Club Feet or Foot Series-Disabled Legend George Gordon Byron

George Gordon Byron, later Noel, 6th Baron Byron FRS was born on 22 January 1788 and died on 19 April 1824. George Gordon Byron was an English poet and a leading figure in Romanticism.

Amongst George Gordon Byron’s best-known works are the brief poems “She walks in beauty,” and “So, we’ll go no more a-roving,” and the narrative poems Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Don Juan. George Gordon Byron is regarded as one of the greatest European poets and remains widely read and influential, both in the English-speaking world and beyond.

George Gordon Byron’s fame rests not only on his writings but also on his life, which featured extravagant living, numerous love affairs, debts, separation, and marital exploits. George Gordon Byron was famously described by Lady Caroline Lamb as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

George Gordon Byron served as a regional leader of Italy’s revolutionary organisation the Carbonari in its struggle against Austria. George Gordon Byron later travelled to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. George Gordon Byron died from a fever in Messolonghi in Greece.

The mountain Lochnagar is the subject of one of George Gordon Byron’s poems, in which he reminsces about his childhood. George Gordon Byron was born in a house on Hollis Street in London, the son of Captain John “Mad Jack” Byron and his 2nd wife, the former Catherine Gordon, heiress of Gight in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. George Gordon Byron’s paternal grandparents were Vice-Admiral John “Foulweather Jack” Byron and Sophia Trevanion. Vice Admiral John Byron had circumnavigated the globe and was the younger brother of the 5th Baron Byron, known as “the Wicked Lord.”

George Gordon Byron was christened George Gordon at St Marylebone Parish Church, after his maternal grandfather, George Gordon of Gight, a descendant of King James I. This grandfather committed suicide in 1779. George Gordon Byron’s mother Catherine had to sell her land and title to pay her husband’s debts. John Byron may have married Catherine for her money and, after squandering it, deserted her. Catherine regularly experienced mood swings and bouts of melancholy.

Catherine moved back to Scotland shortly afterward, where she raised her son in Aberdeen. On 21 May 1798, the death of George Gordon Byron’s great-uncle, the “wicked” Lord Byron, made the 10-year-old the 6th Baron Byron, inheriting the title and estate, Newstead Abbey, in Nottinghamshire, England. George Gordon Byron’s mother proudly took him to England. George Gordon Byron only lived at his estate infrequently as the Abbey was rented to Lord Grey de Ruthyn, among others, during George Gordon Byron’s adolescence.

In August 1799, George Gordon Byron entered the school of William Glennie, an Aberdonian in Dulwich. George Gordon Byron would later say that around this time and beginning when he still lived in Scotland, his governess, May Gray, would come to bed with him at night and “play tricks with his person.” According to George Gordon Byron, this “caused the anticipated melancholy of my thoughts–having anticipated life.” Mary Gray was dismissed for allegedly beating George Gordon Byron when he was 11.

George Gordon Byron received his early formal education at Aberdeen Grammar School. In 1801 he was sent to Harrow, where he remained until July 1805. George Gordon Byron represented Harrow during the very 1st Eton v Harrow cricket match at Lord’s in 1805. After school he went on to Trinity College, Cambridge.

George Gordon Byron’s names changed throughout his life. George Gordon Byron was christened George Gordon Byron in London. “Gordon” was a baptismal name, not a surname, honouring his maternal grandfather. In order to claim his wife’s estate in Scotland, George Gordon Byron’s father took the additional surname Gordon, becoming John Byron Gordon, and he was occasionally styled John Byron Gordon of Gight. George Gordon Byron himself used this surname for a time and was registered at school in Aberdeen as George Byron Gordon. At the age of 10, he inherited the English Barony of Byron, becoming Lord Byron, and eventually dropped the double surname (though after this point his surname was hidden by his peerage in any event).

When George Gordon Byron’s mother-in-law died, her will required that he change his surname to Noel in order to inherit half her estate, and so he obtained a Royal Warrant allowing him to “take and use the surname of Noel only”. Very unusually, the Royal Warrant also allowed him to “subscribe the said surname of Noel before all titles of honour”, and from that point he signed himself “Noel Byron” (the usual signature of a peer being merely the peerage, in this case simply “Byron”). George Gordon Byron was also sometimes referred to as Lord Noel Byron, as if “Noel” were part of his title, and likewise his wife was sometimes called Lady Noel Byron. Lady Byron eventually succeeded to the Barony of Wentworth, becoming Lady Wentworth; her surname before marriage had been “Milbanke”.

While not at school or college, George Gordon Byron lived with his mother at Burgage Manor in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, in some antagonism. While there, he cultivated friendships with Elizabeth Pigot and her brother, John, with whom he staged 2 plays for the delight of the community.

During this time, with the help of Elizabeth Pigot, who copied many of his rough drafts, he was encouraged to write his 1st volumes of poetry. Fugitive Pieces was the 1st, printed by Ridge of Newark, which contained poems written when George Gordon Byron was only 14. However, it was promptly recalled and burned on the advice of his friend, the Reverend Thomas Becher, on account of its more amorous verses, particularly the poem “To Mary”. Pieces on Various Occasions, a “miraculously chaste” revision according to George Gordon Byron, was published after this.

Hours of Idleness, which collected many of the previous poems, along with more recent compositions, was the culminating book. The savage criticism this received— anonymously, but now known to be the work of Henry Peter Brougham— in the Edinburgh Review prompted his 1st major satire, “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers”. The work so upset some of these critics they challenged George Gordon Byron to a duel.

Some early verses which George Gordon Byron had published in 1806 were suppressed. George Gordon Byron followed those in 1807 with Hours of Idleness, which the Edinburgh Review, a Whig periodical, savagely attacked. In reply, George Gordon Byron sent 4th English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), which created considerable stir and shortly went through 5 editions. While some authors resented being satirized in its 1st edition, over time in subsequent editions it became a mark of prestige to be the target of George Gordon Byron’s pen.

After his return from his travels, the 1st 2 cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage were published in 1812, and were received with acclaim, making George Gordon Byron famous overnight. In his own words, “I awoke one morning and found myself famous.” George Gordon Byron followed up his success with the poem’s last 2 cantos, as well as 4 equally celebrated Oriental Tales, The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair, and Lara, which established the Byronic hero. About the same time, he began his intimacy with his future biographer, Thomas Moore.

A more complete picture of George Gordon Byron’s personal life has only been possible in recent years with the freeing up of the archive of John Murray, George Gordon Byron’s original publishers, which had formerly withheld compromising letters and instructed at least 1 major biographer (Leslie A. Marchand, 1957) to censor details of his bisexuality.

George Gordon Byron’s 1st loves included Mary Duff and Margaret Parker, his distant cousins, and Mary Chaworth, whom he met while at Harrow. George Gordon Byron later wrote that his passion for Mary Duff began when he was “not [yet] 8 years old” and was still unforgettable in 1813. George Gordon Byron refused to return to Harrow in September 1803 due to his love for Mary Chaworth; his mother wrote, “He has no indisposition that I know of but love, desperate love, the worst of all maladies in my opinion. In short, the boy is distractedly in love with Miss Chaworth.” In George Gordon Byron’s later memoirs, “Mary Chaworth is portrayed as the 1st object of his adult sexual feelings”

George Gordon Byron returned to Harrow in January 1804 to a more settled period which saw the formation of a circle of emotional involvements with other Harrow boys recalled with great vividness: ‘My School friendships were with me passions (for I was always violent).’ The most enduring of those was with the young Earl of Clare – 4years George Gordon Byron’s junior – whom he was to meet unexpectedly many years later in Italy (1821), to great intensity of feeling. George Gordon Byron’s nostalgic poems about his Harrow friendships, ‘Childish Recollections’ (1806), express a sense of melancholy at the passing of youthful freedoms, even a prescient ‘consciousness of sexual differences that may in the end make England untenable to him.’

“Ah! Sure some stronger impulse vibrates here,
Which whispers friendship will be doubly dear
To one, who thus for kindred hearts must roam,
And seek abroad, the love denied at home.”

While at Trinity, he met and formed a close friendship with a 15 year old choirboy by the name of John Edleston. About his “protégé” he wrote, “He has been my almost constant associate since October, 1805, when I entered Trinity College. George Gordon Byron’s voice 1st attracted my attention, his countenance fixed it, and his manners attached me to him for ever.” In his memory George Gordon Byron composed Thyrza, a series of elegies. George Gordon Byron wore a ring of Edleston’s for the 13years until he died. In later years he described the affair as ‘a violent, though pure love and passion’. This however has to be read in the context of hardening public attitudes to homosexuality in England and the severe sanctions (including public hanging) against convicted or suspected offenders. The liaison on the other hand may well have been ‘pure’ out of respect for Edleston’s innocence, in contrast to the (probably) more sexually overt relations experienced at Harrow School.

In an early scandal, George Gordon Byron embarked in 1812 on a well-publicised affair with the married Lady Caroline Lamb that shocked the British public. George Gordon Byron eventually broke off the relationship, but Lady Caroline Lamb never entirely recovered, pursuing him even after he tired of her. Lady Caroline Lamb was emotionally disturbed and lost so much weight that George Gordon Byron cruelly commented to her mother-in-law, his friend Lady Melbourne, that he was “haunted by a skeleton.” Lady Caroline Lamb began to call on him at home, sometimes dressed in disguise as a page boy, at a time when such an act could ruin both of them socially. One day, during such a visit, she wrote on a book at his desk, “Remember me!” As a retort, George Gordon Byron wrote a poem beginning: “Remember thee!” and ending “Thou false to him, thou fiend to me.” Lady Caroline Lamb famously said George Gordon Byron was “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

As a child, George Gordon Byron had seen little of his half-sister Augusta Leigh; in adulthood, he formed a close relationship with her that has been interpreted by some as incestuous and by others as innocent. Augusta Leigh gave birth on 15 April 1814 to a daughter, Elizabeth Medora Leigh.

