50 Facts About Derek Jacobi


Derek Jacobi has received numerous accolades including a BAFTA Award, two Olivier Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Tony Award.


Derek Jacobi was given a knighthood for his services to theatre by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994.


Derek Jacobi started his professional acting career with Laurence Olivier as one of the founding members of the National Theatre.


Derek Jacobi has appeared in numerous Shakespearean stage productions including Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, King Lear, and Romeo and Juliet.


Derek Jacobi received the Laurence Olivier Award, for the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac in 1983 and Malvolio in Twelfth Night in 2009.


Derek Jacobi won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his role as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing in 1985.


Derek Jacobi has made numerous television appearances including starring as Claudius in the BBC series I, Claudius, for which he won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor.


Derek Jacobi received two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for The Tenth Man, and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for Frasier.


Derek Jacobi is known for his roles in the medieval drama series Cadfael, the HBO film The Gathering Storm, the ITV sitcom Vicious and in BBC's Last Tango in Halifax.


Derek Jacobi portrayed Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, in the third season of the acclaimed Netflix series The Crown in 2019.


Derek Jacobi has earned two Screen Actors Guild Awards along with the ensemble cast for Robert Altman's Gosford Park, and Tom Hooper's The King's Speech.


Derek Jacobi's family was working-class, and Jacobi describes his childhood as happy.


Derek Jacobi's talent was recognised by Laurence Olivier, who invited the young actor back to London to become one of the founding members of the new National Theatre, even though at the time Derek Jacobi was relatively unknown.


Derek Jacobi played Laertes in the National Theatre's inaugural production of Hamlet opposite Peter O'Toole in 1963.


Olivier cast him as Cassio in the successful National Theatre stage production of Othello, a role that Derek Jacobi repeated in the 1965 film version.


Derek Jacobi played Andrei in the NT production and film of Three Sisters, both featuring Olivier.


On 27 July 1965, Derek Jacobi played Brindsley Miller in the first production of Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy.


Derek Jacobi appeared in a somewhat comical role, as Lord Fawn, in eight episodes of the 26-episode mini-series The Pallisers for BBC Two in 1974.


Derek Jacobi was increasingly busy with stage and screen acting, but his big breakthrough came in 1976 when he played the title role in the BBC's series I, Claudius.


Derek Jacobi cemented his reputation with his performance as the stammering, twitching Emperor Claudius, winning much praise.


Derek Jacobi was invited to perform the role at Kronborg Castle, Denmark, known as Elsinore Castle, the setting of the play.


In 1980, Derek Jacobi took the leading role in the BBC's Hamlet, made his Broadway debut in The Suicide, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company.


In 1988, Derek Jacobi alternated in West End the title roles of Shakespeare's Richard II and Richard III in repertoire.


Derek Jacobi appeared in the television dramas Inside the Third Reich, where he played Hitler; Mr Pye ; and Little Dorrit, based on Charles Dickens's novel; The Tenth Man with Anthony Hopkins and Kristin Scott Thomas.


Derek Jacobi continued to play Shakespeare roles, notably in Kenneth Branagh's 1989 film of Henry V, and made his directing debut as Branagh's director for the 1988 Renaissance Theatre Company's touring production of Hamlet, which played at Elsinore and as part of a Renaissance repertory season at the Phoenix Theatre in London.


The 1990s saw Derek Jacobi keeping on with repertoire stage work in Kean at The Old Vic, Becket in the West End and Macbeth at the RSC in both London and Stratford.


In 1993 Derek Jacobi voiced Mr Jeremy Fisher in The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends.


Derek Jacobi was appointed the joint artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatre, with the West End impresario Duncan Weldon in 1995 for a three-year tenure.


In 2001, Derek Jacobi won an Emmy Award by mocking his Shakespearean background in the television sitcom Frasier episode "The Show Must Go Off", in which he played the hammy, loud, untalented Jackson Hedley, a television star with a misguided belief that he deserves a revival of his stage career.


In 2002, Derek Jacobi toured Australia in The Hollow Crown with Sir Donald Sinden, Ian Richardson and Dame Diana Rigg.


Derek Jacobi played the role of Senator Gracchus in Gladiator and starred in the 2002 miniseries The Jury.


Derek Jacobi is the narrator for the BBC children's series In the Night Garden.


Derek Jacobi played the voice of the Doctor's nemesis the Master alongside Richard E Grant as the Doctor.


Derek Jacobi later followed this up with an appearance in the Doctor Who episode "Utopia" ; he appears as the kindly Professor Yana, who by the end of the episode is revealed to be the Master.


In 2004, Derek Jacobi starred in Friedrich Schiller's Don Carlos at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, in an acclaimed production, which transferred to the Gielgud Theatre in London in January 2005.


Derek Jacobi played the role of Alexander Corvinus in the 2006 action-horror film Underworld: Evolution.


In March 2006, BBC Two broadcast Pinochet in Suburbia, a docudrama about former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the attempts to extradite him from Great Britain; Derek Jacobi played the leading role.


Derek Jacobi plays twin roles: first a present-day London tramp and then the ghost of Charles Dickens.


Derek Jacobi played Nell's grandfather in ITV's Christmas 2007 adaptation of The Old Curiosity Shop, and returned to the stage to play Malvolio in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night for the Donmar Warehouse at Wyndham's Theatre in London.


Derek Jacobi appears in five 2009 films: Morris: A Life with Bells On, Hippie Hippie Shake, Endgame, Adam Resurrected and Charles Dickens's England.


Derek Jacobi starred in Michael Grandage's production of King Lear, giving what The New Yorker called "one of the finest performances of his distinguished career".


In 2013, Derek Jacobi starred alongside Ian McKellen in the ITV sitcom Vicious as Stuart Bixby, the partner to Freddie Thornhill, played by McKellen.


Since 2017, Derek Jacobi has again portrayed The Master in several box set series for Big Finish Productions, collectively entitled The War Master.


In 2021, it was announced Derek Jacobi would be joining the cast of Allelujah, a film adaptation of Alan Bennett's play of the same name directed by Richard Eyre, which will star Jennifer Saunders, Bally Gill, Russell Tovey, David Bradley, and Judi Dench.


Derek Jacobi has been publicly involved in the Shakespeare authorship question.


Derek Jacobi has given an address to the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre promoting de Vere as the Shakespeare author and wrote forewords to two books on the subject in 2004 and 2005.


In 2011, Derek Jacobi accepted a role in the film Anonymous, about the Oxfordian theory, starring Rhys Ifans and Vanessa Redgrave.


Derek Jacobi said that making the film was "a very risky thing to do", stating "the orthodox Stratfordians are going to be apoplectic with rage".


In March 2006, four months after civil partnerships were introduced in the United Kingdom, Derek Jacobi registered his civil partnership with Richard Clifford, a theatre director, his partner of 27 years.


Derek Jacobi has received various awards including a Tony Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.