Just discovered this excellent post about the rise and fall of Colin Wilson at Another Nickle in the Machine. I have heard most of the story before but what is entirely new are the photographs and secondary material. Nice.
From Another Nickle in the Machine:
A gossip columnist buttonholed Wilson before he left the party and asked what he was doing there. Wilson said that he had spent the evening hoping to talk to TS Eliot and ended up meeting Marilyn Monroe.
The next morning the columnist duly wrote about the young author meeting Marilyn at the premiere adding that Wilson, while there, had been asked to write a play for Olivier.
It was publicity like this that made his supporters question whether he really was a serious writer. The New York Times had written about his almost over-night ascendancy -- “he walked into literature like a man walks into his own house”.
If it’s easy to walk into your own house, it’s presumably just as easy to walk out, and Wilson’s fall from grace was almost as quick as his initial success. The tabloid backlash began in December 1956 when a story in the Sunday Pictorial informed the public that Wilson had a wife and a five year old son but was living with a mistress -- his girlfriend Joy -- in Notting Hill. Indeed, one of the reasons he lived rough on Hampstead Heath, while he was writing his acclaimed first book, was to avoid paying maintenance to his estranged wife.
Via The Hound Blog