(French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃ ʒəˈnɛ])
(December 19, 1910 – April 15, 1986)
was a prominent and controversial French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist. Early in his life he was a vagabond and petty criminal, but later took to writing. His major works include the novels Querelle of Brest, The Thief’s Journal, and Our Lady of the Flowers, and the plays The Balcony, The Blacks, The Maids and The Screens.(1910-12-19)(1986-04-15)
The Blacks was, after The Balcony, the second of Genet’s plays to be staged in New York. The production was the longest running Off-Broadway non-musical of the decade. Originally premiered in Paris in 1959, this 1961 New York production ran for 1,408 performances. The original cast featured James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Browne, Louis Gossett, Jr., Cicely Tyson, Godfrey Cambridge, Maya Angelou and Charles Gordone
In 1950, Genet directed Un Chant d’Amour, a 26-minute black-and-white film depicting the fantasies of a gay male prisoner and his prison warden.
Several of Genet’s plays were adapted into films. The Balcony (1963), directed by Joseph Strick, starred Shelley Winters as Madame Irma, Peter Falk, Lee Grant and Leonard Nimoy. The Maids was filmed in 1974 and starred Glenda Jackson, Susannah York and Vivien Merchant. Italian director Salvatore SamperiLa Bonne (Eng.Corruption), starring Florence Guerin and Katrine Michelsen directed another adaptation of the same play, .