Obituary: David Warner, acclaimed stage actor of the 1960s who played wildly diverse characters on the big screen

David Warner, the actor who has died aged 80, was one of the widely acclaimed discoveries of the Royal Shakespeare Company under Peter Hall in the 1960s.

All in all, lean, hooligan, long-faced, he won one of Shakespeare’s least-known roles for the first time, Henry VIWhich he brought to life in the Quaternary circle of RSC, war of the RosesAnd again with a “contemporary” interpretation small village,

But within a decade of the glory he had achieved in his early 20s, Warner was increasingly drawn to cinema.

Hall considered Warner “potentially one of the greatest stage actors” who has “that authentic quality that makes you hang on to his every word, understands his every thought, notes his simplest gesture”. .

He found ready employment in front of cameras, accumulating over 200 credits. Success may have been sporadic, but he was appreciated in neurotic-comedian roles, such as the failed cast of Karel Reese. Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966); Trusty Bombardier in Jack Gold bofors gun (1968), and Crazy Cultivator of Psychedelic Mushrooms in Hollows work is a four letter word That same year.

He also played the role of the domineering banker Torvald Helmer. a doll house (1973), and Alain Resnais had satisfying moments as an astrophysicist frugality (1977), as well as in three of Sam Peckinpah’s films, The Ballad of Cable Hogs, Straw Dogs And iron cross,

David Hattersley Warner was born in Manchester on July 29, 1941, the son of Herbert, a Russian Jew who owned a nursing home, and Ada Hattersley. He was born out of wedlock and initially separated between parents, eventually settling with his father and stepmother.

He attended several schools and after working as a bookseller and newspaper salesman, he trained here

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where his contemporaries included John Hurt and Ian McShane.

After small parts in plays including much Ado About Nothing In Coventry, he appeared in David Rudkin’s play about Black Country fruit-pickers, before the night comes, In the experimental London season of RSC, then joined the company.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

As the 1960s progressed, Warner turned to film work, and after 1973, when he caused stage fright during an unfortunate run. I, ClaudiusHe spent most of the time on the screen.

“He just disappeared from view,” Peter Hall recalled. “And the next thing we knew he was in Hollywood, working in movies.”

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He made his speaking debut in Tony Richardson’s film tom jones (1963), while on the small screen he appeared with Bob Dylan in the BBC drama Madhouse on Castle Street,

Three years later came the role that established his reputation for playing slightly uncharacteristic characters as artist Morgan Delt. Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment, He also developed an interest in playing villains in films, such as twenty nine steps (1978); time bandits (1981), in which he was a hater aptly named Evil; and one of the first films to rely heavily on CGI, tron (1982).

In Prognostic (1976) It was Keith Jennings, the hapless journalist who is eventually beheaded by a sheet of glass. In 1987 he moved to Los Angeles, where he lived for 15 years.

His parts varied wildly during that time. They . played the role of a professor in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle II: The Secret of the OZ (1991), while in 1997 he was James Cameron’s Spicer Lovejoy, Billy Jane’s servant. titanic,

In 2001 he made a much-hyped return to the stage as Andrew Undershaft in the Broadway revival of George Bernard Shaw. Major BarbaraThen four years later Shakespeare came back on stage, like King Lear At the Chichester Festival Theatre.

David Warner married and divorced twice to Harriet Lindgren (1969–72) and Sheila Kent (1981–2002). He is survived by his partner, actress Lisa Bowerman, and a daughter and son from his second marriage.

(© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]