Richard E. Grant
|Richard E. Grant|
Grant as The Voice for 2+2+2 at Heavy Entertainment, London
5 May 1957
|Other names||Richard Grant|
|Alma mater||University of Cape Town|
|Occupation||actor, screenwriter, director|
|Years active||1987 – present|
|Spouse(s)||Joan Washington (1986 – present; 1 daughter; 1 stepson)|
Richard E. Grant (born Richard Esterhuysen; 5 May 1957) is a British-Swazi actor, screenwriter, and director. Grant came to public attention in 1987 for playing Withnail in the film Withnail and I, and achieved international recognition as John Seward in 1992 blockbuster Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Early life 
Grant was born Richard Esterhuysen in Mbabane, Swaziland. He adopted his stage name when he moved to Britain as an adult and registered with Equity. His father, Henrik Esterhuysen, was head of education for the British government administration in the British Protectorate of Swaziland. His South African mother, Leonne, was a local ballet teacher. His father had Dutch/Afrikaner and Hungarian ancestry and his mother was of German descent.
As a boy, Grant went to primary school at St Mark's, a local government school in Mbabane that had only recently become racially integrated. When Grant was ten years old, he witnessed his mother commit adultery on the back seat of a car with his father's best friend, which subsequently led to his parents' divorce. This event inspired Grant to keep a daily diary, which he has continued to do ever since. Grant wears a watch on each wrist, one given to him by his dying father, permanently set on Swaziland time. Grant attended secondary school at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa (UWCSA), an independent school just outside Mbabane, where he was a day scholar. Grant studied English and drama at the University of Cape Town.
I grew up in Swaziland when it was mired in a 1960s sensibility. The kind of English spoken where I grew up was a period English sound and when I came to England people said 'how strange'. Charles Sturridge, who directed Brideshead Revisited for TV, said 'you speak English like someone from the 1950s'.
Grant's first film role was the perpetually inebriated title character in Withnail and I, which has established a large cult following. Grant, a teetotaller, was forced into a drinking binge by the director to experience drunkenness, and found it deeply unpleasant. During the story his character drinks from a bottle of lighter fluid, which the set crew had intentionally filled with vinegar prior to filming. His reaction in the film was genuine.
Following his film Withnail and I, Grant began appearing in Hollywood films, and quickly established himself as a powerful character actor in a wide array of films, from blockbuster studio movies to small independent projects. Over the past twenty years, Grant has had strong supporting roles in the films Henry & June, L.A. Story, The Player, The Age of Innocence, The Portrait of a Lady, Spice World, Gosford Park, Bright Young Things, and Penelope.
Grant has twice portrayed the Doctor from Doctor Who, both outside the main continuity. In the comedy sketch Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death, he portrayed a version of the Tenth Doctor, referred to as the Quite Handsome Doctor. He also voiced a version of the Ninth Doctor for the BBC original animated webcast Scream of the Shalka. The latter had intended to be the official Ninth Doctor prior the revival of the TV series. In August, 2012, the BBC announced that Grant would join the cast of Doctor Who for "The Snowmen", in which he plays a villain, Dr. Walter Simeon. He appeared again in the following episode, "The Bells of Saint John" as the Great Intelligence, one of the Second Doctor's most infamous villains and, prior to "The Snowmen" (played by Ian McKellen), was last seen in The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear.
Grant appeared as "The Voice" in 2+2+2 at American Nights at The King's Head Theatre, from 3 July to 29 July 2007, and also recently co-starred in the London-based comedy Filth and Wisdom, a film which marks the directorial debut of pop singer Madonna.
On 22 November 2007, he gave a keynote speech at North London Collegiate School in North London as part of their Performing Arts Centre Opening Festival, and presented the 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards.
Grant is also an author, having written an autobiography and a novel called By Design that is set in Hollywood.
Richard E. Grant is a mentor on the British Airways Great Britons Programme, and will mentor a British talent to write a script that will be produced into a short film and shown on BA flights and at the pre-opening of the Olympic Games ceremony.
Grant wrote and directed the 2005 film Wah-Wah, loosely based on his own childhood experiences. A screenwriter recommended he write a screenplay, after reading Grant's memoirs of his Withnail and I experience.
Grant kept a diary of the experience, later published as a book (The Wah-Wah Diaries). The book received positive reviews from critics, many of whom were impressed at the honesty of the tale, especially in regard to his difficult relationship with the "inexperienced" producer Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar.
Grant stated in subsequent interviews that she was a "control freak out of control", and that he would "never see her again as long as [he] lives". In a BBC interview, he again mentioned his "disastrous" relationship with Mention-Schaar. He related that he had received only five emails from her in the last two months of pre-production, and that she rarely turned up on the set at all. She failed to obtain clearance firstly for song rights, and secondly to actually film in Swaziland. For the last infraction Grant was eventually forced to meet with the King of Swaziland to seek clemency.
During an interview with an Australian chat show, he mentioned that Wah-Wah was not released in France, and as a result, his producer did not make money out of it.
Personal life 
Grant married voice coach Joan Washington in 1986 and has one daughter with her (Olivia) and a stepson (Tom).
Grant is a teetotaller. He is intolerant to alcohol, having no enzymes in the blood to metabolise it. If he does drink alcohol, he can keep it down for 10 minutes and is then violently ill for 24 hours afterward. After casting him as the alcoholic Withnail, director Bruce Robinson made Grant drink a bottle of champagne and half a bottle of vodka during the course of a night so that he had experience of the sensation.
