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Sir Antony Sher, KBE (born 14 June 1949) is an English actor of South African origin, a two-time Laurence Olivier Award winner and four-time nominee, who joined the Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
in 1982 and toured in many roles, as well as appearing on film and TV, and working as a writer and theatre director. In 2001, he starred in his cousin Ronald Harwood’s play Mahler's Conversion, and said that the story of a composer sacrificing his faith for his career echoed his own identity struggles. Sher and his partner and collaborator Gregory Doran became one of the first gay couples to enter into a civil partnership in the UK. During his 2017 "Commonwealth Tour", Prince Charles
Prince Charles
referred to Sher as his favorite actor.[1]

Contents

1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 Other work

3 Personal life 4 Stage performances

4.1 Theatre

5 Filmography

5.1 Film 5.2 Television

6 Awards and nominations

6.1 BAFTA TV Awards 6.2 Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Awards 6.3 Drama Desk Awards 6.4 Evening Standard Theatre Awards 6.5 Evening Standard British Film Awards 6.6 Screen Actors Guild Awards 6.7 Theatre Awards UK (TMA) 6.8 Tony Awards

7 Honours 8 References 9 External links

Early life[edit] Sher was born into a Lithuanian-Jewish
Lithuanian-Jewish
family in Cape Town, South Africa, the son of Emmanuel and Margery Sher, who worked in business.[2] He grew up in the suburb of Sea Point
Sea Point
and is a cousin of playwright Ronald Harwood.[3] Sher, however, has worked mainly in the United Kingdom and is now a British citizen. In 1968, after completing his compulsory military service, he left for London to audition at the Central School of Speech and Drama
Central School of Speech and Drama
and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
(RADA), but was unsuccessful. He instead studied at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art from 1969 to 1971. After training, and some early performances with the theatre group Gay Sweatshop, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
in 1982. Career[edit] In the 1970s, Sher was part of a group of young actors and writers working at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre.[4] Comprising figures such as writers Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell and fellow actors Trevor Eve, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce
and Julie Walters, Sher has summed up the work of the company with the phrase "anarchy ruled". With the Royal Shakespeare
Shakespeare
Company, Sher took the title role in Tartuffe
Tartuffe
and played the Fool in King Lear. His big break arrived in 1984, when he performed the title role in Richard III
Richard III
and won the Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Award. Since then he has played the lead in such productions as Tamburlaine, Cyrano de Bergerac, Stanley and Macbeth, and most recently played Falstaff
Falstaff
in Henry IV Part 1
Henry IV Part 1
and Henry IV Part 2 in Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon
and on national tour. He has also played Johnnie in Athol Fugard's Hello and Goodbye, Iago
Iago
in Othello, Malvolio in Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
and Shylock
Shylock
in The Merchant of Venice. Sher received his second Laurence Olivier Award in 1997 for his performance as the eponymous Stanley Spencer
Stanley Spencer
in Stanley. In 2001, Sher played the role of the composer Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
in Ronald Harwood’s play Mahler's Conversion, about Mahler’s decision to renounce his Jewish faith prior to his appointment as conductor and artistic director of the Vienna State Opera House in 1897. Speaking about the role to The Guardian's Rupert Smith, Sher revealed:

"When I came to England in 1968, at 19, I looked around me and I didn't see any Jewish leading men in the classical theatre, so I thought it best to conceal my Jewishness. Also, I quickly became conscious of apartheid when I arrived here, and I didn't want to be known as a white South African. I was brought up in a very apolitical family. We were happy to enjoy the benefits of apartheid without questioning the system behind it. Reading about apartheid when I came to England was a terrible shock. So I lost the accent almost immediately, and if anyone asked me where I was from I would lie. If they asked where I went to school, I'd say Hampstead, which got me into all sorts of trouble because of course everyone else went to school in Hampstead and they wanted to know which one. Then there was my sexuality. The theatre was full of gay people, but none of them were out, and there was that ugly story about Gielgud being arrested for cottaging, so I thought I'd better hide that as well. Each of these things went into the closet until my entire identity was in the closet. That's why this play appealed to me so much: it's about an artist changing his identity in order to get what he wants."[3]

In 2015 he played Willy Loman
Willy Loman
in Death of a Salesman. He also has several film credits to his name, including Yanks
Yanks
(1979), Superman II
Superman II
(1980), Shadey
Shadey
(1985) and Erik the Viking (1989). Sher starred as the Chief Weasel in the 1996 film adaptation of The Wind in the Willows and as Benjamin Disraeli
Benjamin Disraeli
in the 1997 film Mrs. Brown. Sher's television appearances include the mini-series The History Man (1981) and The Jury (2002). In 2003, he played the central character in an adaptation of the J. G. Ballard
J. G. Ballard
short story, "The Enormous Space", filmed as Home and broadcast on BBC Four. In Hornblower (1999), he played the role of French royalist Colonel de Moncoutant, Marquis de Muzillac, in the episode "The Frogs and the Lobsters". More recent credits include a cameo in the British comedy film Three and Out (2008) and the role of Akiba in the television play God on Trial (2008). Sher was cast in the role of Thrain, father of Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but appears only in the Extended Edition of the film. He is currently playing the title role in King Lear
King Lear
and is the only person to play both the Fool and King Lear
King Lear
at the RSC. Other work[edit] Sher's books include the memoirs Year of the King (1985), Woza Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus
Titus Andronicus
in South Africa
South Africa
(with Gregory Doran, 1997), Beside Myself (an autobiography, 2002), Primo Time (2005), and Year of the Fat Knight (2015), a book of paintings and drawings, Characters (1990), and the novels Middlepost (1989), Cheap Lives (1995), The Indoor Boy (1996) and The Feast (1999). Sher has also written several plays, including I.D. (2003) and Primo (2004). The latter was adapted as a film in 2005. In 2008, The Giant, the first of his plays in which Sher did not feature, was performed at the Hampstead Theatre. The main characters are Michelangelo
Michelangelo
(at the time of his creation of David), Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
and Vito, their mutual apprentice. In 2005, Sher directed Breakfast With Mugabe at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. The production moved to the Soho Theatre
Soho Theatre
in April 2006 and the Duchess Theatre
Duchess Theatre
one month later. In 2007, he made a crime documentary for Channel 4, titled Murder Most Foul, about his native South Africa.[5] It examines the double murder of actor Brett Goldin and fashion designer Richard Bloom. In 2011, Sher appeared in the BBC TV series The Shadow Line in the role of Glickman.[6] Personal life[edit] In 2005, Sher and his partner – director Gregory Doran, with whom he frequently collaborates professionally – became one of the first gay couples to enter into a civil partnership in the UK.[7] They married on 21 December 2015, the 10th anniversary of their civil partnership. Stage performances[edit] Theatre[edit]

1972–74: Various roles at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool 1974: Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr
in Willy Russell's John Paul George Ringo and Bert at the Everyman Theatre, where it opened in May 1974. Transferred to the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London in August. 1982: Mike Leigh's Goosepimples in the West End 1982: The Fool in King Lear
King Lear
at the Royal Shakespeare
Shakespeare
Theatre. Transferred to the Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
in 1983. 1984: Richard III
Richard III
with the Royal Shakespeare
Shakespeare
Company. Transferred to the Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
in 1985. 1985: Torch Song Trilogy at the Albery Theatre, London 1987: Shylock
Shylock
in The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice
with the RSC 1987: Henry Irving in Happy Birthday, Sir Larry at the Royal National Theatre, London ( Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
80th birthday tribute) 1990: Singer with the RSC 1991: The Trial and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the National Theatre 1993: Henry Carr in Travesties
Travesties
at the Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
with the RSC 1994–95: Titus Andronicus
Titus Andronicus
at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg. Transferred to the National Theatre and for a UK tour. 1997: Stanley at the National Theatre (repeated on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre) 1997: Cyrano de Bergerac at the Lyric Theatre 1998–99: The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale
at the Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
with the RSC 1999: Macbeth
Macbeth
at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, with the RSC 2000–01: Macbeth
Macbeth
and The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale
with the RSC 2002: RSC's Jacobean season transfers to the West End. 2003: I.D. at the Almeida Theatre, London 2004: Primo at the Cottesloe Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London (repeated on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre, July–August 2005) 2007: Kean in Kean at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. Transferred to the Apollo Theatre, London in May. 2008: Prospero
Prospero
in The Tempest
The Tempest
at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town; Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon; and on tour in Richmond, Leeds, Bath, Nottingham and Sheffield 2010: Tomas Stockmann in An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People
at the Sheffield Crucible 2012: Leading Role in Travelling Light at the Royal National Theatre 2013: Wilhelm Voigt
Wilhelm Voigt
in The Captain of Köpenick at the Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London 2014: Falstaff
Falstaff
in Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 1
and Henry IV Part 2
Henry IV Part 2
with the Royal Shakespeare
Shakespeare
Company 2015: Willy Loman
Willy Loman
in Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
with the Royal Shakespeare
Shakespeare
Company 2016: The title role in King Lear
King Lear
with the Royal Shakespeare
Shakespeare
Company (to be reprised in 2018)

Filmography[edit] Film[edit]

Year Title Role

1976 The Madness Militia man/Young man in café

1978 ITV Playhouse Morris

1979 Collision Course Tasic

Play for Today Nathan

One Fine Day Mr Alpert

Yanks G.I. at cinema

1980 Superman II Bell Boy

1985 Shadey Oliver Shadey

1989 Erik the Viking Loki

1990 Screenplay David Samuels

1992 The Comic Strip Presents... Scum editor

1993 Screen Two Genghis Cohn

1994 Shakespeare: The Animated Tales Richard III

1995 The Young Poisoner's Handbook Dr Ernest Zeigler

Look at the State We're In! The Don

1996 The Wind in the Willows Chief Weasel

Indian Summer Jack

1997 Mrs. Brown Benjamin Disraeli

The Moonstone Sergeant Cuff

1998 Shakespeare
Shakespeare
in Love Dr Moth

1999 The Winter's Tale Leontes, King of Sicilia

2000 The Miracle Maker Ben Azra (voice)

2001 Macbeth Macbeth

2004 Murphy's Law Frank Jeremy

Churchill: The Hollywood Years Adolf Hitler

2005 A Higher Agency Chef

Great Performances Primo Levi

Primo Primo Levi

2008 Three and Out Maurice

Masterpiece Contemporary

2010 The Wolfman Dr Hoenneger

2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Thráin (Extended Edition only)

2014 War Book David

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1981 The History Man Howard Kirk Episodes: "Part 1: October 2nd 1972" "Part 2: October 3, 1972 (a.m.)" "Part 3: October 3rd 1972 (p.m.)" "Gross Moral Turpitude"

1995 One Foot in the Grave: "Rearranging the Dust" Mr Prothrow Acted without dialogue

1999 Hornblower: "The Frogs and the Lobsters" Colonel Moncoutant

2002 The Jury Gerald Lewis QC

2003 Home Gerald Ballantyne

2007 The Company Ezra ben Ezra, the Rabbi

2008 God on Trial Akiba

2011 The Shadow Line Peter Glickman Episodes: "Episode #1.5" "Episode #1.6"

2013 Agatha Christie's Marple: A Caribbean Mystery Jason Rafiel

Awards and nominations[edit] BAFTA TV Awards[edit] 0 win, 1 nomination

British Academy Television Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result

2008 Primo British Academy Television Awards
British Academy Television Awards
2008 Best Actor Nominated

Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Awards[edit] 2 wins, 4 nominations

Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Award

Year Nominated work Category Result

1983 King Lear Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated

1985 Richard III
Richard III
and Torch Song Trilogy Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor Won

1997 Stanley Won

2000 The Winters Tale Nominated

Drama Desk Awards[edit] 1 win and 1 nomination

Drama Desk Award

Year Nominated work Category Result

2006 Primo Outstanding One-Person Show "Primo" Won

Evening Standard Theatre Awards[edit] 1 win and 1 nomination

Evening Standard Theatre Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result

1985 Richard III Best Actor Won

Evening Standard British Film Awards[edit] 1 win and 1 nomination

Evening Standard British Film Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result

1997 Mrs Brown Peter Sellers Award for Comedy Won

Screen Actors Guild Awards[edit] 1 win and 1 nomination

Screen Actors Guild Award

Year Nominated work Category Result

1997 Shakespeare
Shakespeare
in Love Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won

Theatre Awards UK (TMA)[edit] 1 win and 1 nomination

Theatre Awards UK

Year Nominated work Category Result

1997 Titus Andronicus Best Actor in a Play [8] Won

Tony Awards[edit] 0 win and 1 nomination

Tony Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result

1997 Stanley Best Actor in a Play Nominated

Honours[edit]

1998: Honorary Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters
(Hon. Litt.D.) from the University of Liverpool 2000: Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
(KBE) for services to theatre 2007: Honorary Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters
(Hon. Litt.D.) from the University of Warwick 2010: Honorary Doctor of Letters
Doctor of Letters
(Hon. Litt.D.) from the University of Cape Town

References[edit]

^ "When I'm king I'll build a fort, jovial Prince Charles
Prince Charles
tells Indian schoolchildren". Daily Telegraph. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.  ^ " Antony Sher Biography". Filmreference.com. 2008. Retrieved 22 January 2009.  ^ a b Smith, Rupert (20 September 2001). "The great pretender". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 May 2015.  ^ "Everyman Theatre". Everymanplayhouse.co.uk. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2010.  ^ "Murder Most Foul". Channel4.com. September 2007.  ^ "The Shadow Line, a New Drama for BBC Two". BBC Online. Retrieved 2 February 2011.  ^ BBC News, 21 December 2005. ^ Sher, Anthony. "TMA Previous Winners". 1995. Theatre Management Association. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

Antony Sher at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Antony Sher on IMDb Article in The Spectator

Awards for Antony Sher

v t e

Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor

1955-1959

Richard Burton
Richard Burton
(1955) Paul Scofield
Paul Scofield
(1956) Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
(1957) Michael Redgrave
Michael Redgrave
(1958) Eric Porter (1959)

1960-1969

Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1960) Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
(1961) Paul Scofield
Paul Scofield
(1962) Michael Redgrave
Michael Redgrave
(1963) Nicol Williamson
Nicol Williamson
(1964) Ian Holm
Ian Holm
(1965) Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(1966) Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
(1967) Alec McCowen
Alec McCowen
(1968) Nicol Williamson
Nicol Williamson
(1969)

1970–1979

John Gielgud
John Gielgud
(1970) Alan Bates
Alan Bates
(1971) Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
(1972) Alec McCowen
Alec McCowen
(1973) John Wood (1974) John Gielgud
John Gielgud
(1975) Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(1976) Donald Sinden
Donald Sinden
(1977) Alan Howard (1978) Warren Mitchell
Warren Mitchell
(1979)

1980–1989

Tom Courtenay
Tom Courtenay
(1980) Alan Howard (1981) Alec McCowen
Alec McCowen
(1982) Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
(1983) Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(1984) Antony Sher (1985) Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(1986) Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
(1987) Eric Porter (1988) Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(1989)

1990–1999

Richard Harris
Richard Harris
(1990) John Wood (1991) Nigel Hawthorne (1992) Ian Holm
Ian Holm
(1993) Tom Courtenay
Tom Courtenay
(1994) Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
(1995) Paul Scofield
Paul Scofield
(1996) Ian Holm
Ian Holm
(1997) Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
(1998) Stephen Dillane
Stephen Dillane
(1999)

2000–2009

Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
(2000) Alex Jennings (2001) Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
(2002) Michael Sheen
Michael Sheen
(2003) Richard Griffiths
Richard Griffiths
(2004) Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
(2005) Rufus Sewell
Rufus Sewell
(2006) Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart
(2007) Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor
(2008) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(2009)

