15 October 2013 3:05 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Actor who played many major Shakespearean roles on the stage

Few actors played as many major Shakespearean roles as did Paul Rogers, a largely forgotten and seriously underrated performer, who has died aged 96. It was as though he was barnacled in those parts, undertaken at the Old Vic in the 1950s, by the time he played his most famous role, the vicious paterfamilias Max in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming at the Aldwych theatre in 1965 (and filmed in 1973).

Staunch, stolid and thuggish, with eyes that drilled through any opposition, Rogers's Max was a grumpy old block of granite, hewn on an epic scale, despite the flat cap and plimsolls – horribly real. Peter Hall's production for the Royal Shakespeare Company was monumental; everything was grey, chill and cheerless in John Bury's design, set off firstly by a piquant bowl of green apples and then by the savage acting.

The Homecoming »

- Michael Coveney

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