'Chris And Don': An Extraordinary Couple

Don Bachardy and Chris Isherwood i i

hide captionDon Bachardy painted an extensive series of portraits of his partner Chris Isherwood.

Jack Shear/Zeitgeist Films
Don Bachardy and Chris Isherwood

Don Bachardy painted an extensive series of portraits of his partner Chris Isherwood.

Jack Shear/Zeitgeist Films
Don Bachardy i i

hide captionBachardy is no stranger to film — he was also the subject of The Eyes of Don Bachardy, a short documentary by Oscar-winner Terry Sanders.

Michael Childers/Zeitgeist Films
Don Bachardy

Bachardy is no stranger to film — he was also the subject of The Eyes of Don Bachardy, a short documentary by Oscar-winner Terry Sanders.

Michael Childers/Zeitgeist Films

Artist Don Bachardy met British ex-pat author Christopher Isherwood on a Santa Monica beach in 1952. Bachardy was 18; Isherwood was 49. Given their age difference and Hollywood's then-repressive attitude toward homosexuality, their relationship came as a shock to many. Few expected their romance to last for years, let alone decades.

Their relationship is now the subject of the new documentary Chris and Don: A Love Story. The film traces their union from their first meeting to Isherwood's death from cancer in 1986.

Bachardy speaks with Terry Gross about his career as an artist and his relationship with Isherwood, who penned the Berlin Stories, which served as the basis for the musical and film Cabaret.

Bachardy and Isherwood collaborated on a number of projects, and Bachardy's illustrations often appeared in Isherwood's work.

As an artist, Bachardy achieved recognition outside of his relationship with Isherwood, creating portraits of such celebrities and notables as Jack Nicholson, Mia Farrow and Dorothy Parker. His book Stars in My Eyes describes the subjects of his works and was a best-seller in Los Angeles.

Bachardy's portraits are on display in the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Portrait Gallery in London and the California State Capitol.

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