♦ English actor, director and writer
He was born in London and made his London debut in The Plumber's Progress (1975). He joined the Joint Stock theatre company in 1977, touring in several plays including David Hare's Fanshen and Howard Brenton's Epsom Downs. In 1978 he played the title roles in Titus Andronicus at the Bristol Old Vic and Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Half Moon Theatre. At the National Theatre he played Orlando in As You Like It and Mozart in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus (1979), and later appeared in Alan Ayckbourn's Sisterly Feelings (1980). He returned to the National Theatre (1988) to play a shabby and ebullient Guy Burgess in An Englishman Abroad, part of Alan Bennett's double bill, Single Spies. In 1991 he directed the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carmen Jones at the Old Vic and made his debut as a film director with Carson McCullers' Ballad of the Sad Café. His film appearances include Amadeus (1983), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and The Phantom of the Opera (2004). He has played Charles Dickens on numerous occasions, including in Peter Ackroyd's solo stage show The Mystery of Charles Dickens (2000). He has directed several new plays in fringe theatres, operas, and published the autobiographical books Being an Actor (1984) and Shooting the Actor (1992), as well as biographies of Charles Laughton (1987) and Orson Welles (1995). Recent stage roles include Count Fosco in the musical The Woman in White (2005) and Pozzo in Waiting for Godot (2009). He was awarded the CBE in 1999.