Denis Lawson

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This article is about the actor. For the Scottish international footballer, see Denis Lawson (footballer).
Denis Lawson
Denis Lawson cropped.jpg
Denis Lawson at the 2006 Crieff Highland Games
Born Denis Stamper Lawson[1]
(1947-09-27) 27 September 1947 (age 67)
Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland
Occupation Actor
Years active 1969–present
Spouse(s) Sheila Gish (2004–2005; her death)
Relatives Ewan McGregor (nephew)

Denis Stamper Lawson[1] (born 27 September 1947) is a Scottish actor and director. He is known for his roles as John Jarndyce in the BBC's adaptation of Bleak House, as Gordon Urquhart in the film Local Hero, as Tom Campbell-Gore in BBC TV's Holby City and as Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Early life[edit]

Lawson was born in Crieff, Perthshire, the son of Phyllis Neno (née Stamper), a sweet seller, and Laurence Lawson, a watchmaker.[1] Lawson was educated at Crieff Primary School (then called Crieff Public School). After the 11 plus examination, he went on to Morrison's Academy before attending the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He initially attempted to audition for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London but was not accepted. He then sold carpets and did amateur work for a year in Dundee before auditioning again at RADA in London and successfully at RSAMD in Glasgow.[2]

Career[edit]

Lawson began his acting career with a small role in a 1969 stage production of The Metamorphosis in London's West End. and has since starred in television dramas such as The Merchant of Venice (1973) opposite Laurence Olivier as Shylock, Rock Follies (1976) and Dead Head (1986).

Lawson played X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles in all three films of the original Star Wars trilogy. In 2001, he reprised the role, in voiceover form, for the Nintendo GameCube game Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader.

He has appeared often on the West End stage, notably in the musical Mr. Cinders at the Fortune Theatre from 1983–84.[3]

In 1999, Lawson directed a production of "Little Malcolm & His Struggle Against the Eunuchs" which was first staged at the Hampstead Theatre before transferring to the Comedy Theatre in London's West End starring his nephew Ewan McGregor in the lead role of Malcolm Scrawdyke.

He appeared on an episode of Loose Ends hosted by Ned Sherrin on BBC Radio 4 (10 December 2005), during which his mobile phone rang.

In 2005, he played the leading role of John Jarndyce in the critically acclaimed BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, receiving an Emmy nomination. Two years later he played Peter Syme in the BBC One drama serial Jekyll, a modern version of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.[4] Lawson also appeared as Captain "Dreadnought" Foster in ITV's dramatisations of C.S. Forester's Hornblower. He appeared in Robin Hood in which he played the Sheriff of Winchester.

He also appeared in the West End playing the character of Georges in the revival of the musical hit La Cage Aux Folles. No stranger to musical theatre, Lawson previously starred in the London revival of Pal Joey.

He starred as the lead in Above Their Station, a sitcom for the BBC written by Rhys Thomas about Community Support Officers; it was made as a pilot but never commissioned, only being shown as a one-off special.[5] Lawson appeared alongside Academy Award nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter in the BBC Four movie based on the life of Enid Blyton, playing Kenneth Darrell Waters, a London surgeon who becomes Blyton's second husband. In July 2009 Lawson appeared as Alexander Fleming in a BBC Four drama called Breaking the Mould: The Story of Penicillin alongside Dominic West. Lawson played the part of Alice's grandfather in ITV1's supernatural crime thriller Marchlands which was shown in February 2011.

Lawson appeared at the Royal Court Theatre once more in The Acid Test by Anya Reiss in 2011.[6]

Lawson replaced James Bolam in the BBC One series New Tricks in its ninth series in 2012.[7]

Lawson said that he was asked to reprise his role as Wedge in Star Wars Episode VII (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), but claims he turned down the role because he believed it would have bored him.[8]

Personal life[edit]

His sister, Carol Diane McGregor, a retired teacher who still lives in Perthshire, is the mother of actor Ewan McGregor (a fellow alumnus of the Star Wars films).

In 1979, Lawson fathered a child, Jamie Lawson,[9] with actress Diane Fletcher, with whom he had a seven-year relationship after meeting in a stage production of Twelfth Night.

He met his wife, actress Sheila Gish, on the set of the 1985 film That Uncertain Feeling. They lived together for nearly 20 years before marrying in March 2004 in Antigua; she died of cancer a year later (9 March 2005).

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013 The Machine Thomson
2012 Broken Mr Buckley
2011 Perfect Sense Restaurant Owner
2006 Dolls Monsieur Nicholas Short film
2001 Leonard Leonard Short film
1996 Cervellini fritti impanati
1988 The Zip Eric Short film
1984 The Chain Keith
1983 Local Hero Gordon Urquhart
1983 Return of the Jedi Wedge Antilles
1983 Bitter Cherry Short film
1980 The Empire Strikes Back Wedge Antilles
1977 Providence
1977 Star Wars Wedge Antilles

Television[edit]

