British playwright born in Leicester in 1933. His bizarre and tragic story is told in the film Prick up Your Ears, by Stephen Frears. Joe met Kenneth Halliwell, another actor, at RADA: they became lovers, set up home together in Islington, and started collaborating on plays. Joe's work, full of sharp witty dialogue, became popular, and Joe himself, who seems to have been incredibly sexually active (see Joe Orton's Diaries by John Lahr, an entertaining read), received a lot of acclaim and attention. Halliwell, not as attractive or outgoing, became increasingly jealous, and eventually smashed Orton's head in with a hammer and killed himself in 1967.
Plays include:
Entertaining Mr Sloane
The Erpingham Camp
The Ruffian on the Stair
What the Butler Saw