Michael Williams (actor)

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Michael Williams
KSG
Born9 July 1935 (1935-07-09)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Died11 January 2001(2001-01-11) (aged 65)
Hampstead, London, England, United Kingdom
OccupationActor
Years active1961–1999
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Spouse(s)Dame Judi Dench (5 February 1971 - 11 January 2001; his death)
ChildrenFinty Williams
 
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Michael Williams
KSG
Born9 July 1935 (1935-07-09)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Died11 January 2001(2001-01-11) (aged 65)
Hampstead, London, England, United Kingdom
OccupationActor
Years active1961–1999
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Spouse(s)Dame Judi Dench (5 February 1971 - 11 January 2001; his death)
ChildrenFinty Williams

Michael Leonard Williams, KSG (9 July 1935 – 11 January 2001) was an English actor who played both classical and comedy roles, and was the husband of actress Dame Judi Dench.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Liverpool, Lancashire, he attended St. Edward's College and worked as an insurance assessor before going into the theatre.

His first film appearance was in 1962, and he subsequently appeared frequently on television (notably in Elizabeth R), and in British films such as Educating Rita (1983) and (along with Dench) Henry V (1989). In the latter, in perhaps an irresistible casting decision, he played his namesake, the Shakespearean character named Michael Williams. In 1967, he played in Peter Whitehead's documentary Benefit of the Doubt on Peter Brook's anti-Vietnam play "US", along with Peter Brook and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

His many radio roles included crime reporter George Cragge in In the Red and its sequels, and Dr Watson in the BBC's complete run of Sherlock Holmes adaptations.

Williams provided voices for the Woodland Animations BBC Television series Charlie Chalk, created by Ivor Wood.

Personal life[edit]

He married Judi Dench on 5 February 1971, in the same year that they co-starred in a stage production of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. They had one daughter, Tara Cressida Williams (b. 1972), known as Finty Williams, who is also an actress. Finty has a son, Sam.

Williams chaired the British Catholic Stage Guild for a number of years before he was incapacitated by illness.

Although Williams was a devout Catholic[1][2] and Dench is a Quaker, theirs was one of the most successful showbiz marriages, and they worked together on several series of the situation comedy, A Fine Romance, from 1981 onwards. He was the President of the Roman Catholic Actors' Guild.[1]

Williams served as an enthusiastic supporter of the project to build the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia in the USA. A plaque commemorating Williams' contributions hangs in the completed playhouse.

Shortly before his death from lung cancer at the age of 65, Williams was appointed a Knight of St Gregory (KSG) by Pope John Paul II for his contribution to Catholic life in Britain.[3]

Selected television roles[edit]

YearTitleRole
1962Z-CarsNorbert Nuttall (1 episode)
1971Elizabeth RFrançois, Duke of Anjou and Alençon
1975The Hanged ManAlan Crowe (8 episodes)
1980Love in a Cold ClimateDavey Warbeck (8 episodes)
1981–84A Fine RomanceMike Selway
1988Double FirstNorman 'N.V.' Standish
1993–94Conjugal RitesBarry Masefield
1997A Dance to the Music of TimeTed Jeavons (2 episodes)
1999The Magical Legend of the LeprechaunsFather Daley
1999Kavanagh QCDCI Knowland (1 episode)

Selected radio roles[edit]

YearTitleRole
1973The War Between Men and Womenreader
1989-98Sherlock HolmesDoctor Watson
1995-96Change at OglethorpeRocket
1997Mansfield ParkSir Thomas Bertram
1998-99Old Dog and PartridgeJack

Selected film roles[edit]

YearTitleRole
1968Tell Me LiesGuest
1972Eagle in a CageBarry O'Meara
1974Dead CertSandy Mason
1983EnigmaHirsch, Limmer's Assistant
1983Educating RitaBrian
1988Angel VoicesTommy
1989Henry VWilliams
1999Tea with MussoliniBritish Consul

Stage appearances[edit]

Principal stage appearances; mostly with the Royal Shakespeare Company:[4]

Also appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Theatre-Go-Round Festival, Round House Theatre, London, 1970.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Michael Williams: End of the fine romance". BBC. 2001-01-16. Retrieved 2010-09-13. "A devout Catholic, Michael Williams was a former President of the Roman Catholic Actors' Guild." 
  2. ^ "Actor Michael Williams dies". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  3. ^ Williams awarded Papal knighthood - website The Independent
  4. ^ Stage career - The Stage
  5. ^ Film References

External links[edit]