September 17, 1909|
|Died||May 14, 1998(aged 88)|
|Occupation||actor, theatre director|
|Spouse(s)||Laura Liddell (1933-1992) (her death)|
|Children||Jennifer Kendal, Felicity Kendal|
Geoffrey Kendal (7 September 1909 – 14 May 1998) was an English actor-manager who delivered Shakespeare performances throughout India, 1940s and 1950s. After his death, his ashes were scattered on the waters off Bombay.
Early life and family
Born Richard Geoffrey Bragg in Kendal, Westmorland, he took the name of his place of birth as his surname. He married the actress Laura Liddell in 1933, she died in England in 1992. Their two daughters, Jennifer (b. 1933) and Felicity Kendal (b. 1946), became successful actresses. His daughter Jennifer Kendal was married to Hindi cinema's superstar Shashi Kapoor of the Kapoor family and had three children, Sanjana Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor and Karan Kapoor. She died of cancer in 1984.
After attending theatre classes at Lancaster, Geoffrey went on to join various repertory theatre companies which performed across small English towns. During one such tour, while in Merseyside, he met Laura Liddell, also an actress; subsequently they married at Gretna Green in 1933. After appearing with Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) during the Second World War entertaining troops overseas, he along with his troupe performed in Hong Kong, Singapore and the backwaters of Malaya and Borneo, finally arriving in India in 1944.
Thereafter he made his living as an actor-manager leading the repertory theatre company "Shakespeareana" on tour throughout India in the 1940s and 1950s. They would perform Shakespeare before royalty one day, and in rural villages the next; many of their audiences were schoolchildren. Their story was loosely told by Merchant Ivory in their feature film Shakespeare Wallah (1965), in which he played the role of his fictionalized self, Tony Buckingham. He also acted in Shyam Benegal's Junoon (1978) and Aparna Sen's 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981), in which Jennifer Kendal was the lead, while he played her elder brother.
Kendal's life story, The Shakespeare Wallah: the Autobiography of Geoffrey Kendal, co-authored by Clare Colvin, was published in 1986. In 1990, he and Laura Kendal were given a joint Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in "Theatre - Direction" given by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Theatre.
He died on May 14, 1998, aged 88.
- Geoffrey Kendal; Clare Colvin (1987). Shakespeare Wallah: Autobiography. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140096841.
- Singh, Kuldip (1998-06-15). "Obituary: Geoffrey Kendal". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- Jennifer Kendal - Biography and images
- Kendal, Felicity (1999) White Cargo. Penguin
- "Shakespeare Wallah (1965)". Merchant Ivory Productions. Retrieved Feb 21, 2013.
- "Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards: Theatre - Direction". Sangeet Natak Akademi Official website. Retrieved Feb 21, 2013.