Nigel Hawthorne

Actor, Producer, Director
The ultimate late-bloomer, British character player Nigel Hawthorne had nearly 45 years as an actor under his belt when he finally broke through to stardom with his compelling performance in the title role of "The ... Read more »
Born: 04/04/1929 in Coventry, England, GB


Actor (49)

A Reasonable Man 1999 (Movie)

Judge (Actor)

Tarzan 1999 (Movie)

Professor Porter (Voice)

The Clandestine Marriage 1999 (Movie)

Lord Ogleby (Actor)

The Winslow Boy 1999 (Movie)

Arthur Winslow (Actor)

Madeline 1998 (Movie)

Lord Covington (Actor)

The Object of My Affection 1998 (Movie)

Rodney Fraser (Actor)

Uncorked 1998 (Movie)

Uncle Cullen (Actor)

Amistad 1997 (Movie)

Martin Van Buren (Actor)

Russia's War 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)


Twelfth Night 1996 (Movie)

Malvolio (Actor)

Richard III 1995 (Movie)

Clarence (Actor)

The Madness of King George 1994 (Movie)

George III (Actor)

Demolition Man 1993 (Movie)

Dr Raymond Cocteau (Actor)

Freddie as F.R.O.7 1992 (Movie)

of Brigadier G (Voice)

The 45th Annual Tony Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)


King of the Wind 1990 (Movie)

Achmet (Actor)

Relatively Speaking 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)


En Handfull tid 1989 (Movie)

Ted Walker (Actor)

Rarg 1989 (Movie)


The Miser 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)


Mapp & Lucia 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)


Turtle Diary 1986 (Movie)

Publisher (Actor)

Dreamchild 1985 (Movie)


The Black Cauldron 1985 (Movie)

of Fflewddur (Voice)

Pope John Paul II 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)


The Chain 1984 (Movie)

Mr Thorn (Actor)

Firefox 1982 (Movie)

Pyotr Baranovich (Actor)

Gandhi 1982 (Movie)

Kinnoch (Actor)

Yes, Minister 1982 (TV Show)


A Tale of Two Cities 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)


History of the World Part I 1981 (Movie)

Citizen Official (Actor)

Memoirs of a Survivor 1981 (Movie)

Victorian Father (Actor)

The Plague Dogs 1981 (Movie)

of Dr Robert Boycott (Voice)

The Tempest 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)


Holocaust -- The Story of the Family Weiss 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)


Sweeney 2 1978 (Movie)

Dilke (Actor)

Watership Down 1978 (Movie)


The Hiding Place 1974 (Movie)

Pastor De Ruiter (Actor)

A Woman Called Golda (TV Show)


Barchester Chronicles (TV Show)


Call Me Claus (TV Show)


Inside (TV Show)


Jenny's War (TV Show)


Murder in Mind (TV Show)


The Big Brass Ring (TV Show)


The Hunchback of Notre Dame (TV Show)


Victoria & Albert (TV Show)

Producer (1)

Uncorked 1998 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)


The ultimate late-bloomer, British character player Nigel Hawthorne had nearly 45 years as an actor under his belt when he finally broke through to stardom with his compelling performance in the title role of "The Madness of King George" (1994). On stage, the role earned him an Olivier Award (among other honors), while the film version garnered both a BAFTA Award and a Best Actor Oscar nomination. But were it not for the insistence of playwright Alan Bennett and first-time feature director Nicholas Hytner (who had directed the play "The Madness of George III"), the role probably would have gone to someone with a more prominent Hollywood profile. Hawthorne's ability to be endearing in the part of a pompous, autocratic old bastard moved Bennett to write in the play's preface that "without Nigel's transcendent performance, the King could have just been a gabbling bore and his fate a matter of indifference." Hytner has said of the film: "We wouldn't have been able to do the movie in eight weeks if Nigel hadn't played it."


Rosemary Hawthorne


Trevor Bentham

together since c. 1979 penned the script for "The Clandestine Marriage" (1999), which co-starred Hawthorne and Joan Collins

Charles Hawthorne

20 years older than wife


University of Cape Town

withdrew to study acting

Christian Brothers College

St George's Grammar School



Portrayed Santa Claus in the TNT original "Call Me Claus", co-starring Whoppi Goldberg


Appeared as Lord Melbourne in the biographical miniseries "Victoria and Albert" (aired in USA on A&E)


Acted in David Mamet's "The Winslow Boy", adapted by the director from the Terrence Rattigan play


Returned to the stage to play the title role in RSC production of "King Lear", staged by Yukio Ninagawa; opened in Japan in August before moving to London's West End in October


Had a grand old time as a dirty old man in George Hickenlooper's "The Big Brass Ring", based on a screenplay by Orson Welles (published after his death); the original script was interesting as a companion piece to "Citizen Kane" for its preoccupation with


Voiced the character of Professor Porter in Disney's animated "Tarzan"


Executive produced and gave another modulated tour de force as a maddening, aphorism-spouting uncle residing "At Satchem Farm", a bit of New Age malarkey out of step with both indie and commercial themes


