Ralph William John Brown
18 June 1957
Ralph William John Brown (born 18 June 1957) is an English actor and writer, known for playing Danny the drug dealer in Withnail and I, the security guard Aaron (a.k.a. "85") in Alien 3, DJ Bob Silver in The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio, super-roadie Del Preston in Wayne's World 2, the pilot Ric Olié in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Henry Clinton in Turn: Washington's Spies. He won The Samuel Beckett Award for his first play Sanctuary written for Joint Stock Theatre Company in 1987, and the Raindance and Sapporo Film Festival awards for his first screenplay for the British film New Year's Day in 2001.
Brown was born in Cambridge, the son of Heather R. and John F. W. Brown. He has a younger brother, Paul. He lived in Portsmouth, Hampshire until the age of seven, then moved to East Sussex where he attended Lewes Priory School. He graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 1979.
His film roles include Dil's on-off boyfriend Dave in the Academy Award-winning film The Crying Game, Danny the drug dealer in Withnail & I, Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs in Buster, roadie Del Preston in Wayne's World 2, teacher and rugby league player Phil in Up 'n' Under, prison guard captain Mr Burton in Mean Machine, Sgt Major Harris in the Paul Schrader film Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, and CIA renegade Mr Collins alongside Wesley Snipes in The Contractor. In 1997, Brown appeared in Steven Spielberg's slavery epic Amistad. In 2007, he was cast in Caught in the Act, an independent British film. Brown starred as DJ Bob Silver in The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio (2009), written and directed by Richard Curtis; Huge directed by Ben Miller (2009), The Kid (2010), directed by Nick Moran; Mission: London, a Bulgarian comedy directed by Dimitar Mitoviski which premiered in Sofia on 13 April 2010, and Sus (2010), written by Barrie Keeffe and directed by Robert Heath. He worked on the film Killing Bono (2010) and the feature film Dark Tide (2010) in Cape Town, opposite Halle Berry, I, Anna (2011) with Gabriel Byrne and Charlotte Rampling, then went on to work on Tower Block (2012) in London, Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) directed by Bryan Singer, and Stoker (2013) in Nashville, directed by Park Chan-wook. In 2016 he was cast in Final Score in West Ham United's recently abandoned Boleyn Ground with Dave Bautista, directed by Scott Mann. He worked with Will Smith in Ang Lee's Gemini Man (2019).
Among TV appearances, Brown appeared as PC Pete Muswell in The Bill from 1985 to 1986; guest starred as Captain Carlisle in A Touch of Frost in 1996; appeared in Dennis Potter's Karaoke in 1995; portrayed Prince John in the BBC's adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe in 1997; appeared as John Geddes in the ITV post-apocalyptic drama serial The Last Train; appeared as the moustachioed policeman Wintersgill in the Channel 4/Showtime series Cape Wrath; and did a memorable turn as shaven-headed gang-boss "Miami Vice" in the 2000 series Lock, Stock...The Series.
In 2005, he appeared in Coronation Street as Barney, roadie to Status Quo, and with Julia Davis in the cult TV sitcom Nighty Night as perverted new-age sex therapist Jacques. In 2007, he appeared in the final two episodes of Life on Mars as Frank Morgan, an interim DCI in 1973 sequences, and Sam's (John Simm's) surgeon in 2006 sequences.
Brown played Sarah Solemani's father in Him & Her, which began airing in 2010 and continued through 2014 for BBC Three comedy, winning a BAFTA for the final series, "The Wedding." In 2012, he worked on Inspector George Gently with Martin Shaw, The Poison Tree for ITV, and The Mimic for C4. In 2013, he worked on the aborted Marvin Gaye film Sexual Healing directed by Julian Temple, and the ABC series The Assets in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2014, he was cast in Babylon for C4 and Elementary for CBS, followed by TURN: Washington's Spies for AMC, playing General Sir Henry Clinton, leader of the redcoats. Brown returned for seasons 3 and 4 of the series. He also played Johann Fennhoff (Dr Faustus), in Agent Carter for Marvel, and guest starred on Blacklist.
In 2015 Brown starred in all ten episodes of Legends with Sean Bean, with whom he had worked on Extremely Dangerous in the early 1990s. In 2016-17 he returned to Prague with showrunner Ken Biller to shoot Genius: Einstein for Nat Geo, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2017.
