Harold Acton

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Sir Harold Mario Mitchell Acton KBE (July 5, 1904 - February 27, 1994) was an Anglo-Italian writer, scholar and dilettante who is probably most famous for being believed, incorrectly, to have inspired the character of "Anthony Blanche" in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited (1945). Waugh himself wrote, "The characters in my novels often wrongly identified with Harold Acton were to a great extent drawn from Brian Howard".

Acton's own works include Memoirs of an Aesthete and The Bourbons of Naples, 1734-1825, a gossipy history of the Bourbon rulers of the Kingdom of Naples in the 18th century. During his lifetime Harold Acton promoted his claim of descent from Sir John Acton, 6th Baronet, who had served as Prime Minister of Naples during much of this period, but there is no basis in fact of this relationship (see James Lord, "Some Remarkable Men").

In 1974 he was named a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE).

Following Acton's death at the age of 89, DNA testing revealed the existence of a half-sister, whose heirs have gone to court to challenge Acton's $500 million bequest to New York University.

Acton was buried at the Cimitero Evangelico degli Allori in the suburb of Florence, Galluzzo (Italy).

External link

  • Harold Acton at the Gay/Bi/Lesbian Encyclopedia

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