Michael Bryant (actor)

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Michael Bryant
Born(1928-04-05)5 April 1928
Died25 April 2002(2002-04-25) (aged 74)
London, England, UK
OccupationActor
Years active1954-2000
Spouse(s)Josephine Martin (1958-1980) (divorced) (4 children)
Judith Coke (1990-2002) (his death)[1]

Michael Dennis Bryant, CBE (5 April 1928 – 25 April 2002) was a British stage and television actor.

Biography[edit]

Bryant attended Battersea Grammar School and after service in the Merchant Navy and Army, he attended drama school and appeared in many productions on the London stage. He made his film debut in 1955. His greatest role was Mathieu in BBC2's The Roads to Freedom a 1970 adaptation of Jean-Paul Sartre's trilogy of the same name. His guest star appearance as Wing Commander Marsh, who feigns insanity in the 'Tweedledum' episode of the BBC drama series, Colditz (1972), is still widely remembered.

Bryant was chosen by Orson Welles to play the lead role in The Deep, Welles's adaptation of the Charles Williams novel Dead Calm. The production frequently ran out of money, and following the death of actor Laurence Harvey in 1973, Welles stopped production and announced the movie - which had been completed except for one special effects shot of a ship exploding - would not be released. (The novel was finally adapted to film in 1989.)

In 1969 Bryant took his love of the stage on a strange trip into the realm of cult films, playing a clever male prostitute who outwits a delusional family of killers in the dark comedy Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly, an adaptation of a play by Maisie Mosco. Due to poor marketing and a lack of faith in the film by the distributor, the film quickly sank into obscurity.

One of Bryant's most memorable performances was in the classic BBC television play The Stone Tape (1972), in which he plays the leader of a team of scientists who investigate ghost sightings in a brooding Gothic mansion. Equally memorable is his later performance in an adaptation of M. R. James's The Treasure of Abbot Thomas (1974).

Bryant also had a supporting role as a sadistic psychiatrist in the cult classic black comedy The Ruling Class, with Peter O'Toole and Alastair Sim. He also appeared in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982) as a British diplomat.

Having played Vladimir Lenin in the film Nicholas and Alexandra, Bryant would later reprise the role in Robert Bolt's play State of Revolution (1977). He had previously co-starred in Bolt's unsuccessful Gentle Jack. The 1977 production of a Bolt play though was significant for featuring the first role he performed at the National Theatre where he was a constant presence for a quarter of a century.[2] Bryant, described by Michael Billington as a "rock-solid company man",[2] had earlier performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1964, including the premiere production of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming (1965), in which he played Teddy, the returning academic.

In 1980, Michael Bryant won the London Drama Critics Circle Theatre Award for Best Actor, and his other theatrical performances were equally well thought of. Bryant won Laurence Olivier Awards in 1988 and 1990 and was nominated twice more.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1955 Passage Home Stebbings
1956 Uranium Boom
1958 A Night to Remember Sixth Officer James Moody
1962 Life for Ruth John's counsel
1963 The Mind Benders Dr. Danny Tate
1966 The Deadly Affair Gaveston Uncredited
1967 Torture Garden Colin Williams (segment 1 "Enoch")
1969 Goodbye, Mr. Chips Max Staefel
1970 Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly New Friend
1970 The Deep John Ingram
1971 Nicholas and Alexandra Vladimir Lenin
1972 The Ruling Class Dr. Herder
1974 Fall of Eagles Rachkovsky
1974 Caravan to Vaccares Zuger
1982 Gandhi Principal Secretary
1984 Sakharov Syshchikov
1992 Bikini Summer II Sammy
1996 Hamlet Priest
2000 The Miracle Maker God / The Doctor Voice, (final film role)

References[edit]

External links[edit]