January 2, 2017


Sir Nigel Hawthorne (1929-2001) b. Coventry, Warwickshire, England.

Nigel Hawthorne

Nigel Hawthorne was born in Coventry, Warwickshire, but raised in Cape Town, South Africa. At 19, Hawthorne dropped out of Cape Town University and returned to the UK. He made his British theatrical debut in 1951 and his first West End appearance in Talking to You (1962). He worked extensively in theatre, including award-winning performances in Privates on Parade (1978), Shadowlands (1989) and The Madness of George III (1991).

He achieved television fame for his acclaimed role as the suave and calculating civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby in the popular BBC series Yes, Minister and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister. Hawthorne first appeared onscreen in Richard Attenborough’s Young Winston (1972). He subsequently appeared in numerous films including Attenborough’s highly acclaimed Gandhi (1982) and John Irvin’s Turtle Diary (1985). He garnered international acclaim and a Best Actor Oscar nomination when reprising his stage role in Nicholas Hytner’s adaptation of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of King George (1994).

He subsequently took on the role of Malvolio in Trevor Nunn’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1996) and portrayed President Martin Van Buren in Steven Amistad (1997). Hawthorne was cast as Arthur Winslow in David Mamet’s acclaimed adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy (1999).He was made a CBE in 1987 for services to theatre, film and television, and received a knighthood in 1999. He died from a heart attack at his Hertfordshire home but had been fighting cancer for the last 18 months.

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