28 May 1929 |
Thane William Howard Hardcastle Christopher Bettany (born 28 May 1929) is a British actor and former dancer. He is the father of film actor Paul Bettany and father-in-law of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Connelly.
 Early years
Thane Bettany was born in Sarawak, an independent state on the island of Borneo, which was then a British protectorate governed by the White Rajahs. Thane had an elder brother named Peter Bettany, they were very close when they were young. His godmother was the American memoirist Agnes Newton Keith, author of Three Came Home. The Bettanys also knew the Rhys-Jones family from Sarawak. Years later, when both had been widowed, Howard John Bettany, Thane's father, married Margaret Patricia Newall Molesworth Rhys-Jones, who had a granddaughter born the same year (1965). Thane Bettany stood godfather to the daughter of his new stepbrother: Sophie Rhys-Jones, later Countess of Wessex and wife of Prince Edward. The Bettanys returned to England before the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
 Dancing career
Bettany had become enamoured with ballet after seeing a performance as a child. Once he left school he took the money given to him by his father to go to engineering school to study ballet. After National Service, when he served in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm as a mechanic, he entered Sadler's Wells Ballet School (which later became the Royal Ballet School).
He began dancing in musical theatre, but after an accident on stage when he broke his back he had to give up professional dance. Acting was an obvious career move, but he had a bad stammer. He went to study mime in Paris with Charles Antonetti, who helped him overcome the problem. Bettany returned to England and joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company, which would later become the Royal Shakespeare Company. He played Osric to Sir Michael Redgrave's Hamlet. In The Tempest, he was the understudy for the role of Ferdinand; he then took over the part when the play transferred to Drury Lane with Sir John Gielgud.
After a few years with the New Zealand Players, he returned home and taught at Corona Stage School, where he met Anne Kettle, whom he would later marry. He moved on to Norway as the Artistic Director of the English Theatre Company there, inviting Kettle over as his stage manager. Back in England they renewed their friendship at the Lincoln Theatre Royale. They married and settled in North London, and although stage work continued to be his focus, when his children were born he looked for other work to be closer to home. Thane Bettany continued to act, mainly in television; during this period he was cast in one of his most famous roles, that of Tarak on Doctor Who, opposite Tom Baker.
The couple had three children: Sarah, actor Paul Bettany, and youngest son Matthew. Sarah and Paul initially went to school in North London. When Sarah, Paul and Matthew were 11, 9 and 2 years old, respectively, their father obtained employment as a drama teacher at the Hertfordshire all-girls boarding school, Queenswood School; the family lived on campus. Thane and Anne Bettany have three grandchildren to date (as of 2011): Emaly (by daughter Sarah), Stellan and Agnes (by Paul and his wife, American actress, Jennifer Connelly).
 Death of younger son & divorce
Matthew Bettany died after a fall at Queenswood when he was eight. Soon after, Paul Bettany left home to live on his own in London. Thane and Anne Bettany divorced in 1993 after 25 years of marriage.
Bettany now lives in Fife, Scotland with his partner, Andy Clark, and continues to work regularly. He is an associate acting member of the Dundee Repertory, the St. Andrew's Byre Theatre and the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh. He remains a full-time actor, and returned to the RSC in 2007, appearing in small roles in both Shakespeare's Macbeth and Eugene Ionesco's MacBett.
|1957||Fire Down Below|
|1980||The Talisman||Theodoric||TV Series|
|Doctor Who: State of Decay||Tarak||TV Episode|
|North Sea Hijack||Heyerdahl|
|1985||Maelstrom||Mr. Tovan||TV Miniseries|
- Bettany, Sarah (20 September 2004). "Paul Bettany.net Forums: middle name?". Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- Peerage genealogy
- Biography of Paul Bettany
- Julie McCaffery (16 May 2006). "Tragedy, Drugs and a Dad Who Wanted to Have a Sex Change Op". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 14 January 2008.