In 2021, Brown portrayed former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson in two episodes of Godfather of Harlem, a series on EPIX which explores the intersection between the criminal underworld and civil rights movement in the 1960s.
In his early years, Brown was involved with the Moving Parts Theatre Company with Rachel Feldberg, Ruth Mackenzie, Anita Lewton, and Saffron Myers. John Godber adapted A Clockwork Orange for Man In The Moon, King's Road, then Brown appeared in West written & directed by Steven Berkoff at the Donmar for five months (also shot for C4). Followed by Royal Court Theatre "Panic", Joint Stock "Deadlines", The RSC "Earwig" by Paula Milne, and The Everyman in Liverpool playing the title role in Macbeth. Retired from the stage shortly thereafter, and returned briefly 20 years later at The Bush Theatre to play guitar in punk play The Dysfunkshonalz by writer Mike Packer. After only one play in 30 years Brown joined The Ferryman company on Broadway in February 2019 which won four Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Director, Best Set Design and Best Costume.
As a writer :
The No-Neck Monsters Theatre Company brought the playwright and actor to Washington, D.C. from London to adapt his 1987 Samuel Beckett Award-winning new play Sanctuary. Re-written as a rap musical for the "No Necks", the show became a successful and controversial production capturing homelessness, runaways and crack hitting the streets of D.C. Scott Davenport Richards wrote the music for the rap musical and it was directed by Gwendolyn Wynne. The first rap musical in the region The Washington Post, NPR, American Theatre Magazine and McNeil/Lehrer Newshour amongst others reported on the production. The production was nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards: Outstanding Resident Musical, Outstanding Lead Actress (Deidre L. Johnson) in a Resident Musical, and Outstanding Sound Design. Performers featured were Teagle F. Bougere, Erik Todd Dellums, Paul G. Griffin, Deidra L. Johnson, Helen Patton and Barbara Robinson
Brown has written two plays, both rap musicals: Sanctuary for Joint Stock Theatre Company (Samuel Beckett Award 1987), adapted for the stage in Washington, D.C., as Sanctuary D.C. produced by No-Neck Monsters Theatre Company (3 nominations for Helen Hayes Award 1988). His second play The House That Crack Built has never been produced.
Brown wrote the screenplay for the film New Year's Day directed by Suri Krishnamma in 1999, released in 2001 after screening at Sundance Film Festival and winning Raindance Film Festival award in 2001 and Sapporo Film Festival in the same year.
Brown also wrote the screenplays for the abandoned films Red Light Runners, High Times and In God's Footsteps.
He was a regular contributor to the Readers Recommend music blog in The Guardian, now at Song-Bar.com
His blog My Pop Life is at https://magicmenagerie.wordpress.com/
|1982||The Merry Wives of Windsor||John||TV Film|
|1984||The Hit||Second Man|
|1985-1986||The Bill||P.C. Pete Muswell||11 episodes|
|1986||London's Burning: The Movie||Second Policeman||TV Film|
|1987||Withnail & I||Danny|
|1988||Screenplay||Insp. Drury||1 episode|
|Rules of Engagement||Mick Rendall||TV Mini-Series|
|1990||Mistress of Suspense||Detective Inspector Rollason||1 episode|
|1991||4 Play||Archie Heckle||1 episode|
|The Pope Must Die||Doctor|
|1992||Van der Valk||Inspector Rep||1 episode|
|Alien 3||Francis Aaron ("85")|
|The Crying Game||Dave|
|Ruth Rendell Mysteries||Peter Mullin||1 episode|
|Between the Lines||D.A.C. John Convey||1 episode|
|Wayne's World 2||Del Preston|
|1994||Don't Get Me Started||Larry Swift|
|Requiem Apache||Mick||TV Film|
|1995||Devil's Advocate||Demagio||TV Film|