Reteamed with Hytner for "The Object of My Affection", playing a gay theater critic


Portrayed President Martin Van Buren in Steven Spielberg's "Amistad"


Earned sixth BAFTA Award for the TV production "The Fragile Heart"


Associate produced and co-starred in "Murder in Mind"


Essayed the role of Malvolio in Trevor Nunn's film adaptation of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night"


Acted the part of Colonel Kruger in Showtime movie "Inside", directed by Arthur Penn; also starred Eric Stoltz and Louis Gossett Jr


Appeared as Clarence in film "Richard III", executive produced and co-adapted by Ian McKellen


Garnered international acclaim and a Best Actor Oscar nomination reprising his stage role in "The Madness of King George", Hytner's feature directorial debut; also won BAFTA Award


Made Hollywood debut playing the amorally ambiguous potentate in "Demolition Man"


Portrayed author C S Lewis in British stage version of "Shadowlands"


Acted in London stage production of Tom Stoppard's "Hapgood"


Starred opposite Glenda Jackson in London stage production of "Across From the Garden of Allah"


Reunited with Kingsley in "Turtle Diary", also starring Glenda Jackson


Reteamed with Attenborough for the director's highly acclaimed "Gandhi", starring Ben Kingsley


Played Stryver in CBS miniseries presentation of "A Tale of Two Cities"


Portrayed Permanent Under Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby in the BBC-2 comedy series "Yes, Minister" (aired in USA on The Entertainment Channel and PBS from 1982); earned first two BAFTA Awards in the comedy performance category


US TV debut, "Holocaust", an NBC miniseries


Voiced the part of Campion for the animated feature "Watership Down"


Starred opposite Sian Phillips in the Thames Television series "Warrior Queen", playing Roman Procurator Catus Decianus


Won much critical praise as star of the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "Privates on Parade"


Portrayed Pierre Curie in "Marie Curie" (BBC-2)


Performed onstage in London production of Simon Gray's "Otherwise Engaged"


Broadway debut played Touchstone in "As You Like It"


Feature acting debut in Richard Attenborough's "Young Winston"


West End debut as Fancy Dan in "Talking to You"


Returned to South Africa where he enjoyed success as a stage actor


London stage debut, Donald in "You Can't Take It With You"


Professional stage debut, playing Archie Fellows in a Cape Town production of "The Shop at Sly Corner"


Moved from Coventry, England to Cape Town, South Africa

Directed and starred in London stage production of "The Clandestine Marriage"; later starred opposite Joan Collins in feature version (filmed in 1998) directed by Christopher Miles

Moved to London to pursue career

Reprised role of Sir Humphrey (now a Cabinet Secretary) in the sequel comedy "Yes, Prime Minister" (BBC-2); garnered and additional two BAFTA Awards

Reprised "Shadowlands" role on Broadway, earning a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Play

Played the title role in London production of "The Madness of George III", staged by Nicholas Hytner; also toured US cities in 1993

Bonus Trivia


Hawthorne was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998.


In 2000, he was diagnosed with cancer and had been undergoing chemotherapy just before his death from a heart attack.


On King George III: "What he tried to do was keep some of the mystique of the crown, while reaching out to the common folk. What has caused the undoing of the present royal family is the opening-up of their lives to the people and the media. There is no more mystique." --Nigel Hawthorne, to Nick Charles in Daily News, January 23, 1995.


"Acting is an escape. That's why I went into it. My father was personally affronted. He thought I should join the Civil Service, the Masons--do the proper things." --Hawthorne quoted in People, March 27, 1995.


The sad tale of co-star Paul Eddington of "Yes, Minister": "We were always being nominated for BAFTAs and for some reason I used to win. I knew it was hurtful to Paul. He told me that he was once in Australia at some huge function when someone came up to him and said, 'You've won the BAFTA!' Paul was so excited that he bought champagne for the whole room. Twenty minutes later, the guy came back and said, 'Sorry, it was the other bloke who won.'" --Hawthorne, quoted in the London Times, January 3, 1999.


About being "outed" after his 1994 Oscar nomination: "Surprise! Surprise! An Academy Award nomination and suddenly you're outed? Did I mind? Oh, very, very much ..."Ian [McKellen] was always trying to get Trevor [Bentham, Hawthorne's longtime companion] and me to be outed. I said, 'That's crazy. I've spent my life playing heterosexuals! Why should I ruin my career?'"Ian would say, 'because you'd help people.' I don't think I'd help people. I believe we are all equal. If that is how you are born into this world, I believe the most good you can do is to live in the community and be accepted. Trevor and I had been going to awards ceremonies for years. people knew. Look, if you don't get married by age 65, people know something's up." --Hawthorne quoted in Newsday, April 28, 1999.


On preferring film work to stage work: "I just have reached the age where it's very, very exhausting doing stage work, especially if you're playing leading roles, which I'm inclined to do. There's eight performances a week to get through, and very often the stuff that I get is very emotional or very physical ... I haven't missed a performance in my life, ever, which I suppose is some sort of madness." --Hawthorne, to Mark Caro in The Chicago Tribune, May 23, 1999.