18 Facts About Michael Blakemore


Michael Howell Blakemore OBE, AO was born on 18 June 1928 and is an Australian actor, writer and theatre director who has made a handful of films.


Michael Blakemore was educated at The King's School, Sydney, and went on to study medicine at the University of Sydney.


Michael Blakemore made his first professional stage appearance in 1952 at the Theatre Royal, Huddersfield, as the doctor in The Barretts of Wimpole Street.


Michael Blakemore then worked for several years in repertory including Birmingham Repertory Company, Bristol and Coventry, and made his first London appearance at the Princes Theatre in March 1958 as Jack Poyntz in the musical play School.


Michael Blakemore played small parts at Stratford in the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre's 1959 season.


Michael Blakemore appeared in two seasons at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, playing Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night and Holofernes in Love's Labour's Lost in 1962; Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing and Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1963.


Michael Blakemore became its Co-Artistic Director in 1968 and had a great success with Peter Nichols A Day in the Death of Joe Egg in 1967, accompanying the play on its moves to London that year and to Broadway in 1968, earning his first Tony nomination for directing.


In 1969, Michael Blakemore joined the National Theatre at the Old Vic to direct The National Health by Peter Nichols.


Michael Blakemore later directed Laurence Olivier in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night.


In 1970, as the National Theatre began a slow, and much delayed, transition from the Old Vic premises to the multi-stage South Bank site, Michael Blakemore was invited by Laurence Olivier to become one of two Associate Directors.


Michael Blakemore felt he was a probable candidate, and indeed, according to Olivier's biographer Philip Ziegler, he was highly favoured.


Michael Blakemore became one of ten associate directors forming what was called a planning committee.


The committee refused to discuss the manifesto and Michael Blakemore was eventually forced to resign when his salary was stopped without warning or explanation.


Michael Blakemore became resident director of the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in 1980, where he directed Michael Frayn's Make and Break, opening on 12 March, starring Leonard Rossiter and Prunella Scales, and which in a revised version transferred on 24 April to the Theatre Royal Haymarket.


In 1980, Michael Blakemore was invited to direct a series of four plays at the newly reconstructed Lyric Theatre by Artistic Director Bill Thomley.


The Board made it known that they were looking for a new Artistic Director, and Michael Blakemore decided to put his name forward.


In 2014 Michael Blakemore directed Angela Lansbury once more, in the critically acclaimed West End production of "Blithe Spirit".


Michael Blakemore directed and scripted the documentary, A Personal History of the Australian Surf: The Confessions of a Straight Poofter, in which he appeared as himself.