best known for his role as the scheming and determined Francis Urquart
in a series of television dramas, ‘House of Cards’, ‘To
Play the King’ and ‘The Final Cut’, Ian Richardson's
career was both diverse and rewarding. Similar to other countrymen
and great thespians, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson, although a
generation later, Ian Richardson has made more of an enduring career
in theatre and BBC television dramas than in films. This said in later
years he has gravitated toward the latter. His dignified countenance
and locutions have brought him frequent casting as men of education
was born on April 7 1934 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was educated at
Balgreen Primary School and then attended Tynecastle High School prior
to training at the College of Dramatic Arts in Glasgow. He said of his
parents were wonderful. My father had begun with McVitie's and Price
off the Gorgie Road at the age of 14 loading and unloading horse-drawn
vehicles and from there worked his way up to become a general manager.
He went off to war and my mother did rather well for us because she
kept poultry and was able to swap eggs for anything we needed'
first made a name for himself playing Hamlet at the Birmingham Repertory
Theatre in 1960 before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company where he
began a stint of several years appearing in a variety of roles. At the
RSC, he created the role of Jean Paul Marat in Marat/Sade, reprising
it for the much-heralded 1966 film version. Stage success in Stratford,
Ontario, and New York would soon follow.
appeared as Oberon in Peter Hall's well-liked 1968 rendition of A Midsummer
Night's Dream, then as Don John in the BBC Much Ado About Nothing in
1978. Much of his best work has been on TV, the silkiness of his delivery
equipping him equally for traitors like the mole who sells out in Tinker,
Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979) or, eponymous, Blunt (1985), or as a speaker
of Six Centuries of Verse (1984). His portrayal in the former role of
Bill Haydon in the adpation of John Le Carres novel was exquisite and
would reward a watching.
also starred in a TV version of the Hound of the Baskervilles (1983)
which was very enjoyable for his very believable rendition of the reoccurring
gypsy.Richardson began gaining more worldwide recognition with his role
as an officious bureaucrat in the dystopian universe of Terry Gilliam's
Brazil (1985). For the rest of the 1980's there were a variety of character
roles in both films and TV.
also appeared in such films as Cry Freedom and The Fourth Protocol (both
1987), and eventually shifting over to Hollywood. He has been sparing
with screen work, making his debut in The Marat/Sade ... (1966), reprising
his stage role; a sharper than usual Polonius in Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern Are Dead (1990). He put a twist on his Shakespearean experience
by appearing as Polonius in the 1990 film version of Tom Stoppard's
'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead'.