The Info List - Ian Richardson

Ian William Richardson, CBE (7 April 1934 – 9 February 2007) was a Scottish actor of film, stage and television. He portrayed the Machiavellian Tory
politician Francis Urquhart
Francis Urquhart
in the BBC's House of Cards (1990–1995) television trilogy. Richardson was also a leading Shakespearean stage actor. Richardson also appeared in adverts for Grey Poupon
Grey Poupon
Dijon mustard
Dijon mustard
in the United States.[1][2]


1 Early life 2 Stage work 3 Films and television

3.1 Early career 3.2 Later career

4 Death 5 Awards and honours 6 Selected filmography 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Early life[edit] Richardson was born in Edinburgh, the son of Margaret (née Drummond) and John Richardson. He was educated in the city, at Balgreen
Primary School, Tynecastle High School
Tynecastle High School
and George Heriot's School.[3][4] He first appeared on stage at the age of fourteen, in an amateur production of A Tale of Two Cities. The director encouraged his talent but warned that he would need to lose his Scottish accent
Scottish accent
to progress as an actor. His mother arranged elocution lessons, and he became a stage manager with the semi-professional Edinburgh
People's Theatre. After National Service in the Army (part of which he spent as an announcer and drama director with the British Forces Broadcasting Service) he obtained a place at the College of Dramatic Arts in Glasgow. After a period at the Old Rep
Old Rep
(also known as the Birmingham Repertory Theatre), he appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), of which he was a founding member, from 1960 to 1975.[5][6] Stage work[edit] Although he later gained his highest profile in film and television work such as House of Cards (1990), Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
was primarily a classical stage actor.[7] His first engagement after training was with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where his performance of Hamlet
led to an offer of a place with the RSC. He was a versatile member of the company for more than 15 years, playing villainy, comedy and tragedy to equal effect. He was The Herald in Peter Brook's production of Marat/Sade
in London
in 1964; in the New York City transfer he took the lead role of Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat
(and so became the first actor to appear nude on the Broadway stage),[3] a performance he repeated for the 1967 film Marat/Sade. In 1972, he appeared in the musical Trelawney, with which the Bristol Old Vic reopened after its refurbishment. It proved a great success, transferring to London, first to the Sadler's Wells Theatre
Sadler's Wells Theatre
and later to the Savoy Theatre. Richardson played the hero, Tom Wrench, a small-part player who wants to write about "real people". He had a song, "Walking On", lamenting his lack of scope in the company, in which he explains that as a "walking gentleman" he will be forever "walking on", whilst Rose Trelawney will go on to be a star.[8] While at the RSC, Richardson played leading roles in many productions for director John Barton.[6] These included the title role in Coriolanus
(1967), Cassius in Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
(1968), Angelo in Measure for Measure (1970) and Iachimo in Cymbeline. Work for other directors at Stratford included the title role in Pericles (1969), directed by Terry Hands; the title role in Richard III (1975), directed by Barry Kyle; and Berowne in David Jones' production of Love's Labour's Lost (1973). Richardson cited the role of Berowne as one of his all-time favorite parts. Richardson's Richard II
Richard II
(alternating the parts of the king and Bolingbroke with Richard Pasco) in 1974, and repeated in New York and London
in the following year, was hugely celebrated:[3] A significant Shakespearean cameo role was a brief performance as Hamlet
in the gravedigger scene as part of episode six, "Protest and Communication", of Kenneth Clark's Civilisation television series in 1969. This was performed at Kirby Hall
Kirby Hall
in Northamptonshire
with Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart
as Horatio and Ronald Lacey
Ronald Lacey
as the gravedigger.[9] On leaving the RSC, he played Professor Henry Higgins in the 20th anniversary Broadway revival of My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady
