Brian Bedford (16 February 1935 – 13 January 2016) was an English actor. He appeared on the stage and in film, and is known for both acting in and directing Shakespeare productions. He received seven Tony nominations, the second most for a male actor behind Jason Robards, who had eight.
Bedford was born in Morley, West Yorkshire, the son of Ellen (née O'Donnell) and Arthur Bedford, a postman. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London from 1952–55. At RADA, he was in the same class as Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Peter O'Toole.
Primarily a stage actor, he was known for his English-speaking interpretations of the French playwright Molière, including Tony Award nominated performances in Tartuffe, The Molière Comedies (a double bill of the short plays The School for Husbands and The Imaginary Cuckold) and The School for Wives, for which he received the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.
He did a great deal of Shakespearean work, notably as Ariel in The Tempest opposite John Gielgud's Prospero in 1958, and at the Stratford Festival in Canada including Angelo in Measure for Measure, Malvolio in Twelfth Night and the title role in Richard III directed by Robin Phillips, and The Public Theater's New York Shakespeare Festival Shakespeare in the Park productions of As You Like It (as Jaques), and Timon of Athens (as Timon) on Broadway, with the National Actors Theatre in 1993. Bedford's additional Broadway credits include The Seven Descents of Myrtle, Private Lives, Two Shakespearean Actors, London Assurance and Jumpers.
Bedford appeared with James Garner in the 1966 film Grand Prix, and in 1967 he was a regular on the short-lived CBS series Coronet Blue. He provided the voice of Robin Hood in the 1973 Disney film of the same name. In 1997 Bedford was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Other honours include the Obie Award, the Outer Circle Critics Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the L.A. Drama Critics Award.
In 2009, Bedford starred as "Lady Bracknell" in The Importance of Being Earnest, marking 27 seasons of acting and/or directing, at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada.
He repeated the role in 2010 (in a double role as both actor and director) for the Roundabout Theatre in New York, which earned him a 2011 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.
Mr Bedford shared homes in Stratford, Ontario and in Santa Barbara, California with fellow actor Tim MacDonald, his partner since 1985 and husband since 2013.
Bedford died from cancer on 13 January 2016 in Santa Barbara, California, at the age of 80. His remains were cremated.
Stratford Shakespeare Festival credits as actor
Stratford Shakespeare Festival credits as director
Awards and nominations
- Tony Awards
- 1971 Best Leading Actor in Play – The School for Wives (winner)
- 1992 Best Leading Actor in Play – Two Shakespearean Actors (nominee)
- 1994 Best Leading Actor in Play – Timon of Athens (nominee)
- 1995 Best Leading Actor in Play – The Molière Comedies (nominee)
- 1997 Best Leading Actor in Play – London Assurance (nominee)
- 2003 Best Leading Actor in Play – Tartuffe (nominee)
- 2011 Best Leading Actor in Play – The Importance of Being Earnest (nominee)
- Drama Desk Awards
- 1969 Outstanding Performance – The Misanthrope (winner)
- 1970 Outstanding Performance – Private Lives (winner)
- 1971 Outstanding Performance – The School for Wives (winner)
- 1974 Outstanding Performance – Jumpers (winner)
- 1992 Outstanding Actor in a Play – Two Shakespearean Actors (winner)
- 1994 Outstanding Actor in a Play – Timon of Athens (nominee)
- 2011 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play – The Importance of Being Earnest (winner)
- Obie Awards
- 1965 Outstanding Performance – The Knack (winner)
- ^ Brian Bedford profile, FilmReference.com; accessed 25 August 2011.
- ^ a b RADA Student and Graduate Profiles: – Brian Bedford, rada.ac.uk; accessed 15 January 2016.
- ^ Guy Flatley (24 July 2007). "The Rule of O'Toole". MovieCrazed. Retrieved 4 April 2008.
- ^ Brian Bedford profile, kino-teatr.ru; accessed 15 January 2016. (in Russian)
- ^ "Brian Bedford profile". Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Archived from the original on 13 August 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
- ^ a b Brantley, Ben (5 January 2011), "The Importance of Being Astonished", New York Times, retrieved 9 March 2011
- ^ Weber, Bruce (13 January 2016). "Brian Bedford, Stage Actor Who Brought the Classics to Life, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- ^ "Brian Bedford, Stratford Festival icon, dead at age 80". CBC News. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- ^ https://www.noozhawk.com/article/actor_brian_bedford_voice_of_robin_hood_dies_in_santa_barbara