|Sir Antony Sher
14 June 1949 |
Cape Town, South Africa
|Alma mater||Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Occupation||Actor, writer and theatre director|
|Organization||Royal National Theatre
Royal Shakespeare Company
|Notable work(s)||I.D. (2003)
|Home town||Sea Point|
|Spouse(s)||Gregory Doran (m. 2005)|
|Parents||Emmanuel and Margery Sher|
|Relatives||Ronald Harwood (cousin)|
|Awards||2 Laurence Olivier Awards
1 Screen Actors Guild Award
1 Drama Desk Award
1 Evening Standard Award
Sher was born into a Lithuanian-Jewish family in Cape Town, South Africa, the son of Emmanuel and Margery Sher, who worked in business. He grew up in the suburb of Sea Point and is a cousin of playwright Ronald Harwood. Sher, however, has worked mainly in the United Kingdom and is now a British citizen.
In 1968, after completing his compulsory military service, he left for London to audition at the Central School of Speech and Drama and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), but was unsuccessful. He instead studied at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art from 1969 to 1971. After training, and some early performances with the theatre group Gay Sweatshop, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982.
In the 1970s, Sher was part of a group of young actors and writers working at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre. Comprising figures such as writers Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell and fellow actors Trevor Eve, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Pryce and Julie Walters, Sher has summed up the work of the company with the phrase "anarchy ruled".
With the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sher took the title role in Tartuffe and played the Fool in King Lear. His big break arrived in 1984, when he performed the title role in Richard III and won the Laurence Olivier Award. Since then he has played the lead in such productions as Tamburlaine, Cyrano de Bergerac, Stanley and Macbeth. He has also played Johnnie in Athol Fugard's Hello and Goodbye, Iago in Othello, Malvolio in Twelfth Night and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Sher received his second Laurence Olivier Award in 1997 for his performance as the eponymous Stanley Spencer in Stanley.
He also has several film credits to his name, including Yanks (1979), Superman II (1980), Shadey (1985) and Erik the Viking (1989). Sher starred as the Chief Weasel in the 1996 film adaptation of The Wind in the Willows and as Benjamin Disraeli in the 1997 film Mrs Brown.
Sher's television appearances include the mini-series The History Man (1981) and The Jury (2002). In 2003, he played the central character in an adaptation of the J. G. Ballard short story, "The Enormous Space", filmed as Home and broadcast on BBC Four. In Hornblower (1999), he played the role of French royalist Colonel de Moncoutant, Marquis de Muzillac, in the episode "The Frogs and the Lobsters". More recent credits include a cameo in the British comedy film Three and Out (2008) and the role of Akiba in the television play God on Trial (2008).
Sher's books include the memoirs Woza Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus in South Africa (with Gregory Doran, 1997), Year of the King (1985), Beside Myself (2002), Characters (1990) and Primo Time (2005). His novels are Middlepost (1989), Cheap Lives (1995), The Indoor Boy (1996) and The Feast (1999).
Sher has also written several plays, including I.D. (2003) and Primo (2004). The latter was adapted as a film in 2005. In 2008, The Giant, the first of his plays in which Sher did not feature, was performed at the Hampstead Theatre. The main characters are Michelangelo (at the time of his creation of David), Leonardo da Vinci and Vito, their mutual apprentice.
In 2005, Sher directed Breakfast With Mugabe at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. The production moved to the Soho Theatre in April 2006 and the Duchess Theatre one month later. In 2007, he made a crime documentary for Channel 4, titled Murder Most Foul, about his native South Africa. It examines the double murder of actor Brett Goldin and fashion designer Richard Bloom. In 2011, Sher appeared in the BBC TV series The Shadow Line in the role of Glickman.
- 1972-74: Various roles at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
- 1974: Ringo Starr in Willy Russell's John Paul George Ringo and Bert at the Everyman Theatre, where it opened in May 1974. Transferred to the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London in August.
- 1982: Mike Leigh's Goosepimples in the West End
- 1982: The Fool in King Lear at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Transferred to the Barbican Centre in 1983.
- 1984: Richard III with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Transferred to the Barbican Centre in 1985.
