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John Mortimer
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    (April 21, 1923-January 16, 2009)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Best known for his 20 novels about barrister Horace Rumpole, from 'Rumpole of the Bailey' (1978) to 'The Antisocial Behavior of Horace Rumpole' (2007)
    Also wrote 'Charade' (1947), 'The Narrowing Stream' (1954), 'Paradise Postponed' (1985), 'Titmuss Regained' (1990), 'The Sound of Trumpets' (1998) and 'The Scales of Justice' (2005)
    Wrote the autobiographies 'Clinging to the Wreckage' (1982), 'Murderers and Other Friends' (1994) and 'The Summer of a Dormouse: A Year of Growing Old Disgracefully' (2000)
    Father of actress Emily Mortimer
    He was thrown out of Oxford for writing romantic letters to another male student. (He later explained the letters were 'meant to be cheeky,' but were too cheeky for the instructor who discovered them.)
    Both his wives were named Penelope.
    He had a son out of wedlock with actress Wendy Craig.
    He described himself as a 'champagne socialist.'
    His appearance was described as 'elegantly rumpled.'
    He was responsible for several successful defenses in obscenity cases, including the publishers of Hubert Selby's 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' (1968), 'Gay News' publisher Denis Lemon (1976) and Virgin Records for using the word 'bollocks' in the title of the first Sex Pistols album (1977).
    He used his Rumpole novels to comment on current events, such as the post-9/11 erosion of civil liberties in 'Rumpole and the Reign of Terror' (2006).
    His Rumpole novels were so popular, they were mentioned twice during the O.J. Simpson trial.
    He was a patron of the human rights organization Burma Campaign UK.
    Auberon Waugh said, 'England would be a poor place without him.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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