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Roy Dotrice

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Roy Dotrice
Dotrice in 2014
Born(1923-05-26)26 May 1923
Died16 October 2017(2017-10-16) (aged 94)
London, England
Years active1957–2012
Known forBrief Lives
A Moon for the Misbegotten
(m. 1947; died 2007)
Children3; including Michele and Karen
Awards1 Tony Award
1 Drama Desk Award
1 British Academy Television Award
Dotrice in 1981

Roy Dotrice OBE (26 May 1923 – 16 October 2017) was a British stage and screen actor. He played the antiquarian John Aubrey in the solo play Brief Lives. He won a Tony Award for his performance in the 2000 Broadway revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten, also appearing as Leopold Mozart in the film version of Amadeus (1984), Charles Dickens in Dickens of London (1976), and Jacob Wells/Father in Beauty and the Beast.

Late in life, he narrated a series of audiobooks for George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, for which he holds the Guinness World Record for the most character voices by an individual for an audiobook.

Life and career[edit]

Dotrice was born in Guernsey, Bailiwick of Guernsey on 26 May 1923[1] to Neva (née Wilton; 1897–1984) and Louis Dotrice (1896–1991).[2] He served as a wireless operator/air gunner with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and was imprisoned in a German prisoner of war camp from 1942 to 1945, after being shot down in an Avro Lancaster R5840 of No.106 Squadron based at Coningsby, all seven airmen of the crew being taken Prisoner of War.[3]


Dotrice was the voice of "Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Gregory Pitkin" in the early episodes of BBC Radio's long-running comedy The Men from the Ministry.[3] He was succeeded by Ronald Baddiley in the role. He also played the caretaker Ramsay alongside Patricia Hayes in the Radio 2 sitcom Know Your Place.[4]


Dotrice was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and in the early 1960s played a variety of roles, including Caliban in The Tempest, opposite Tom Fleming's Prospero (dir: Peter Brook), John of Gaunt and Hotspur opposite David Warner's Richard II, and Justice Shallow, opposite Hugh Griffith as Falstaff in Henry IV, and then Edward IV in the Hall/Barton-adapted Shakespeare cycle The Wars of the Roses, later broadcast by the BBC.

Dotrice played the part of John Aubrey in Brief Lives, a one-man play devised and directed by Patrick Garland in which he held the stage for almost three hours (including the interval, during which he would feign sleep).[3] Premiering in 1967 at the Hampstead Theatre in London, the play later toured England, before two productions on Broadway.[5] In 1968 it moved to the Criterion Theatre in the West End, where it ran for 400 performances before transferring to the Mayfair Theatre.[6] He revived the role in 2008, again under Patrick Garland's direction.[7]

These runs, combined with extensive international touring, earned Dotrice a place in the Guinness World Records for the greatest number of solo performances (1,782).[4]

His other one-man productions included Mister Lincoln in 1979, and Churchill in 1982, both premiering in Washington, D.C. at Ford's Theatre.[8]

In 1984 he starred opposite Rosemary Harris in a production of Noël Coward's Hay Fever.[9] He appeared in the stage production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas at The Lowry theatre in Salford from November 2009 to January 2010.[3]


In the 1970s Dotrice played Charles Dickens in the television mini-series Dickens of London.[9] He also appeared as Albert Haddock in the BBC television adaptation of A. P. Herbert's Misleading Cases in 1971.[4] In 1972 he played the Curé Ponosse in the BBC2 TV adaptation of Clochemerle (1972).[10]

Dotrice played "Father" in the 1980s TV series Beauty and the Beast and Father Gary Barrett, a Catholic priest, in the 1990s series Picket Fences. His acting career dates from 1945 in a revue called Back Home, performed by former prisoners-of-war in aid of the Red Cross.[4] In an episode of Angel (1999), part of the Buffyverse, he played the role of Roger Wyndam-Pryce, the overbearing father of the character Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.[6] An earlier science-fiction role was Commissioner Simmonds in two episodes of the 1970s series Space: 1999. In 1998 Dotrice appeared in three episodes of the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as Zeus.[9]

