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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Peking, China
Died
Birth NameFrancis Claud Cockburn

Mini Bio (2)

Educated at Universities of Oxford, Budapest & Berlin. Became New York & Washington correspondent for The Times newspaper in 1929. Resigned in 1933 to found his own news-sheet The Week, which acheived notoriety. Fought on Republican side in Spanish civil war, and was diplomatic correspondent for the Daily Worker. Has written short stories & articles for New Statesman, The Saturday Evening Post, Hibernia & Private Eye Moved to Ireland in 1947.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: David Ferstat <dferstat@iinet.net.au>

Claud Cockburn was a noted British radical journalist. He was born in Peking, China, in 1904, and was the scion of an aristocratic family; one of his ancestors was the British commander who ordered the burning of the White House during the War of 1812. His cousin was the novelist Evelyn Waugh, but Cockburn's own political sympathies ran to the left.

In 1933 he founded a political journal called "The Week," which exposed people in the British ruling class who had sympathies for fascism, especially the "Cliveden Set" of pro-Nazi intriguers. He also covered the Spanish Civil War under the pseudonym Frank Pitcairn for the British Communist Party's newspaper, the Daily Worker.

In the early post-war years that coincided with the onset of the Cold War, Cockburn encountered the difficulties typical of people suspected (correctly or incorrectly) of Communist sympathies. He moved to Ireland in 1947 and wrote several novels, the most famous of which was "Beat the Devil" (under the pseudonym James Helvick). His works of non-fiction included books on English popular fiction, a history of the Thirties, British trade unions, and his own multi-volume autobiography.

Of his five children, the most famous are the three journalistic brothers Alexander, Andrew and Patrick Cockburn. Claud Cockburn died in 1981.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jed King

Spouse (1)

Jean Ross (? - ?)

Trivia (8)

Father with Jean Ross of mystery writer Sarah Caudwell.
First wife Jean Ross was Christopher Isherwood's model for Sally Bowles in his "Berlin Stories" (the original source for Cabaret (1972).
Father of Alexander Cockburn, writer for "CounterPunch" and "The Nation", and of journalists Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn.
Grandfather of Olivia Wilde and grandfather-in-law of Tao Ruspoli, in turn brother of Bartolomeo Ruspoli.
Father-in-law of Leslie Cockburn.
In the early 1950s, he was living in Ireland in an old house with a leaky roof which he could not afford to have repaired. To raise the money, he left several copies of his novel "Beat The Devil" at strategic places in a country house where he was a weekend guest, knowing that one of the other guests, John Huston, was a film director. Sure enough, Huston began to read the novel over the weekend and had made an informal offer for the film rights before the weekend was over. This money paid for the roof-repair.
A close friend of Malcolm Muggeridge, although they almost never agreed on anything.
He had been living in some obscurity in Ireland for several years when, in the summer of 1963, he was asked to guest-edit one issue of the satirical fortnightly magazine, "Private Eye", in London. (The then editor of the magazine, Christopher Booker, was going on his honeymoon). Cockburn took some persuading, but agreed to do the one edition of "Private Eye" - and in it he contrived to name the head of MI6, hitherto a top secret; to allege (accurately) that Lady Dorothy Macmillan, the wife of the then Prime Minister, had been an adulteress; to list the suspected lovers of the Duchess of Argyll, who was then going through a sensational divorce; to suggest that one of them, a prominent Member of Parliament, had paid over £2000 to have a photograph which was used in these divorce proceedings altered, so that his face could not be seen; and to run a detailed story strongly hinting that a 60-year-old artist named Hal Woolf had died as a result of injuries sustained whilst in police custody. This last story had been ignored by all the daily newspapers, and, as a direct result of Cockburn's piece, an inquiry was launched into the death. In later years, Cockburn was a regular "Private Eye" columnist.

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