skip navigation
Richard Briers

Richard Briers

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Hamlet: Special Edition (1996)... Kenneth Branagh's 1996 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's most famous... more info $26.98was $26.98 Buy Now

The Norman Conquests DVD This 3-disc set of hilarious British plays that originally aired on PBS once... more info $59.99was $59.99 Buy Now

Hamlet Blu-ray MORE > $59.99 Regularly $59.99 Buy Now blu-ray

A Midwinter's Tale DVD MORE > $19.99 Regularly $19.99 Buy Now blu-ray



Also Known As: Died: February 17, 2013
Born: January 14, 1934 Cause of Death: Emphysema
Birth Place: Surrey, England, GB Profession: actor, comedian, clerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This British character actor has had a long career in TV, but has enjoyed a late-career renaissance thanks to director-actor Kenneth Branagh, who has cast him in six features and one short since "Henry V" in 1989. Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Briers made his London debut in 1959 in "Gilt and Gingerbread". For the next 30 years, he alternated his TV and film work with such plays as "Present Laughter" (1965), "The Real Inspector Hound" (1968), "Butley" (1972), "Run for Your Wife" (1983), "Twelfth Night" (1987-88) and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (as Bottom, 1990). But it was as a TV comic that Briers won his greatest fame in England, appearing in the popular shows "The Good Life" (BBC, 1975, shown in the US as "Good Neighbors"), "Ever Decreasing Circles" (BBC-1, 1989), Rowan Atkinson's "Mr. Bean" (ITV, 1990) and "Marriage Lines". He also appeared in the playwright Alan Ayckbourn's "The Norman Conquests" (PBS, 1978) and "Just Between Ourselves". Briers' big screen career began with the British features "Bottoms Up" (1960), "Murder She Said" (1961), "The Girl on the Boat" and "A Matter of Who" (both 1962) and the multi-national "The VIPs" (1963). He appeared in Raquel Welch's spy spoof...

This British character actor has had a long career in TV, but has enjoyed a late-career renaissance thanks to director-actor Kenneth Branagh, who has cast him in six features and one short since "Henry V" in 1989. Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Briers made his London debut in 1959 in "Gilt and Gingerbread". For the next 30 years, he alternated his TV and film work with such plays as "Present Laughter" (1965), "The Real Inspector Hound" (1968), "Butley" (1972), "Run for Your Wife" (1983), "Twelfth Night" (1987-88) and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (as Bottom, 1990).

But it was as a TV comic that Briers won his greatest fame in England, appearing in the popular shows "The Good Life" (BBC, 1975, shown in the US as "Good Neighbors"), "Ever Decreasing Circles" (BBC-1, 1989), Rowan Atkinson's "Mr. Bean" (ITV, 1990) and "Marriage Lines". He also appeared in the playwright Alan Ayckbourn's "The Norman Conquests" (PBS, 1978) and "Just Between Ourselves".

Briers' big screen career began with the British features "Bottoms Up" (1960), "Murder She Said" (1961), "The Girl on the Boat" and "A Matter of Who" (both 1962) and the multi-national "The VIPs" (1963). He appeared in Raquel Welch's spy spoof "Fathom" (1967), the comedy "All the Way Up" (1970) and did a voice-over for the animated "Watership Down" (1978). But he was largely unknown in the US until he began appearing in Kenneth Branagh's films.

Briers met Branagh when Briers joined the Renaissance Theatre Company and began taking on more classical roles, including King Lear and Uncle Vanya. On film, Branagh cast the actor--who still thought of himself as a sitcom clown--as Bardolph in "Henry V" (1989), Stephen Fry's father in the comedy "Peter's Friends" (1992), Don Leonato in "Much Ado About Nothing" (1993), the blind grandfather in the controversial "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (1994) and as a cranky old trouper in "A Midwinter's Tale" (1996). Sticking with Branagh, Briers next filmed the role of Polonius in "Hamlet" (1996).

