Peter Barnes was born in the East End of London on January 10, 1931. His mother, a Jew, and his father, an Anglican who converted to Judaism, later moved the family to the holiday resort of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, where they ran an amusement arcade on the pier. He has one younger sister. During World War II, Barnes was evacuated to the county of Gloucestershire. After the war, he returned to Clacton and completed his formal education at a local grammar school, followed by a year’s compulsory military service. He continued his education at night school in London while working as a civil servant for the Greater London Council and as a freelance film critic. In 1954 he was film critic for Films and Filming, and the following year he became a story editor for Warwick Films. From about 1958 to 1967, he worked freelance on a number of screenplays, including Violent Moment (1958), The Professionals (1960), Off Beat (1961), and Ring of Spies (1964). In 1961, he married Charlotte Beck, a secretary at the British Film Institute, who died in 1994. In 1995, he married Christine Horn. Barnes received much attention when he became a father at the age of 69. Barnes died in London on July 1, 2004 at the age of 73.
His own first play, The Man with a Feather in His Hat, was produced for television in 1960. His first stage play, The Time of the Barracudas, was produced in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1963, but it failed, and Barnes refused permission for any subsequent productions. In 1965, his one-act play Sclerosis was produced at the Edinburgh Festival and later at the Aldwych Theatre, London, directed by...
(The entire section is 685 words.)