|Born||Arthur Nigel Davenport
23 May 1928
Shelford, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||1 Helena White (1951– marriage dissolved); 2 Maria Aitken (1972– marriage dissolved 1981)|
Nigel Davenport (born 23 May 1928) is an English stage, television and film actor.
Early life 
Davenport was born Arthur Nigel Davenport, but has always gone by the name of Nigel. He was born in Shelford, Cambridgeshire, the son of Katherine Lucy (née Meiklejohn) and Arthur Henry Davenport. Davenport's father was a bursar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He grew up in an academic family and was educated at St Peter's School, Seaford, Cheltenham College and Trinity College, Oxford. Originally he chose to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics but switched to English on the advice of his tutors.
Davenport first appeared on stage at the Savoy Theatre and then with the Shakespeare Memorial Company, before joining the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre in the 1960s. He began appearing in British film and television productions in supporting roles, including a walk-on in Tony Richardson's film, Look Back in Anger (1959). Subsequent roles included a theatre manager opposite Laurence Olivier in the film version of The Entertainer and a policeman in Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (both 1960).
He made an impression as Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk in A Man for All Seasons (1966) and had a major role of Lord Bothwell in Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1972, he appeared as George Adamson, opposite Susan Hampshire in Living Free, the sequel to Born Free. Davenport took the leading role in the off-beat Phase IV, which failed to find an audience. Since then he has continued to work in supporting roles in film and television as a succession of lords, police inspectors, and military officers with a twinkle in his eye, most characteristically as General Lord Ismay opposite Nicol Williamson's Lord Mountbatten of Burma in The Last Viceroy, a classic TV drama series that aired in 1986. In the 1974 BBC production of Shaw's "Apple Cart", he excelled as the very shavian King Magnus, with Prunella Scales and a young Helen Mirren in supporting roles.
During the production of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Davenport read the lines of HAL 9000 off-camera during the computer's dialogs with actors Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood. Canadian actor Douglas Rain was ultimately chosen for the role of HAL's voice.
Davenport was a founding member of the English Stage Company.
Davenport retired from acting at the turn of the 21st century when he could no longer memorize lines from scripts.
Speaking of working with Jack Palance on the Dan Curtis production of 'Dracula', Davenport said "I was pretty frightened of that gentleman because he was so bloody tall! He was six-foot-four and, as he wanted to look like Dracula, he had three-inch lifts in his shoes, so he was like six-foot-seven - and he was a big guy".
Davenport has been married twice, first to Helena Margaret White (1951–?) whom he met while he was studying at Oxford University. They married in 1951 and had daughter Laura and son Hugo. His second wife was actress Maria Aitken (1972–1981) with whom he had a second son, Jack Davenport, who is also an actor best known for starring in Pirates of the Caribbean. According to Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Jack was cast as the James Norrington character in part due to Nigel's involvement in A High Wind in Jamaica.
- The Adventures of Robin Hood (TV series) (1957-58), Episodes: "Too Many Earls" as Loud Larden, an outlaw; "The Mystery of Ireland's Eye" as Boatman; "The Infidel" as Sir James; "The Road in the Air" as Claud, the Seneschal; "The Path of True Love" as Barty, a tenant farmer;"Bride for an Outlaw" as Sir Peter.
- Look Back in Anger (1959)
- Peeping Tom (1960)
- The Entertainer (1960)
- Mix Me a Person (1962)
- Ladies Who Do (1963)
- The Third Secret (1964)
- A High Wind in Jamaica (1965)
- Where the Spies Are (1965)
- Sands of the Kalahari (1965)
- Life at the Top (1965)
- A Man for All Seasons (1966)
- Sebastian (1968)
- Play Dirty (1968 film)
- The Strange Affair (1968)
- The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969)
- The Virgin Soldiers (1969)
- No Blade of Grass (1970)
- The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970)
- Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)
- Living Free (1972)
- South Riding (TV series)
- Bram Stoker's Dracula (1973)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray (1973)
- Phase IV (1974)
- The Regent's Wife (1975)
- The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977)
- Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers (1977)
- The London Connection (1979)
- Zulu Dawn (1979 alongside Simon Ward)
- Cry of the Innocent (1980- Gray Harrison Hunt)
- Chariots of Fire (1981)
- Nighthawks (1981)
- Masada (1981)
- Minder (1982)
- An Inspector Calls (Arthur Birling) (1982 TV series)
- A Christmas Carol (1984)
- Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984)
- Caravaggio (1986)
- Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy (1986)
- Death of a Snowman
- Without a Clue (1988)
- Howards' Way (TV series) (1985–1990)
- Trainer (TV series as James Brant) (1991)
- Keeping Up Appearances ("The Commodore") (1993)
- The Treasure Seekers (1996)
- Shanghai 1937 (1997)
- Mosley (TV Serial as Viscount Rothermere) (1998)
- Longitude (miniseries) (2000)
- David Copperfield (TV series) (2000) (USA)
- Midsomer Murders (TV series) (2000)
- Nigel Davenport at the Internet Movie Database
- Nigel Davenport recalls his appearance on This Is Your Life