Year(s) Title Role Notes
2014 Inside No. 9 Gerald 1 episode: Series 1, Episode 2 "A Quiet Night In"
2012–2015 New Tricks DI Steve McAndrew
2011 Candy Cabs Kenny Ho
2011 Marchlands Robert Bowen
2011 Hustle Benny 1 episode: Series 7, Episode 4
2010 Just William Headmaster
2010 Above Their Station Chief Constable Keith Boone
2009 Mister Eleven Len
2009 No Holds Bard Miekel
2009 Enid Kenneth Darrell Waters
2009 Breaking the Mould – The Story of Penicillin Alexander Fleming
2009 Criminal Justice DCI Bill Faber
2009 Law and Order:UK Philip Woodleigh 1 episode: "Sacrifice"
2008 The Passion Annas Episode 1–3
2008 Mumbai Calling Phillip Glass
2007 Robin Hood Harold of Winchester 1 episode: "For England!"
2007 Jekyll Peter Syme
2007 Marple Leo Argyle 1 episode: "Ordeal By Innocence"
2006 Dalziel and Pascoe John Barron 2 episodes: "The Cave Woman", Parts 1 and 2
2006 The Thieving Headmistress Father Plunkett
2006 Feel the Force Gordon Campbell
2005 Bleak House John Jarndyce
2005 Sensitive Skin Al Jackson
2003 Lucky Jim Julius Gore-Urquat
2003 A World in Arms Narrator
2003 The Ride Tommy
2002–2004 Holby City Tom Campbell-Gore Regular character
2001 The Fabulous Bagel Boys DI Morris Rose TV film
2000 Other People's Children Tom Series 1, Episodes 2 and 3
1999 Bob Martin Greg
1998 The Round Tower Arthur Brett
1998 The Ambassador John Stone
1998 Hornblower Captain 'Dreadnought' Foster 1 episode: "The Examination for Lieutenant"
1998 Cold Feet Alex Welch 1 episode: Series 1, Episode 4
1996 A Royal Scandal Henry Brougham
1997 Pie in the Sky Nick Spencer 1 episode: "In the Smoke"
1996 Tales from the Crypt Frank
1992 Natural Lies James Towne
1992 Screen One; Born Kicking Victor Grace
1992 El C.I.D. 1 episode: "My Brother's Keeper"
1991 Bejewelled Alistair
1990 Boon James Marian 1 episode: "Bully Boys"
1989 The Justice Game Dominic Rossi
1989 Screen One; One Way Out Bernard
1987 Love After Lunch Miles
1986 Dead Head Eddie Cass
1986 Kit Curran Kit Curran
1985 That Uncertain Feeling John Aneurin Lewis
1985 Victoria Wood As Seen on TV Phiilip and Singer 2 episodes: Series 1, Episode 2 and 5
1984 The Kit Curran Radio Show Kit Curran
1983 Bergerac Giroux 1 episode: "Miracle Every Week"
1982 Crown Court John Dickens 1 episode: "Talking to the Enemy"
1980 The Good Companions Albert Tuggridge 2 episodes:
 "Stumbling Chronicles"
 "In Which We Meet the Company"
1980 If Winter Comes
1980 Play for Today: The Flipside of Dominick Hide Felix
1979 Diary of a Nobody Frank Mutlar
1978 Play of the Week: Fearless Frank Ernest Dowson/Prof Byron Smith
1978 Armchair Thriller: The Girl Who Walked Quickly David Cooper
1977 The Man in the Iron Mask Claude
1977 Rock Follies of '77 Ken Church
1977 Seven Faces of Woman Jerome 1 episode: "She: Anxious Anne"
1977 Providence Dave Woodford
1976 Play for Today; The Jumping Bean Bag Snare
1975 Rock Follies Ken Church
1975 Survivors Norman 1 episode: "The Future Hour"
1974 Ms or Jill and Jack Jerry
1973 Beryl's Lot Peter Jaret 1 episode: "Getting Up"
1973 The Merchant of Venice Launcelot Gobbo
1969 Dr. Finlay's Casebook Andy Donald 1 episode: "Action, Dr. Cameron"

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Character Production Notes
2011 The Acid Test Jim Royal Court Theatre
2008 La Cage Aux Folles George Playhouse Theatre
1995 Lust Horner Haymarket Theatre
1993 Oleanna John Duke of York's Theatre
1990 Volpone Mosca Almeida Theatre
1988 The Film Society Jonathon Balton Hampstead Theatre
1987 The Importance of Being Earnest Algernon Moncrieff Royalty Theatre
1986–87 Ashes Colin Bush Theatre
1986 Lend Me a Tenor Max Globe Theatre
1984 The Lucky Chance Bellmour Royal Court Theatre
1983–84 Mr Cinders Jim Lancastar King's Head Theatre then Fortune Theatre won the 1983 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical
1979 Fifty Words—Bits of Lenny Bruce King's Head Theatre
1978 A Greenish Man Patrick Bush Theatre
1978 We Can't Pay! We Won't Pay! Luigi Half Moon Theatre
1977 Censored Scenes from King Kong Stephen Open Space Theatre
1977 The Dog Ran Away Brother David Hampstead Theatre
1975 Kidnapped at Christmas Warder Mullins Shaw Theatre
1973 Sarah B. Divine Cochrane Theatre
1973 Kaspar Almost Free Theatre
1972 England's Ireland Round House Theatre
1971 Titus Andronicus Martius Round House Theatre

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]