Beverley Cross
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Beverley Cross

Beverley Cross
Born(1931-04-13)13 April 1931
Died20 March 1998(1998-03-20) (aged 66)
OccupationScreenwriter, playwright
Years active1960-1998
Elizabeth Clunies-Ross
(1955-?; divorced)
Gayden Collins
(1965-?; divorced)
Maggie Smith (m. 1975)

Alan Beverley Cross[2] (13 April 1931 - 20 March 1998) (known as Beverley Cross) was an English playwright, librettist and screenwriter.[3]

Early life

Born in London into a theatrical family, and educated at the Nautical College Pangbourne, Cross started off by writing children's plays in the 1950s. He achieved instant success with his first play, One More River, which dealt with a mutiny in which a crew puts its first officer on trial for manslaughter. The play premiered in 1958 at the New Shakespeare Theatre Liverpool, starring Robert Shaw, directed by Sam Wanamaker, and in 1959, still with Robert Shaw, directed by Guy Hamilton at the Duke of York's Theatre in London.


Cross' second play, Strip the Willow, was to make a star out of his future wife, Dame Maggie Smith, even though the play was staged only in the provinces, never receiving a London production. In 1962, he translated Marc Camoletti's classic farce Boeing Boeing, which went on to have a lengthy and highly lucrative run in the West End. In 1964, he directed the play in Sydney. Another of his successes was Half a Sixpence,[4] a musical comedy based on the H.G. Wells novel Kipps. This opened in 1963 and, like his first play, ran in London for more than a year.

He also wrote opera librettos for Richard Rodney Bennett (The Mines of Sulphur, All the King's Men and Victory) and Nicholas Maw (The Rising of the Moon).

Cross later became well known for his screenplays, notably Jason and the Argonauts, The Long Ships, Genghis Khan, and Clash of the Titans. He also adapted Half a Sixpence for the screen. He also worked uncredited on the script for Lawrence of Arabia, although it is doubtful whether any of his material made it to the final edit.

He died in London in 1998, three weeks and three days before his 67th birthday.[1] He was the stepfather of Maggie Smith's children from her earlier marriage, actors Toby Stephens and Chris Larkin.


  1. ^ a b Lyall, Sarah (30 March 1998). "Beverley Cross, 66, Playwright and Librettist". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ The Writers Directory 1980-1982. Macmillan Press. 1979. p. 278.
  3. ^ Thompson, Howard (25 June 1964). "The Long Ships (1963) Screen: 'The Long Ships': Widmark and Poitier in Viking Adventure". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 381. ISBN 1-84854-195-3.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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