He also appeared on BBC1's show Saturday Kitchen on 14 July 2007, where he stated he detests dairy products, while his favourite food is giant prawns on a bed of rice. In October 2008, he told The Times that he is an atheist. He is an avid follower of West Ham United, and appeared on Sky Sports' Soccer AM to show his support for the team on the morning of the 2006 FA Cup Final.
Partial filmography 
- Screen Two in episode "Honest, Decent & True" (1985) as Moonee Livingstone
- Codename: Kyril (1988) as Sculby
- Absolutely Fabulous (1995) as Edina's dream Justin
- Karaoke (1996) as Nick Balmer
- Captain Star (1997) as Captain Jim Star
- A Royal Scandal (1996) as King George IV
- The Scarlet Pimpernel (1998) as Sir Percy Blakeney
- Trial & Retribution III (1999) as Stephen Warrington
- Let Them Eat Cake in episode "The Portrait" (1999) as Monsieur Vigée-Lebrun
- Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death (1999) as The Conceited Doctor
- A Christmas Carol (1999) as Bob Crachit
- The Scarlet Pimpernel (TV series) (1999 and 2000) as Sir Percy Blakeney/Scarlet Pimpernel
- The Kumars at No. 42 in episode 1 "Richard E Grant and Michael Parkinson" (2001) as himself
- The Hound of the Baskervilles (2002) as Jack Stapleton
- Sherlock: Case of Evil (2002) as Mycroft Holmes
- Posh Nosh (2004) as Simon Marchmont
- Frasier in episode "Goodnight, Seattle" (2004) as Stephen Moon
- 90 Days in Hollywood (2004) as the narrator
- The story of Bohemian Rhapsody (2004) as the narrator
- Home Farm Twins (2005) as Paul Baker
- Above and Beyond (2006) as Don Bennett
- Dalziel and Pascoe (2007) as Lee Knight
- Mumbai Calling (2007) as Benedict T. Harlow
- The Crimson Petal and the White (2011) as Doctor Curlew
- A Quiet Word With ... (2011) as himself
- Rab C Nesbitt (2011) as Chingford Steel
- Richard E. Grant's Hotel Secrets (2012) as himself
- The Fear (2012) as Seb Whiting
- Doctor Who (2012 Christmas Special), as Doctor Simeon
- The Riviera: A History in Pictures (2013) in two 60 minute episodes as presenter
- Doctor Who (2013 The Bells of Saint John and The Name Of The Doctor), as The Great Intelligence/Doctor Simeon
Voice acting 
- The Pillars of the Earth – audiobook by Ken Follett, as the narrator
- World Without End – audiobook by Ken Follett, as the narrator
- Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka (2003) as the alternate Ninth Doctor (online)
- Pinocchio's Daring Journey as Stromboli and the Coachman
- The Legends of Treasure Island (1993) as Long John Silver, series one only.
- The Wah-Wah Diaries: The Making of a Film. 2006. ISBN 0-330-44196-5 (hardcover).
- With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E. Grant. ISBN 0-87951-828-6 (hardcover). ISBN 0-87951-935-5 (paperback).
- By Design: A Hollywood Novel. Picador, 1999. ISBN 0-330-36829-X (10). ISBN 978-0-330-36829-2 (13).
- "STAR PROFILE Richard E Grant". Evening Times. 5 June 2003.
- Busy Making Other Plans: Richard E. Grant, stopsmilingonline.com, 21 June 2006.
- Richard E. Grant Biography (1957– )
- Richard E. Grant Biography – Yahoo! Movies
- Didcock, Barry (30 April 2006). "A life in pictures Richard E Grant not only made a film of his diaries, he kept a diary during filming". Sunday Herald.
- "Richard E Grant: At 11 I caught my mother cheating with dad's best friend". Daily Mail. 20 September 2007.
- Enough Rope http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s1666103.htm
- http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/film-and-tv/features/richard-e-grant-welcome-to-my-family-480162.html. Missing or empty
- ENOUGH ROPE with Andrew Denton – episode 108: Richard E. Grant (19/06/2006)
- Interview with Valerie Lawson of the Sydney Morning Herald on 04/06/08.
- Richard E Grant To Play Doctor Who Villain, MTV News, 2012-08-06
- Swazi 'Aids cure' scam uncovered, BBC Newsnight.
- "Richard E Grant investigates the AIDS scam", Newsnight, 1 December 2006.
- North London Collegiate School – an independent day school for girls from the ages of 4 to 18
- "Playbill News: London Hairspray Breaks Record With 11 Olivier Award Nominations".
- Wah-Wah Interview – "I've had seven birthdays..."
- Amazon.co.uk – The Wah-Wah Diaries
- The Guardian – Books – Wah-Wah Diaries review
- The Independent – Books – Wah-Wah Diaries review
- Richard E Grant – Wah-Wah interview
- The Sun Herald Interview – Wah-Wah
- BBC Interview with Richard E. Grant – Stand Alone Player
- Interview with 9am on Australia's TEN network – REG
- "Five Minutes With: Richard E Grant". BBC News. 11 December 2010.
- "A Quiet Word With Richard E. Grant". Official website. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- "Richard E Grant's Hotel Secrets". Official website. British Sky Broadcasting. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "The Riviera: A History in Pictures". BBC. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- Official website
- Richard E. Grant at the Internet Movie Database
- "Memories of Mischief". The Guardian, August 6, 2005. (Interview and profile pertaining to the release of his film Wah-Wah.)