With the refinement of Britain's national cinema after World War II came the rise of Dirk Bogarde as one of its shining stars. A former stage actor whom playwright Noël Coward begged not to forsake the theatre, Bogarde became a box office powerhouse with his charismatic performances as a cop killer in "The Blue Lamp" (1950) and as the medical school hero of "Doctor in the House" (1954). Equally adept at drama or comedy, Bogarde attracted the attention of Hollywood but his star turn as composer Franz Liszt in "Song Without End" (1960) came close to being a career-killer. At home, Bogarde gambled on his reputation as a romantic lead by accepting edgy roles in films that hinted at his safeguarded homosexuality, among them the fetish Western "The Singer Not the Song" (1960), the courtroom drama "Victim" (1960), and "The Servant" (1963), with Bogarde cast as a scheming valet who manipulates his naive employer. Having worked with such top-flight directors as Basil Dearden, John Schlesinger and John Frankenheimer, and enjoyed a long-running collaboration with American expatriate Joseph Losey, Bogarde capped his career on the Continent, making films in Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and France for Luchino Visconti, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alain Renais, and Liliana Cavani. Felled by a stroke in 1996, Bogarde devoted his final years to finishing his memoirs, leaving behind at the time of his death in 1999 an admirable body of work and a detailed chronicle of a life lived entirely on his own terms.