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Joseph Losey Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (4)

Born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
Died in Chelsea, London, England, UK  (cancer)
Birth NameJoseph Walton Losey
Nickname Joe

Mini Bio (1)

Belonging to an important family clan in Wisconsin, Joseph Losey studied philosophy but was always interested in theater and thus worked together with Bertolt Brecht. After directing some shorts for MGM, he made his first important film, The Boy with Green Hair (1948), for RKO. While he was filming The Prowler (1951) in Italy he was summoned to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, the congressional committee charged with "rooting out" Communist "subversion" in the motion picture industry. Unwilling to subject himself to the committee's well-known intimidation tactics, Losey decided to seek exile in Great Britain. In the following years he used a pseudonym--"Joseph Walton"--for his films, which were of minor quality. He regained his prestige with the thrillers Chance Meeting (1959), The Concrete Jungle (1960) and Eva (1962). From that point on his films varied between top-quality work like Accident (1967) and much lower-quality projects such as Modesty Blaise (1966), which was a box-office success, and Galileo (1975), which wasn't.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Volker Boehm

Family (3)

Spouse Patricia Losey (29 September 1970 - 22 June 1984)  (his death)
Dorothy Bromiley (16 June 1956 - December 1963)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Louisa Stuart (19 October 1944 - 14 March 1953)  (divorced)
Elizabeth Hawes (23 July 1937 - 1944)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Children gavrik losey
joshua losey
Relatives joachim losey (great grandchild)
luke losey (grandchild)
Marek Losey (grandchild)

Trivia (13)

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 597-605. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Gave Edward Fox and James Fox their big breaks in films.
Attended the same high school in La Crosse, WI, as Nicholas Ray.
President of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 25th Cannes International Film Festival in 1972.
Tried unsuccessfully to launch a project with opera legend Maria Callas, but she didn't like the part he offered her, which was that of an old star who desperately tries to return to her successful past. She considered herself at the time far too young for such a role, but said she was flattered by his offer.
Directed one Oscar-nominated performance: Margaret Leighton in The Go-Between (1971).
Is the father, with Elizabeth, of film producer Gavrik Losey. His grandsons and Gavrik's sons Marek Losey and Luke Losey are also directors.
The director character played by Martin Scorsese in Guilty by Suspicion (1991) was based on Losey.
Is the father, with Dorothy, of actor Joshua Losey.
In 1935 traveled to the Soviet Union where he staged Clifford Odets play "Waiting For Lefty".
Attended Dartmouth. When he was a senior, Robert Ryan was a freshman.
Studied with Bertolt Brecht in Germany.
He directed Dirk Bogarde in five films: The Sleeping Tiger (1954), The Servant (1963), King & Country (1964), Modesty Blaise (1966) and Accident (1967).

Personal Quotes (14)

I am frequently told that my films don't make money. Since I have averaged one film a year for 30 years--some of them expensive ones--I can only conclude that somebody is making money.
Films can illustrate our existence . . . they can distress, disturb and provoke people into thinking about themselves and certain problems. But NOT give the answers.
Film is a dog: the head is commerce, the tail is art. And only rarely does the tail wag the dog.
The productiveness of the director-actor relationship depends on the degree to which the actor trusts the director. Unless the actor feels he can safely risk everything he has to give without making himself ridiculous he won't try. He'll play safe until he knows the director will not let him make a fool of himself.
[on Ginger Rogers] Ginger Rogers was one of the worst, Red-baiting, terrifying reactionaries in Hollywood.
Once it's finished and been exposed to an audience, I very seldom can sit through a film of mine again. Almost never.
[1979 comment on Mia Farrow] It is difficult to gauge a star's breaking point, but Mia and I could not have gone on as we had begun. Fortunately, there was no need to. She is shrewd. Her instincts are perfect. Once she had the idea, she was a rewarding working partner.
I don't think there is any business in the world which is self-styled an "industry"--because it is only the producers and directors who insist on calling the film a "business" or "industry"--where people so cavalierly hire specialists at vast prices only to devote themselves to hampering the work of the specialist they've hired.
[on being a victim of the Hollywood blacklist] Without it I would have three Cadillacs, two swimming pools and millions of dollars, and I'd be dead. It was terrifying, it was disgusting, but you can get trapped by money and complacency. A good shaking up never did anyone any harm.
[on directing Paul Muni in Stranger on the Prowl (1952)] By this time [he] was terribly neurotic and probably ill. He was absolutely petrified at the idea that he might be associated with a Communist or somebody who was going to be blacklisted. And Muni, I regret to say, for all those people who admire his work, and the results of his work are frequently admirable, is precisely the kind of actor that I cannot stand, that I cannot work with. He listened to the sound of his voice. He was interested in the superficial aspects of his part in great detail: how the character looked, how he would move, what his gestures were, what his clothes were. But what the hell he felt, or was, did not interest him. At least, that is my opinion.
He, my grandfather, was called Joseph Walton Losey. My father was called the same, number two, and I was called the same, number three, and I was determined to break this. When my first son was born I gave him the name of Gavrik with *no* middle name.
[on Tennessee Williams] He's a delightful man, and we became very close, but he was good for me for only three to four hours a day, what with drugs and drink, and when he was too far under, he was terribly abusive.
[on The Romantic Englishwoman (1975)] There is nothing in the world Glenda Jackson can't do. She's a very good actress, absolutely professional, and for me totally inaccessible. And a bore to work with. Michael Caine I found an absolute delight.
[on working with Jeanne Moreau] Absolutely marvellous. Every suggestion she took and used and extended and refined. I like her very much. There was a period after Eva (1962) when I felt a bit betrayed by her, but she and I have a kind of permanent love which came out in that film.

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