We all know C. S. Lewis as the great thinker, apologist, and the creative genius behind such beloved works as Mere Christianity and the Chronicles of Narnia—including The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, a feature film coming to theaters on December 9. But Douglas Gresham, stepson to the famous author, knows Lewis much better than that, calling him "the finest man and the best Christian I've ever known."
Gresham was born in New York City in 1945. His parents divorced when Douglas was young, and his mother, Joy, later struck up a pen-pal friendship with Lewis. The friendship deepened, and Joy and her sons, Douglas and David, moved to England in 1953. Three years later, Joy and Jack—as Lewis was known to his friends—were married, and Lewis ultimately adopted the boys. But it wasn't long before Joy was diagnosed with cancer, and in 1961, just five years into their marriage, Joy died. Douglas was 15.
Today, Gresham, who turns 60 in November, is a busy man. He's serving as a producer/consultant on the new Narnia movie, and he's just written a new book, Jack's Life (Broadman & Holman), about his stepfather. In addition to his duties promoting the movie and his book, Gresham is in high demand for interviews and speaking engagements. He recently spent part of an afternoon with Christianity Today Movies, where we had a wide-ranging interview about his life with Lewis and his insight into the movie.
We had such a rich and lengthy conversation with Gresham that we've split it into two parts. Today, part one, focuses on Gresham's relationship with Lewis, and tomorrow, part two, will focus on the new movie.1
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The Man Behind the Wardrobe
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