- 1985: Torch Song Trilogy at the Albery Theatre, London
- 1987: Shylock in The Merchant of Venice with the RSC
- 1987: Henry Irving in Happy Birthday, Sir Larry at the Royal National Theatre, London (Laurence Olivier 80th birthday tribute)
- 1990: Singer with the RSC
- 1991: The Trial and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the National Theatre
- 1994-95: Titus Andronicus at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg. Transferred to the National Theatre and for a UK tour.
- 1997: Stanley at the National Theatre
- 1997: Cyrano de Bergerac at the Lyric Theatre
- 1998-99: The Winter's Tale at the Barbican Centre with the RSC
- 1999: Macbeth at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, with the RSC
- 2000-01: Macbeth and The Winter's Tale with the RSC
- 2002: RSC's Jacobean season transfers to the West End
- 2003: I.D. at the Almeida Theatre, London
- 2004: Primo at the Cottesloe Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London
- 2007: Kean in Kean at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. Transferred to the Apollo Theatre, London in May.
- 2008: Prospero in The Tempest at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town; Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon; and on tour in Richmond, Leeds, Bath, Nottingham and Sheffield
- 2010: Tomas Stockmann in An Enemy of the People at the Sheffield Crucible
- 2013: Wilhelm Voigt in The Captain of Köpenick at the Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London
|1976||The Madness||Militia man/Young man in café|
|Play for Today||Nathan|
|One Fine Day||Mr Alpert|
|Yanks||G.I. at cinema|
|1980||Superman II||Bell Boy|
|1989||Erik the Viking||Loki|
|1992||The Comic Strip Presents...||Scum editor|
|1993||Screen Two||Genghis Cohn|
|1994||Shakespeare: The Animated Tales||Richard III|
|1995||One Foot in the Grave||Mr Prothrow|
|The Young Poisoner's Handbook||Dr Ernest Zeigler|
|Look at the State We're In!||The Don|
|1996||The Wind in the Willows||Chief Weasel|
|1997||Mrs Brown||Benjamin Disraeli|
|The Moonstone||Sergeant Cuff|
|1998||Shakespeare in Love||Dr Moth|
|1999||The Winter's Tale||Leontes, King of Sicilia|
|2000||The Miracle Maker||Ben Azra (voice)|
|2004||Murphy's Law||Frank Jeremy|
|Churchill: The Hollywood Years||Adolf Hitler|
|2005||A Higher Agency||Chef|
|Great Performances||Primo Levi|
|2008||Three and Out||Maurice|
|2010||The Wolfman||Dr Hoenneger|
|1981||The History Man||Howard Kirk||Episodes: "Part 1: October 2nd 1972"
"Part 2: October 3nd 1972 (A.M.)"
"Part 3: October 3nd 1972 (P.M.)"
"Gross Moral Turpitude"
|1999||Hornblower: "The Frogs and the Lobsters"||Colonel Moncoutant|
|2002||The Jury||Gerald Lewis QC|
|2007||The Company||Ezra ben Ezra, the Rabbi|
|2008||God on Trial||Akiba|
|2011||The Shadow Line||Peter Glickman||Episodes: "Episode #1.5"
Awards and Nominations
|1985||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actor||Richard III||Won|
|Evening Standard Award||Best Actor||Won|
|1997||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actor in a Play||Stanley||Won|
|1998||Chlotrudis Award||Best Supporting Actor||Indian Summer||Nominated|
|1998||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Shakespeare in Love||Won|
|2006||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding One-Person Show||Primo||Won|
|2008||BAFTA TV Award||Best Actor||Nominated|
- 1998: Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Liverpool
- 1998: Peter Sellers Award for Comedy
- 2000: Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) for services to theatre
- 2007: Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Warwick
- 2010: Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Cape Town
- "Antony Sher Biography". Filmreference.com. 2008. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
- "Everyman Theatre". Everymanplayhouse.co.uk. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- "Murder Most Foul". Channel4.com. September 2007.
- "The Shadow Line, a New Drama for BBC Two". BBC Online. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- BBC News, 21 December 2005.
- Antony Sher at the Internet Broadway Database
- Antony Sher at the Internet Movie Database
- Article in The Spectator