20 Facts About Antony Sher


Sir Antony Sher was a British actor, writer and theatre director of South African origin.

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Antony Sher was born into a Lithuanian Jewish family in Cape Town, South Africa, the son of Margery and Emmanuel Antony Sher, who worked in business.

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Antony Sher grew up in the suburb of Sea Point where he attended Sea Point High School, and was a first cousin, once removed, of the playwright Sir Ronald Harwood.

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Antony Sher worked mainly in the United Kingdom and became a British citizen in 1979.

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Antony Sher instead studied at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art from 1969 to 1971 and subsequently on the one-year postgraduate course run jointly by Manchester University Drama Department and the Manchester School of Theatre.

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Antony Sher performed with the theatre group Gay Sweatshop, before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982.

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Also for the RSC, Antony Sher performed the lead in such productions as Tamburlaine, Cyrano de Bergerac, Stanley, and Macbeth, and in 2014 played Falstaff in Henry IV Part 1 and Henry IV Part 2 in Stratford-upon-Avon and on national tour.

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Antony Sher played Johnnie in Athol Fugard's Hello and Goodbye, Iago in Othello, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.

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Antony Sher received his second Laurence Olivier Award in 1997 for his performance as Stanley Spencer in Stanley.

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In 2001, Antony Sher played the role of the composer Gustav Mahler in Ronald Harwood's play Mahler's Conversion, about Mahler's decision to renounce his Jewish faith prior to his appointment as conductor and artistic director of the Vienna State Opera House in 1897.

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Antony Sher had several film credits to his name, including Yanks, Superman II, Shadey, and Erik the Viking.

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Antony Sher starred as the Chief Weasel in the 1996 film adaptation of The Wind in the Willows and as Benjamin Disraeli in the 1997 film Mrs Brown.

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Antony Sher was cast in the role of Thrain II, father of Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but appears only in the Extended Edition of the film.

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Antony Sher returned to Stratford-upon-Avon in 2019 to perform in Kunene and the King with John Kani.

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Antony Sher's books included the memoirs Year of the King, Woza Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus in South Africa, Beside Myself, Primo Time, and Year of the Fat Knight, a book of paintings and drawings, Characters, and the novels Middlepost, Cheap Lives, The Indoor Boy.

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In 2008, The Giant, the first of his plays in which Antony Sher did not feature, was performed at the Hampstead Theatre.

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In 2005, Antony Sher directed Breakfast With Mugabe at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.

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In 2011, Antony Sher appeared in the BBC TV series The Shadow Line in the role of Glickman.

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On 10 September 2021 it was announced that Antony Sher was terminally ill, and Doran took compassionate leave from the Royal Shakespeare Company to care for him.

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Antony Sher died from cancer at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon on 2 December 2021, at age 72.

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