Belfast Telegraph

Sir Ian McKellen backs fundraising campaign for Joe Orton statue

Backers want a ‘lasting monument’ to mark the life of the influential playwright, who was murdered by his lover.

Joe Orton (The Orton Estate/PA)
Joe Orton (The Orton Estate/PA)

Sir Ian McKellen has backed a fundraising campaign to commission a statue of playwright Joe Orton.

Backers want to raise £120,000 for a “lasting monument” in Leicester, where Orton was born, to mark the life of the influential dramatist.

Orton was a star of British theatre, with black comedies such as Loot, Entertaining Mr Sloane and What The Butler Saw, and an openly gay man in the 1960s.

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Sir Ian McKellen is backing a campaign to raise funds for a statue of playwright Joe Orton (Ian West/PA)

The playwright, who grew up in poverty, was murdered at the age of 34, by his lover, in 1967.

Lord Of The Rings star Sir Ian said the “terrific” statue would “mean a lot”.

Organisers said Alec Baldwin, Stephen Fry and Sheila Hancock have also endorsed the appeal.

Hollywood star Baldwin said: “Joe Orton is a true original. Half poet, half devil’s apprentice. I never tire of his wit, soul and anarchy.”

Leonie Orton, the dramatist’s sister, said the monument “would ensure a great writer is not forgotten” and serve as an “inspirational reminder that talent is everywhere and art is for everyone”.

PA

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