Ralph Richardson biography

Ralph Richardson

Actor, Film actor

1902 – 1983

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Who was Ralph Richardson?

Sir Ralph David Richardson was an English actor who, along with his contemporaries John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier, dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. He worked in films throughout most of his career, and played more than sixty cinema roles. From an artistic but not theatrical background, Richardson had no thought of a stage career until a production of Hamlet in Brighton inspired him to become an actor. He learned his craft in the 1920s with a touring company and later the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. In 1931 he joined the Old Vic, playing mostly Shakespearean roles. He led the company the following season, succeeding Gielgud, who had taught him much about stage technique. After he left the company, a series of leading roles took him to stardom in the West End and on Broadway.

In the 1940s, together with Olivier and John Burrell, Richardson was the co-director of the Old Vic company. There his most celebrated roles included Peer Gynt and Falstaff. He and Olivier led the company to Europe and Broadway in 1945 and 1946, before their success provoked resentment among the governing board of the Old Vic, leading to their dismissal from the company in 1947.

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Born
Dec 19, 1902
Cheltenham
Also known as
  • Ralph David Richardson
  • Lt. Cmdr Ralph Richardson RNVR
  • Sir Ralph David Richardson
  • "Pranger" Richardson
  • Sir Ralph David Richardson, Kt
  • Sir Ralph Richardson
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • United Kingdom
Profession
Died
Oct 10, 1983
Marylebone
Resting place
Highgate Cemetery

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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