Nigel Terry

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Nigel Terry
Born Nigel Terry
(1945-08-15)15 August 1945
Bristol, England
Died 30 April 2015(2015-04-30) (aged 69)
Newquay, Cornwall, England
Cause of death Emphysema
Occupation Actor
Years active 1967–2010

Nigel Terry (15 August 1945 – 30 April 2015) was an English stage and film actor probably best known by film audiences for his portrayal of King Arthur in John Boorman's Excalibur (1981). He had a long career in classical theatre.

Early career[edit]

After training with repertory companies like the Oxford Meadow Players and Bristol Old Vic, Terry appeared in many productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Round House Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre. Among his roles was Bosola in the 1989 Royal Shakespeare Company production of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. The same year, he played Pericles in David Thacker's production of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

Acting career[edit]

In addition to Excalibur,[1] he appeared in approximately a dozen films, such as The Lion in Winter (1968). He appeared in Derek Jarman's Caravaggio (1986), where he played the title character.

Terry appeared in Troy (2004) playing the Trojan high priest and Prince Telephus, as well as the 2006 Hallmark Channel production of Blackbeard as a marooned sailor. His main US and British television appearances include Covington Cross, a series set in medieval times. He also appeared in Casualty as Denny, as General Cobb in the Doctor Who episode "The Doctor's Daughter" and as Gabriel Piton in Highlander: The Series. He also played Sam Jacobs in a two-part Waking the Dead episode called "Anger Management".

Personal life[edit]

Terry was born on 15 August 1945[2] in Bristol, Gloucestershire, the son of Frank Albert Terry OBE, DFC,[3] a pilot in the Royal Air Force, and his wife, Doreen.[2] He was the first baby born in Bristol after the end of World War II.[4] The family soon moved to Truro, Cornwall where his father worked as a probation officer.[3] 'Nigs' attended Truro School in Truro, where he developed an interest in acting and became skilled at drawing and painting.[4]

His parents encouraged him to go on the stage and after working briefly in forestry and as a petrol pump attendant he joined the National Youth Theatre.[5][6] In 1963 he enrolled at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, working both on stage and behind the scenes.[4] He joined the Oxford Meadow Players in 1966, working initially as assistant stage manager.[4] After thirty years of living in London he returned to reside in Cornwall in 1993.[7]

He died in Newquay, Cornwall of emphysema on 30 April 2015.[8] In the absence of any surviving close family, his 'final act' was organized by his close friends Maggie Steed and David Horovitch in Truro on 19 May 2015, attended by fellow actors and personal friends.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Canby, Vincent (10 April 1981). "Boorman's 'Excalibur'". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916–2005 [database online]
  3. ^ a b Supplement to The London Gazette, 31 December 1976
  4. ^ a b c d Director of Publicity. Avco Embassy Pictures Corp. Press release for "Lion in Winter"
  5. ^ Films and Filming Magazine, Volume 21, Hanson Books, 1985
  6. ^ Wilkes, Angela. "Terry gives more than his Pound of Flesh", The Stage, 2 October 1986, p. 6
  7. ^ Jarman, Derek. "Smiling in Slow Motion". Great Britain: Century, 2000, pg. 285
  8. ^ Coveney, Michael (3 May 2015). "Nigel Terry obituary.". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 

External links[edit]