Biography of Ralph Richardson (1902-1983)

British actor, born in Cheltenham (Gloucester, England), on December 19, 1902 and died in London on October 10, 1983.


He studied at Xaverian College in Brighton, where contacted for the first time with the world of theater. He made his debut as an actor in 1921 with the theatrical version of Les miserables in the city of Brighton. In 1924 he married Muriel Hewitt (who died in 1942) and joined a troupe that traveled throughout England representing Shakespeare. His debut on the stages of London occurred in 1925 and his first film was The ghoul (1933) by T. Hayes Hunter, a Franco-British production that served as a vehicle for showcasing the star of Boris Karloffhorror film.

In 1936, and without abandoning its cinematographic activity, he directed his first play, and three years later acted in the first of his major films: the four feathers (1939), Zoltan Korda. Precisely this character was to become one of the most influential figures in the life of Richardson ("my career has always been in the hands of Korda," said on the occasion of the death of the director in 1959). The four feathers tells the story of the soldier Harry Faversham, strikethrough of cowardice in battle by his three friends and his family. After being left for dead, one saves one life and returns them feathers symbol of his cowardice. The four feathers contains the first great interpretation of Richardson on the big screen and became one of the great successes of prior to World War II British cinema.

Its another great interpretation of this period took place in the Citadel (1938), King Vidor, Anglo-American production of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer and British Studios shot in England. Based on the novel by A. J. Cronin, it tells the story of a young doctor who is destined to a small English village and the difficulties encountered there for their investigations. Richardson played the eccentric and drinker Dr. Denny. This role made him one of the best-known young character actors from England, partly also because of his reputation for eccentric that he himself was responsible for cultivating: he walked on his motorbike around London with a parrot perched on his shoulder and boasted of having a ferret as a pet.

The outbreak of the war paralyzed his career from 1939 to 1944, years in which he enlisted in the RAF. During his military tenure, he made numerous documentaries of patriotic exaltation, in collaboration with other figures of the British such as Richard Attenborough, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger film. In 1948 starred opposite Vivien Leigh the adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina (1948), Julien Duvivier.

With the heiress (1949), William Wyler, debuted in Hollywood alongside two stars of stature: Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift. It played the Catherine's father, Dr. Austin Sloper, a shy young woman destroyed by not being at the height of the memory of his mother. Adaptation of the novel by Henry James, the heir he won four Oscar of the Academy and was one of the great roles of Richardson's career. His next film was the British the outcasts of the Islands (1951), Carol Reed, adaptation of a novel of Joseph Conrad in which coincided with another major British player, Trevor Howard.

In 1952 he received the British Academy Award best actor for the barrier of sound (1952), David Lean's. He played the role of Buckingham in Ricardo III (1955), Laurence Olivier, in which, in addition to the own Olivier, was another of the great British actors of his generation, John Gielgud. Very prolific actor, played a number of roles in minor films that were not at the height of its qualities, but alternated them with others in great films like exodus (1960), by Otto Preminger. The Hollywood industry provided another of her great roles in the adaptation of the play by Eugene O'Neill long journey into night (1962), directed by Sidney Lumet. Their deal to the full, in which Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards and Dean Stockwell was accompanied by Richardson, received the interpretation award at the Cannes film festival.

Its privileged position as one of the best British actors of the time allowed him to interpret a role-sharing in the masterpiece of David read Doctor Zhivago (1965), Anglo-American co-production with the participation of the Italian Carlo Ponti in the early years of the Russian revolution. It was one of the great films of the Decade of the sixties, five Oscar-awarded.

In addition to put his voice the Narrator chimes at midnight (1965), Orson Welles, Richardson fell during the 1970s the number of her appearances in film and his career was diluted with a number of productions for television. Among his most prominent appearances of this period on the big screen is a man's luck (1973), one of the best and more surrealist works of Briton Lindsay Anderson. Based on a novel by Malcolm McDowell, his main interpreter, has the strange adventures of a salesman hired by a brand of coffee to sell their products in the North of England. In it, Richardson played two roles: the head of the firm, Sir James Burgess, and Monty, a strange character who helps the protagonist in his escape from justice to be accused of stealing nuclear secrets. Another of its most interesting supporting roles of the 1970s is its participation in the imagination of science fiction starring James Caan Rollerball (1975), by Norman Jewison.

Despite his delicate health and advanced age he continued working, especially on television, to almost dying on stage. In his latest film, Greystoke, the legend of Tarzan (1984), of Hugh Hudson, released after his death, received New York City film critics award best supporting actor. Sir Ralph Richardson has been, without a doubt, one of the greatest British actors of the history.


1933: The ghoul; Friday thirteen; Java Head.1934: The return of Bulldog Drummond; The king of Paris.1935: Bulldog Jack.1936: Things to come.1937: the man who performed miracles; Thunder in the city; South riding.1938: the divorce of Lady X; The ciudadela.1939: Q plans; The four feathers; The lion has wings.1940: Health of the nation; On the night of the fire.1942: The day will dawn.1943: The silver fleet.1944: The volunteer.1946: School for secrets.1948: Anna Karenina; The idol of caido.1949: the heredera.1951: the outcasts of the islas.1952: the soinido barrier; The holy and the ivy.1955: Ricardo III.1956: Smiley; The passionate stranger.1960: our man in Havana; Oscar Wilde; Exodo.1961: The three hundred spartans.1962: long journey towards the noche.1964: women in paja.1965: Doctor Zhivago.1966: Khartoum; The sorpresas.1967 box: chimes at medianoche.1969: Midas run; The bed sitting room; Oh! What a lovely war; The battle of Britain; The looking glass war.1970: Eagle in a cage; David Copperfield.1971: Who slew auntie Roo? 1972: Tales from the crypt; Lady Caroline lamb.1973: A lucky man; House of munecas.1975: Rollerball.1981: the heroes of the time; Dragonslayer.1984: Greystoke, the legend of Tarzan.

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