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Tom Courtenay

Tom Courtenay

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Also Known As: Sir Tom Courtenay, Thomas Daniel Courtenay Died:
Born: February 25, 1937 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Hull, Humberside, England, GB Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of British theater's most distinguished and hardest-working actors, Tom Courtenay rose from humble beginnings to garner awards and accolades in nearly every facet of his profession. After studying at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the late 1950s, Courtenay rose to fame amidst the British New Wave, deftly portraying classic angry young men in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" (1962) and "Billy Liar" (1963). Courtenay was poised for international stardom following his Oscar-nominated turn in the epic "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), but instead he made a casual withdrawal from film acting to concentrate on theater. The bold move proved fruitful, especially when he earned a Tony Award nomination for his first Broadway production, "Otherwise Engaged" (1977). But he made a triumphant return to film with perhaps the best performance of his career, playing the assistant to a tyrannical theater group manager in the acclaimed drama, "The Dresser" (1983), an Oscar-nominated performance he reprised from his 1981 Broadway turn. Courtenay spent the ensuing decades ably transitioning from stage to screen and back again, only to emerge with his first Emmy Award nomination for his performance in...

One of British theater's most distinguished and hardest-working actors, Tom Courtenay rose from humble beginnings to garner awards and accolades in nearly every facet of his profession. After studying at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the late 1950s, Courtenay rose to fame amidst the British New Wave, deftly portraying classic angry young men in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" (1962) and "Billy Liar" (1963). Courtenay was poised for international stardom following his Oscar-nominated turn in the epic "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), but instead he made a casual withdrawal from film acting to concentrate on theater. The bold move proved fruitful, especially when he earned a Tony Award nomination for his first Broadway production, "Otherwise Engaged" (1977). But he made a triumphant return to film with perhaps the best performance of his career, playing the assistant to a tyrannical theater group manager in the acclaimed drama, "The Dresser" (1983), an Oscar-nominated performance he reprised from his 1981 Broadway turn. