Playwright, Wit and Smoking Diarist Simon Gray Dies of Cancer; (1) Great Drama: Stephen Fry, Pictured with Rik Mayall, Ran Away from Grays Cell Mates (2) Last Cigarette: Simon Gray Puffing Away at His Home in Holland Park. He Won Acclaim for His Recent Diaries Which Dealt Candidly with His Failing Health. for Much of His Adult Life He Drank Three Bottles of Champagne a Day

The Evening Standard (London, England), August 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

Playwright, Wit and Smoking Diarist Simon Gray Dies of Cancer; (1) Great Drama: Stephen Fry, Pictured with Rik Mayall, Ran Away from Grays Cell Mates (2) Last Cigarette: Simon Gray Puffing Away at His Home in Holland Park. He Won Acclaim for His Recent Diaries Which Dealt Candidly with His Failing Health. for Much of His Adult Life He Drank Three Bottles of Champagne a Day


Byline: ANNA DAVIS

THE playwright and diarist Simon Gray died today aged 71.

The author was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and wrote of his love of smoking.

His play Cell Mates became front-page news in 1995, though for the rather unwelcome reason that actor Stephen Fry who also starred in the televised version of Grays play The Common Pursuit ran away from the production and his co-star Rik Mayall after suffering a breakdown. Mr Gray wrote about the experience in another memoir called Fat Chance.

Throughout his life he wrote 30 plays for stage and TV as well as five novels.

However, recently he had become celebrated for his diaries which appeared in three volumes starting with The Smoking Diaries in 2004 and ending with The Last Cigarette this year, which led him to be hailed as one of the best memoirists of his era. But as well as smoking, he wrote about his battle with alcoholism.

Mr Gray, who was educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge, also worked as a lecturer in English at Queen Mary, University of London.

He leaves a wife Victoria (n?e Roth-schild) and a son and a daughter by his first marriage to Beryl Mary Kevern.

In his diaries Mr Gray spoke can-didly about the many disasters in his life his shattered health and chaotic finances. He lost his house in High-gate in 1997 when he left his first wife for Victoria and the couple lived together in Holland Park until his death. …

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Playwright, Wit and Smoking Diarist Simon Gray Dies of Cancer; (1) Great Drama: Stephen Fry, Pictured with Rik Mayall, Ran Away from Grays Cell Mates (2) Last Cigarette: Simon Gray Puffing Away at His Home in Holland Park. He Won Acclaim for His Recent Diaries Which Dealt Candidly with His Failing Health. for Much of His Adult Life He Drank Three Bottles of Champagne a Day
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