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Tributes Paid After Death Of Actor David Warner

Tributes Paid After Death Of Actor David Warner

The actor died of cancer aged 80

Tributes have been paid to the actor David Warner after his death was announced yesterday (25 July).

The RSC's artistic director emeritus Gregory Doran said: "I'm very sad to hear the news that David Warner has died.

"In 1963, David was part of the legendary Wars of the Roses cycle, directed by Peter Hall, in John Barton's adaptation, playing King Henry VI. When the second history tetralogy was added the following year to celebrate the Shakespeare tercentenary, David played Richard II, and delightfully, in the spirit of ensemble, Mouldy, one of the Gloucestershire recruits, in Henry IV Part Two.

"David's most iconic role for the RSC was as Hamlet in 1965, directed again by Peter Hall, with Glenda Jackson as Ophelia, and Elizabeth Spriggs as Gertrude, with Brewster Mason as Claudius and the Ghost. A tortured student, in his long orange scarf, David seemed the epitome of 1960s youth, and caught the radical spirit of a turbulent age.

"In Peter Hall's 1969 film of A Midsummer Night's Dream, David played Lysander, alongside Helen Mirren as Hermia, Diana Rigg as Helena, and Michael Jayston as Demetrius.

"After a varied career in film and TV, David returned to the company in 2007 to be part of Michael Boyd's Histories, playing Sir John Falstaff. He was a generous spirit, a kind man, and a huge talent."

At 17 Warner won a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Not long after leaving, he made his professional stage debut at The Royal Court Theatre in 1962, playing Snout in A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Tony Richardson.

Famously shy and subject to panic attacks, as Hamlet at the RSC in 1965, he spluttered each syllable of the play's most famous line while smacking his fist, "What I deliberately didn't do was concentrate on the verse, the dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum stuff everybody expects," he recalled of the Peter Hall production. "When I was a kid and saw Shakespeare, I never heard the actors for all the posturing and declaiming. I thought surely kids today were the same as I was, not wanting Shakespeare shoved down their throats. I didn't roll it off like an aria, I said it."

After a highly successful television and film career, in 2005 Warner returned to the British stage after 30 years to play Falstaff in RSC productions of Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2. In the same year, at Chichester, he played Lear.

David Warner, actor, was born on July 29, 1941. He died of cancer on July 24, 2022, aged 80

Photo Credit: Rory Lewis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikipedia Commons

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From This Author - Aliya Al-Hassan

Aliya Al-Hassan is UK Managing Editor of BroadwayWorld. A London-based theatre critic and journalist, she has a life-long passion for the arts, with a focus on theatre and opera. She is a... (read more about this author)


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