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7 items from 2011


John Wood obituary

11 August 2011 3:30 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Ferociously intelligent actor who reigned supreme in Stoppard and Shakespeare

John Wood, who has died aged 81, was one of the greatest stage actors of the past century, especially associated with his roles in the plays of Tom Stoppard. But a combination of his enigmatic privacy and low profile on film – he cropped up a lot without dominating a movie – meant that he remained largely unknown to the wider public.

As with all great actors, you always knew what he was thinking, all the time. Wood was especially striking in the brain-box department. Tall, forbidding and aquiline-featured, he was as much the perfect Sherlock Holmes on stage as he was the ideal Brutus. He exuded ferocious intelligence, and the twinkle in his eye could be as merciless as it was invariably amused.

As the Royal Shakespeare Company's Brutus in Julius Caesar in 1972, he was undoubtedly the noblest Roman of them all, »

- Michael Coveney

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John Wood obituary

10 August 2011 9:06 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Ferociously intelligent actor who reigned supreme in Stoppard and Shakespeare

John Wood, who has died aged 81, was one of the greatest stage actors of the past century, especially associated with his roles in the plays of Tom Stoppard. But a combination of his enigmatic privacy and low profile on film – he cropped up a lot without dominating a movie – meant that he remained largely unknown to the wider public.

As with all great actors, you always knew what he was thinking, all the time. Wood was especially striking in the brain-box department. Tall, forbidding and aquiline-featured, he was as much the perfect Sherlock Holmes on stage as he was the ideal Brutus. He exuded ferocious intelligence, and the twinkle in his eye could be as merciless as it was invariably amused.

As the Royal Shakespeare Company's Brutus in Julius Caesar in 1972, he was undoubtedly the noblest Roman of them all, »

- Michael Coveney

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Sheila Burrell obituary

27 July 2011 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

A striking stage presence for more than 60 years and a familiar face on TV

Sheila Burrell, who has died aged 89 after a long illness, was a cousin of Laurence Olivier, and a similarly distinctive and fiery actor with a broad, open face, high cheekbones and expressive eyes. She stood at only 5ft 5ins but could fill the widest stage and hold the largest audience. Her voice was a mezzo marvel, kittenish or growling and, in later life, acquired the viscosity and vintage of an old ruby port, matured after years of experience.

In a career spanning more than 60 years, she made her name as a wild, red-headed Barbara Allen (subject of the famous ballad) in Peter Brook's 1949 production of Dark of the Moon (Ambassadors theatre), an American pot-boiler about the seduction of a lusty girl by a witch boy and the hysterical reaction of her local community.

The role remained one of her favourites, »

- Michael Coveney

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Sheila Burrell obituary

27 July 2011 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

A striking stage presence for more than 60 years and a familiar face on TV

Sheila Burrell, who has died aged 89 after a long illness, was a cousin of Laurence Olivier, and a similarly distinctive and fiery actor with a broad, open face, high cheekbones and expressive eyes. She stood at only 5ft 5ins but could fill the widest stage and hold the largest audience. Her voice was a mezzo marvel, kittenish or growling and, in later life, acquired the viscosity and vintage of an old ruby port, matured after years of experience.

In a career spanning more than 60 years, she made her name as a wild, red-headed Barbara Allen (subject of the famous ballad) in Peter Brook's 1949 production of Dark of the Moon (Ambassadors theatre), an American pot-boiler about the seduction of a lusty girl by a witch boy and the hysterical reaction of her local community.

The role remained one of her favourites, »

- Michael Coveney

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Nicholas Selby obituary

4 May 2011 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

A familiar face on TV and a stage actor at the cutting edge

Nicholas Selby, who has died aged 85, was, in many ways, the archetypal supporting actor: dependable, grave and imposing while emitting a sense of authoritarian decency, courtesy and old school charm. And yet, although he was a familiar face on television, playing majors, judges and elderly peers – and a chief constable in the long-running late-1960s police series Softly Softly – he was linked with radical theatre work at the Royal Court and the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he was one of the earliest associate artists.

Selby was, in fact, an old-fashioned socialist, hailing from a working-class family in Holborn, central London, where his father worked for a rubber company. The family lived above a cinema, where young James (he later changed his name at the behest of Equity), the youngest of three, watched all the new releases free of charge. »

- Michael Coveney

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Pete Postlethwaite obituary

3 January 2011 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Oscar-nominated British actor with a vast range who could move between comedy and tragedy with ease

The actor Pete Postlethwaite had a face that elicited many similes, among them "a stone archway" and "a bag of spanners". These unflattering descriptions, plus his tongue-twisting surname, would suggest an actor with a career limited to minor supporting roles. But Postlethwaite, who has died of cancer aged 64, played a vast range of characters, often leading roles, on stage, television and film.

He was at ease in switching the masks of tragedy and comedy. The working-class martinet father he played in Terence Davies's film Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), which Postlethwaite credited as his big break, can be seen as paradigmatic of his career. Postlethwaite powerfully conveyed the father's double-sided nature: at one moment he is tenderly kissing his children goodnight, the next he is ripping the tablecloth off in a rage.

Postlethwaite was »

- Ronald Bergan

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Pete Postlethwaite obituary

3 January 2011 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Oscar-nominated British actor with a vast range who could move between comedy and tragedy with ease

The actor Pete Postlethwaite had a face that elicited many similes, among them "a stone archway" and "a bag of spanners". These unflattering descriptions, plus his tongue-twisting surname, would suggest an actor with a career limited to minor supporting roles. But Postlethwaite, who has died of cancer aged 64, played a vast range of characters, often leading roles, on stage, television and film.

He was at ease in switching the masks of tragedy and comedy. The working-class martinet father he played in Terence Davies's film Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), which Postlethwaite credited as his big break, can be seen as paradigmatic of his career. Postlethwaite powerfully conveyed the father's double-sided nature: at one moment he is tenderly kissing his children goodnight, the next he is ripping the tablecloth off in a rage.

Postlethwaite was »

- Ronald Bergan

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2016 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

7 items from 2011


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