Eventually George Gordon Byron began to court Lady Caroline’s cousin Anne Isabella Milbanke (“Annabella”), who refused his 1st proposal of marriage but later accepted. They married at Seaham Hall, County Durham, on 2 January 1815. The marriage proved unhappy. George Gordon Byron treated her poorly and showed disappointment at the birth of daughter (Augusta Ada), rather than a son. On 16 January 1816, Lady Byron left him, taking Ada with her. On 21 April, George Gordon Byron signed the Deed of Separation. Rumours of marital violence, adultery with actresses, incest with Augusta Leigh, and sodomy were circulated, assisted by a jealous Lady Caroline. In a letter, Augusta quoted him as saying: “Even to have such a thing said is utter destruction & ruin to a man from which he can never recover.”

George Gordon Byron racked up numerous debts as a young adult due to what his mother termed a reckless disregard for money. George Gordon Byron’s mother Catherine lived at Newstead during this time, in fear of her son’s creditors.

From 1809 to 1811, George Gordon Byron went on the Grand Tour then customary for a young nobleman. The Napoleonic Wars forced him to avoid most of Europe, and he instead turned to the Mediterranean. Correspondence among his circle of Cambridge friends also suggests that a key motive was the hope of homosexual experience, and other theories saying that he was worried about a possible dalliance with the married Mary Chatsworth, his former love (the subject of his poem from this time, “To a Lady: On Being Asked My Reason for Quitting England in the Spring.”)George Gordon Byron travelled from England over Spain to Albania and spent time at the court of Ali Pasha of Ioannina, and in Athens. For most of the trip, he had a traveling companion in his friend John Cam Hobhouse.

While in Athens, George Gordon Byron had a torrid love affair with Nicolò Giraud, a boy of 15 or 16 who was teaching him Italian. George Gordon Byron sent Giraud to school at a monastery in Malta and bequeathed him £7,000 sterling – almost double what he was later to spend refitting the Greek fleet. The will, however, was later cancelled.

After this break-up of his domestic life George Gordon Byron again left England, forever as it turned out. George Gordon Byron passed through Belgium and continued up the Rhine River. In the summer of 1816 he settled at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva, Switzerland with his personal physician, John William Polidori. There George Gordon Byron befriended the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s future wife Mary Godwin. George Gordon Byron was also joined by Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, with whom he had had an affair in London. George Gordon Byron initially refused to have anything to do with Claire Clairmont, and would only agree to remain in her presence with the Shelleys, who eventually persuaded George Gordon Byron to accept and provide for Allegra, the child she bore him in January 1817.

Kept indoors at the Villa Diodati by the “incessant rain” of “that wet, ungenial summer” over 3 days in June, the 5 turned to reading fantastical stories, including “Fantasmagoriana”, and then devising their own tales. Mary Shelley produced what would become Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Polidori was inspired by a fragmentary story of George Gordon Byron’s to produce The Vampyre, the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre. George Gordon Byron’s story fragment was published as a postscript to Mazeppa; he also wrote the 3rd canto of Childe Harold. George Gordon Byron wintered in Venice, pausing his travels when he fell in love with Marianna Segati, in whose Venice house he was lodging, and who was soon replaced by 22-year-old Margarita Cogni; both women were married. Margarita Cogni could not read or write, and she left her husband to move into George Gordon Byron’s Venice house. Their fighting often caused George Gordon Byron to spend the night in his gondola; when he asked her to leave the house, she threw herself into the Venetian canal.

In 1817, he journeyed to Rome. On returning to Venice, he wrote the 4th canto of Childe Harold. About the same time, he sold Newstead and published Manfred, Cain, and The Deformed Transformed. The 1st 5 cantos of Don Juan were written between 1818 and 1820, during which period he made the acquaintance of the young Countess Guiccioli, who found her first love in George Gordon Byron, who in turn asked her to elope with him. It was about this time that he received a visit from Thomas Moore, to whom he confided his autobiography or “life and adventures,” which Thomas Moore, Hobhouse and George Gordon Byron’s publisher, John Murray, burned in 1824, a month after George Gordon Byron’s death.

George Gordon Byron had a child with Anne Isabella Milbanke (“Annabella”), who was Augusta Ada Byron, Lady Byron, later Lady Wentworth:

The Hon. Ada Augusta Byron (10 December 1815-29 November 1852), later Countess of Lovelace

Ada Lovelace, notable in her own right, collaborated with Charles Babbage on the analytical engine, a predecessor to modern computers.

George Gordon Byron also had 1 illegitimate child with Claire Clairmont, stepsister of Mary Shelley and stepdaughter of Political Justice and Caleb Williams writer, William Godwin:

Clara Allegra Noel-Byron (12 January 1817-20 April 1822).
Allegra is not entitled to the style “The Hon.” as is usually given to the daughter of barons since she was illegitimate. Born in Switzerland in 1817, Allegra lived with George Gordon Byron for a few months in Venice; he refused to allow an Englishwoman caring for the girl to adopt her, nor for her to be raised in the Shelleys’ household. George Gordon Byron wished for her to be brought up Catholic and not marry an Englishman. George Gordon Byron made arrangements for her to inherit 5,000 lira upon marriage or reaching age 21, provided she did not marry a native of Britain. However, the girl died at 5 years old of a fever in Bagna Cavallo, Italy while George Gordon Byron was in Pisa; he was deeply upset by the news. George Gordon Byron had Allegra’s body sent back to England to be buried at his old school, Harrow, because Protestants could not be buried in consecrated ground in Catholic countries. At one time he himself had wanted to be buried at Harrow. George Gordon Byron was indifferent towards Allegra’s mother, Claire Clairmont.

George Gordon Byron eventually took his seat in the House of Lords in 1811, shortly after his return from the Levant, and made his 1st speech there on 27 February 1812. A strong advocate of social reform, he received particular praise as one of the few Parliamentary defenders of the Luddites: specifically, he was against a death penalty for Luddite “frame breakers” in Nottinghamshire, who destroyed textile machines that were putting them out of work. George Gordon Byron’s 1st speech before the Lords was loaded with sarcastic references to the “benefits” of automation, which he saw as producing inferior material as well as putting people out of work. George Gordon Byron said later that he “spoke very violent sentences with a sort of modest impudence” and thought he came across as “a bit theatrical”. In another Parliamentary speech he expressed opposition to the established religion because it was unfair to people of other faiths. These experiences inspired George Gordon Byron to write political poems such as “Song for the Luddites” (1816) and “The Landlords’ Interest” (1823). Examples of poems in which he attacked his political opponents include “Wellington: The Best of the Cut-Throats” (1819) and “The Intellectual Eunuch Castlereagh” (1818).

Ultimately, George Gordon Byron resolved to escape the censure of British society (due to his perceived sodomy and allegations of incest) by living abroad, thereby freeing himself of the need to conceal his sexual interests. George Gordon Byron left England in 1816 and did not return for the last 8 years of his life, even to bury his daughter.

In 1816, George Gordon Byron visited Saint Lazarus Island in Venice where he acquainted himself with Armenian culture through the Mekhitarist Order. George Gordon Byron learned the Armenian language from Fr. H. Avgerian and attended many seminars about language and history. George Gordon Byron wrote “English grammar and the Armenian” in 1817, and “Armenian grammar and the English” (1819) in which he quoted samples from classical and modern Armenian. George Gordon Byron participated in the compilation of “English Armenian dictionary” (1821) and wrote the preface where he explained the relationship of the Armenians with and the oppression of the Turkish “pashas” and the Persian satraps, and their struggle of liberation. George Gordon Byron’s 2 main translations are the “Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians”, several chapters of Khorenatsi’s “Armenian History” and sections of Lambronatsi’s “Orations”. When in Polis he discovered discrepancies in the Armenian vs. the English version of the Bible and translated some passages that were either missing or deficient in the English version. George Gordon Byron’s fascination was so great that he even considered a replacement of Cain story of the Bible with that of the legend of Armenian patriarch Haik. George Gordon Byron may be credited with the birth of Armenology and its propagation. George Gordon Byron’s profound lyricism and ideological courage has inspired many Armenian poets, the likes of Fr. Ghevond Alishan, Smbat Shahaziz, Hovhannes Tumanyan, Ruben Vorberian and others.

George Gordon Byron had a bust sculpted of him by Bertel Thorvaldsen at this time.

In 1821 to 1822, he finished Cantos 6–12 of Don Juan at Pisa, and in the same year he joined with Leigh Hunt and Percy Bysshe Shelley in starting a short-lived newspaper, The Liberal, in the first number of which appeared “The Vision of Judgment.” George Gordon Byron’s last Italian home was Genoa, where he was still accompanied by the Countess Guiccioli, and where he met Charles John Gardiner, 1st Earl of Blessington and Marguerite, Countess of Blessington and provided the material for her work Conversations with Lord Byron, an important text in the reception of George Gordon Byron in the period immediately after his death.

George Gordon Byron lived in Genoa until 1823 when— growing bored with his life there and with the Countess — he accepted overtures for his support from representatives of the movement for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. On 16July, George Gordon Byron left Genoa on the Hercules, arriving at Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands on 4 August. George Gordon Byron spent £4000 of his own money to refit the Greek fleet, then sailed for Messolonghi in western Greece, arriving on 29December to join Alexandros Mavrokordatos, a Greek politician with military power. During this time, George Gordon Byron pursued his Greek page, Lukas Chalandritsanos, but the affections went unrequited. When the famous Danish sculptor Thorvaldsen heard about George Gordon Byron’s heroics in Greece, he voluntarily resculpted his earlier bust of George Gordon Byron in Greek marble.

Alexandros Mavrokordatos and George Gordon Byron planned to attack the Turkish-held fortress of Lepanto, at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth. George Gordon Byron employed a fire-master to prepare artillery and took part of the rebel army under his own command and pay, despite his lack of military experience, but before the expedition could sail, on 15 February 1824, he fell ill, and the usual remedy of bleeding weakened him further. George Gordon Byron made a partial recovery, but in early April he caught a violent cold which the bleeding — insisted on by his doctors — aggravated. The cold became a violent fever, and he died on 19 April. It has been said that had George Gordon Byron lived, he might have been declared King of Greece.