Game of Thrones[edit]

In June 2010 it was announced that Dotrice would be playing the role of Grand Maester Pycelle in the HBO television series Game of Thrones, an adaptation of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books.[5] He later withdrew from the part for medical reasons and Julian Glover was cast in his place.[11]

Shortly after filming for the second season commenced it was confirmed that Dotrice would be returning to play "Wisdom Hallyne the Pyromancer",[12] who is featured in the installments "The Ghost of Harrenhal" and "Blackwater".[12]

Radio and audiobooks[edit]

In 1982 BBC Radio 4 broadcast Dotrice's reading of G.B. Edwards' novel The Book of Ebenezer Le Page in twenty-eight 15-minute parts on its Woman's Hour segment.[13] The producer subsequently wrote that the serialisation was "without question the most popular serial I have ever done in the 500 or so I have produced in the last 21 years ...".[14]

He subsequently performed "The Islander", a stage version of The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, to critical success at the Theatre Royal Lincoln.[6] In 2012 AudioGO produced a complete and unabridged recording of Ebenezer Le Page, which is available on Audible.[14]

Dotrice recorded audiobooks for each book in George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire.[15] In 2011 he was awarded the world record for most character voices in an audiobook for his recording of A Game of Thrones, which contained 224.[13][16][17]

Dotrice also narrated many storybook adaptations for Disney Records, including The Little Mermaid and Pooh's Heffalump Movie, for which he was nominated for a Grammy Award.[5]

Personal life and death[edit]

Dotrice was married to Kay Newman (1929–2007), a television and stage actress, from 1947 until her death in 2007.[18] They had three daughters—Michele, Yvette and Karen—all of whom have acted at various times in their lives. He was the father-in-law of actors Edward Woodward (Michele) and Alex Hyde-White (Karen).[10]

Dotrice was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours.[19][10] He died at the age of 94 on 16 October 2017 in London; no cause was given.[6][10]

Select filmography[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Voice acting[edit]


  1. ^ Coveney, Michael (16 October 2017). "Roy Dotrice obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Roy Dotrice Biography (1925–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Roy Dotrice: Guernsey actor dies aged 94". BBC News. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "British actor Roy Dotrice dead at 94". Fox News. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "'Game of Thrones' and 'Amadeus' actor Roy Dotrice dies at 94". New York Daily News. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Veteran British actor Roy Dotrice dies aged 94". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 17 October 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  7. ^ Brief Lives revival"Aubrey". Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  8. ^ Kempley, Rita (15 October 1982). "'Churchill': A Game Try". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  9. ^ a b c "Veteran British actor Roy Dotrice dies aged 94". San Francisco Chronicle. 16 October 2017. Archived from the original on 17 October 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Binding, Lucia (16 October 2017). "Game of Thrones star Roy Dotrice dies aged 94". ibtimes.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  11. ^ "A Change on the Small Council". Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Roy Dotrice is Pyromancer Hallyne". WinterIsComing.net. 7 August 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  13. ^ a b "Game of Thrones actor dies: Set world record for narrating the show's audiobooks". EW. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  14. ^ a b Edward Chaney, Genius Friend: G.B. Edwards and The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (Blue Ormer Publishing, 2015)
  15. ^ "Game of Thrones: News – Roy Dotrice is Pycelle and More". Westeros.org. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Most character voices for an audio book – individual". Guinnessworldrecords.com. Archived from the original on 31 January 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  17. ^ Martin, George R. R. (11 March 2011). "Not A Blog - Roy Sets a Record". livejournal.com. Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  18. ^ Passings, The Los Angeles Times, 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
  19. ^ "No. 58557". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2007. p. 9.
  20. ^ a b "Roy Dotrice". TV Guide. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Roy Dotrice, 'Game of Thrones' and 'Amadeus' Actor, Dies at 94". Variety. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  22. ^ a b "Roy Dotrice Biography". Hollywood. Retrieved 16 October 2017.

External links[edit]