordshire home yesterday. "I think this discovery has actually made us both very happy."

"I met him earlier this year and got along very well with him. He is in his forties now and works in television production and has, funnily enough, done some writing. He met the rest of my family over lunch and got along well with them, too. We all hope to see a lot more of him."

Sir John's relationship with Miss Craig began in 1960 when she was appearing in one of his first plays, The Wrong Side of the Park, at the Cambridge Theatre in London. Both the playwright, then 37, and the 26-year-old Craig were married to other people at the time.

"It was the Sixties and we were all a lot more excitable then," said the creator of Rumpole of the Bailey.

"My relationship with Wendy lasted only as long as that play and the one we did after it, called Lunch Hour, which was performed in 1961. Wendy ended the relationship because her husband had found out about it and she hadn't actually felt comfortable about the situation we had got into for a while. She must have been pregnant when we broke up, but she hadn't told me. We didn't see each other after that except, maybe, later in life where we might have seen each other at public events."
For some time now, I’ve been quite a fan of two of Sir John’s progeny: the brilliant “Rumpole of the Bailey” and the exquisite Emily Mortimer. His response to this entire episode helps to further solidify his well-deserved sterling reputation.

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