Lord Byron on his deathbed as depicted by Joseph-Denis Odevaere c.1826 Oil on canvas, 166 × 234.5 cm Groeninge Museum, Bruges. Note the sheet covering his misshapen right foot.Alfred, Lord Tennyson would later recall the shocked reaction in Britain when word was received of Lord Byron’s death. The Greeks mourned Lord Byron deeply, and he became a hero. The national poet of Greece, Dionysios Solomos, wrote a poem about his unexpected loss, named “To the Death of Lord Byron.” Βύρων (Vyron), the Greek form of “Byron”, continues in popularity as a masculine name in Greece, and a suburb of Athens is called Vyronas in his honour.

Lord Byron’s body was embalmed, but the Greeks wanted some part of their hero to stay with them. According to some sources, his heart remained at Messolonghi. According to others, it was his lungs, which were placed in an urn that was later lost when the city was sacked. Lord Byron’s other remains were sent to England for burial in Westminster Abbey, but the Abbey refused for reason of “questionable morality.” Huge crowds viewed his body as he lay in state for 2 days in London. Lord Byron is buried at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottingham.

At her request, Ada Lovelace, the child he never knew, was buried next to him. In later years, the Abbey allowed a duplicate of a marble slab given by the King of Greece, which is laid directly above Lord Byron’s grave. Lord Byron’s friends raised the sum of £1,000 to commission a statue of the writer; Thorvaldsen offered to sculpt it for that amount. However, when the statue was completed in 1834, most British institutions it was offered to turned it down for more than 10 years as it remained in storage– the British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the National Gallery in turn. Trinity College, Cambridge finally placed the statue of Lord Byron in its library.

In 1969, 145 years after Lord Byron’s death, a memorial to him was finally placed in Westminster Abbey. The memorial had been lobbied for since 1907; The New York Times wrote, “People are beginning to ask whether this ignoring of Lord Byron is not a thing of which England should be ashamed… a bust or a tablet might put in the Poets’ Corner and England be relieved of ingratitude toward one of her really great sons.”

Upon his death, the barony passed to a cousin, George Anson Byron, a career military officer and George Gordon Byron’s polar opposite in temperament and lifestyle.

In 1833 his publisher, John Murray, released the complete works in 17 duodecimo volumes, including a life by Thomas Moore.

Although George Gordon Byron falls chronologically into the period most commonly associated with Romantic poetry, much of his work looks back to the satiric tradition of Alexander Pope and John Dryden. The most striking thing about George Gordon Byron’s poetry is its strength and masculinity. Trenchantly witty, he used unflowery and colloquial language in many poems, such as “Written after Swimming from Sestos to Abydos.” George Gordon Byron’s talent for drama was expressed in the vibrantly galloping rhythms of “The Destruction of Sennacherib.” However, poems such as “When We Two Parted” and “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving” express strong feelings in simple and touching language. George Gordon Byron made little use of imagery and did not aspire to write of things beyond this world; the Victorian critic John Ruskin wrote of him that he “spoke only of what he had seen and known; and spoke without exaggeration, without mystery, without enmity, and without mercy.”

George Gordon Byron’s attitude towards writing poetry is summed up well in a letter to Thomas Moore on 5th July 1821:

I can never get people to understand that poetry is the expression of excited passion, and that there is no such thing as a life of passion any more than a continuous earthquake, or an eternal fever. Besides, who would ever shave themselves in such a state?

George Gordon Byron’s magnum opus, Don Juan, a poem spanning 17 cantos, ranks as one of the most important long poems published in England since Milton’s Paradise Lost. The masterpiece, often called the epic of its time, has roots deep in literary tradition and, although regarded by early Victorians as somewhat shocking, equally involves itself with its own contemporary world at all levels—social, political, literary and ideological.

George Gordon Byron published the 1st 2 cantos anonymously in 1819 after disputes with his regular publisher over the shocking nature of the poetry; by this time, he had been a famous poet for 7 years and when he self-published the beginning cantos, they were well-received in some quarters. It was then released volume by volume through his regular publishing house. By 1822, cautious acceptance by the public had turned to outrage, and George Gordon Byron’s publisher refused to continue to publish the works. In Canto III of “Don Juan,” Byron expresses his detestation for poets such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The figure of the Byronic hero pervades much of his work, and George Gordon Byron himself is considered to epitomize many of the characterestics of this literary figure. Scholars have traced the literary history of the Byronic hero from John Milton, and many authors and artists of the Romantic movement show George Gordon Byron’s influence during the 19th century and beyond, including Charlotte and Emily Bronte. The Byronic hero presents an idealised but flawed character whose attributes include: having great talent, exhibiting great passion, having a distaste for society and social institutions, expressing a lack of respect for rank and privilege, thwarted in love by social constraint or death, rebelling, suffering exile, hiding an unsavoury past, arrogance, overconfidence or lack of foresight, and ultimately, acting in a self-destructive manner.

George Gordon Byron was a bitter opponent of Lord Elgin’s removal of the Parthenon marbles from Greece, and “reacted with fury” when Elgin’s agent gave him a tour of the Parthenon in which he saw the missing friezes and metopes. George Gordon Byron penned a poem, “The Curse of Minerva,” to denounce Elgin’s actions.

Lord Byron, by all accounts, had a magnetic personality. Lord Byron obtained a reputation as being extravagant, melancholy, courageous, unconventional, eccentric, flamboyant and controversial. Lord Byron was independent and given to extremes of temper; on at least 1 trip, his traveling companions were so puzzled by his mood swings they thought he was mentally ill. Lord Byron enjoyed adventure, especially relating to the sea.

Lord Byron believed his depression was inherited, and he wrote in 1821, “I am not sure that long life is desirable for one of my temper & constitutional depression of Spirits.”

Lord Byron was noted even during his time for the extreme loyalty he inspired in his friends. Cam Hobhouse said, “No man lived who had such devoted friends.”

George Gordon Byron’s adult height was about 5’10”, his weight fluctuating between 9 1/2 to 14 stone (133–196 pounds). George Gordon Byron was renowned for his personal beauty, which he enhanced by wearing curl-papers in his hair at night. George Gordon Byron was athletic, being competent at boxing and an excellent swimmer. At Harrow, he played cricket despite his lameness.

From birth, George Gordon Byron suffered from an unknown deformity of his right foot, causing a limp that resulted in lifelong misery for him, aggravated by the suspicion that with proper care it might have been cured. However, he refused to wear any type of mechanical device that could improve the limp, although he often wore specially made shoes that would hide the deformed foot.

Lord Byron and other writers such as his friend John Cam Hobhouse left detailed descriptions of his eating habits. From the time that he entered Cambridge he went on a strict diet to control his weight. Lord Byron also exercised a great deal and at that time wore a great number of clothes to cause himself to perspire. For most of his life he was a vegetarian and often lived for days on dry biscuits and white wine. Occasionally he would eat large helpings of meat and desserts, after which he would purge himself. George Gordon Byron’s friend Cam Hobhouse claimed that when he became overweight, the pain of his deformed foot made it difficult for him to exercise.

George Gordon Byron is considered to be the 1st modern-style celebrity. George Gordon Byron’s image as his own Byronic hero personified fascinated the public, and his wife Annabella coined the term “Byromania” to refer to the mania surrounding him. George Gordon Byron’s self-awareness and personal promotion are seen as a beginning to what would become the modern rock star; he would instruct artists painting portraits of him not to paint him with pen or book in hand, but as a “man of action.”

While George Gordon Byron first welcomed fame, he later turned away from it by going into voluntary exile from Britain.

George Gordon Byron had a great fondness for animals, most famously for a Newfoundland dog named Boatswain; when Boatswain contracted rabies, George Gordon Byron reportedly nursed him without any fear of becoming bitten and infected. Boatswain lies buried at Newstead Abbey and has a monument larger than his master’s. George Gordon Byron at one point expressed interest in being buried next to Boatswain. The inscription, Byron’s “Epitaph to a Dog,” has become one of his best-known works, reading in part:

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG,
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803,
and died at Newstead Nov.r 18th, 1808.
George Gordon Byron also kept a bear while he was a student at Trinity College, Cambridge (reputedly out of resentment of Trinity rules forbidding pet dogs—he later suggested that the bear apply for a college fellowship). At other times in his life, George Gordon Byron kept a fox, monkeys, a parrot, cats, an eagle, a crow, a crocodile, a falcon, peacocks, guinea hens, an Egyptian crane, a badger, geese, and a heron.

The re-founding of the Byron Society in 1971 reflects the fascination that many people have for George Gordon Byron and his work. This society has become very active, publishing a learned annual journal. Today some 36 International Byron Societies function throughout the world, and an International Conference takes place annually. Hardly a year passes without a new book about the poet appearing. In the last 20 years, two new feature films about him have screened, and a television play has been broadcast.

George Gordon Byron exercised a marked influence on Continental literature and art, and his reputation as a poet is higher in many European countries than in Britain or America, although not as high as in his time, when he was widely thought to be the greatest poet in the world. George Gordon Byron has inspired the works of Franz Liszt and Giuseppe Verdi.

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Club Feet or Foot Series-Disabled Legend Dudley Moore

Dudley Stuart John Moore, CBE was born on 19 April, 1935 in Dagenham, Essex, England, UK and died on 27 March, 2002 aged 66, as a result of pneumonia, secondary to immobility caused by the palsy, in Plainfield, New Jersey, USA. Rena Fruchter was holding his hand when he died, and she reported his final words were “I can hear the music all around me”. Dudley Moore was interred in Hillside Cemetery in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Rena Fruchter later wrote a memoir of their relationship (Dudley Moore, Ebury Press, 2004).

Dudley Moore was an English Golden Globe-winning actor, comedian and musician.

