Quentin Crisp

On this date in 1908, writer and critic Quentin Crisp was born in suburban London. He attended a school in Derbyshire in his teens, which he later described as a cross between a monastery and a prison. He worked as an illustrator and designer of book covers, writing books such as Lettering for Brush and Pen (1936) and Colour in Display (1938).

He happened onto his 35-year stint of posing as an art school model, then wrote The Naked Civil Servant (1968) about his career. An award-winning film version, starring John Hurt, brought Crisp to public attention.

“An Evening with Quentin Crisp” debuted off-Broadway in 1978 and played off and on for two decades. His later books include How to Have a Life-Style (1976), Love Made Easy (1977), The Wit and Wisdom of Quentin Crisp (1998) and Quentin Crisp’s Book of Quotations (1989).

Openly gay and famed for his aphorisms, he is sometimes called a “20th-century Oscar Wilde.” Once asked if he were a “practicing homosexual,” Crisp replied, “I didn’t practice. I was already perfect.” D. 1999.

Freedom From Religion Foundation