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Andrew Sinclair
Andrew Sinclair in 2018
Andrew Sinclair in 2018
Born Andrew Annandale Sinclair
(1935-01-21)21 January 1935
Died 30 May 2019(2019-05-30) (aged 84)
Occupation Novelist, historian, biographer, critic, filmmaker

Andrew Annandale Sinclair FRSL FRSA (21 January 1935 – 30 May 2019) was a British novelist, historian, biographer, critic, filmmaker, and a publisher of classic and modern film scripts. He has been described as a "writer of extraordinary fluency and copiousness, whether in fiction or in American social history".

Early life and education

Born in Oxford in 1935, Sinclair was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied history and received a BA degree and a PhD. From 1959 to 1961 he was a Harkness Fellow at Harvard University.

Writer and filmmaker

Before going up to Cambridge, Sinclair undertook his National Service as an Ensign with the Coldstream Guards and wrote a novel based on the experience, called The Breaking of Bumbo (1958). "At the age of 22, Andrew Sinclair woke up one morning to find himself, like Byron, suddenly famous". In 1959 Sinclair published his second novel My Friend Judas. It was reissued in 2009 by Faber Finds along with The Breaking of Bumbo.

Sinclair became the Managing Director of Timon Films in 1967. Three years later, in 1970, he adapted The Breaking of Bumbo for the big screen; it starred Joanna Lumley and was a critical failure. He then directed the film adaptation of Under Milk Wood (1972), now regarded as a classic, which featured Richard Burton as the narrator. His final film as a director was Blue Blood (1973), starring Oliver Reed.

Sinclair's book The Better Half: The Emancipation of the American Woman won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1967. His biographies covered a wide variety of famous people: Che Guevara, Dylan Thomas, Jack London, John Ford, J Pierpont Morgan and Francis Bacon. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1972. His most recent work was his autobiography, Storytelling: A Sort of Memoir (2018).

A critical assessment of Sinclair by Bernard Bergonzi began: "From the beginning Andrew Sinclair established himself as a writer of extraordinary fluency and copiousness, whether in fiction or in American social history".


Sinclair was a founding member of Churchill College, Cambridge, and was Director of Historical Studies at the college between 1961 and 1963. Following a year spent as a Fellow at the American Council of Learned Societies, he returned to Britain to become a Lecturer in American History at University College London (UCL), working there from 1965 to 1967. His writings on persons and themes of American history are identified in his bibliography, below.

Screenplay publisher

In 1966 Sinclair, together with the filmmaker Peter Whitehead, founded Lorrimer Publishing, which published the original screenplays of classic films. Sheridan Morley wrote: "Their format is a simple one: the script itself, with detailed descriptions where action takes over from the words, published with a brief introduction and sideline notes where necessary." Some 70 filmscripts were published, including The Blue Angel and The Third Man.

Personal life

Andrew Sinclair married three times:

  • firstly Marianne Alexandre in 1960 (later divorced) and had one son, Timon Alexandre Sinclair;
  • secondly Miranda Seymour, daughter of George Fitzroy Seymour (cadet branch of Marquess of Hertford and Duke of Somerset of Thrumpton Hall) and Rosemary Nest Scott-Ellis, daughter of Thomas Evelyn Scott-Ellis, 8th Baron Howard de Walden (1880–1946), on 17 October 1972 (marriage dissolved 6 June 1984) and had one son Merlin George Sinclair;
  • thirdly Sonia Melchett, widow of British Steel Corporation Chairman Julian Mond, 3rd Baron Melchett, on 25 July 1984, without issue.

As a result of his third marriage, Sinclair was the stepfather of Peter Mond, 4th Baron Melchett, politician and environmentalist, and Kerena Ann Mond and Pandora Mond, the artist.

In the 1960s Sinclair was instrumental in saving from demolition the historic buildings in Narrow Street, Limehouse. For his book The Last of the Best (1969), he was assisted by Jacquemine Charrott Lodwidge as researcher.

Selected filmography


  • This article incorporates a fiction bibliography from the corresponding Italian Wikipedia article as of 20 November 2010.
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