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Summary Article: Wells, John Campbell from Chambers Biographical Dictionary

1936-98

English actor, dramatist, humorist and director

Born in Ashford, Kent, he read French and German at Oxford, and taught both languages at Eton (1961-63), while contributing material for revues at the Edinburgh Festival. He was a co-editor of the satirical magazine, Private Eye (1964-67), and continued writing for the magazine throughout his life, most notably the supposed diary of Mrs Wilson, Harold Wilson's wife, and the Dear Bill letters, the supposed correspondence of Denis Thatcher, husband of Margaret Thatcher. He wrote a number of plays for the theatre, starting with Listen to the Knocking Bird in 1965. Mrs Wilson's Diary (1968) was followed by Anyone for Denis (1981), in which Wells played the title role. (As an actor he made his London debut in the farce An Italian Straw Hat in 1961.) He was also highly regarded as a translator of plays and opera from French and German. He directed a revival of The Mikado in 1989. His publications include Rude Words (1991) and Princess Carabou: her true story (1994).

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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