Addie in 2003
|Died||20 November 2003 (aged 43)|
Robert Alastair Addie (10 February 1960 – 20 November 2003) was an English film and theatre actor, who came to prominence playing the role of Sir Guy of Gisbourne in the 1980s British television drama series Robin of Sherwood.
Addie was born in south London on 10 February 1960. During his early childhood he was adopted by Marjorie and Jack Williams and raised in Sapperton, in the county of Gloucestershire. He received his formal education at Marlborough College. After initially being employed as a trainee estate agent on a ranch in Argentina, he returned to England and joined the National Youth Theatre in London in 1976 at the age of 17. Subsequently he trained in acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which he left early after successfully auditioning for the role of Mordred in the film Excalibur (1981).
Addie's slim but athletic physique, and attractive yet stern looks, voice and demeanor, channelled his career into that of a character actor from its outset, with him usually being cast as a supporting player in authoritarian roles. This aspect of his repertoire combined with his excellent horsemanship and weapons-handling skills found him regularly appearing in historical period dramas set in the medieval era.
At the beginning of his career in the early 1980s he appeared on British television in a number of commercial advertisements, ranging from one for Polycell plastering repair wall filler to Mr Kipling cakes. In the early 1980s he also appeared in a variety of theatrical productions, including Journey's End in 1981 at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley, and Conduct Unbecoming in 1982 at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford.
In 1982 Addie starred in one of the few lead roles of his career in the character of Stalky in a British Broadcasting Corporation television mini-series dramatisation of Rudyard Kipling's novel Stalky & Co.
Addie played the character of Sir Guy of Gisbourne in the 1984–1986 English television series Robin of Sherwood (although still being only in his mid-twenties and physically somewhat young-looking for the part of a veteran ennobled medieval knight), a role which brought his career national exposure.
In 1989 he abandoned acting and spent several years living in Spain and the United States of America.
He returned to acting in 1995, initially performing in fringe theatre original productions with the Chichester-based Exiled Theatre Company, involving regional tours in England's south provinces. In 1995 he appeared with the company in the play Shades in Time - Martyrs, involving a promenading performance within Gloucester Cathedral, and also as the character of a mouse in the play Shades in Time - The Docks set at Gloucester Docks as a part of the 1995 Gloucester Festival. In late 1995 he performed with the company in Cheltenham in a theatrical monologue he wrote about a Mohammedan jihadist suicide bomber entitled Acts of Revenge, and in 1996 he appeared in the new plays by the company entitled Edmund, Son of Gloucester (a prequel to Shakespeare's King Lear); and Into the Mist—a play set in early medieval Scotland with Addie playing St. Columba.
After this Addie resumed a film and television career, also acting in a number of television commercial adverts in 1998 ranging from designer kitchens, to whisky and habit-breaking anti-cigarette products.
Addie died on 20 November 2003 in his 44th year in Cheltenham General Hospital in Gloucestershire, England, from the effects of lung cancer, three weeks after the disease was diagnosed. A funeral took place at the Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester for Addie's body, which was subsequently cremated, with its ashes being buried in the graveyard of Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton.
A memorial cherry tree bearing a commemorative plaque was planted in Addie's memory in 'The Jack Gardner Memorial Garden' in Cirencester on the tenth anniversary of his death, funded by a group of fans of his career.
Addie's stepfather was Jack Williams, a highly regarded polo player, developer of the modern game and associated in the sport with both the British royal family and foreign polo players and teams, including the Sultan of Brunei, and numerous American teams. Under Williams's tutelage Addie—an imposing physical figure at 6'2" in height—himself became an accomplished horseman and polo player. Addie also spent time in Argentina pursuing the sport. His family's house in Sapperton in the Cotswolds, near Cirencester meant that he was involved in polo every day through the season through much of the 1970s and early 1980s. As well as being a keen horseman and accomplished swordsman Addie was a competitive archer.
At the time of his death Addie was divorced, having been married and divorced on three separate occasions, and was in a relationship with Helen Lovitt, whom he had met at a Robin of Sherwood fan convention in Bristol. The marriages produced three children: Alexander, Alastair and Caitlin.
TV and filmography
- Horse in the House (1978—ITV children drama)
- Absolution (1978)
- Excalibur (1981)
- Stalky & Co. (1982) (miniseries)
- Barriers (1983—TV series)
- Andy Robson (1982/3—TV series)
- All for Love (1983) (TV film)
- Another Country (1984)
- The Brief (1984—TV series)
- The First Olympics: Athens 1896 (1984) (TV film)
- Robin of Sherwood (1984–86) (TV series)
- Dutch Girls (1985)
- Ladies in Charge (1986) (TV series)
- Four Minuter: Off to the Wars (1986) (TV film)
- Lost Belongings (1987) (miniseries)
- A Hazard of Hearts (1987) (TV film)
- I'll Take Manhattan (1987) (miniseries)
- Starlings (1988) (TV film)
- The Endless Game (1989) (miniseries)
- The New Adventures of Robin Hood 1997 (TV series, guest appearance)
- A Knight in Camelot (1998) (TV film)
- Merlin (1998) (TV film)
- Captain Jack (1999)
- Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999) (TV film) – Pontius Pilate
- Lorna Doone (2000) (TV film)
- Intimacy (2001)
Addie made guest appearances on a number of television series including:
- Smuggler (1981)
- The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1986)
- Pulaski (1987)
- Red Dwarf (Series III, no. 5 "Timeslides", 1989)
- Crossbow (1988/9)
- Noah's Ark (1997)
- Bugs (TV series 4) (1998 )
- Family Affairs (1999)
- Monarch of the Glen (2000)
- Journey's End (1981)
- Conduct Unbecoming (1982)
- Shades in Time (1995)
- The Tell-Tale Heart (1995)
- Acts of Revenge (Co-written by Robert Addie) (1995)
- Edmund Son of Gloucester (1996)
- Into the Mist (1996)
- 'Obituaries in the Performing Arts 2003', by H.M. Leutz III (Pub. McFarland & Company, Inc. 2004).
- Robert Addie fan site https://www.robertaddie.simpsite.nl/Biography
- Website dedicated to Robert Addie. https://www.azinazelle.com/bio.html
- Robert Addie entry in IMDb, 'Other Works' https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0011665/otherworks
- 'Other Works' list in Robert Addie's entry on IMDb.
- IMDb entry for 'Stalky & Co'. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0184916
- Robert Addie's entry in the IMDb website. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0011665/
- Obituary for Addie, 'The Independent', 2 January 2004.
- Obituary for Addie, 'The Independent', 2 January 2004.
- Website detailing the productions of the Exiled Theatre Company 1995-1996. http://www.39482.mrsite.com/page11.htm
- 'Other Works' list in Robert Addie's entry in IMDb.
- 'This is Gloucestershire', 'Talented Actor's Life Cut Tragically Short', 27 November 2003.
- Fan website dedicated to Robert Addie's career. (2018). https://www.azinazelle.com/funeral.html
- Information on the tree planting ceremony, 20 November 2013, 'Jo's Robert Addie Fansite' (2018). http://www.robertaddie.simpsite.nl/memorial-tree-planting2
- Newspaper report on Addie's death. 26 November 2003. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/alt.gossip.celebrities/uox7AbhJeOs/9zxj7EKTohIJ