Briers, who is married to actress Ann Davies, has done some recent work sans Branagh, including the comedy "A Chorus of Disapproval" (1989), the harrowing period drama "Skallagrigg" (1994) and the P G Wodehouse comedy "Heavy Weather" (PBS, 1996), with Peter O'Toole and Judy Parfitt.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Peter Pan (2003) Smee
3.
 Love's Labour's Lost (2000) Nathaniel
4.
 Spice World (1997) Bishop
5.
 Hamlet (1996) Polonius
6.
 Midwinter's Tale, A (1995) Henry Wakefield
7.
 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) Grandfather
8.
 Skallagrigg (1994) George; Old Arthur
9.
 Much Ado About Nothing (1993) Leonato--Governor Of Messina
10.
 Swan Song (1992)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1956:
Worked with Liverpool Rep Company
1958:
Made West End acting debut
1961:
Starred on BBC comedy "Marriage Lines"
1962:
Appeared on British series "Brothers in Law" (BBC)
1971:
Headlined comedy series "Birds on the Wing" (BBC)
1975:
Co-starred on sitcom "The Good Life/Good Neighbors" (BBC)
1977:
With Michael Gambon, starred on BBC comedy series "The Other One"
1978:
Provided character voice of Fiver in animated feature "Watership Down"
1982:
Starred as title character on "Goodbye, Mr. Kent" (BBC)
1984:
Appeared in recurring role on BBC comedy series "Ever Decreasing Circles"
1985:
Played lead on ITV comedy series "All in Good Faith"
1987:
Joined Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company; appeared in "Twelfth Night" and "Coriolanus," and played title roles of "King Lear" and "Uncle Vanya"
1989:
First film collaboration with Branagh, "Henry V"
1989:
Awarded OBE by Queen Elizabeth II
1992:
Landed small role in Branagh's "Peter's Friends"
1993:
Co-starred on BBC comedy series "If You See God, Tell Him"
1995:
Starred opposite Judy Parfitt in "Heavy Weather" (BBC)
1996:
Appeared in two films directed by Branagh, "A Midwinter's Tale" and "Hamlet" (as Polonius)
1998:
Played opposite Geraldine McEwan in Broadway production "The Chairs"
1999:
Provided character voice of Captain Broom for animated series based on "Watership Down" (ITV)
2000:
Reteamed with Branagh for "Love's Labour's Lost"
2000:
Starred on BBC comedy-drama series "Monarch of the Glen"
2002:
Starred opposite June Whitfield in London stage revival of "Bedroom Farce"
2003:
Cast as Smee in P.J. Hogan's live-action adaptation of "Peter Pan"
2006:
Played Adam in Kenneth Branagh's adaptation "As You Like It"
2008:
Guest starred on BBC sci-fi drama "Torchwood"
2011:
Narrated war drama "The Only One Who Knows You're Afraid"
2012:
Made final film appearances in British comedies "Run for Your Wife" and " Cockneys vs. Zombies"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England -

Notes

"Ken offered me Malvolio in his production of 'Twelfth Night' at the very time I had decided to expand my career when I realized I had gone as far as I could doing sitcoms. As soon as I worked with him, I thought he was truly exceptional." --Richard Briers quoted in "A Midwinter's Tale" press material

"Rather than me going off and becoming a doddering small-part character actor, Branagh for the last 10 years has completely changed my whole life. So now I'm a respected character actor." --Briers to The Daily Telegraph, January 17, 2000

"As soon as Ken cast me in the straight stuff my income dropped. Job satisfaction 100 per cent; income 40 per cent." --Richard Briers quoted in London's Evening Standard, February 23, 2000

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Anne Davies. Actor. Married c. 1956.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Joseph Benjamin Briers.
mother:
Morna Phyllis Briers.
daughter:
Kate Briers.
daughter:
Lucy Briers. Actor. Born c. 1967.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute