You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Penelope Gilliatt

Penelope Gilliatt, novelist, playwright and former film critic for the New Yorker magazine, died Sunday after a long illness. She was 61.

Her family gave no details of her illness.

Her screenplay of “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” was nominated for an Academy Award in 1971, and won awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics and the British Society of Film Critics.

“I look back on that film as a milestone in my life,” director John Schlesinger said. “It was a deeply personal film for me, and she did us proud. The result was tremendous. She wrote a wonderful, wonderful script.”

Gilliatt became film critic for the Observer newspaper in London in 1961. From 1967 to 1979, she and Pauline Kael alternated as film critics for the New Yorker in six-month stints.

Gilliatt’s film criticism was distinguished by the minute attention to plot — some reviews seemed to describe virtually every frame of a film without offering an opinion on its content; at other times she was outstandingly clever, such as reviewing the 1977 potboiler “The Other Side of Midnight” as a conversation between the clothes worn by the female characters.

She was born Penelope Conner in London on March 25, 1932. She was married twice — to professor R.W. Gilliatt in 1954 and to playwright John Osborne in 1963. Both marriages ended in divorce.

She wrote five novels, starting with “One by One” in 1965; seven collections of short stories; and book-length studies of French director Jean Renoir and French comic actor Jacques Tati.

She is survived by a daughter, Nolan, from her second marriage.

More Scene

  • Robert De Niro

    Robert De Niro Slams Trump Administration at Tribeca Opening Night

    The 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival opened with Roger Ross Williams’ documentary “The Apollo” at the iconic uptown venue which performers and Harlem community members call “home.” “You can feel the history, the echo of the entertainers,” Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro said in a speech before the film. “In this administration, during [...]

  • Lilli Cooper Tootsie

    How the 'Tootsie' Musical Was Updated for the #MeToo Era

    Turning the beloved 1982 comedy “Tootsie” into a 21st century musical already seemed like a challenge when work on the adaptation began back in 2016. Then the #MeToo movement revved up — and the writers knew they couldn’t tell Dorothy’s story for a modern audience without it. “It’s different than it was when the movie [...]

  • Ralph Fiennes attends a special screening

    Ralph Fiennes on Directing Rudolf Nureyev Biopic: 'It's Been a Very, Very Long Road'

    Ralph Fiennes celebrated his latest directorial outing, “The White Crow,” on Monday night in New York City. The Sony Pictures Classics film tells the story of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “It’s been a very, very long road. We were mad. We were mad to take on this subject of Rudolf Nureyev. Mad. Completely mad,” Fiennes [...]

  • Taylor Swift Time 100 Performance

    Watch Taylor Swift's Time 100 Gala Performance and Speech

    Just two nights out from Taylor Swift D-day spring 2019 — i.e., Thursday’s release of a new single — Swift made an appearance Tuesday at the Time 100 event in New York, where she did not let loose with any spoiler performances of new music but did sing a few fan favorites, including “Style,” “Delicate,” and [...]

  • Katie HolmesAT&T Presents: Untold Stories Luncheon

    Katie Holmes, Kal Penn Help Decide Winner of $1 Million Filmmaker Grant

    Tribeca Film Festival and AT&T gave one young filmmaker a million and one reasons to rejoice at the “Untold Stories” third annual competition. After a nerve-wracking 10-minute long pitch in front of over 850,000 live stream audience members and a panel consisting of celebrities and industry leaders, filmmaker Kate Tsang was awarded $1 million Monday [...]

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content