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Kenneth Halliwell

Remembered Best As:
British actor, writer and collagist. He was the mentor, boyfriend and eventual murderer of playwright Joe Orton


Kenneth Halliwell (born in 1926, died August 9, 1967) was a British actor and writer. He was the mentor, partner and the eventual murderer of playwright Joe Orton. Halliwell was raised in a somewhat split household. In general, he was ignored by his father and coddled by his mother. His mother's death, which occured when he was a young boy, was a great negative turning point in his life. Seemingly alone (as the relationship with his father was poor), his life was uneventful until, at the age of 23, he found his father dead, having committed suicide by putting his head in a gas oven. He determined his father was dead, performed a few household tasks, then called for an ambulance. It was at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) that he met Joe Orton, the man who was to make his Halliwell's name almost as recognisable as his own. Both men were struggling actors without great talent who became struggling writers. However, their common interests led to the beginning of their relationship. Halliwell, in the early years, seems to have been something of a tutor to Orton, who had had a rather cursory education, and seriously helped to mold the term "Ortonesque". The two men collaborated on several novels including The Boy Hairdresser, which were not published until after their deaths. In 1962, along with Orton, he was imprisoned for six months for the theft and defacement of books in Islington Library.

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