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Mr. Ian Richardson

Friday, February 9, 2007

House of Cards

Well, while it seems every other news agency in the world is talking about Anna Nicole Smith’s untimely demise (reviled and made fun of in life, pitied and made fun of in death), in the real world, a true artist and Shakesperian actor par excellence has passed away at the age of 72.

Ian Richardson was primarily a stage actor, having been among the original young actors drafted to form the Royal Shakespeare Company in the late-1950s. He played a variety of roles including Hamlet, an experience, he said, that “is so traumatic and scary that nothing you encounter again can ever equal it.”

Richardson is one of those actors who seems to pop up everywhere on television and in films, usually playing cantankerous old men. He’s the sort of actor that gives weight to the smallest of parts, and the majority of his film and television work was made up of small, yet important roles, though he is best remembered for his starring role on the popular television series House of Cards and its various sequels. I haven’t seen those yet, but I hope to some day. I quite enjoyed Richardson in the mystery series Murder Rooms, in which he played a fictionalized Joseph Bell, whom Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based Sherlock Holmes upon.

I had the good fortune of seeing Ian Richardson on stage when he was doing The Hollow Crown in Toronto several years ago. He, along with Vanessa Redgrave, Donald Sindon, and Alan Howard were all very fun to watch, in a show that is essentially just four actors sitting around telling amusing historical stories from England’s past. Our seats were very far away, but it wasn’t hard to see that this was actor of extraordinary grace and charm.

Let me say farewell to an actor whose revels now are ended. lThe rest, as they say, is silence. ewopemearg

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