Sir Antony Sher: Celebrated stage and screen actor dies at 72
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Sir Antony Sher: Celebrated stage and screen actor dies at 72

South African-born theatre star was known for his adaptation of If This Is A Man, by Primo Levi, into a one-man show titled Primo, which ran on Broadway.

Sir Antony Sher who died of cancer.
Sir Antony Sher who died of cancer.

Theatre star Sir Antony Sher has died of cancer at the age of 72, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced.

A statement from the organisation said he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year.

His husband, Gregory Doran, the RSC’s artistic director, announced in September that he was taking a period of compassionate leave to care for Sir Antony.

The South African-born Jewish actor tied the knot with Doran on December 21 2005, the first day same sex couples could legally form a civil partnership in the UK.

RSC executive director Catherine Mallyon and acting artistic director Erica Whyman said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by this news, and our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Greg, and with Antony’s family and their friends at this devastating time.

“Antony had a long association with the RSC and a hugely celebrated career on stage and screen.

“Antony’s last production with the company was in the two-hander Kunene And The King, written by his friend and fellow South African actor, writer and activist, John Kani.”

The statement added: “Antony was deeply loved and hugely admired by so many colleagues.

Sir Antony Sher as Richard III at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 1984. Sir Antony Sher has died of cancer. A statement from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) stated that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year. Issue date: Friday December 3, 2021.

“He was a ground-breaking role model for many young actors, and it is impossible to comprehend that he is no longer with us.

“We will ensure friends far and wide have the chance to share tributes and memories in the days to come.”

Sir Antony starred in a number of RSC productions, including a role in 2016 in King Lear, as well as playing Falstaff in the Henry IV plays and Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman.

Earlier landmark performances included Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Iago in Othello, Prospero in The Tempest and the title roles in Macbeth and Tamburlaine The Great, as well as his career-defining Richard III.

He moved to Britain to study drama in the late 1960s and joined the RSC in 1982. His breakthrough role came two years later in Richard III, a part which earned him the best actor accolade at the Olivier Theatre Awards.

His theatrical skills were not limited to the West End, and his adaptation of If This Is A Man, by Primo Levi, into a one-man show titled Primo, ran on Broadway.

Tributes were paid by Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational trust, who said: “Sir Antony Sher was one of the greats. Not only in the world of theatre but as a human being. We were so incredibly lucky to have his longstanding support and advice and even luckier to work with him on his masterpiece, Primo –  his adaptation of Primo Levi’s ‘If This Is a Man’.

“He was deeply passionate about our cause and effused such genuine warmth and energy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Greg and his family. May his memory be a blessing”

Off stage he had roles in films including Shakespeare In Love and Mrs Brown, and played Adolf Hitler in 2004’s Churchill: The Hollywood Years.

His final production with the RSC was Kani’s Kunene And The King, which saw him star opposite Kani as Jack, an actor acclaimed for his roles in Shakespeare who is diagnosed with liver cancer.

Kani said in a tribute: “Both Tony Sher and I were born when our country, South Africa, was the worst place a child could be born let alone to be raised by parents who worked very hard to prepare their children for a difficult future – Apartheid South Africa.

“By the grace of his God and my ancestors, like Romeo and Juliet we found each other in 1973.

“We travelled together as compatriots, comrades in the struggle for a better South Africa, as fellow artists, and we both had the honour of celebrating together 25 years of South Africa’s democracy in my latest play, Kunene And The King.

“I am at peace with you my friend and myself. Exit my King. Your Brother.”

The National Theatre posted a statement on Twitter from director Rufus Norris, saying: “With the tragic passing of Antony Sher, one of the great titans has left us.

“His contribution and example to our theatre world was exemplary, and his standing within the ranks of National Theatre actors could not be higher.”

The RSC said Doran will remain on compassionate leave and is expected to return to work in 2022.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments