One of British theater's most distinguished and hardest-working actors, Tom Courtenay rose from humble beginnings to garner awards and accolades in nearly every facet of his profession. After studying at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the late 1950s, Courtenay rose to fame amidst the British New Wave, deftly portraying classic angry young men in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" (1962) and "Billy Liar" (1963). Courtenay was poised for international stardom following his Oscar-nominated turn in the epic "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), but instead he made a casual withdrawal from film acting to concentrate on theater. The bold move proved fruitful, especially when he earned a Tony Award nomination for his first Broadway production, "Otherwise Engaged" (1977). But he made a triumphant return to film with perhaps the best performance of his career, playing the assistant to a tyrannical theater group manager in the acclaimed drama, "The Dresser" (1983), an Oscar-nominated performance he reprised from his 1981 Broadway turn. Courtenay spent the ensuing decades ably transitioning from stage to screen and back again, only to emerge with his first Emmy Award nomination for his performance in "Little Dorrit" (PBS, 2009), which only cemented his status as one of Britain's most decorated performers.