|1996||A Touch of Frost||Captain Carlisle||1 episode|
|Dalziel and Pascoe||Sam Connon||1 episode|
|Karaoke||Peter Beasley||1 episode|
|Cold Lazarus||Peter Beasley||1 episode|
|1997||The Place of the Dead||Sgt Bob Mann||TV Film|
|Ivanhoe||Prince John||TV Mini-Series|
|Jonathan Creek||Roy Pilgrim||1 episode|
|1998||Up 'n' Under||Phil|
|A Respectable Trade||Dr. Hadley||TV Mini-Series|
|1999||Peak Practice||Stephen Westwood||1 episode|
|The Last Train||Jonathan Geddes||2 episodes|
|Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace||Ric Olié|
|Extremely Dangerous||Joe Connor||4 episodes|
|New Year's Day||Mr. Diamond|
|Lock, Stock...||Miami Vice||7 episodes|
|2001||NCS: Manhunt||Ray du Barriatte||TV Film|
|The Grimleys||Frankie Fate||1 episode|
|Waking the Dead||Mike Coleman||2 episodes|
|2002||NCS: Manhunt||Ray du Barriatte||5 episodes|
|A Tribute to the Likely Lads||Gary||TV Film|
|The Final Curtain||Timothy (Channel Controller)|
|2003||The Agency||Andrei Kachan||1 episode|
|I'll Be There||Digger|
|2004||Exorcist: The Beginning||Sergeant Major|
|Lawless||Phil Howell||TV Film|
|2005||Big Dippers||Dave||TV Film|
|Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist||Sergeant Major|
|Nighty Night||Jacques||6 episodes|
|Spooks||Paul Seymour||1 episode|
|Coronation Street||Barney||6 episodes|
|2006||Cattle Drive||Truesdale||4 episodes|
|Eragon||Psychic Twins||Additional Scene|
|Modern Toss||Various||6 episodes|
|2007||Cold Blood||Bob Massum||7 episodes|
|Life on Mars||Frank Morgan||2 episodes|
|The Contractor||Jeremy Collins||Direct-to-Video Film|
|Cape Wrath||Wintersgill||8 episodes|
|Nearly Famous||Dominic Soloman||5 episodes|
|2008||Caught in the Act||Joep|
|2009||The Boat That Rocked||DJ Bob|
|2010||The Guards||Sutton||TV Film|
|Mission London||Detective Collway|
|The Kid||Gordon Peters|
|2010–2013||Him & Her||Nigel||8 episodes|
|2012||I, Anna||George Stone|
|Jack the Giant Slayer||General Entin|
|All Things to All Men||McDeer|
|Walking with the Enemy||Grudez|
|2014||Elementary||Tim Sherrington||2 episodes|
|2015||Agent Carter||Dr. Fennhoff / Ivchenko||4 episodes|
|The Blacklist||Roger Hobbs||Episode: "Vanessa Cruz (No. 117)"|
|Legends||Terrence Graves||10 episodes|
|2015-2017||Turn: Washington's Spies||General Henry Clinton||12 episodes|
|2016||Reg||Bob Clay||TV Movie|
|2017||Genius: Einstein||Max Planck||6 episodes|
|2018||Death in Paradise||Charlie Blake||S7E7|
|2019||Gemini Man||Del Patterson|
|2021||Godfather of Harlem||President Lyndon Johnson||2 episodes|
|2018||Red Dead Redemption II||The Local Pedestrian Population|
|2022||Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga||Ric Olie|
- "Ralph Brown Biography (1957–)". filmreference.com.
- "Withnail's Ralph Brown". Telegraph. 2016.
- "Actor Ralph Brown: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know".
- Crocker, Oliver (2020). Witness Statements: Making The Bill: Series 1-3. Devonfire Books. ISBN 978-1838281908.
- "The Bill Podcast 17 - Ralph Brown (PC Pete Muswell)". The Bill Podcast.
- "Actor Ralph Brown: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy on Marvel.
- "Ralph Brown & Klara Issova Round Out 'Legends' Cast". Deadline.
- "BBC One: Reg". BBC Online. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
- "EPIX | Hit Movies, TV Series and More". www.epix.com.
- "BWW Exclusive: Meet Broadway Couple Jenny Jules and Ralph Brown!".
- Brown, Joe (6 December 1988). "The Washington Post". Sanctuary: Worthy but Unresolved.
- Greer, Ann (1 January 1989). "American Theatre Magazine". "Rap Musical About D.C's Homeless, Ralph Brown's Sanctuary crosses the Atlantic".
- Brown, Joe (22 March 1989). "The Washington Post". Arena Top Hayes Nominee, Local Theater Awards Contenders Announced.
- "Ralph Brown Official Twitter". Twitter.