Obituaries

Noel Greig

NOELGREIGA radical playwright and director at the cutting edge of gay theatre, he believed in the importance of young audiences and writers.

Philip Osment and Carole Woddis

As playwright, actor and director, Noël Greig, who has died aged 64 of cancer, believed that theatre has to have a context. There has to be a reason for putting on a play: the best work comes out of collaboration and the audience has to emerge – whether from a grand metropolitan auditorium or a room with a striplight – feeling in some way larger. That sense of context came from the people Noël related to as a teacher, mentor, animateur, artist and gay rights activist. Continue reading

Frank Middlemass

© Don McPhee

© Don McPhee

The acting persona of Frank Middlemass, who has died aged 87, epitomised everyone’s favourite uncle – avuncular, sometimes a little dotty, but essentially decent. With him around, you had the impression that humanity had not entirely given up on benevolence. It ensured him a place as one of our most popular character actors on radio, stage, television and film for more than half a century, as well as acting companion to some illustrious playing partners. He was Toby Belch to Vivien Leigh’s Viola in Twelfth Night for the Old Vic company which toured Australia, New Zealand and South America in 1961; on screen he appeared with Bette Davis in Madame Sin (1972) and alongside Ryan O’Neal in Barry Lyndon (1975), playing Sir Charles Lyndon. Continue reading

Rachel Kempson

Rachel Kempson

The actor Rachel Kempson – widow of Sir Michael Redgrave and mother of Vanessa, Corin and Lynn – has died aged 92. Known affectionately as “the matriarch to a dynasty” (a title she usually rejected), for many commentators the skills she brought to negotiating the often volatile strands of her family were quite as outstanding as her long and distinguished acting career. It was true, though, that her own abilities as an actor for stage, television, film and radio were often overshadowed by those of her husband and their illustrious brood. Continue reading

Margaret Tyzack

© Alastair Muir/Rex Features

© Alastair Muir/Rex Features

One of Britain’s most distinguished actors, known for her roles on stage and screen Margaret Tyzack, right, as Mrs St Maugham, with Penelope Wilton in The Chalk Garden at the Donmar in 2008.

Margaret Tyzack, who has died aged 79, was one of Britain’s greatest and most popular actors, working on stage, television and film for more than half a century. Continue reading