(1976) and received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and a nomination for the Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Actor in a Musical. He also appeared on Broadway as onstage narrator in the original production of Edward Albee's play Lolita
(1981), an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's book that was not critically well received.[10] In 2002, Richardson joined Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Donald Sinden
Donald Sinden
and Dame Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg
in an international tour of The Hollow Crown.[6] A Canadian tour substituted Alan Howard for Jacobi and Vanessa Redgrave for Rigg. He also appeared in The Creeper by Pauline Macaulay at the Playhouse Theatre in London, and on tour. His last stage appearance was in 2006 as Sir Epicure Mammon in The Alchemist at the National Theatre in London. Films and television[edit] Early career[edit] In 1963, he played Le Beau in Michael Elliott's television production of As You Like It, playing alongside Vanessa Redgrave. In 1964, he played Antipholus of Ephesus in The Comedy of Errors
The Comedy of Errors
as part of the Festival television series. In 1966, he played Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat
in the Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
production of Peter Weiss' Marat/Sade, directed by Peter Brook. In 1967, he played The Constable in A Man Takes a Drink as part of a television series entitled The Revenue Men. He played Bertram in John Barton's television version of All's Well That Ends Well in 1968, as well as playing Oberon
in the Peter Hall film of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He took part in the television production of John Mortimer's A Voyage Round My Father
A Voyage Round My Father
in Plays of Today in 1969 as well as appeared in the television adaptation of The Canterbury Tales (1969). He played one musical role on film – the Priest in Man of La Mancha, the 1972 screen version of the Broadway musical. Also in 1972, he played Anthony Beavis in the television series Eyeless in Gaza. In 1974, he played King Richard II/Bolingbroke in Richard II
Richard II
part of the Camera Three television series. In 1978, he played Robespierre
in the BBC's Play of the Month production of Danton's Death. In 1979, he played Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery in the TV miniseries Ike His first major role was his appearance as Bill Haydon ("Tailor") in the BBC
adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979). He played the part of Bernard Montgomery in Churchill and the Generals
Churchill and the Generals
in 1979, a BBC
television videotaped play concerning the relationship between Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
and generals of the Allied forces between 1940 and 1945. In the 1980s, he became well known as Major Neuheim in the award-winning Private Schulz and as Sir Godber Evans
Sir Godber Evans
in Channel 4's adaptation of Porterhouse Blue. Richardson also performed the role of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
for two of six planned BBC
television movies, The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles, in 1983, which were both critically acclaimed. He appeared in Brazil (1985) and played Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
in the television serial, Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy (1986). He portrayed Anthony Blunt, the Soviet spy and Surveyor of The King's Pictures in the BBC
film Blunt: the Fourth Man (1986) opposite Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
as Guy Burgess. In 1988, he played Edward Spencer, the eccentric and oblivious English landowner in 1920s' Ireland in Troubles, from J. G. Farrell's award-winning novel. In 1987, he played a variation on this role, when he portrayed the Bishop of Motopo in the non-musical television film Monsignor Quixote, based on Graham Greene's modernized take on Don Quixote. He played Sir Nigel Irvine in John Mackenzie's adaptation of Frederick Forsyth's novel The Fourth Protocol (1987). Later career[edit] Richardson's most acclaimed television role was as Machiavellian politician Francis Urquhart
Francis Urquhart
in the BBC
adaptation of Michael Dobbs's House of Cards trilogy.[6] He won the BAFTA
Best Television Actor Award for his portrayal in the first series, House of Cards (1990), and was nominated for both of the sequels To Play the King
To Play the King
(1993) and The Final Cut (1995). In 1990, he also starred in a TV production of The Winslow Boy
The Winslow Boy
with Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
and Gordon Jackson. He received another BAFTA
film nomination for his role as Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
governor Sir Rex Hunt in the film An Ungentlemanly Act (1992), and played corrupt politician Michael Spearpoint, British Director of the European Economic Community, in the satirical series The Gravy Train and The Gravy Train Goes East. He narrated the BBC
docudrama A Royal Scandal
A Royal Scandal
(1996). Other roles in this period include Polonius
in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990), wine dealer Sir Mason Harwood in The Year Of The Comet (1992), the French ambassador in M. Butterfly (1993), Martin Landau's butler in B*A*P*S
(1997), a malevolent alien in Dark City (1998), The Kralahome in The King and I
The King and I
(1999), Cruella de Vil's Barrister, Mr. Torte QC, in the live-action film 102 Dalmatians (2000), and a corrupt aristocrat in From Hell (2001). In 1999, Richardson became known to a young audience as the main character Stephen Tyler in both series of the family drama The Magician's House (1999–2000). Following this he played Lord Groan in the major BBC
production Gormenghast (2000), and later that year he starred in the BBC
production Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
(2000–2001) (screened in PBS's Mystery!
series in the US), playing Arthur Conan Doyle's mentor, Dr. Joseph Bell, a role he welcomed as an opportunity to play a character from his native Edinburgh.[7] He had earlier played Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
in television versions of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983) and The Sign of Four (1983). He once more returned to fantasy in the recurring role of the villainous Canon Black in the short-lived BBC
cult series Strange (2003). In 2005, he took on the role of a curiously detached Chancellor in the television drama Bleak House. He also played the Judge in the family-based film, The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2005). Additionally in that year, he appeared in ITV's main Christmas drama The Booze Cruise 2, playing Marcus Foster, a slimy upper class businessman forced to spend time with "the lower classes". He returned to this role for a sequel the following Easter. In June 2006, he was made an honorary Doctor of the University of Stirling. The honour was conferred on him by the university's chancellor, fellow actor Dame Diana Rigg. In December 2006, Richardson starred in Sky One's two-part adaptation of the Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett
novel Hogfather (1997). He voiced the main character of the novel, Death, who steps in to take over the role of the Father Christmas-like Hogfather. The DVD of that miniseries, released shortly after his death, opens with a dedication to his memory.[11] His final film appearance was as Judge Langlois in Becoming Jane (2007), released shortly after his death. During the last 15 years of his life he appeared five times on television acting opposite his son Miles Richardson, though this was usually with one or the other in a minor role. Death[edit] Richardson died in his sleep of a heart attack on the morning of 9 February 2007, aged 72. According to his agent, he had not been ill and had been due to start filming an episode of Midsomer Murders
Midsomer Murders
the following week,[12] playing Victor Godbold, Lord Holme in the episode "Death in a Chocolate Box"; Edward Petherbridge
Edward Petherbridge
took over the role. Richardson was survived by his wife, Maroussia Frank, an actress, and two sons. One son, Miles, is an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Richardson's widow and his son Miles placed his ashes in the foundations of the auditorium of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
in Stratford, during its renovations in 2008.[13] Dame Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
dedicated her 2006 Best Actress BAFTA
award for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the film The Queen to Ian Richardson. In her acceptance speech she said that, without his support early in her career, she might not have been so successful,[14] before breaking down and leaving the stage. Other tributes and reminiscences by Richardson's colleagues are offered in a memoir by Sharon Mail, We Could Possibly Comment: Ian Richardson Remembered (2009).[1] Awards and honours[edit] He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
(CBE) in the 1989 New Year Honours.[15]

