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Paul Rhys

Paul Rhys

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: December 19, 1963 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: Cast ... actor
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BIOGRAPHY

This tall, attractive, reed-thin actor with expressive eyes is perhaps best remembered as Theo, older brother of artist Vincent Van Gogh in Robert Altman's "Vincent & Theo" (1990).

Rhys was still attending the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London when he was cast as the stylish Dean Swift, a "sharp modern jazz creation" in Julien Temple's "Absolute Beginners" (1986). Small roles as the Mayor of Underground City in Franklin J Schaffner's medieval epic "Lion Heart" (1987) and a 'Bright Young Gentleman' in Christine Edzard's adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Little Dorrit" (1988) followed before Altman cast him as Theo Van Gogh. While it seemed to echo Vincente Minnelli's biopic "Lust for Life" (1956), the focus of "Vincent and Theo" was on the siblings' relationship. Originally shot as a miniseries for European TV, the edited version opened to critical praise, particularly for the leads (Rhys and Tim Roth). Many critics heaped praise on Rhys' interpretation of a twitchy, somewhat bloodless character, especially his use of nervous tics, darting glances and abrupt explosions of anger or laughter. One would have expected a major career for the actor who projects a magnetic onscreen presence.

While he has continued to work, mostly in period dramas, Rhys has had only a few leading roles since 1990. "Rebecca's Daughters" (1992), based on an unproduced comic screenplay by Dylan Thomas, was a reworking of "The Scarlet Pimpernel", with Rhys as a cross-dressing Welsh landowner fighting English tax collectors. In a rare contemporary role, Rhys portrayed a married Welsh photographer carrying on an affair with a bored woman (Laura San Giacomo) in "Nina Takes a Lover" (1994). He also won praise for his supporting turn as Sydney Chaplin in Richard Attenborough's earnest, though overlong biopic "Chaplin" (1992).

Rhys has worked on stage in England and in Scotland and has had several strong roles in British TV shows, several of which have been aired in the US, notably "102 Boulevard Haussmann" (A&E, 1991), an Alan Bennett-scripted drama based on the life of Marcel Proust (played by Alan Bates), and the multi-part "Gallowglass" (PBS, 1995), in which Rhys played a manipulative schemer who uses a former mental patient in his plan to kidnap his lover, a wealthy heiress.

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