The portraitist and painter Don Bachardy was born May 18, 1934, in Hollywood,
California, to Jess and Glade Bachardy. Jess Bachardy was an airplane tool planner
at Lockheed Corporation, and Don grew up in a middle-class neighborhood. In early
childhood he started drawing, and his subjects were always people. As a
pre-adolescent, he developed an interest in the movies to which his mother took
and his older brother Ted, often to the disapproval of their father. Bachardy
considers his early love of movies a major influence, as he became interested
looking at people from gazing at close-ups of movie actors on the large screens.
From an early age he drew from photographs of actors.
After high school Bachardy enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles,
found that he hated it. He left UCLA and enrolled at the Chouinard Art Institute
Los Angeles, and later studied for one year at the Slade Art School in London.
1961 he had his first one-man exhibition at the Redfern Gallery in London.
During his freshman year at UCLA, Bachardy was introduced to Christopher Isherwood.
1953 Bachardy moved into Isherwood's ocean-view home in Santa Monica, where they
lived together as lovers until Isherwood's death in 1986.
During his career as a portrait artist, Bachardy has done portraits of many
well-known figures and celebrities, including many of the movie stars he watched
a youth. He has also drawn many members of the literary circle of Isherwood
and W. H. Auden. In 1984 Bachardy received much publicity (and touched off a
controversy) when he used an expressionist style with bold colors for the official
portrait of Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr., to be hung in the California State Capitol
In 1968 Bachardy co-wrote with Isherwood the Broadway play A
Meeting by the River. Bachardy has also published collections of his
portraits, including Stars in My Eyes (1999) in which
he describes his methods and tells of his experiences of the thirty-three