Year Nominated Work Award Category Result

1976 My Fair Lady Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won

1976 My Fair Lady Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated

1991 House of Cards BAFTA
TV Award Best Actor Won

1993 An Ungentlemanly Act BAFTA
TV Award Best Actor Nominated

1994 To Play the King BAFTA
TV Award Best Actor Nominated

1996 The Final Cut BAFTA
TV Award Best Actor Nominated

Selected filmography[edit]

(1967) - Jean-Paul Marat A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968) - Oberon The Darwin Adventure
The Darwin Adventure
(1972) - Capt. Fitzroy Man of La Mancha (1972) - The Padre Gawain and the Green Knight (1973) - Narrator (uncredited) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979) - Bill Haydon Charlie Muffin (1979) - Cuthbertson The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983) - Sherlock Holmes The Sign of Four (1983) - Sherlock Holmes Brazil (1985) - Mr. Warrenn The Fourth Protocol (1987) - Sir Nigel Irvine Cry Freedom
Cry Freedom
(1987) - State Prosecutor Whoops Apocalypse (1986) - RAdm. Bendish Burning Secret
Burning Secret
(1988) - Edmund's father King of the Wind (1990) - Bey of Tunis Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990) - Polonius The Year Of The Comet (1992) - Sir Mason Harwood M. Butterfly (1993) - Ambassador Toulon Dirty Weekend (1993) - Nimrod Words Upon the Window Pane
Words Upon the Window Pane
(1994) - Dr. Trench Savage Play (1995) - Count Catherine the Great (1995) - Vorontzov The Treasure Seekers (1996) - Haig B*A*P*S
(1997) - Manley The Fifth Province (1997) - Dr. Drudy Incognito (1997) - Turley (prosecutor) Dark City (1998)
Dark City (1998)
- Mr. Book Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998) - Wasp The King and I
The King and I
(1999) - The Kralahome (voice) 102 Dalmatians
102 Dalmatians
(2000) - Mr. Torte From Hell (2001) - Sir Charles Warren Joyeux Noel
Joyeux Noel
(2005) - L'évêque anglais The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2005) - Judge Désaccord parfait (2006) - Lord Evelyn Gaylord Becoming Jane
Becoming Jane
(2007) - Judge Langlois (final film role)

See also[edit]

Biography portal Film portal Television in the United Kingdom portal Theatre portal

List of people from Edinburgh List of Scottish actors


^ a b Mail, Sharon (2009). We Could Possibly Comment: Ian Richardson Remembered. Leicester: Troubadour Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84876-184-1.  ^ Grey Poupon
Grey Poupon
"Son of Rolls" ^ a b c Jennings, Alex (January 2011). "Richardson, Ian William (1934–2007)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  ^ Blackley, Michael (9 February 2007). "Acting Star Ian Richardson Dies". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 12 February 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2007.  ^ "House of Cards actor Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
dies in his sleep". Daily Mail. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2009.  ^ a b c d Trowbridge, Simon (17 December 2008). "Richardson, Ian". Stratfordians: a Biographical Dictionary of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Oxford, England: Editions A. Creed. ISBN 978-0-9559830-1-6.  ^ a b Billington, Michael (10 February 2007). "Obituary". The Guardian.  ^ "Trelawny". Best of British.  ^ Kenneth Clark
Kenneth Clark
(1969). Civilisation (Television production). London, UK.: BBC.  ^ Kerr, Walter (March 29, 1981). "Stage View; How Albee Avoided 'Lolita'". New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2015.  ^ Hogfather ( Terry Pratchett's Hogfather ) (DVD). Genius Products (TVN) / Mill Creek Entertainment. March 4, 2008.  ^ "House of Cards' Richardson dies". BBC
News. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2007.  ^ Chaytor, Rod (22 November 2010). "Richardson has final resting place in row A". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2010.  ^ "Mirren dedicates award to late 'mentor' Ian Richardson". PR insider. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2007.  ^ "No. 51578". The London
Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1988. p. 8. 

External links[edit]

Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
on IMDb Interview with Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
at the Theatre Archive Project Ian Richardson's performances in the Theatre Archive, University of Bristol The Guardian
The Guardian
– Actor Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
dies The Guardian
The Guardian
– obituary BBC
– Obituary: Ian Richardson

v t e

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs


House of Cards (1989) To Play the King
To Play the King
(1993) The Final Cut (1995)

TV series

House of Cards (1990) To Play the King
To Play the King
(1993) The Final Cut (1995)


Francis Urquhart

U.S. adaptation

House of Cards (U.S. TV series)