Dudley Moore first came to prominence as 1 of the 4 writer-performers in Beyond the Fringe in the early 1960s and became famous as half of the hugely popular television double-act he formed with Peter Cook. Dudley Moore’s fame as a comedic actor was later heightened by his success in Hollywood movies such as 10 with Bo Derek and Arthur in the late 1970s and early 1980s, respectively. Dudley Moore was often known as “Cuddly Dudley” or “The Sex Thimble”, a reference to his short stature and popularity with women.

Dudley Moore was born the son of a railway electrician in Dagenham, Essex, England. Dudley Moore’s working-class parents showed little affection to their offspring (as his older sister publicly revealed). Dudley Moore was notably short: 5′ 2½” (1.59 m) and was born with a club foot that required extensive hospital treatment and which, coupled with his diminutive stature, made him the butt of jokes from other children. Seeking refuge from his problems he became a choirboy at the age of 6 and took up piano and violin. Dudley Moore rapidly developed into a very talented pianist and organist and was playing the pipe organ at church weddings by the age of 14. Dudley Moore attended Dagenham County High School where he received musical tuition from a dedicated teacher, Peter Cork. Peter Cork became a friend and confidant to Dudley Moore, corresponding with him until 1994.

Dudley Moore’s musical talent won him a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford and whilst studying music and composition there, he performed with Alan Bennett in the Oxford Revue. Alan Bennett then recommended him to the producer putting together Beyond the Fringe, a comedy revue, where he was to first meet Peter Cook. Beyond the Fringe was at the forefront of the 1960s satire boom and after enormous success in Britain, it transferred to the USA where it was also a major hit.

During his university years, Dudley Moore took a great interest in jazz and soon became an accomplished jazz pianist and composer, as well as working with such leading musicians as John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. In 1960, he left Dankworth’s band to work on Beyond the Fringe. During the 1960s he formed the acclaimed “Dudley Moore Trio” (with drummer Chris Karan and bassists Pete McGurk and later Peter Morgan). Dudley Moore’s admitted principal musical influences were Oscar Peterson and Errol Garner. In a later interview he recalled the day he finally mastered Errol Garner’s unique left hand strum, and he was so excited he walked around for several days with his left hand constantly playing that extraordinary cadence. Dudley Moore’s early recordings included “My Blue Heaven”, “Lysie Does It”, “Poova Nova”, “Take Your Time”, “Indiana”, “Sooz Blooz”, “Bauble, Bangles and Beads”, “Sad One for George” and “Autumn Leaves”. The trio performed regularly on British television, made numerous recordings and had a long-running residency at Peter Cook’s club, The Establishment.

Dudley Moore composed the soundtracks for the films Bedazzled, Inadmissible Evidence, Staircase, and 6 Weeks, among others.

In the early 1970s, he had a brief relationship with British singer-songwriter Lynsey De Paul, whom he met at a party.

After following the Establishment to New York City, Dudley Moore returned to the UK and was offered his own series on the BBC. Not Only… But Also (1965) was commissioned as a vehicle for Dudley Moore, but when he invited Peter Cook on as a guest, their comedy partnership was so notable that it became a fixture of the series. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are most remembered for their sketches as 2 working-class men, Pete and Dud, in macs and cloth caps, commenting on politics and the arts, but they fashioned a series of character one-offs, usually with Dudley Moore in the role of interviewer to one of Peter Cook’s upper-class eccentrics. The pair developed an unorthodox method for scripting the material by using a tape recorder to tape an adlibbed routine that they would then have transcribed and edited. This would not leave enough time to fully rehearse the script so they often had a set of cue cards. Dudley Moore was famous for “corpsing”—the programmes often went on live, and Peter Cook would deliberately make him laugh in order to get an even bigger reaction from the studio audience. Regrettably, many of the videotapes and film reels of these seminal TV shows were later erased by the BBC (an affliction which wiped out large portions of other British television productions as well, such as Doctor Who), although some of the soundtracks (which were issued on record) have survived. Dudley Moore and Peter Cook co-starred in the film Bedazzled (1967) with Eleanor Bron, and also had tours called Behind the Fridge and Good Evening.

Their 3 albums of the late 1970s as Derek and Clive, were widely condemned for their use of obscene language and shocking, ad-libbed content. Shortly following the last of these, Ad Nauseam, Dudley Moore made a break with Peter Cook, whose alcoholism was affecting his work, to concentrate on his film career. When Dudley Moore began to manifest the symptoms of a disease that eventually killed him (progressive supranuclear palsy), it was at first suspected that he too had a drinking problem. 2 of Moore’s early starring roles, were the titular drunken playboy Arthur, and to a lesser extent the heavy drinker George Webber in 10.

In the late 1970s, Dudley Moore moved to Hollywood, where he appeared in Foul Play (1978) with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. The following year saw his breakout role in Blake Edwards’s 10, which he followed up with the movie Wholly Moses. Soon thereafter Arthur (film), an even bigger hit than 10, which also starred Liza Minnelli and Sir John Gielgud (who won an Oscar for his role as Arthur’s stern but loving man servant) and Geraldine Fitzgerald.

Dudley Moore was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award but lost to Henry Fonda (for On Golden Pond). Dudley Moore did, however, win a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy. In 1984, Dudley Moore had another hit, starring in the Blake Edwards directed Micki + Maude, co-starring Amy Irving. This won him another Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy.

Dudley Moore’s subsequent films, including an Arthur sequel and an animated adaptation of King Kong, were inconsistent in terms of both critical and commercial reception. In later years Peter Cook would wind-up Dudley Moore by claiming he preferred Arthur 2: On the Rocks to Arthur.

In addition to acting, Dudley Moore continued to work as a composer and pianist, writing scores for a number of films and giving piano concerts, which were highlighted by his popular parodies of classical favourites. In addition, Dudley Moore collaborated with the conductor Sir Georg Solti to create a 1991 television series, Orchestra!, which was designed to introduce audiences to the symphony orchestra. Dudley Moore later worked with the American conductor Michael Tilson Thomas on a similar television series from 1993, Concerto!, likewise designed to introduce audiences to classical music concertos.

In 1987, he was interviewed for the New York Times by the music critic Rena Fruchter, herself an accomplished pianist. They became close friends. At that time Dudley Moore’s film career was already on the wane. Dudley Moore was having trouble remembering his lines, a problem he had never previously encountered. Dudley Moore opted to concentrate on the piano, and enlisted Rena Fruchter as an artistic partner. They performed as a duo in the U.S. and Australia. However, his disease soon started to make itself apparent there as well, as his fingers would not always do what he wanted them to do. Symptoms such as slurred speech and loss of balance were interpreted by the public and the media as a sign of drunkenness. Dudley Moore himself was at a loss to explain this. Dudley Moore moved into Rena Fruchter’s family home in New Jersey and stayed there for 5 years, but this, however, placed a great strain on both her marriage and her friendship with Dudley Moore, and she later set him up in the house next door.

Dudley Moore was deeply affected by the untimely death of Peter Cook in 1995, and for weeks would regularly telephone Peter Cook’s home in London just to get the answerphone and hear his friend’s voice. Dudley Moore attended Peter Cook’s memorial service in London and at the time many people who knew him noted that Dudley Moore was behaving strangely and attributed it to grief or drinking. In November 199, Dudley Moore teamed up with friend and humorist Martin Lewis in organising a 2 day salute to Peter Cook in Los Angeles which Dudley Moore co-hosted with Martin Lewis.

Dudley Moore was married and divorced 4 times: to actresses Suzy Kendall and Tuesday Weld (by whom he had a son, Patrick, in 1976); Brogan Lane and Nicole Rothschild (1 son, Nicholas, born in 1995).

Dudley Moore maintained good relationships with Suzy Kendall particularly, and also Tuesday Weld and Brogan Lane. However, he expressly forbade Nicole Rothschild to attend his funeral. At the time his illness became apparent, he was going through a difficult divorce from Nicole Rothschild, despite sharing a household in Los Angeles with not only her but also her previous husband.

Dudley Moore dated and was a favorite of some of Hollywood’s most attractive women, including the statuesque Susan Anton.

In June 1998, Nicole Rothschild was reported to have told an American television show that Dudley Moore was “waiting to die” due to a serious illness, but these reports were denied by Suzy Kendall.

On 30 September 1999, Dudley Moore announced that he was suffering from the terminal degenerative brain disorder Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, and the illness had been diagnosed earlier in the year.

In December 2004, the UK’s Channel 4 television network broadcast Not Only But Always, a television movie dramatising the relationship between Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, although the focus of the production was on Peter Cook. Around the same time, the relationship between the 2 was also the subject of a stage play called Pete and Dud: Come Again.

Honours and awards

In June 2001, Dudley Moore was appointed a Commander of the Order of The British Empire (CBE). Despite his deteriorating condition, he attended the ceremony, mute and wheelchair-bound, at Buckingham Palace to collect his honour.

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Series-Disabled Legend David Niven

James David Graham Niven was born on 1 March 1910 in London, England, UK and died on 29 July 1983 in Switzerland of motor neurone disease (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at the age of 73. Bitter, estranged, and plagued by depression, David Niven’s wife Hjördis showed up drunk at the funeral, having been persuaded to attend by family friend Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Hjördis added insult to injury by noting in her will that “under no circumstances” was she to be buried alongside her husband in the place left for her in the crypt in Switzerland.

David Niven was an English Academy Award-winning actor probably best known for his role as the punctuality-obsessed adventurer Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days (1956).

David Niven was the son of William Edward Graham Niven and the French/British Henrietta Julia Degacher who was born in Wales, was the daughter of army officer William Degacher (who changed his original name of Hitchcock to his mother’s maiden name of Degacher in 1874 and Julia Caroline, the daughter of Lieutenant General James Webber Smith. James was named David for his birth on St. David’s Day. Although he often claimed to have been born in Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland in 1909, it was only after his birth certificate was checked following his death that this was found to be incorrect.

