1921
  • 1921

    Born Derek Niven Van den Bogaerde in Hampstead, North-West London, to Ulric and Margaret. Dirk with Mum and Dad

  • 1924

    2 April - Elizabeth Van den Bogaerde (sister) born Dirk and Elizabeth

  • 1931-33

    Family rents cottage for holidays at Lullington, East Sussex Lullington House

  • 1931-34

    Attends University College School, Hampstead

  • 1933

    19 July - Gareth Van den Bogaerde (brother) born Elizabeth, Dirk and Gareth with Margaret

  • 1934-37

    Attends Allan Glen's School, Glasgow Dirk at School, centre

  • 1938

    Makes stage debut in Alf's Button for Newick Amateur Dramatic Society

  • 1938-39

    Attends Chelsea School of Art

  • 1939

    Auditions for Old Vic School;
    Dirk portrait for Old Vic Audition
    Makes screen debut as extra in Come On George!

  • 1940

    Makes London stage debut in When We Are Married at Q Theatre; West End debut in Cornelius (Westminster Theatre)
    June-Dec: member of repertory company at The Playhouse, Arnersham
    The Playhouse, Amersham Meets Anthony Forwood (born 3 October 1915)
    Anthony Forwood

  • 1941

    Diversion No. 2 (Wyndham's Theatre)
    From the sketchbook
    Enlisted into Royal Corps of Signals as Signalman 2371461
    Dirk in uniform

  • 1943

    Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant into Queen's Royal Regiment
    Dirk on the day of his commission

  • 1944

    Appointed Intelligence Officer, 21 Army Group (Army Photographic Interpretation Section); seconded to 39 Wing, Royal Canadian Air Force for liberation of Europe

  • 1945

    Appointed Temporary Captain; exhibits paintings and drawings at the Batsford Gallery;
    posted to India with RAF; posted to Java
    backstage at a Revue in Java

  • 1946

    Edits forces newspaper, The Fighting Cock; demobilised

  • 1947

    Makes television debut in Rope; plays Cliff in Power Without Glory at New Lindsey Theatre and in West End (Fortune Theatre);
    signs contract with Rank Organisation; first speaking role in Dancing with Crime;
    makes screen debut 'above the title' in Esther Waters (released 1948);
    Dirk with his brother Gareth Rents 44 Chester Row, Belgravia
    44 Chester Row

  • 1948

    Makes Quartet ('The Alien Corn'), Once a Jolly Swagman and Dear Mr Prohack
    For Better, For Worse (Q Theatre)

  • 1949

    Makes Boys in Brown, The Blue Lamp and So Long at the Fair
    Foxhole in the Parlor (New Lindsey Theatre) and Sleep on My Shoulder (Q)
    Buys Bendrose House, Amersham, from Forwood family
    Bendrose House

  • 1950

    The Shaughraun (Bedford Theatre) and Point of Departure (Duke of York's)
    with Mai Zetterling, Point of Departure Makes The Woman in Question and Blackmailed

  • 1951

    Makes Hunted and Penny Princess

  • 1952

    The Vortex (Lyric Hammersmith)
    Makes The Gentle Gunman, Appointment in London and Desperate Moment

  • 1953

    Makes They Who Dare and Doctor in the House

  • 1954

    Buys Beel House, Amersham
    Beel House Makes The Sleeping Tiger, For Better, For Worse, The Sea Shall Not Have Them and Simba;
    (26 March) Doctor in the House released

  • 1955

    Makes Doctor at Sea and Cast a Dark Shadow
    Returns to the stage in Summertime (Apollo)

  • 1956

    Makes The Spanish Gardener, Ill Met by Moonlight and Doctor at Large

  • 1957

    Makes Campbell's Kingdom and A Tale of Two Cities

  • 1958

    Makes The Wind Cannot Read and The Doctor's Dilemma
    Final stage appearance, in Jezebel (Oxford Playhouse and Theatre Royal Brighton) in Jezebel

  • 1959

    Makes Libel, Song Without End and The Angel Wore Red (La sposa bella)

  • 1960

    Makes The Singer Not the Song;
    Lyrics for Lovers (LP) released
    Lyrics for Lovers Buys Drummer's Yard, near Beaconsfield
    Drummer's Yard

  • 1961

    Makes Victim (playing Melville Farr) and
    HMS Defiant;
    leaves Rank

  • 1962

    Variety Club film actor of the year for 1961
    Makes The Password Is Courage, We Joined the Navy (cameo), I Could Go On Singing and The Mind Benders
    Buys Nore Farm, near Godalming
    Nore

  • 1963

    Makes The Servant, Doctor in Distress and Hot Enough for June

  • 1964

    Makes King and Country, The High Bright Sun and Darling Variety Club Award
    British Film Academy Award, Best British Actor, for The Servant
    Dirk as Barrett, The Servant

  • 1965

    Makes Modesty Blaise

  • 1966

    Buys Adam's Farm, near Crowborough
    Adam's Farm British Film Academy Award, Best British Actor, for Darling
    Makes Accident and Our Mother's House

  • 1967

    Makes Sebastian and The Fixer

  • 1968

    Makes Oh! What a Lovely War (cameo), The Damned (La caduta degli dei) and Justine

  • 1969

    1 March - Leaves the UK for Italy; leases Villa Berti, Labaro, near Rome
    Villa Berti

  • 1970

    Buys Le Haut Clermont, Châteauneuf de Grasse
    Clermont Makes Death in Venice (Morte a Venezia)

  • 1971

    Fiftieth birthday
    At fifty

  • 1972

    Makes The Serpent

  • 1973

    Makes The Night Porter (Il portiere di notte)

  • 1975

    Makes Permission to Kill

  • 1976

    Makes Providence and A Bridge Too Far

  • 1977

    24 March - A Postillion Struck by Lightning published
    Dirk at book signing for Postillion Makes Despair

  • 1978

    Snakes and Ladders published

  • 1980

    A Gentle Occupation published

  • 1981

    Makes The Patricia Neal Story
    Voices in the Garden published

  • 1982

    Appointed Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

  • 1983

    An Orderly Man published

  • 1984

    West of Sunset published
    President of Cannes Film Festival jury

  • 1985

    Hon. D.Litt., University of St Andrews

  • 1986

    Makes May Borrow Your Husband? (also debut as scriptwriter)
    Backcloth published
    Sells Le Haut Clermont

  • 1987

    Returns to UK; rents 15 Moore Street, Chelsea
    Makes The Vision (BBC TV)
    Awarded BFI Fellowship
    Buys Queen Anne House, Dukes Lane, Kensington

  • 1988

    18 May - Anthony Forwood dies
    Tony and Dirk Honoured by BAFTA
    Receiving BAFTA from Princess Anne Moves to 2 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea
    Cadogan Gardens

  • 1989

    A Particular Friendship published
    Returns to Provence to make Daddy Nostalgie (These Foolish Things)

  • 1990

    Promoted to Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts er des Lettres

  • 1992

    Knighthood conferred
    Dirk's Knighthood Jericho and Great Meadow published

  • 1993

    Hon. D.Litt., University of Sussex
    A Short Walk from Harrods published

  • 1994

    A Period of Adjustment published

  • 1995

    Cleared for Take-Off published

  • 1996

    Has stroke following operation

  • 1997

    Closing Ranks published

  • 1998

    For the Time Being published

  • 1999

    8 May - Dies suddenly but peacefully at home in Chelsea
    Dirk in close up

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