Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What would Donald do?

Donald Sinclair was one of the more beloved characters in 20th century literature.  His business partner wrote a series of short stories about his own life, which was closely entwined with that of Sinclair.  Those stories became books, the books became a movie & the movie grew to become one of the most successful book2television adaptations, well, ever.

& one of the highlights of the books & the programs was the author's interactions with Sinclair himself.  The man was famously eccentric & generous & much beloved.  Sinclair was so insulted he considered this characterization the biggest test of their friendship, but he did manage to put it behind him insisting that the writing was exaggerated.  Others however, including the author's son (who later joined the same firm, so in addition to knowing Sinclair all of his life, he was able to interact with Sinclair much as his father had), said that the character was toned down because Sinclair was so extreme he would not have been believable.  In a different sort of twist, Sinclair became good friends with the actor who portrayed him, despite his belief that the portrayal was over the top. 

Sinclair was born today in 1911.  Like I said, he had a career, was made famous by his business partner's literary portrayal of him, but other wise lived if not a quiet ordinary life, certainly a life without fanfare.  His first wife died, something not particular well known as it happened before his famous partnership, but he & his second wife were married for more than 50 years.   He tried to become a pilot in World War II, but through a series of...you know what, it doesn't really matter why, he never did.  Because his profession in private life was considered vital to the stability of the country, he was returned home without seeing combat. 

His younger brother, also a "character" died about four years before Sinclair did, then that same business partner died & less than four months later his wife died.  Two weeks after that, Donald Sinclair deliberately overdosed.  He was 84 years old. 

What did Donald do?  He gave us the gift of himself, warts & all.  We know him as Siegfried Farnon. 

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