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Martin Shaw Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (2)

Born in Birmingham, England, UK
Height 5' 8½" (1.74 m)

Mini Bio (1)

One of England's most popular actors for more than two decades, Martin is noted for his versatility. He has starred in over 100 TV roles, his long TV career beginning in 1967 with ITV Play of the Week: Love on the Dole (1967). Prior to The Professionals (1977), he had always been careful to be very different in each of his roles to avoid being typecast, and to spend long periods in the theatre. His theatrical career has been very distinguished, with a string of West End successes, beginning in 1967 with the first revival of "Look Back in Anger" and most recently on Broadway as Lord Goring in "An Ideal Husband" which won him a Tony nomination and a Drama Desk award for Best Actor. The Professionals was an international hit, and brought him offers of similar roles. Never one to take the obvious route, Martin refused them all, including the American series The Equalizer (1985), preferring variety of work to riches. He works almost exclusively in England, where he lives in a beautiful Quaker house in Norfolk, once owned by an ancestor of Abraham Lincoln. He is a pilot, and owns and flies a vintage biplane, a Boeing Stearman. Reticent about his private life, he dislikes interviews, and has little respect for the press. Recent projects are a hospital drama, Always and Everyone (1999) from Granada, in which he plays consultant Robert Kingsford, and as Adam Dalgliesh in the BBC adaptations of P.D. James's novels Death in Holy Orders (2003) and The Murder Room (2004).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (3)

Vicki Kimm (1996 - ?) (divorced)
Mary Mandsfield (1985 - ?) (divorced)
Jill Allen (1968 - ?) (divorced) (3 children)

Trivia (12)

Father of Joe Shaw, Luke Shaw and Sophie Shaw.
Is a vegan.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1996 Tony Award as Best Actor (Play) for Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband."
The episode of The New Avengers (1976) in which he appeared was the first time he and Lewis Collins starred together. They later went on to star in the The Professionals (1977).
Turned down the lead role on the television series The Equalizer (1985). The part was ultimately played by Edward Woodward.
Shaw is patron of the Hillside Animal Sanctuary at Frettenham, Norfolk, England. This was founded in 1995 to help and campaign for animals in need and to bring public awareness to the millions of animals suffering every day in the intensive factory farming industry.
Blocked repeats of The Professionals (1977) until the mid-1990s.
Turned down an offer to audition for the role of James Bond in the late 1970s.
Considered for Caine and Roger Derebridge in Lifeforce(1985).
Lived in the Erdington district of Birmingham.
Moved to London when 18.
Girlfriend: Karen De Silva, nicknamed Kaz.

Personal Quotes (9)

Although TV is exhausting, the longest performance you do there is about two minutes, and that's your whole performance, then you have a break and then you do another two minutes. Sustaining something for two hours, as you must in theatre - that's when it becomes an art form, this is when you become someone like a ballet dancer or a pianist or painter, where a lifelong training and experience is brought to the fore. So if I'm not going to dishonour and disenfranchise 45 years of work, I need to come back to the theatre whenever I can.
With TV and films - but TV especially because of the economic pressure - it is always about acting your first idea. Almost invariably the script will have been horrid too, because TV writers write under pressure, they don't have the luxury like a playwright of bringing something up and polishing it and honing it. They just dash it off.
I was an instant convert to hippiedom. I loved kaftans, long hair, crushed velvet, flared jeans, all of that stuff! And Bob Dylan, of course. I bought a guitar and learned all the songs - I even had a wire frame with a mouth organ on it to do the whole Dylan shtick. All the protests, all that stuff. I didn't go on the marches myself, though. I was probably too stoned to make my way there.
Every single day on the series takes me back to that time. And I'm one of the few people on the set who can actually remember it. I was there. I'm like an unofficial consultant on the series - whenever they're wondering whether people actually used a certain phrase, or acted in a certain way back then, they ask me. (On Inspector George Gently (2007))
The day before an opening night I'm almost physically sick and wish I was on another planet. I have fantasies about cancelling it - the theatre could burn down, they could change their minds and I'd be free! Just before the curtain goes up, I wonder why I do this to myself.
In the Fifties, most actors didn't bother to change for different roles. If you saw an Errol Flynn movie, it was always going to be Errol Flynn. It was the same with Cary Grant, Fred Astaire or Rock Hudson - the part was a vehicle for them. People say to me, with a little element of surprise, that I'm versatile - as though that isn't something expected of an actor, rather than being the definition of one. You don't call a musician versatile just because he can play more than one tune.
Every city in England had its own repertory theatre. And that was reflected on TV - the BBC had Sunday-Night Theatre and ITV had Armchair Theatre. So, twice a week you'd have a play, something entirely new. Then there was The Wednesday Play on BBC, with seminal broadcasts like Cathy Come Home. It was very exciting. You didn't earn much but you didn't need to because you were working all the time, making different dramas.
[on Inspector George Gently (2007)] Working with Lee [Lee Ingleby] is one of the attractions of the job. If we have any problems with the script we can resolve it very quickly because we have an intuitive way of working. Lee always makes me laugh. He's irreverent and, when you work under the pressure we face, laughter is brilliant for relieving the strain.
[in 2011] The days on set are long and incredibly pressured. We make the equivalent of two full-length movies for each series of Inspector George Gently (2007) in seven weeks. My working day on set lasts from 7am to 7pm. After I've cooked myself dinner, I've got pages of dialogue to learn for the next day and, by 10.30pm, I'm exhausted. I can sustain that pace for the seven weeks that we do now, but if I tried to keep it up for the six months it would take to do a full series, my body wouldn't cope.

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