Johnny's movies

Kyril Bonfiglioli, portrait of Charlie Mortdecai’s dad

Posted in Books, Johnny Depp, movies by Anna Maria Polidori on January 12, 2015

Charlie Mortdecai and his creator


Who was Cyril, later Kyril Bonfiglioli ? Born Cyril Emmanuel Georg Karl Bonfiglioli, let’s try to discover more following the memories by Don Wells a Kyril’s friend with a blog dedicated to his beloved disappeared too-soon friend.

Bonfiglioli was not in grade in his life to realize himself as a writer, but  his private life has been  tumultuous, sad and messy as well. He was an extreme personality with a lot of passions and pulsions.

If Charlie Mortdecai is maybe too much mundane, Bonfiglioli as said before, was the opposite.

Kyril Bonfiglioli wasn’t rich, and he was a heavy alcohol addicted. A terrible addiction that would have killed him at just 56 years in 1985.

Bonfiglioli’s father was Italo-Slovene while his mom Dorothy english.
His dad was an antiquarian bookseller. The passion for books and literature a natural consequence.

In 1943 during the war, at just 14 years he lost his mom and younger brother. Kyril would have repeated a lot of times later, like told by Wells: “The honest perish while the mischievous survive“.

Kyril once grown up married his first wife lost after the birth of the second child.  He was 27. He went to Oxford for studying english (where it is set up the final novel completed by Brown, The great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery),

Kyril would have met there his second and wife, Margaret. While in Oxford, worked in the Ashmolean museum.

Later, interested in art Kyril founded the Bonfiglioli Limited. The house where Bonfiglioli lived was a mixture of cultures, places. The one of a curious person.

Once he found a Tintoretto and bought it at an auction for just 40 pounds.

After a while his second wedding the one with Margaret was over, like his fortune as art dealer as well.

Kyril started an affair with his secretary Judith Todd.

Financial problems  always more heavy.

The first novel born in 1973. At that time he had left Judith alone and was living in Ireland and later in Jersey. Most of his friends helped him but his decadence started to be evident. He drunk always much more and was constantly depressed.

Don Wells: “His wit and restless creative mind must have co-existed with loneliness and inability to settle into a happy family life”. Don Wells do not hesitate to write in his blog: “Around Bonfig, life was sometimes scary, at times embarrassing, at others inspiring, but never less than edgy” .

Sometimes Wells says: “I still catch myself wondering what, in some situation or other, he would have thought or said or done“. Wells tells in fact a lot of anecdotes of his time spent with Kyril. The funniest one to me the day he went at lunch with him.

Forget the munificence of Charlie Mortdecai. The two ate so poorly.  Wells: “A fried fillet of haddock, served with bread and butter and a cup of tea“.



Anna Maria Polidori


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