- He passed away at the age of 72 after suffering from cancer
- The Royal Shakespeare Company announced the news of his death
- He 2000. received knighthood in
Award-winning theater and film actor Antony Sher has died at the age of 72 after suffering from cancer, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) announced on Friday. The South African-born Lion was widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest contemporary actors, playing nearly all of Shakespeare’s great roles, from King Lear to Shylock. In 1985, he won an Olivier Award for his energetic portrayal of Richard III as the villainous hunchback, twirling himself around the stage on crutches. While at RSC, Sher – once described by Prince Charles as his favorite actor – met her husband, Gregory Doran, who became the company’s artistic director.
They were one of the first same-sex couples to enter a civil partnership in the UK in 2005. In September, Doran stepped down from her role to care for her husband after he was diagnosed with the condition.
RSC Executive Director Katherine Malyon and Acting Artistic Director Erica Whyman said they were “deeply saddened” at the death of the lion.
“Our condolences and sincere condolences are with the family and friends of Greg and Antony at this devastating time,” he said.
Sher was born in Cape Town to an expatriate Lithuanian Jewish family on June 14, 1949, a year after the National Party came to power and began introducing the apartheid system. “I had a normal childhood among white people,” Sher said in 2000.
“My parents weren’t politically aware, which meant I grew up in the midst of the tyranny of apartheid without seeing it. It sounds awful but it’s true.”
But he never really felt at home and after national service in the South African Army came to Britain in 1968 at the age of 19. “I was a real wimp, in South Africa, in that whole masculine sporting society, I felt very uncomfortable. All my instincts were towards art.”
But things didn’t go according to plan at first when he was turned down from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in central London.
Instead, he entered another drama school and went on to work with the likes of Jonathan Price and Julie Walters at the Everyman Theater in Liverpool.
His time on stage, which created a reputation for politically charged performances in the 1970s and ’80s, was an education in both theater and life. “For a few years I tried to be straight, had many relationships with women before I said ‘this is ridiculous,'” he told Monocle online radio.
“I knew I was gay but didn’t want to be. I had to come out as gay and a white South African and Jewish. I had too many closets to come out.”
cape town boy
For those watching the film, there was no lion (1998), which starred Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes. The previous year, he was British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Mrs Brown, for which Judi Dench – another RSC veteran – was Oscar-nominated for her portrayal of Queen Victoria.
He was hospitalized in 1996 after becoming addicted to cocaine. Sher said he was grateful for his time as a Shakespearean actor, but regretted not playing Hamlet, assessing that he was not tall, handsome, or fair enough.
He became “Sir Antony” after receiving his knighthood in 2000, and said his mother’s presence at Buckingham Palace was one of his proudest moments. But he struggled to come to terms with it, calling himself a “little knight”.
“I have come out in many areas of my life, but I have yet to manage it,” he said later that year.
The respect established him firmly inside the British establishment, but he told The Times in 2015: “In my spirit, I am the boy in Cape Town, growing up and feeling uncomfortable in the world”.
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