Quentin Crisp,90, the British-born writer, raconteur and...

Deaths Elsewhere

November 23, 1999

Quentin Crisp,90, the British-born writer, raconteur and actor who found fame at 59 when he published "The Naked Civil Servant," an account of his openly homosexual life in London, and who found happiness when he moved to New York at 72, died Sunday in Manchester, England.

He was in Britain for a new run of his one-man show "An Evening With Quentin Crisp," which was to have opened yesterday.

Mr. Crisp was in Baltimore in June for a benefit for AXIS Theatre, a small, independent theater. As part of the benefit, he entertained 219 theatergoers at Center Stage, discussing the subject of style for 45 minutes, then answering questions for more than an hour. The next day, an audience of 40 had high tea with him at AXIS.

The flamboyant Mr. Crisp gained attention in the United States in 1976 when a dramatized version of "The Naked Civil Servant," starring John Hurt as Crisp, was shown on U.S. television to enthusiastic reviews.

In The New York Times, John J. O'Connor wrote that it was "a startling, thoroughly fascinating portrait of one of those exotic creatures who adamantly refuse to behave `properly' in this world, thereby making the rest of us examine our own behavior to a closer and often more valuable extent."

A resident of New York's East Village since 1977, and of the same single-room-occupancy building on Third Street since 1981, Mr. Crisp was a neighborhood celebrity known for his wardrobe of splashy scarves, his violet eye shadow and his white hair upswept a la Katharine Hepburn and tucked under a black fedora. His nose and chin were often elevated to a rather imperious angle, and his eyebrows were painstakingly plucked. When he played the role of Queen Elizabeth I in Sally Potter's 1993 film "Orlando," Village residents bowed before him on the sidewalks as he passed.

Faubion Bowers,82, an American writer who helped preserve the Japanese drama Kabuki when occupation authorities tried to ban it after World War II, died Nov. 16 of a heart attack. Bowers wrote widely on Asian culture. He has been credited with increasing American interest in Asian dance and theater.

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