2010–9999

Rory Kinnear
Rory Kinnear
(2010) Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch
and Jonny Lee Miller
Jonny Lee Miller
(2011) Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
(2012) Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear
Rory Kinnear
(2013) Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston
(2014) James McAvoy
James McAvoy
(2015) Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes
(2016) Andrew Garfield
Andrew Garfield
(2017)

v t e

Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor

Antony Sher (1985) Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(1986) Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
(1987) Oliver Ford Davies
Oliver Ford Davies
(1989/1990) Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(1991) Nigel Hawthorne (1992) Robert Stephens
Robert Stephens
(1993) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(1994) David Bamber (1995) Alex Jennings (1996) Antony Sher (1997) Ian Holm
Ian Holm
(1998) Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
(1999) Henry Goodman
Henry Goodman
(2000) Conleth Hill
Conleth Hill
(2001) Roger Allam
Roger Allam
(2002) Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
(2003) Matthew Kelly (2004) Richard Griffiths
Richard Griffiths
(2005) Brian Dennehy
Brian Dennehy
(2006) Rufus Sewell
Rufus Sewell
(2007) Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor
(2008) Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
(2009) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(2010) Roger Allam
Roger Allam
(2011) Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch
and Jonny Lee Miller
Jonny Lee Miller
(2012) Luke Treadaway (2013) Rory Kinnear
Rory Kinnear
(2014) Mark Strong
Mark Strong
(2015) Kenneth Cranham (2016) Jamie Parker (2017)

v t e

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance

Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(1984) Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg
(1985) Eric Bogosian
Eric Bogosian
(1986) Barbara Cook
Barbara Cook
(1987) — (1988) — (1989) Robert Morse
Robert Morse
(1990) Eileen Atkins (1991) Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart
(1992) Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith
(1993) Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith
(1994) James Lecesne
James Lecesne
(1995) Mary Louise Wilson (1996) Fiona Shaw
Fiona Shaw
(1997) John Leguizamo
John Leguizamo
(1998) David Hare (1999) Dame Edna Everage
Dame Edna Everage
(2000) Pamela Gien (2001) Elaine Stritch
Elaine Stritch
(2002) Tovah Feldshuh
Tovah Feldshuh
(2003) Jefferson Mays
Jefferson Mays
(2004) Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
(2005) Antony Sher (2006) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(2007) Laurence Fishburne
Laurence Fishburne
(2008) Lorenzo Pisoni (2009) Jim Brochu
Jim Brochu
(2010) John Leguizamo
John Leguizamo
(2011) Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy
(2012) Michael Urie
Michael Urie
(2013) John Douglas Thompson (2014) Benjamin Scheuer (2015) Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
(2016) Ed Dixon (2017)

‹ The template below (ScreenActorsGuildAward CastMotionPicture 1995–2000) is being considered for merging. See templates for discussion to help reach a consensus. ›

v t e

Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

1995

Apollo 13 Kevin Bacon, Tom Hanks, Ed Harris, Bill Paxton, Kathleen Quinlan, Gary Sinise

1996

The Birdcage Hank Azaria, Christine Baranski, Dan Futterman, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest, Robin Williams

1997

The Full Monty Mark Addy, Paul Barber, Robert Carlyle, Deirdre Costello, Steve Huison, Bruce Jones, Lesley Sharp, William Snape, Hugo Speer, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Woof

1998

Shakespeare
Shakespeare
in Love Ben Affleck, Simon Callow, Jim Carter, Martin Clunes, Judi Dench, Joseph Fiennes, Colin Firth, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Antony Sher, Imelda Staunton

1999

American Beauty Annette Bening, Wes Bentley, Thora Birch, Chris Cooper, Peter Gallagher, Allison Janney, Kevin Spacey, Mena Suvari

2000

Traffic Steven Bauer, Benjamin Bratt, James Brolin, Don Cheadle, Erika Christensen, Clifton Collins Jr., Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Miguel Ferrer, Albert Finney, Topher Grace, Luis Guzmán, Amy Irving, Tomas Milian, D. W. Moffett, Dennis Quaid, Peter Riegert, Jacob Vargas, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Complete list (1995–2000) (2001–2010) (2011–2020)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 112901035 LCCN: n85175270 ISNI: 0000 0001 0936 8571 GND: 119458969 SUDOC: 031120563 BNF: cb12239745g (data) BIBSYS: 3031176 NLA: 35821064 NKC: pna2015863191 SN

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