Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ian Richardson R.I.P.

Ian Richardson, the British actor of stage, screen, and television, died February 9 at the age of 73. He was perhaps best known for playing Machiavellian politician Francis Urquhart in the British TV series House of Cards and its sequels.

He was born on April 7, 1934 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He worked with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and was a founding member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960. His first appearance on television was in a production of As You Like It in 1963. His first appearance on film was in Marat/Sade, a part he had originated with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway in 1965.

Richardson may best be known to American audiences from his work on television. Besides House of Cards and its sequels (To Play the King and The Final Cut), Richardson also played Sherlock Holmes in adaptations of The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Sign of Four. He also appeared in television productions of Tinker, Tailior, Soldier, Spy, The Master of Ballantrae, The Canterville Ghost, the mini-series Gormenghast, and the TV series Bleak House. He was also the distinguished, older gentleman in the American commercials for Grey Poupon mustard.

Richardson also appeared in many films. He played Mr. Warren in Brazil, Ambassador Toulon in M Butterfly, Polonius in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and Mr. Book in Dark City.

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