Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Sir Ralph Richardson

On this day, 10th October, in 1983 that most British of actors, Sir Ralph Richardson, died. He was born on 10th October 1902. One of my favourite actors I also felt he would probably have been a pleasant personality to know. Even in his seventies he was still riding around on his motorbike.
Sir Ralph Richardson was part of a trio of great English stage actors, the other two being his friends Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. They appeared together in Olivier's Richard III (1955) and in several scenes of the mini series Wagner (1983), which was released shortly after Richardson's death. Sadly he is the least remembered of the trio, as people often quote 'Olivier and Gielgud', but forget Richardson. This may be due to the fact he did less film work, than Oliver and Gielgud, despite being the same calibre of actor as they were. He is quoted as having said “I have put on so many make-ups that sometimes I have feared that when I go to wipe it off there will be nobody left underneath."
He and Olivier also appeared in the film Battle of Britain in 1969 with Richardson as the English Ambassador to Switzerland. One of my favourite lines in any film came after Sir David Kelly, the Ambassador, was given an ultimatum by Baron von Richter. The line usually quoted is "We're not easily frightened. Also, we know how hard it is for an army to cross the channel. The last little corporal who tried came a cropper. So don't threaten or dictate to us until you're marching up Whitehall! And even then we won't listen." But my favourite line came shortly after when von Richter had left and Sir David Kelly turned to his wife and expressed his horror - not at the German ultimatum but at the fact that he had allowed himself to lose his temper – it had been so terribly un-British!
Sir Ralph was once found by police walking very slowly along the gutter of an Oxford street, he explained he was taking his pet mouse for a stroll.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello - thanks for dropping by to leave a comment. Your comments are much appreciated even if I don't always reply. They will appear as soon as they have been moderated.

Blog Archive