David’s father was killed during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915 and his mother remarried Sir Thomas Comyn-Platt. In his biography, NIV: The Authorised Biography of David Niven, Graham Lord suggests that Comyn-Platt had been conducting an affair with David Niven’s mother for some time prior to her husband’s death, and that Sir Thomas may well have been David Niven’s biological father, a supposition not without some support from her children.

After attending Stowe as a boy, David Niven trained at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, which gave him the “officer and gentleman” bearing that was to be his trademark. Although he had done well at Sandhurst, David Niven did not enjoy his time in the regular Army, in part because he was not accepted for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on which he had set his heart. David served for 2 years in Malta and 2 years in Dover with the Highland Light Infantry. While on Malta, he became acquainted and friendly with Captain Roy Urquhart, who would later lead the British 1st Airborne Division in the ill-fated Operation Market-Garden.

David Niven grew tired of the peacetime Army and saw no opportunity for promotion or advancement. As he related in his memoirs, his ultimate decision to resign came after a lengthy lecture on machine guns, which was interfering with his plans for dinner with a particularly attractive young lady. At the end of the speech, the major general giving the lecture asked if there were any questions. Showing the typical rebelliousness of his early years, David Niven stated that he felt compelled to ask, “Could you tell me the time, sir? I have to catch a train.”

After being placed under close arrest for this act of insubordination, David Niven claims to have finished a bottle of whisky with the officer who was guarding him and, with the connivance of the latter, escaped from a 1st floor window. En route across the Atlantic, David Niven sent a telegram resigning his commission. David Niven relocated to New York, where he began an unsuccessful career in whisky sales and horse rodeo promotion in Atlantic City. After subsequent detours to Bermuda and Cuba, he finally arrived in Hollywood in the summer of 1934.

According to his autobiography, The Moon’s a Balloon, David Niven arrived in Hollywood to try to break into the movies by first finding work as an extra. David was given lodgings with the Belzer family, one of whose daughters – Gretchen – was already a major Hollywood star, under her stage name of Loretta Young. When he presented himself at the doors of Central Casting, he found out that he had to have a work permit, to allow him to reside and work in the U.S. Luckily for him, he was given the chance to do a screen test for director Edmund Goulding. Unfortunately, it was not long after this that he was paid a visit by the U.S. Immigration Service and told he had to apply for a Resident Alien Visa.

This meant that David Niven had to leave U.S. soil in the meantime, and again, according to his autobiography, he left for Mexico – specifically Mexicali – where he worked as a “gun-man”, cleaning and polishing the rifles of the visiting Americans who came there to hunt quail and various other game. After a lengthy wait for his birth certificate to be sent out from England, he successfully applied – and received – his Resident Alien Visa from the American Consulate. David then returned to the U.S. and was accepted by Central Casting as “Anglo-Saxon Type No. 2008.”

David Niven’s first work as an extra was as a Mexican in a Western. This inauspicious start notwithstanding, he then found himself an agent – Bill Hawks. After this, he was then signed up for a non-speaking part in MGM’s “Mutiny On The Bounty” (1935), starring Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian and Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh.

David Niven then landed a long-term contract as a supporting player with independent film producer Samuel Goldwyn, which firmly established his career and enabled him to become a leading man in many films. Given his privileged English upbringing, David Niven had no problems infiltrating what became known as the Hollywood Raj, a select group of British actors who had made Hollywood their home. Other members of the group, included Boris Karloff, Stan Laurel, Basil Rathbone, Ronald Colman and their self appointed leader C. Aubrey Smith. One of his 1st major roles was in The Charge of the Light Brigade in 1936, in which he starred alongside one of his closest friends Errol Flynn. A year later he starred as Capt. Fritz von Tarlenheim in 1937’s The Prisoner of Zenda with C Aubrey Smith and Ronald Colman. However, not wanting to be typecast as a ‘swashbuckler’ as Errol Flynn had been, David Niven also made films in a light hearted vein such as the 1939 RKO comedy Bachelor Mother with Ginger Rogers, and Raffles, in which he played a gentleman thief.

After the United Kingdom declared war in 1939, David Niven was one of the 1st British actors to return to England. David rejoined the British Army. 1st serving with the Rifle Brigade, David Niven was assigned to a motor training battalion. David Niven later interviewed for a position with the British Commandos, and was assigned to a training base at Inverailort House in the Western Highlands of Scotland. David Niven would later claim credit for introducing British hero Robert Laycock to the Commandos. Working with the Army Film Unit, he also took part in the deception campaign, using a minor actor M.E. Clifton James, a Montgomery lookalike, to convince the Germans that the D-Day landings would be made in the Mediterranean. Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by General Frederick E. Morgan and assigned as a liaison officer between the British Second Army and the First United States Army, David Niven took part in the Normandy landings, arriving several days after D-Day. David acted in 2 films during the war, both of strong propaganda value: The First of the Few (1942) and The Way Ahead (1944). During his war service, his batman was Private Peter Ustinov (with whom he would later co-star in Death on the Nile).

David Niven remained politely, but firmly, close-mouthed about the war, despite public interest in celebrities in combat and a reputation for telling good stories over and over again. David said once: “I will, however, tell you just one thing about the war, my first story and my last. I was asked by some American friends to search out the grave of their son near Bastogne. I found it where they told me I would, but it was among 27,000 others, and I told myself that here, David Niven, were 27,000 reasons why you should keep your mouth shut after the war.” David Niven also had special scorn for the newspaper columnists covering the war who typed out self-glorifying and excessively florid prose about their meagre wartime experiences. David Niven stated, “Anyone who says a bullet sings past, hums past, flies, pings, or whines past, has never heard one − they go crack.” One story has surfaced: about to lead his men into a battle with an expectation of heavy casualties, David Niven supposedly eased their nervousness by telling them, “It’s all very well for you chaps, but I’ll have to do this all over again in Hollywood with Errol Flynn!”

David Niven did, however, finally open up about his war experience in his 1971 autobiography, The Moon’s a Balloon, mentioning his private conversations with Winston Churchill, the bombings, and what it was like entering a nearly completely destroyed Germany with the occupation forces. David Niven stated that he first met Winston Churchill during a dinner party in February 1940 when Winston Churchill singled him out from the crowd and stated, “Young man, you did a fine thing to give up your film career to fight for your country. Mark you, had you not done so − it would have been despicable.”

In spite of a 6 year virtual absence from the screen, he came 2nd in the 1945 Popularity Poll of British film stars. On his return to Hollywood after the war, he was made a Legionnaire of the Legion of Merit, the highest American order that can be earned by a foreigner. This was presented to Lt. Col. David Niven by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

David Niven was actually a member of the specialist Phantom Signals Unit, and was responsible for reporting and locating enemy positions, bomb lines and also keeping rear Commanders up to date on changing battle lines. David Niven was posted at one time to Chilham in Kent. Dwight Eisenhower was so disappointed with communications difficulty on D-Day that he personally ordered a Phantom Unit to be attached to his headquarters.

David Niven resumed his career after the war, with films such as A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Around the World in 80 Days (1956) (as Phileas Fogg), The Guns Of Navarone (1961), and The Pink Panther (1963).

The same year as he hosted the show with Jack Lemmon and Bob Hope, David Niven won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Separate Tables (1958). David Niven had a long and complex relationship with Samuel Goldwyn, who had first given him his start, but whom David Niven believed had been treating him unfairly. Despite their long business history, David Niven and Samuel Goldwyn went through an 8 year estrangement in which David Niven was essentially blacklisted from the movie industry after demanding greater compensation for his work. After winning the Academy Award, David Niven received a telephone call from Samuel Goldwyn with the invitation that he should come to his home. David Niven claimed that he was in Samuel Goldwyn’s drawing room when he noticed a picture of him in uniform that he had sent to Samuel Goldwyn from England during World War II. David claimed that in happier times with Goldwyn, he had observed this same picture sitting on top of Samuel Goldwyn’s piano. Now years later, the picture was still in the exact same spot. David Niven claimed that as he was looking at the picture, Samuel Goldwyn’s wife, Francis, approached him and said, “Sam never took it down.”

David Niven had in fact been Ian Fleming’s preference for the part of James Bond, however EON Productions chose Sean Connery for their series. In 1967, he starred with Deborah Kerr and Barbara Bouchet in the James Bond satire, Casino Royale. In a documentary included with the U.S. DVD of the 1967 release of Casino Royale, Charles K. Feldman states that Ian Fleming had written the book with David Niven in mind, and therefore sent a copy of the book to David. David Niven is the only James Bond actor who is mentioned by name in the text of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond visits an exclusive ski resort in Switzerland where he is told that David Niven is a frequent visitor and in You Only Live Twice, David Niven is referred to as the only real gentleman in Hollywood.

Late in life, he gained critical acclaim for his memoirs of his boyhood and acting career, The Moon’s a Balloon (1971) and Bring On the Empty Horses (1975). Although it has since come to light that despite David Niven’s frequent recounting of anecdotes about Hollywood in a manner that suggested that he had been personally involved at the time, in many cases he had not in fact been a witness to them and he was merely embroidering stories he had heard at third hand.

Perhaps one of David Niven’s finest moments came when he had to present the 46th Annual Oscars ceremony, and a naked man appeared behind him, running across the stage. Not to be outclassed or nonplussed even for a moment, David Niven came back with the one liner “Isn’t it fascinating to think, that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life, is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings!”

After a whirlwind 2 week romance in 1940, David Niven married Primula Susan Rollo (1918, London – 21 May 1946, Beverly Hills, California), the aristocratic daughter of a British lawyer. The couple had 2 sons, David Jr. and Jamie. Primula died at age 28, only 6 weeks after moving to America, of a fractured skull and brain lacerations from an accidental fall in the home of Tyrone Power. While playing hide and seek, she walked through a door believing it led to a closet. Instead, it led to a stone staircase to the basement. David Niven recalled this as the darkest period of his life, years afterwards thanking his friends for their patience and forbearance during this time. David later claimed to have been so grief stricken that he thought for a while that he’d gone mad. David eventually rallied and returned to film making.

