John Francis Lane

John Francis Lane (1 December 1928 – 15 January 2018)[2] was an English journalist, critic and actor. He was known for being a small-part actor in many Italian films,[3] and contributed to The Guardian as an obituarist for figures in Italian culture.[1]

John Francis Lane
Born(1928-12-01)December 1, 1928
Whitstable, Kent, England
DiedJanuary 15, 2018(2018-01-15) (aged 89)
ResidenceRome, Italy
EducationRoyal Grammar School Worcester
Dulwich College
Alma materSorbonne, Paris
University of Florence[1]
film writer,
EmployerThe Times
The Guardian
The Economist
Il Quotidiano (Cosenza)
What I enjoy most about living in Italy is that you never know quite when theatre ends and reality begins. I suppose it was also true in my private life.

—John Francis Lane


Lane was born in Tankerton, a suburb of Whitstable in Kent, to a middle-class family in 1928. He became a boarder at the Royal Grammar School in Worcester, and towards the end of the Second World War attended Dulwich College in London.[4] He then had a spell as a stage manager in London's West End.

Lane first visited Italy in 1949, following a German boyfriend from Paris, where he was then studying at the Sorbonne. After learning Italian at the University of Florence, he had settled in Rome by 1951, finding Italy more tolerant of his homosexuality than the Britain of the time.[1][4] Learning Italian in Florence, he became entranced by the country after seeing Franco Zeffirelli's production of Troilus and Cressida. Zeffirelli later became one of his boyfriends.

He was made a Cavaliere in the 1975 Italian Order of Merit.

In retirement Lane lived in the town of Rende in the region of Calabria. He wrote frequently on Italian life for The Economist.[1] His memoir, To Each His Own Dolce Vita, was published in 2013.[4]

Lane died in January 2018 in Cosenza in southern Italy.[5] Knowledge he had died was delayed and only emerged following the end of Zeffirelli's life.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1960 La Dolce Vita Reporter Uncredited
Run with the Devil Joe Freeman As Francis Lane
The Passionate Thief
1961 The Wastrel Invitato festa
1962 The Witch's Curse Coachman As Francis Lane
Il Sorpasso Alfredo
The Two Colonels
1963 Il giornalista Uncredited
1966 El Greco De Agueda
1967 The Rover Captain of the Port
1968 A Quiet Place in the Country Asylum Attendant Uncredited
1970 Don Giovanni Narrator Voice

As J. Francis Lane

1972 The Canterbury Tales The Friar
Roma Himself
1973 Lucky Luciano Journalist As John F. Lane
1974 Moses the Lawgiver Egyptian Consul
1979 Dear Father Direttore giornale Uncredited
Caligula Maitre d' at Proculus' Wedding Uncredited
1983 Another Time, Another Place Farmer
1987 Good Morning Babylon
1990 Saturday, Sunday and Monday


  • To Each His Own Dolce Vita. Bear Claw Books. 2013. ISBN 9780957246249.


  1. Mayes, Ian (24 June 2019). "John Francis Lane obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  2. "John Francis Lane". BFI. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  3. "John Francis Lane". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  4. "John Francis Lane obituary". The Times. 13 August 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  5. Codelli, Lorenzo (18 June 2019). "Letter: John Francis Lane was the ultimate film industry insider". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
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