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Definition: Richardson, Sir Ralph David from Philip's Encyclopedia

English actor. Richardson's distinguished stage career included fine Shakespearean performances, yet he was equally at home in plays such as Harold Pinter's No Man's Land (1975). He received Oscar nominations for his film roles in The Heiress (1949) and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984).

Summary Article: Richardson, Sir Ralph David
from Chambers Biographical Dictionary


English actor

Born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, he established his reputation with the Birmingham Repertory Company from 1926. He moved to the Old Vic Company (1930), taking many leading parts, including the title roles of W Somerset Maugham's Sheppey (1930-32) and J B Priestley's Johnson over Jordan (1938) and later leading its post-war revival, as co-director after his service in World War II. Knighted in 1947, he played with the Stratford-on-Avon company (1952), and toured Australia and New Zealand (1955). His many stage appearances included Home at Seven, The White Carnation, A Day at the Sea and, later, West of Suez (1971), The Cherry Orchard (1978) and The Understanding (1982). His films include Things to Come (1936), Anna Karenina (1948), The Heiress (1949), The Sound Barrier (1952, BAFTA Best Actor Award), Dr Zhivago (1965), Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), A Doll's House (1973) and Invitation to the Wedding (1983).

  • O'Connor, Gary, Ralph Richardson: An Actor's Life (1982, rev edn 1999).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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