Partner W. Somerset Maugham

Queer Places:
Villa La Mauresque, 52 Boulevard du Général de Gaulle, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Francia

Alan Searle (deceased) - GenealogyAlan Searle (1905 - August, 1985) became the private secretary and companion of W. Somerset Maugham following the death of Gerald Haxton in 1944. He took up residence at Maugham's villa in the Riviera and remained with him until his death in 1965.

Maugham first met Searle in 1928, when Searle was "a very youthful looking twenty-three, a working class boy from Bermondsey, the son of a Dutch tailor and cockney mother".[1] He was the lover of several famous older men, including Lytton Strachey, who called Searle his "Bronzino boy". Searle developed an antagonistic relationship with Maugham's daughter, Liza. In his final years, Maugham made an unsuccessful attempt to disinherit his daughter and to adopt Searle as his son.

W. Somerset Maugham spent most of his last years in the Villa Mauresque, Cap Ferrat. In early December 1965 he asked to see Romaine Brooks, who was living nearby in Nice. Fragile, wispy and opinionated, she was the same age as Maugham, but was to outlive him by five years. Romaine came to the Mauresque with some reluctance, for she knew of Maugham’s distressing condition. His stammering was such that she could not understand a word he uttered. Only when he saw her to her car and pointed his finger at her did she grasp what he was saying: ‘You need somebody to take care of you’, and then he directed his finger at Alan Searle, his secretary. It seemed as though he was bequeathing Alan to her. A few days later Maugham collapsed and was taken to the Anglo-American Hospital in Nice, where he died on 15 December, a few weeks short of his ninety-second birthday. His last words were: ‘Why, Alan, where have you been? I’ve been looking for you for months. I want to shake your hand for all you have done for me.’

Searle received £50.000, all royalties for his lifetime and the contents of the Villa Mauresque; Maugham's daughter, Liza, received the Villa itself. Following Maugham's death, Searle went into retirement in Monte Carlo. He was interviewed by the scholar Robert Calder when he was writing his biography of Maugham. He died in 1985. Courts records in London indicate that Searle bequeathed a substantial sum-over one hundred thousand dollars-to George Towers, George Cukor's frequent companion and friend.

Somerset Maugham in Venice with his secretary Alan Searle . News Photo -  Getty Images

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