years later, he won a British Academy Award for his role in David Lean's
‘Breaking the Sound Barrier’, about the early days of jet
flight. In 1962, Richardson won Cannes Best Actor Award for his depiction
of James Tyrone, the head of a dysfunctional family in playwright Eugene
O'Neill's ‘Long Day's Journey Into Night’. Other notables
were Richard III (1955), Our Man in Havana (1960), Long Day's Journey
into Night (1962), and Doctor Zhivago (1965).
I think he is also the only actor to be nominated for three British
Academy Awards in the same same, in the same category ‘Best Actor’
and lose all three! These were for Doctor Zhivago (1965), for: Khartoum
(1966) and The Wrong Box (1966). His final film appearance was as the
sixth Earl of Greystoke in the 1983 movie Greystoke - The Legend of
Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, for which he was again nominated for an Academy
He was enigmatic to say the least and one of my favourite stories about
this character was that one night he was found by police walking very
slowly along the gutter of an Oxford street, he explained he was taking
his pet mouse for a stroll. Richardson projected a personality unique
in the British theatre, one that was charming and refined, but also
mischievous and capable of hinting at sinister or tragic depths in the
characters he played. To be fair he never made the screen breakthrough
that Lord Olivier managed – although one wonders if he really
cared. The stage was very much his arena and as such he will be remembered
as one of the finest stage actors of the 20th century.
Well into his seventies, he continued to enthrall audiences with his
extraordinary acting skills. He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre
Special Award in 1982 for his lifetime achievement in the theatre. Even
then the very sick Sir Ralph remained the gentleman he had always been,
even apologising to the nursing staff caring for him in case he was
being a nuisance. He died of a stroke on the 10th October 1983.
is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing.
the punctuation is absolutely strict, the bars and rests are absolutely
defined. But our punctuation cannot be quite strict, because we have
to relate it to the audience. In other words we are continually changing
precious things in speech are pauses.
Suggested films to see:
The Sound Barrier (1952)