New Documentary Explores the 33-Year Relationship Between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy

November 10, 2008

In the mid-1970s there were no gay divisions at publishing houses and no “gay lit” courses taught at colleges and Universities. But mention the name of Christopher Isherwood to those who were around then and chances are you’ll hear what a brilliant writer -- and what an inspiring example -- he was. This was the man who had written “Berlin Stories”, on which the musical “Cabaret” was based, as well as many other novels, plays, and screenplays. In the final paragraph of his 1976 memoir, “Christopher and His Kind,” which covers his experiences from 1929 through 1939, Isherwood writes that he would eventually find “the ideal companion to whom you can reveal yourself totally and yet be loved for what you are, not what you pretend to be.”

That companion, for Isherwood, was Don Bachardy, and their 33-year relationship ended only with Isherwood’s death in 1985. The two met on the beach at Santa Monica in 1953, when Isherwood was 48 and Bachardy only 18. They were the first -- and for many years the only -- openly gay couple among the Hollywood elite. In the years that they were together, Isherwood continued to write and Bachardy himself became a highly respected portraitist whose subjects have recently included a series of drawings of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Now the story of that relationship is told in the new documentary “Chris and Don: A Love Story”, which you can see in theaters July 18. DaddyHunt was lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Don Bachardy last year as the documentary was being made. Be sure to watch the first part of our exclusive interview with Don on our home page and come back for more of his fascinating stories over the next few weeks.

Tags: Movies, Christopher Isherwood
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Comments

I just read Isherwood's "A Single Man". What a powerful book.

To Whom It May Concern:

CORRECTION

Professor of History Martin Duberman has been on faculty at Lehman College of City University of New York for more than 30 years. In the fall of 1971 & the spring of 1972, this celebrated Black Studies scholar taught each semester the first and second American university courses explicit on homosexuality -- in this case history of. To take nothing away from this mentor of mine, he was tenured at time & thus retained his faculty line. Among many other publications on Black a/w/a Gay history, Duberman has written the authoratative history of "Stonewall."

Instructor of History Gregory Kane was on the faculty at Queens College of the City University of New York from the mid-1960's through mid-1973. In the fall of 1972 and the spring of 1973, this popular world history lecturer taught each semester third and fourth American university courses explicit on homosexuality -- in this case litierature. After he taught these two courses through Interdisciplinary Studies Program, his history department contract was not renewed. He became a clerk at the then only Macy's Department Store, never to teach again before he died of AIDS some years later. May he rest in peace knowing his legacy is still much intact.

In a lifetime of human rights activity -- including my personal participation in the Stonewall Riots, one of my few political losses was the failure in leading a protest to reinstate my beloved instructor and friend Greg Kane who taught Gay lit courses in the mid-1970's.

Just saw the movie this afternoon. Very poignant and revealing glimpse of two men who, despite a 30 year age difference and its inherent challenges, were able to find a love in each other that endures. Don and Chris are my two new heroes.

Little bluebird would like to thank Kitty and Horse for sharing their story. =)