Michael Williams (actor)

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For other people named Michael Williams, see Michael Williams (disambiguation).
Michael Williams
KSG
Born 9 July 1935 (1935-07-09)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Died 11 January 2001(2001-01-11) (aged 65)
Hampstead, London, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Actor
Years active 1961–1999
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Dame Judi Dench (5 February 1971 - 11 January 2001; his death)
Children Finty Williams

Michael Leonard Williams, KSG (9 July 1935 – 11 January 2001) was an English actor who played both classical and comedy roles, and was the husband of actress Dame Judi Dench.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Liverpool, Lancashire, he attended St. Edward's College and worked as an insurance assessor before going into the theatre.

His first film appearance was in 1962, and he subsequently appeared frequently on television (notably in Elizabeth R), and in British films such as Educating Rita (1983) and (along with Dench) Henry V (1989). In the latter, in perhaps an irresistible casting decision, he played his namesake, the Shakespearean character named Michael Williams. In 1967, he played in Peter Whitehead's documentary Benefit of the Doubt on Peter Brook's anti-Vietnam play "US", along with Peter Brook and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

His many radio roles included crime reporter George Cragge in In the Red and its sequels, and Dr. Watson in the BBC's complete run of Sherlock Holmes adaptations.

Williams provided voices for the Woodland Animations BBC Television series Charlie Chalk, created by Ivor Wood.

Personal life[edit]

He married Judi Dench on 5 February 1971, in the same year that they co-starred in a stage production of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. They had one daughter, Tara Cressida Williams (b. 1972), known as Finty Williams, who is also an actress. Finty is a single parent to a son, Sam Williams (b. 6 June 1998)

Williams chaired the British Catholic Stage Guild for a number of years before he was incapacitated by illness.

He was the President of the Roman Catholic Actors' Guild.[1]

Williams served as an enthusiastic supporter of the project to build the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia, USA. A plaque commemorating Williams' contributions hangs in the completed playhouse.

Shortly before his death from lung cancer at the age of 65, Williams was appointed a Knight of St Gregory (KSG) by Pope John Paul II for his contribution to Catholic life in Britain. The honour was officially bestowed upon him at home on 10 January 2001. He died the next day.[2]

Selected television roles[edit]

Year Title Role
1962 Z-Cars Norbert Nuttall (1 episode)
1971 Elizabeth R François, Duke of Anjou and Alençon
1975 The Hanged Man Alan Crowe (8 episodes)
1980 Love in a Cold Climate Davey Warbeck (8 episodes)
1981–84 A Fine Romance Mike Selway
1988 Double First Norman 'N.V.' Standish
1993–94 Conjugal Rites Barry Masefield
1997 A Dance to the Music of Time Ted Jeavons (2 episodes)
1999 The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns Father Daley
1999 Kavanagh QC DCI Knowland (1 episode)

Selected radio roles[edit]

Year Title Role
1973 The War Between Men and Women reader
1989-98 Sherlock Holmes Doctor Watson
1995-96 Change at Oglethorpe Rocket
1997 Mansfield Park Sir Thomas Bertram
1998-99 Old Dog and Partridge Jack
1999-2000 Bristow Bristow

Selected film roles[edit]

Year Title Role
1968 Tell Me Lies Guest
1972 Eagle in a Cage Barry O'Meara
1974 Dead Cert Sandy Mason
1983 Enigma Hirsch, Limmer's Assistant
1983 Educating Rita Brian
1988 Angel Voices Tommy
1989 Henry V Williams
1999 Tea with Mussolini British Consul

Stage appearances[edit]

Principal stage appearances; mostly with the Royal Shakespeare Company:[3]

Also appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Theatre-Go-Round Festival, Round House Theatre, London, 1970.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Michael Williams: End of the fine romance". BBC. 2001-01-16. Retrieved 2010-09-13. A devout Catholic, Michael Williams was a former President of the Roman Catholic Actors' Guild. 
  2. ^ Williams awarded Papal knighthood- website The Independent]
  3. ^ Stage career - The Stage
  4. ^ Film References

External links[edit]