David Niven met Hjördis Paulina Tersmeden (née Genberg, 1921–1997), a divorced Swedish fashion model and frustrated actress, in 1948. The moment of his meeting her was recounted by David Niven in what might be a classic example of his writing style:

I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life – tall, slim, auburn hair, uptilted nose, lovely mouth and the most enormous grey eyes I had ever seen. It really happened the way it does when written by the worst lady novelists…I goggled. I had difficulty swallowing and had champagne in my knees.

They married 10 days later.

In October 1951, while pheasant shooting with friends in New England, Hjördis was shot in the face, neck and chest by 2 of David Niven’s companions. While convalescing in the Blackstone Hotel in New York, David Niven and Hjördis were next door neighbours with Audrey Hepburn, who made her debut on Broadway that season. In 1960, while filming Please Don’t Eat the Daisies with Doris Day, David Niven and Hjördis separated for a few weeks, though they later reconciled.

They had 2 adopted daughters, Kristin and Fiona, one of whom has long been rumored to be David Niven’s child by another fashion model, Mona Gunnarson. The marriage was as tumultuous as David Niven’s previous marriage had been happy. Thwarted from pursuing an acting career, Hjördis was reported as having affairs with other men and became an alcoholic.

In February 1983, using a false name to avoid publicity, David Niven was hospitalised for 10 days for treatment, ostensibly for a digestive problem. Afterwards, he returned to his chalet at Chateau d’Oex in Switzerland, where his condition continued to decline. David refused to return to the hospital, and his family supported his decision.

According to Graham Lord, who wrote a biography on David Niven, called simply “Niv”, Lord writes that there have been reports that some have accused David Niven of being especially friendly to people who could have done him some good. Graham Lord also says that “the biggest wreath, worthy of a Mafia Godfather’s funeral, was delivered from the porters at London’s Heathrow Airport, along with a card that read: “To the finest gentleman who ever walked through these halls. David Niven made a porter feel like a king.”

David Niven died on the same day as Raymond Massey, his co-star in The Prisoner of Zenda and A Matter of Life and Death. David Niven had just completed work on Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther. David was incomprehensible at times during the filming of both movies, and his voice was dubbed over in post-production by impressionist Rich Little, a fact that David Niven later learned through a gossip column.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Laura Bridgman

Laura Dewey Bridgman was born on 21 December, 1829 in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA and died on 24 May, 1889. Laura was buried at Dana Cemetery in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA.

Laura is known as the 1st deaf-blind American child to gain a significant education in the English language, 50 years before the more famous Helen Keller. However, there are accounts of deaf-blind people communicating in tactile sign language before this time, and the deafblind Victorine Morriseau (1789-1832) had successfully learned French as a child some years earlier.

Laura was , being the 3rd daughter of Daniel Bridgman (d. 1868), a substantial Baptist farmer, and his wife Harmony, daughter of Cushman Downer, and granddaughter of Joseph Downer, one of the 5 1st settlers (1761) of Thetford, Vermont. Laura was a delicate infant, puny and rickety, and was subject to fits up to 20 months old, but otherwise seemed to have normal sense. However, Laura’s family was struck with scarlet fever when she was 2 years old. The illness killed her 2 older sisters and a brother and left her deaf, blind, and without a sense of smell or taste. Though she gradually recovered health she remained a deaf-blind, but was kindly treated and was in particular made a sort of playmate by an eccentric bachelor friend of the Bridgmans, Mr Asa Tenney, who as soon as she could walk used to take her for rambles a-field. Laura learned through touch to sew and knit as a child but had no language.

In 1837 Mr James Barrett, of Dartmouth College, saw her and mentioned her case to Dr Mussey, the head of the medical department, who wrote an account which attracted the attention of Dr Samuel Gridley Howe, the director of the Perkins School for the Blind at Boston. Dr Howe determined to try to get the child into the Institution and to attempt to educate her; her parents assented, and in October 1837 Laura entered the school.

Laura Bridgman was a comely child and of a sensitive and affectionate nature and was imitative in so far as she could follow the actions of others. However, she was limited in her communication to the narrower uses of touch. Laura’s mother, preoccupied with house-work, had already ceased to be able to control her, and her father’s authority was due to fear of superior force, not to reason. Dr Howe had been recently met Julia Brace, a deaf-blind resident at the American School for the Deaf who communicated using tactile sign, and developed a plan to teach the young Laura Bridgman to read and write through tactile means — something that had not been attempted previously, to his knowledge. At first he and his assistant, Lydia Drew, used words printed with raised letters, and later they progressed to using a manual alphabet expressed through tactile sign. Eventually she received a broad education.

Dr Howe taught words before the individual letters, and his 1st experiment consisting in pasting upon several common articles such as keys, spoons, knives, &c., little paper labels with the names of the articles printed in raised letters, which he got her to feel and differentiate; then he gave her the same labels by themselves, which she learned to associate with the articles they referred to, until, with the spoon or knife alone before her she could find the right label for each from a mixed heap. The next stage was to give her the component letters and teach her to combine them in the words she knew, and gradually in this way she learned all the alphabet and the 10 digits. The whole process depended, of course, on her having a human intelligence, which only required stimulation, and her own interest in learning became keener as she progressed.

Dr Howe devoted himself with the utmost patience and assiduity to her education and was rewarded by increasing success. On the 24th of July 1839 she 1st wrote her own name legibly. On the 20th of June 1840 she had her 1st arithmetic lesson, by the aid of a metallic case perforated with square holes, square types being used; and in 19 days she could add a column of figures amounting to 30. Laura was in good health and happy, and was treated by Dr Howe as his daughter. Laura’s case already began to interest the public, and others were brought to Dr Howe for treatment.

In 1841 Laura began to keep a journal, in which she recorded her own day’s work and thoughts. In January 1842 Charles Dickens visited the Institution, and afterwards wrote enthusiastically in his American Notes of Dr Howe’s success with Laura. In 1843 funds were obtained for devoting a special teacher to her, and first Miss Swift, then Miss Wight, and then Miss Paddock, were appointed; Laura by this time was learning geography and elementary astronomy. By degrees she was given religious instruction, but Dr Howe was intent upon not inculcating dogma before she had grasped the essential truths of Christianity and the story of the Bible.

Laura grew up a happy, cheerful girl, loving, optimistic, but with a nervous system inclining to irritability, and requiring careful education in self-control. In 1860 her eldest sister Mary’s death helped to bring on a religious crisis, and through the influence of some of her family she was received into the Baptist church; she became for some years after this more self-conscious and rather pietistic. In 1867 she began writing compositions which she called poems; the best-known is called “Holy Home.”

In 1872, Dr Howe having been enabled to build some separate cottages (each under a matron) for the blind girls, Laura was moved from the larger house of the Institution into one of them, and there she continued her quiet life. The death of Dr Howe in 1876 was a great grief to her; but before he died he had made arrangements by which she would be financially provided for in her home at the Institution for the rest of her life. In 1887 her jubilee was celebrated there, but in 1889 she was taken ill, and she died on the 24th of May. Laura’s name has become familiar everywhere as ,an example of the education of a deaf-blind. Helen Keller’s mother Kate Keller read Dickens’ account and was inspired to seek advice which led to her hiring a teacher and former pupil of the same school, Anne Sullivan. Anne learned the manual alphabet from Laura which she took back to Helen, along with a doll that Laura had made for her.

A Liberty ship was named after her.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Cliff Bastin

Clifford Sydney Bastin was born on 14 March, 1912 in Heavitree near Exeter and died on 4 December 1991 at the age of 79. A stand at St James Park, Exeter’s home ground, is named in his honour.

Cliff was an English football player.

Cliff Bastin started his career at Exeter City, making his debut for the club in 1928, at the age of 16. Despite only playing 17 games and scoring 6 goals in his time at Exeter, he was spotted by Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman in a match against Watford; Herbert Chapman was attending to keep tabs on a Watford player, but the 17-year-old Cliff Bastin’s ability was so evident that Herbert Chapman decided to sign him at the end of the 1928-29 season.

Cliff Bastin played the rest of his career at Arsenal, and formed an integral part of the side that dominated English football in the 1930s. Cliff Bastin scored 178 goals in 395 games, which made him Arsenal’s all-time top goalscorer from 1939 until 1997, when his total was surpassed by Ian Wright. In 2005 Thierry Henry passed both Cliff Bastin and Ian Wright’s totals, thus meaning Cliff Bastin is currently (as of December 2006) Arsenal’s third-top goalscorer of all time. Cliff Bastin’s record of 150 league goals for Arsenal stood for slightly longer, until it was equalled by Thierry Henry on 14 January, 2006 and surpassed on 1 February.

Cliff Bastin made his debut against Everton on 5 October, 1929 and was immediately a first team regular, making 21 appearances that season. Cliff Bastin went on to be a near ever-present in the side over the next decade, playing over 35 matches for every season up to and including 1937-38. Cliff Bastin’s youth earned him the nickname “Boy Bastin”, but despite his age Cliff Bastin’s play was characterised by a remarkable coolness, and deadly precision in front of goal; he also became Arsenal’s regular penalty taker. Cliff Bastin’s scoring feats are all the more remarkable considering he played on the left wing rather than as centre forward; at the time Arsenal’s strategy depended heavily on their wingers cutting into the penalty box, and the supply of passes from Alex James was the source of many of his goals.

With Arsenal, Cliff Bastin won the FA Cup twice, in 1929-30 and 1935-36, and the First Division title 5 times, in 1930-31, 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35 and 1937-38; by the age of 19 he had won a League title, FA Cup and been capped for England, making him the youngest player ever to do all 3. Cliff Bastin also finished as Arsenal top scorer twice (1932-33 and 1933-34, with 33 and 15 respectively) though after centre-forward Ted Drake arrived in March 1934, Cliff Bastin was no longer Arsenal’s number 1 target man.

