Sunday, 27 May 2007

Lord Laurence Olivier

This last week has seen celebrated 100 years since the birthday of Laurence Olivier. When I was a lad he was my Hero with a very capital H. At the age of 11 I went to the cinema three times in one week and saw ‘Hamlet’, ‘Henry V’ and ‘Richard III’ and I was never quite the same thereafter - I decided totally that that was what I wanted – to be an Actor. It’s true, I did have some success and my appetite whetted when playing King Herod in the Nativity at school when I was just 7 – but Sir Laurence was my defining moment.

I well remember the very first time I saw him live. It was at the Old Vic (a theatre I was to come to love many years later from the other side of the footlights too when I played
Ratty in Alan Bennett’s “Wind in the Willows”) when I was 18 and managed to get a ticket for “Uncle Vanya” with Olivier, Max Adrian, Michael Redgrave, Sybil Thorndike, Rosemary Harris, Robert Lang etc. etc. It was a wonderful evening and when I waited at the stage door and managed to get autographs from Sir Laurence, Michael Redgrave and Rosemary Harris my evening was totally complete.

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