Forty-four years ago this May, John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy rode into movie theaters and later won Oscars for best picture, director, and screenplay. The gay story of the Bronx's own Ratso Rizzo and Texan Joe Buck earned an X rating (which back then simply meant no one under 17, not porn) and bizarre reviews from the likes of Vincent Canby in the NYT. Schlesinger had previously made one of the first "swinging London" movies, Darling, (winning Julie Christie her best actress Oscar), and later made the bi Sunday Bloody Sunday, the first widely distributed film to show two men making love. His daring dwindled with the passing decades: The Day of the Locust, Marathon Man, Yanks, The Falcon and the Snowman, Madame Sousatzka, Pacific Heights, and the indie favorite Cold Comfort Farm. His last movie was the regrettable Madonna - Rupert Everett vehicle, The Next Best Thing in 2000. The London-born Schlesinger lived in Palm Springs with his partner of more than thirty years, Michael Childers, until his death in 2003. Read William Mann's biography Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger or Ian Buruma's Conversations with John Schlesinger.