Douglas Gresham: The Man Behind Narnia
By Craig von Buseck
CBN.com Contributing Writer
CBN.com To many, C.S. Lewis was a literary genius, but to Douglas Gresham, Lewis was "the finest man and the best Christian" he has ever known.
Recently, CBN.com's Craig von Buseck sat down with Gresham to talk his relationship with Lewis and of the extraordinary success of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
the exclusive interview with Douglas Gresham
There have been many accounts of the life of C.S. Lewis, or Jack as he liked to be called. However, Douglas, who is the stepson of Lewis, wants people to see the more personal side of the well-known author. Douglas says portrayals of Lewis seem to show a very serious man who doesn’t seem to have much joy, when in fact Lewis was a very kind, humorous man.
Douglas also says that not many people know about Lewis’
time served in WWI and that it greatly influenced what he wrote. Gresham explains that his memoir of Lewis is not a scholarly work filled with academic analysis, but a "simple recounting of the story of what I believe to be the extraordinary life of extraordinary man."
Douglas Gresham was born in 1945, the second son of novelist William Gresham & poet/novelist Joy Davidman Gresham. His parents' marriage ended in 1954 due to his father's alcoholism, infidelity, and involvement with the cult of Dianetics. [His mother, Joy, went from atheism to agnosticism to Christianity.] Joy decided to take her two sons to England where she had previously enjoyed a six month trip. During that trip Joy had met her literary hero, Clive Staples Lewis (who didn't like his name and as a child changed it to Jacksie in honor of a small dog that he cherished), and thus, on her return to England, paid him frequent visits.
In 1956 Joy and Lewis were married. It is well known that Lewis, a 58-year old life-long bachelor, originally married Joy in a civil ceremony so she could remain in England after her visa expired. But they truly shared a special love for one another.
This love only intensified after Joy was stricken with terminal cancer and the two renewed their vows at her hospital bedside. Joy died in the summer of 1960. Douglas continued to live with Lewis and says Lewis was never the same after Joy’s death.
The next three years proved to be just as trying a Douglas’ father committed suicide in America followed by Lewis’ fatal heart attack in 1963. Shortly following this sweep of tragedy, Douglas at 21 married “Merrie” Conan-Davies and settled in her native Australia while pursuing various occupations including farming and radio broadcasting. During their time in Australia, Douglas and Merrie had five children, one of whom they adopted from Korea.
Now Douglas and his family live in County Carlow, Ireland where he works full-time for the C.S. Lewis literary estate. He completely surrendered his life to Christ in 1990. Douglas is the co-producer of the blockbuster movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
the interview with Douglas Gresham
Watch part two of this interview: The 30-Year Quest to Bring Narnia to Film
Order your copy of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardobe on DVD
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