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VIDEO: Ian McKellen Discusses Why There Should Be a Statue of Playwright Joe Orton

Ian McKellen is speaking out about why he thinks there should be a statue of Joe Orton in Leicester, despite any potential backlash.

"The idea that in Orton Square there should be a statue, a memorial to him, is terrific," McKellen said. "I like the idea that it would outrage some people. That's in the Orton spirit, isn't it?"

Watch the full video below!

Between 1964 and 1967, Joe Orton contributed to an exciting working class culture that swept through the nation. A promiscuous and openly gay man at a time when homosexuality was actively persecuted by the police, Orton was the rising star of an 'alternative British intelligentsia'.

His first stage play, Entertaining Mr Sloane, was a huge success while his second, Loot, won the coveted Evening Standard award for Best Play. However, Orton's success as a playwright and celebrity put a distance between himself and Kenneth Halliwell that the latter found increasingly difficult to cope with.

In August 1967 Halliwell, by now suffering from severe depression, murdered Orton before killing himself. His suicide note referred to the contents of Orton's diary as an explanation of his actions: 'If you read his diary, all will be explained ...'

In his short but prolific career, Joe Orton amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies. This site explores the life and times of the man who made religion, sex and death outrageously funny.

The statue is being crowd-funded, and donations can be made at

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