With Ted Drake scoring the lion’s share of the goals and Alex James increasingly unavailable due to injury and age, Cliff Bastin was moved to inside-forward to replace Alex James for much of the 1935-36 season, which saw Arsenal drop to 6th; Cliff Bastin still scored 17 goals, including 6 in Arsenal’s run to the 1936 FA Cup Final, which they won 1-0. After a stint at right half to cover for Jack Crayston, Cliff Bastin was eventually restored to the left wing and scored 17 goals in the 1937-38 title-winning season. An injury to his right leg ruled him out of much of the 1938-39 season, the last one played before the outbreak of World War II.

During his career Cliff Bastin also played for England between 1931 and 1938, winning 21 caps and scoring 12 goals his debut coming against Wales at Anfield on 18 November, 1931, which England won 3-1. Highlights of his England career included the famous “Battle of Highbury”, where England defeated 1934 World Cup winners Italy 3-2, and a notorious match against Germany in Berlin in 1938, when the England team was ordered to give the Nazi salute before the match.

The Second World War intervened when Bastin was 27, thus cutting short what should have been the peak of his career. Cliff Bastin was excused military service he failed the army hearing test owing to his increasing deafness. Thus, during the war, he served as an ARP Warden, being stationed on top of Highbury stadium with Tom Whittaker. Cliff Bastin also played matches in the war-time league to boost civilian morale. In 1941, Fascist Italy’s propaganda broadcast on Rome Radio, contained a bizarre claim that Cliff Bastin had been captured in the Battle of Crete, and was being detained in Italy; the Italians were seemingly unaware that Cliff Bastin was deaf and had been excused service.

Cliff Bastin’s injured leg had hampered his performances in wartime matches, and would ultimately curtail his career. After the war was over, Cliff Bastin, by now in his thirties, would only play 7 more times (failing to score in any of them) before retiring in January 1947. After retirement, Cliff Bastin returned to his native Exeter and ran a pub.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Heaviside was born on 18 May, 1850 in London’s Camden Town and died on 3 February, 1925 at Torquay in Devon, and is buried in Paignton cemetery. Most of his recognition was gained posthumously.

Oliver Heaviside was a self-taught English electrical engineer, mathematician and physicist who adapted complex numbers to the study of electrical circuits, invented mathematical techniques to the solution of differential equations (later found to be equivalent to Laplace transforms), reformulated Maxwell’s field equations in terms of electric and magnetic forces and energy flux, and independently co-formulated vector analysis. Although at odds with the scientific establishment for most of his life, Oliver Heaviside changed the face of mathematics and science for years to come.

Oliver Heaviside was short and red-headed, and suffered from scarlet fever during his youth. The illness had a lasting impact on him, and Oliver Heaviside was left partially deaf. Oliver Heaviside was a good scholar (placed 5th out of 500 students in 1865). Oliver Heaviside left school at the age of 16 and to study at home in the subjects of telegraphy and electromagnetism. Oliver Heaviside’s uncle Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) was the original co-inventor of the telegraph back in the mid 1830s. Sir Charles Wheatstone was married to Oliver Heaviside’s mother’s sister in London. During the early decades of Oliver Heaviside’s life his uncle was an internationally celebrated expert in telegraphy and electromagnetism.

Between the age of 16 and 18 he studied at home. Then—in the only paid employment he ever had—he took a job as a telegraph operator with the Great Northern Telegraph Company, working in Denmark and then in Newcastle upon Tyne, and was soon made a chief operator. Oliver Heaviside’s uncle’s connections probably helped him get this job. Oliver Heaviside continued to study and at the age of 21 and 22 he published some research related to electric circuits and telegraphy. In 1874 at the age of 24 Oliver Heaviside quit his job to study full-time on his own at his parents’ home in London.

Subsequently, Oliver Heaviside did not have a regular job. Oliver Heaviside remained single throughout his life.

In 1873 Oliver Heaviside had encountered James Clerk Maxwell’s just published, and today famous, 2-volume Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. In his old age Oliver Heaviside recalled:

“I remember my first look at the great treatise of Maxwell’s when I was a young man… I saw that it was great, greater and greatest, with prodigious possibilities in its power… I was determined to master the book and set to work. I was very ignorant. I had no knowledge of mathematical analysis (having learned only school algebra and trigonometry which I had largely forgotten) and thus my work was laid out for me. It took me several years before I could understand as much as I possibly could. Then I set Maxwell aside and followed my own course. And I progressed much more quickly… It will be understood that I preach the gospel according to my interpretation of Maxwell.”

Doing full-time research from home, he helped develop transmission line theory (also known as the “telegrapher’s equations”). Oliver Heaviside showed mathematically that uniformly distributed inductance in a telegraph line would diminish both attenuation and distortion, and that, if the inductance were great enough and the insulation resistance not too high, the circuit would be distortionless while currents of all frequencies would be equally attenuated. Oliver Heaviside’s equations helped further the implementation of the telegraph.

In 1880, Oliver Heaviside researched the skin effect in telegraph transmission lines. In 1884 he recast Maxwell’s mathematical analysis from its original cumbersome form (they had already been recast as quaternions) to its modern vector terminology, thereby reducing the original 20 equations in 20 unknowns down to the 4 differential equations in 2 unknowns we now know as Maxwell’s equations. The 4 re-formulated Maxwell’s equations describe the nature of static and moving electric charges and magnetic dipoles, and the relationship between the 2, namely electromagnetic induction. In 1880 he patented, in England, the co-axial Cable.

Between 1880 and 1887, Oliver Heaviside developed the operational calculus (involving the D notation for the differential operator, which he is credited with creating), a method of solving differential equations by transforming them into ordinary algebraic equations which caused a great deal of controversy when first introduced, owing to the lack of rigor in his derivation of it. Oliver Heaviside famously said, “Mathematics is an experimental science, and definitions do not come first, but later on.” Oliver Heaviside was replying to criticism over his use of operators that were not clearly defined. On another occasion he stated somewhat more defensively, “I do not refuse my dinner simply because I do not understand the process of digestion.”

In 1887, Oliver Heaviside proposed that induction coils (inductors) should be added to telephone and telegraph lines to increase their self-induction in and correct the distortion from which they suffered. For political reasons, this was not done. The importance of Oliver Heaviside’s work remained undiscovered for some time after publication in The Electrician, and so its rights lay in the public domain. AT&T later employed one of its own scientists, George A. Campbell, and an external investigator Michael I. Pupin to determine whether Oliver Heaviside’s work was incomplete or incorrect in any way. Campbell and Pupin extended Oliver Heaviside’s work, and AT&T filed for patents covering not only their research, but also the technical method of constructing the coils previously invented by Oliver Heaviside. AT&T later offered Oliver Heaviside money in exchange for his rights; it is possible that the Bell engineers’ respect for Oliver Heaviside influenced this offer. However, Oliver Heaviside refused the offer, declining to accept any money unless the company were to give him full recognition. Oliver Heaviside was chronically poor, making his refusal of the offer even more striking.

In 2 papers of 1888 and 1889, Oliver Heaviside calculated the deformations of electric and magnetic fields surrounding a moving charge, as well as the effects of it entering a denser medium. This included a prediction of what is now known as Cherenkov radiation, and inspired Fitzgerald to suggest what now is known as the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction.

In the late 1880s and early 1890s, Oliver Heaviside worked on the concept of electromagnetic mass. Oliver Heaviside treated this as “real” as material mass, capable of producing the same effects. Wilhelm Wien later verified Oliver Heaviside’s expression (for low velocities).

In 1891 the British Royal Society recognized Oliver Heaviside’s contributions to the mathematical description of electromagnetic phenomena by naming him a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1905 Oliver Heaviside was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Göttingen.

In 1902, Oliver Heaviside proposed the existence of the Kennelly-Heaviside Layer of the ionosphere which bears his name. Oliver Heaviside’s proposal included means by which radio signals are transmitted around the earth’s curvature. The existence of the ionosphere was confirmed in 1923. The predictions by Oliver Heaviside, combined with Planck’s radiation theory, probably discouraged further attempts to detect radio waves from the Sun and other astronomical objects. For whatever reason, there seem to have been no attempts for 30 years, until Jansky’s development of radio astronomy in 1932.

In later years his behavior became quite eccentric. Though he had been an active cyclist in his youth, his health seriously declined in his 6th decade. During this time Oliver Heaviside would sign letters with the initials “W.O.R.M.” after his name though the letters did not stand for anything. Oliver Heaviside also reportedly started painting his fingernails pink and had granite blocks moved into his house for furniture.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams was born on 5 November, 1974 in Jacksonville, North Carolina, USA. Ryan Adams was born to Susan and Robert Adams, . Ryan Adams’ father left home when he was 9 years old. Ryan Adams’ mother, an English teacher, encouraged Adams to read, and as a child he became familiar with the works of authors including Jack Kerouac, Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath and Henry Miller.

Ryan Adams is an American alt-country/rock singer-songwriter. Raised by his mother and grandmother, Ryan Adams dropped out of school at the age of 16 and performed with several local bands before moving to Raleigh and forming the band Whiskeytown. Ryan Adams made his solo debut in 2000, with Heartbreaker (also produced by Ethan Johns). Emmylou Harris, who was originally Gram Parsons’ singing partner, sang backup on “Oh My Sweet Carolina.” Other backing vocals and instruments were provided by Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and Kim Richey as Ryan Adams embraced a style more reminiscent of folk music. It was met with considerable critical success, but sales were slow.

Ryan Adams is probably best known for his song “New York, New York”, which appeared on his 2001 release Gold. Ryan Adams has since released 4 more solo albums and 3 albums and 1 EP with backing band The Cardinals. Ryan Adams latest release, the EP Follow The Lights, was released on 23 October, 2007.

Ryan Adams has also produced albums by Jesse Malin and Willie Nelson and contributed to the albums of artists, including Toots and the Maytals, Beth Orton, The Wallflowers, Jesse Brand, Minnie Driver, Counting Crows, America and Cowboy Junkies. Ryan Adams also appeared on CMT’s Crossroads with Elton John.