Awards for Ian Richardson

v t e

TV Award for Best Actor

Paul Rogers (1955) Peter Cushing
Peter Cushing
(1956) Michael Gough (1957) Michael Hordern
Michael Hordern
(1958) Donald Pleasence
Donald Pleasence
(1959) Patrick McGoohan
Patrick McGoohan
(1960) Lee Montague (1961) Rupert Davies
Rupert Davies
(1962) Harry H. Corbett
Harry H. Corbett
(1963) Alan Badel
Alan Badel
(1964) Patrick Wymark
Patrick Wymark
(1965) Alan Badel
Alan Badel
(1966) Warren Mitchell
Warren Mitchell
(1967) Eric Porter (1968) Roy Dotrice
Roy Dotrice
(1969) Edward Woodward
Edward Woodward
(1970) Keith Michell
Keith Michell
(1971) John Le Mesurier
John Le Mesurier
(1972) Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
(1973) Frank Finlay
Frank Finlay
(1974) Peter Barkworth (1975) John Hurt
John Hurt
(1976) Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
(1977) Peter Barkworth (1978) Edward Fox (1979) Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1980) Denholm Elliott
Denholm Elliott
(1981) Anthony Andrews
Anthony Andrews
(1982) Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1983) Alan Bates
Alan Bates
(1984) Tim Pigott-Smith
Tim Pigott-Smith
(1985) Bob Peck (1986) Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
(1987) David Jason (1988) Ray McAnally (1989) John Thaw
John Thaw
(1990) Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
(1991) Robert Lindsay (1992) John Thaw
John Thaw
(1993) Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane
(1994) Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane
(1995) Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane
(1996) Nigel Hawthorne (1997) Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
(1998) Tom Courtenay
Tom Courtenay
(1999) Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
(2000) Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
(2001) Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
(2002) Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(2003) Bill Nighy
Bill Nighy
(2004) Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans
(2005) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(2006) Jim Broadbent
Jim Broadbent
(2007) Andrew Garfield
Andrew Garfield
(2008) Stephen Dillane
Stephen Dillane
(2009) Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh
(2010) Daniel Rigby (2011) Dominic West
Dominic West
(2012) Ben Whishaw
Ben Whishaw
(2013) Sean Harris (2014) Jason Watkins (2015) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(2016) Adeel Akhtar (2017)

v t e

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical

John Cullum (1975) Ian Richardson
Ian Richardson
(1976) Lenny Baker (1977) Ken Page
Ken Page
(1978) Len Cariou
Len Cariou
(1979) Jim Dale (1980) Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline
(1981) George Hearn (1984) Ron Richardson
Ron Richardson
(1985) George Rose (1986) Robert Lindsay (1987) Michael Crawford
Michael Crawford
(1988) Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander
(1989) James Naughton
James Naughton
(1990) Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce
(1991) Gregory Hines / Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
(1992) Brent Carver (1993) Boyd Gaines
Boyd Gaines
(1994) Vernel Bagneris (1995) Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
(1996) Robert Cuccioli (1997) Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming
(1998) Brent Carver (1999) Brian Stokes Mitchell
Brian Stokes Mitchell
(2000) Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
(2001) John Lithgow
John Lithgow
(2002) Antonio Banderas
Antonio Banderas
/ Harvey Fierstein
Harvey Fierstein
(2003) Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
(2004) Norbert Leo Butz
Norbert Leo Butz
(2005) John Lloyd Young
John Lloyd Young
(2006) Raúl Esparza
Raúl Esparza
(2007) Paulo Szot
Paulo Szot
(2008) Brian d'Arcy James
Brian d'Arcy James
(2009) Douglas Hodge (2010) Norbert Leo Butz
Norbert Leo Butz
(2011) Danny Burstein
Danny Burstein
(2012) Billy Porter (2013) Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris
/ Jefferson Mays
Jefferson Mays
(2014) Robert Fairchild (2015) Danny Burstein
Danny Burstein
(2016) Andy Karl
Andy Karl

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 87077129 LCCN: n80097324 ISNI: 0000 0001 0922 2492 GND: 132642549 SUDOC: 118223089 BNF: cb14220461s (data) BIBSYS: 1019755 BNE: XX1307473 SN