John Bell (actor)
John Anthony Bell, AO, OBE (born 1 November 1940) is an Australian actor and theatre director. As an actor, director and theatre manager, Bell has been a major influence on the development of Australian theatre.
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- While at High School, he developed and performed one-man shows.
- Old Tote Theatre Company
- He spent five years with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Great Britain
- 1970s – Taught at National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)
He directed the first production of The Legend of King O'Malley (a musical play based on the life of King O'Malley by Bob Ellis and Michael Boddy ) in 1970. The production featured Robyn Nevin and Kate Fitzpatrick.
- Major state theatre companies as actor and/or director
- Co-founder of the Nimrod Theatre Company in Sydney
- Producer/presenter for David Williamson's Travelling North, The Club, The Removalists and Peter Kenna's A Hard God
In 1990, Bell founded the theatre company Bell Shakespeare and has produced, among others, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Richard III, Pericles, Henry IV, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, King Lear, and Goldoni's Servant of Two Masters.
His roles for the company include Shylock, Richard III, Macbeth, Malvolio, Coriolanus, Leontes, Prospero, King Lear and Ulysses.
In 2011, Bell published the book On Shakespeare, his thoughts and reminiscences of playing Shakespeare for more than 50 years.
Contemporaries / friends
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Bell attended the University of Sydney with Clive James and Germaine Greer. He is a contemporary and friend of Bruce Beresford (film director, with whom he shared a house and for whom he did some film acting), Ken Horler, Mungo McCallum, Bob Ellis, Richard Wherrett, John Gaden, Laurie Oakes (journalist), and Les Murray (poet). His brother is the artist Michael Bell. Bell is married to actress Anna Volska and has two daughters, Grass Roots actress Lucy Bell and playwright Hilary Bell.
In the New Year's Honours of 1978 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In the Queen's Birthday Honours of 1987, he was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). In the Australia Day Honours of 2009, he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
In 2002, Bell's performance of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in Richard III earned him a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Play.
In 2003 the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, presented Bell with the Cultural Leader of the Year Award.
He has been named an Australian Living Treasure.
- The Taming of the Shrew (1973) – filmed adaptation of his Old Tote performance
- Hamlet (1974) – filmed adaptation of his Sydney Theatre Company performance
- Far East (1982)
- Bell, John (2002). John Bell: The Time of my Life. Sydney: Currency Press. ISBN 1-86508-640-1.
- Meyrick, Julian (2002). See How It Runs: Nimrod and the New Wave. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-86819-651-7.
- Parsons, Philip (1995). Victoria Chance, ed. Companion to Theatre in Australia. Sydney: Currency Press in association with Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-86819-357-7.
- Oz Opera 2009 Regional Tour
- Bell, John (October 2011). On Shakespeare. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74237-193-1.
- The 2001 Archibal Winner
- Higson, Rosalie (28 July 2009). "Helpmanns honour guest for final role". The Australian. News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- John Bell at the Internet Movie Database
- In defense of Shakespeare—a conversation with veteran Australian actor and director John Bell World Socialist Web Site (13 December 2011).