Robert Lang (actor)
24 September 1934|
Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
|Died||6 November 2004
Sutton, London, England
Robert Lang (24 September 1934 – 6 November 2004) was an English actor of stage and television. When Laurence Olivier invited him to join the new National Theatre Company, at the Old Vic, Robert Lang was already earning high praise as an actor. From 1971 until his death he was married to Ann Bell, best known for her portrayal of Marion Jefferson in the BBC war drama Tenko. The couple appeared together in Tenko Reunion.
Lang was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, the son of Lily Violet (née Ballard) and Richard Lionel Lang. He was educated at Fairfield Grammar School and St Simon’s Church School. He had intended to become a meteorologist but then trained for the stage at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Lang made his London debut in 1957 at the Garrick Theatre as Uncle Ernest in Oh! My Papa!.
In 1962, Olivier recruited Lang (along with other actors) for the newly established National Theatre, after Lang had impressed him with his performances as Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Court and as the Actor in Maxim Gorki’s The Lower Depths for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Playing Pierre Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais, in George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, Lang drew the praise of critic Caryl Brahms for his "quiet grandeur, cogency and gravity".
Lang also showed a finely-judged talent for comic parts. In the deadpan role of diplomat Richard Greatham in the National Theatre revival in 1964 of Noël Coward’s Hay Fever, under the author's own direction, Lang showed his acute feeling for what amuses a theatre audience without appearing to seek to do so. He spent two years in the mid-1970s as director of the Cambridge Theatre Company.
His TV credits include That Was The Week That Was, The New Avengers ("Last of the Cybernauts", 1976), 1990 (1977), Rumpole of the Bailey (1979), King Lear (1983), Rasputin (1996), A Dance to the Music of Time (1997), The Forsyte Saga (2002), Our Mutual Friend (1998), and Heartbeat (2002). He also appeared in The Return of the Borrowers, as Mr Platter in 1993. His films include Interlude (1968), Dance of Death (1969), A Walk with Love and Death (1969), The House That Dripped Blood (1970), Savage Messiah (1972), The Mackintosh Man (1973), Night Watch (1973), Shout at the Devil (1976), Rogue Male (1976), The Medusa Touch (1978), The First Great Train Robbery (1978), Runners (1983), Hawks (1988), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and Wilde (1997). His final film appearance was as Mr Osbourne in Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005), screened a few months after his death from cancer in November 2004 at the age of 70.
- Seven Keys (1961) - Mechanic (uncredited)
- Uncle Vanya (1963) - Yefim
- Catch Us If You Can (1965) - Whiting (uncredited)
- Othello (1965) - Roderigo
- The Sandwich Man (1966) - Waiter
- Interlude (1968) - Humphrey Turnbull
- Dance of Death (1969) - Kurt
- A Walk with Love and Death (1969) - Pilgrim Leader
- The House That Dripped Blood (1971) - Psychiatrist - Andrews (segment 1 "Method for Murder")
- Savage Messiah (1972) - Major Boyle
- The Mackintosh Man (1973) - Jack Summers
- Night Watch (1973) - Appleby
- Ransom (1974) - Martin Shepard (voice, uncredited)
- Shout at the Devil (1976) - Captain Henry
- Rogue Male (1977) - Jessel
- The Medusa Touch (1978) - Pennington
- The First Great Train Robbery (1979) - Sharp
- Runners (1983) - The Swimming Pool - Wilkins
- Hawks (1988) - Walter Bancroft
- The Trial (1993) - K's Uncle
- Genghis Cohn (1993) - Police Chief
- Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) - Lord Hibbott - Wedding Two
- Some Mother's Son (1996) - Government Minister
- Wilde (1997) - C.O. Humphreys
- Room to Rent (2000) - Mark's Father
- Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005) - Mr. Osborne (Last appearance)