Ryan Adams’ grandmother played a modest role in his childhood, serving as his babysitter after school while his mother worked. When he was 8 years old, Ryan Adams began writing short stories and poetry on his grandmother’s typewriter. Ryan Adams is quoted as saying, “I started writing short stories when I was really into Edgar Allan Poe. Then later, when I was a teenager, I got really hard into cult fiction: Hubert Selby, Jr., Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac.” At the age of 14, Ryan Adams began learning to play the electric guitar that his mom and stepdad had bought him, and shortly afterwards joined a local band named Blank Label. Although Blank Label did not stay together long, a three-track 7″ record exists, dated 1991 and lasting less than 7 minutes in total.

Ryan Adams dropped out of high school in his first week of 10th grade, moving into Jere McIlwean’s rental house just outside Jacksonville. Around this time he performed briefly with 2 local bands, Ass and The Lazy Stars. Following this, Ryan Adams joined The Patty Duke Syndrome, and once played in a bar in Jacksonville. After obtaining his GED, Ryan Adams left Jacksonville for Raleigh, shortly followed by bandmate Jere McIlwean. The Patty Duke Syndrome split in 1994, after releasing a 7″ single containing 2 songs (The Patty Duke Syndrome was on one side, while the other side was a band called GlamourPuss).

Following the break up of The Patty Duke Syndrome, Ryan Adams went on to found Whiskeytown with Caitlin Cary, Eric “Skillet” Gilmore, Steve Grothmann and Phil Wandscher. The founding of Whiskeytown saw Ryan Adams move to alt-country, describing punk rock as “too hard to sing” in the title track of Whiskeytown’s debut album Faithless Street. Whiskeytown was heavily influenced by the country-rock pioneers, most notably Gram Parsons (with whom Ryan Adams shares a birthday). Whiskeytown quickly gained critical acclaim with the release of their 2nd full-length album, Stranger’s Almanac, their 1st major label release.

Many of the other members of the band found Ryan Adams difficult to work with, resulting in multiple line-up changes during Whiskeytown’s 5 year career. By the time of the recording of their final album, Pneumonia, in 1999, Caitlin Cary was the only founding member other than Ryan Adams still with the band. Pneumonia was the first of several collaborations between Ryan Adams and producer Ethan Johns. The release of Pneumonia was held up until 2001 because of legal troubles stemming from the merger of Universal and PolyGram.

Ryan Adams made his solo debut in 2000, with Heartbreaker (also produced by Ethan Johns). Emmylou Harris, who was originally Gram Parsons’ singing partner, sang backup on “Oh My Sweet Carolina.” Other backing vocals and instruments were provided by Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and Kim Richey as Ryan Adams embraced a style more reminiscent of folk music. It was met with considerable critical success, but sales were slow.

In 2001, Ryan Adams released Gold, a sprawling 16-song album with a limited edition 5 song bonus disc. Unlike Ryan Adams’ previous work the album adopted less of a country style, going on to sell 364,000 copies and making Gold Ryan Adams’ best-selling album to-date. The album earned Ryan Adams 2 Grammy Award nominations in 2002; “Best Male Rock Vocal” for “New York, New York” and “Best Rock Album”. Ryan Adams also received a nomination the same year for “Best Male Country Vocal” for his version of Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” from the tribute album Timeless. Gold’s “When the Stars Go Blue” has been covered by The Corrs and Bono, Tyler Hilton and Tim McGraw.

The music video for “New York, New York”, shot on 7 September, 2001, the week before the September 11, 2001 attacks, prominently featured the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the background, with Ryan Adams in the foreground singing “I’ll always love you, though, New York.” The video received a large amount of air time on MTV in the days following the attacks.

Following the success of Gold, in 2002 Ryan Adams released Demolition. A compilation of tracks from earlier recording sessions, Demolition included tracks which were recorded for but never included in his previous releases, including songs from the unreleased albums 48 Hours and The Suicide Handbook. Although the album garnered more critical attention it failed to sell as well as Gold. That same year, Ryan Adams produced Jesse Malin’s first album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction, and later worked with Malin to form the punk-rock group The Finger (under the pseudonyms, “Warren Peace” and “Irving Plaza” respectively), who released 2 E.P.s which were collected together to form We Are Fuck You, released on One Little Indian Records in 2003. Ryan Adams also starred in a Gap advertisement with Willie Nelson, performing a cover of Hank Williams’ “Move It On Over.”

In May of 2002, Ryan Adams joined Elton John on CMT’s Crossroads, which brings together country artists with musicians from other genres. During the show, John referred to Ryan Adams as “fabulous one” and spoke of how Heartbreaker inspired him to record Songs from the West Coast, which at the time was his most successful album in several years. Also in 2002, Ryan Adams reportedly recorded a cover of The Strokes’ debut album Is This It, though it has never been publicly released.

During 2002 and 2003 Ryan Adams worked on recording Love Is Hell, intending to release it in 2003. Lost Highway deemed that it was not commercially viable and was reluctant to release it, leading Ryan Adams to go back to the studio. 2 weeks later he returned to Lost Highway with Rock n Roll, which featured guest musicians including Melissa Auf der Maur, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, and Ryan Adams’ girlfriend at the time, Parker Posey.

Ryan Adams and Lost Highway eventually agreed that the label would release Rock N Roll as well as Love Is Hell, on the condition that Love Is Hell be split into 2 EP installments. Rock N Roll and Love Is Hell, Pt. 1 were released in November 2003, followed by Love Is Hell, Pt. 2 in December. Both albums were well received by critics, and in May 2004 Love Is Hell was re-released as a full-length album.

Love Is Hell included a cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall”, which Ryan Adams had previously performed live, and about which Noel Gallagher once said, “I never got my head round this song until I went to see heard Ryan Adams play and he did an amazing cover of it.” The song earned Ryan Adams a Grammy nomination for “Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance”.

While on tour to support Love Is Hell in January 2004, Ryan Adams broke his left wrist during a performance at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. Ryan Adams fell off the end of the stage into the lowered orchestra pit 6 feet below, while performing “The Shadowlands”. Dates from Ryan Adams’ European and American tours had to be cancelled as a result of his injury.

2005 saw Ryan Adams join with backing band The Cardinals to produce 2 albums, Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights. Cold Roses, a double album, included backing vocals from Rachael Yamagata on 3 songs; “Let It Ride”, “Cold Roses” and “Friends”. Ryan Adams’ 2nd album of the year, Jacksonville City Nights, featured a duet with Norah Jones on “Dear John”. As well as releasing 2 albums with The Cardinals, Ryan Adams released the solo album 29 late in the year.

In addition to releasing 3 albums, that year Adams joined other musicians in playing a Hurricane Katrina benefit show at Irving Plaza in New York City. Ryan Adams also contributed 3 songs to the soundtrack of Elizabethtown; “Come Pick Me Up”, “Words” and “English Girls Approximately”.

Ryan Adams befriended Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, after first meeting him at the Jammys awards in New York in 2005. The 2 performed Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter’s Grateful Dead classic, “Wharf Rat”. Ryan Adams performed at subsequent outings of Phil Lesh and Friends, including a 2 night stand at Red Rocks Park outside of Denver, Colorado and on New Year’s Eve 2005 at the Bill Graham Event Center in San Francisco. Throughout 2006, Lesh’s live performances included compositions by Ryan Adams, including several from Cold Roses (“Cold Roses”, “Let It Ride”, and “Magnolia Mountain”).

In early 2006 Ryan Adams performed a solo tour of the United Kingdom, often accompanied by Brad Pemberton (drummer for The Cardinals) and on the final date in London by Neal Casal. Ryan Adams then toured the United States with The Cardinals, including a performance at Lollapalooza in Chicago. Ryan Adams and The Cardinals then returned to the UK in the summer to begin a tour of Europe.

Ryan Adams produced Willie Nelson’s album Songbird, while he and The Cardinals performed as Nelson’s backing band. The album was released in October, 2006. Ryan Adams also opened for Nelson at the Hollywood Bowl later that fall, a show that featured Phil Lesh on bass and multiple Grateful Dead songs. Late in 2006, Ryan Adams experimented with hip hop music, adding to his website 18 albums worth of new recordings under various pseudonyms, featuring humorous and nonsensical lyrics.

After announcing and subsequently cancelling a performance at Stonehenge as part of the Salisbury International Arts Festival, Ryan Adams released his 9th album on 26 June, 2007, titled Easy Tiger.

The album includes many tracks which were debuted during 2006’s tours, as well as other older tracks which were previously unreleased. Later that year, Ryan Adams revealed that he had endured “an extended period of substance abuse” that ended in 2006. Ryan Adams indicated that he routinely snorted heroin mixed with cocaine, and abused alcohol and pills. Ryan Adams beat his addiction with the assistance of his girlfriend at the time, Jessica Joffe, using Valium therapy and occasionally attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

On 23 October, 2007 Ryan Adams released Follow the Lights, an EP featuring 3 new songs: “Follow The Lights”, “Blue Hotel”, and “My Love For You Is Real”, along with live studio versions of other previously released songs. Ryan Adams also appeared as a guest musician on Cowboy Junkies’ 2007 album and DVD Trinity Revisited, a 20th-anniversary re-recording of their classic album The Trinity Session.

In a 7 November, 2007 post at the Ryan Adams Archive, Ryan Adams stated that the Cardinals will start working on a new album in Paris, France, after the band’s west coast tour ends. According to Ryan Adams, the album will be entitled The Cardinals III/IV. Ryan Adams stated that the record will “reflect the Cardinals you hear live, during those 2 set nights.” Ryan Adams also said that he will be recording a solo record in 2008, reminiscent of “an old style crooner record”. In a second post, dated 12 November, 2007 Ryan Adams stated that he has experienced significant hearing loss over the course of the 2007 tour. An excerpt from the post reads, “I lost so much on this tour too. It was humbling. I lost most of my hearing in my left ear and possibly some now on the right. It is rather dramatic and something I am going to have to learn to live with and work around. But it is a huge challenge.”

According to various sources, The Cardinals III/IV has a tentative release date for later in the year, coinciding with a fall tour.

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