Now that The English Patient has become one of the most beloved and honored romances of the past twenty years -- first as a bestselling novel that won the Booker Prize and the Governor General's Award, then as an award winning movie that took six Baftas and nine Oscars -- can we erase from its millions of fans' memories the falsehood that the Hungarian spy Count Laszlo de Almásy ever would have had an affair with the married British woman Katherine Clifton, and re-tell the story accurately, showing that his great passion was for a young Nazi soldier named Hans Entholt? Moreover, although the core of the story is that he suffered burns over his entire body, became addicted to morphine, and died of an overdose in Italy, in actuality, he was never burned, and lived until 1951 when he was killed by dysentery in Salzburg, Austria.
All these changes beg why novelist Michael Ondaatje used Laszlo de Almásy's name. He made up Katherine Clifton, loosely basing her and her husband on Dorothy and Sir Robert Clayton East-Clayton.
Almásy's love letters to Hans Entholt have just surfaced at the Heinrich Barth Institute for African Studies in Cologne, confirming long widespread rumors that he was gay. Other letters reveal his sexual relations with "Egyptian princes." Born in 1895, Almásy was exclusively homosexual, not bi. (He appears above, in sunglasses.) According to the Daily Mail news story, he died "never having once slept with a woman."