|Born||John Henry Lahr
July 12, 1941
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Spouse(s)||Anthea Mander (divorced)
Connie Booth (2000-present)
|Relative(s)||Bert Lahr (father)
Jane Lahr (sister)
Life and career
Lahr was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Mildred (née Schroeder), a former "Miss Cincinnati", and Bert Lahr, an actor. Lahr holds a B.A. from Yale University and a master's degree from Worcester College, Oxford. He has written many books, including the novels The Autograph Hound and Hot to Trot, as well as three biographies of important theatrical figures: one of his father called Notes on a Cowardly Lion; one of the British playwright Joe Orton called Prick Up Your Ears; and one of the Australian comedian Barry Humphries called Dame Edna Everage and the Rise of Western Civilization: Backstage with Barry Humphries. In 1987 he co-produced a film version of Prick Up Your Ears directed by Stephen Frears and written by Alan Bennett in which Lahr appeared as a character played by Wallace Shawn. Lahr also wrote the foreword to Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines, a 1994 collection of Bill Hicks's work.
In 2002, Lahr became the first drama critic ever to win a Tony Award for his part in writing actress Elaine Stritch’s one–woman show, "Elaine Stritch at Liberty", for which he and Stritch also won the Drama Desk Award for the Best Book to a Musical. Among his many awards, Lahr has twice won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.
In 1994, Lahr published a profile in The New Yorker detailing the vagaries of Lady Maria St. Just, an executor of playwright Tennessee Williams's estate. The profile helped liberate Lyle Leverich's biography of Williams, Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams, from a four-year legal stranglehold. While working on a planned second volume in 2000, Leverich died and named Lahr as his favored successor. Lahr agreed to complete the second volume, which will follow Williams from 1945 to his death in 1983. In October 2007, Lahr said that he was taking a half-year sabbatical from writing New Yorker profiles to work on the biography, and stated, "I'll probably finish it when I'm in my seventies."
Lahr was married for many years to the late Anthea Mander, daughter of the Liberal politician, art patron and industrialist Sir Geoffrey Mander, of the prominent Midlands family. In 1988, Lahr began a relationship with former actress Connie Booth; they married in 2000 and live together in London. His sister is the editor and writer Jane Lahr.
Biographies and profiles
- Notes on a Cowardly Lion-The Biography of Bert Lahr (1969)
- Prick Up Your Ears (1978)
- Coward the Playwright (1983)
- Dame Edna Everage and the Rise of Western Civilization: Backstage with Barry Humphries (1991)
- Sinatra: The Artist and the Man (1997)
- Show and Tell: New Yorker Profiles (2000)
- Honky Tonk Parade: New Yorker Profiles of Show People (2005)
- Tennessee Williams biography (forthcoming)
- Up Against the Fourth Wall (1970)
- Acting Out America (1972)
- Astonish Me: Adventures in Contemporary Theater (1973)
- Life Show (1973, with Jonathan Price)
- Automatic Vaudeville (1984)
- Light Fantastic: Adventures in Theatre (1996)
Co-edited essay collections
- A Casebook on Harold Pinter's The Homecoming (1971) (With Anthea Lahr)
- Lahr, John (24 November 2008). "The Critics: Life and Letters: Land of Lost Souls". The New Yorker 84 (38): 114–120. Retrieved 16 April 2009. (Subject: David Rabe's America)
- Lahr, John (15 November 2010). "The Theatre: Angels on the Verge". The New Yorker 86 (36). Retrieved 30 April 2012. (Subjects: Michael Greif directs Angels in America at the Peter Norton Space; Bartlett Sher directs a musical adaptation of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Belasco)
- The Autograph Hound (1972)
- Hot to Trot (1974)
- Diary of a Somebody (1989) (adapted from Joe Orton's diaries)
- The Manchurian Candidate (1993) (adapted from Richard Condon's 1959 novel of the same name)
- "Contributors: John Lahr". The New Yorker. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
- Kondazian, Karen. "Spirit and Substance", Back Stage West, 2001-02-22. Retrieved on 2007-08-30.
- Lahr, John, and Neil LaBute. Panel. The New Yorker Festival, Acura Stage at Helen Mills Theater, 2007-10-06.
- "CONNIE BOOTH (A CASE OF FAWLTY MEMORY SYNDROME)". The Independent (London).[dead link]
- Dedman, Bill (15 July 2007). "The list: Journalists who wrote political checks". MSNBC. Retrieved 24 October 2010.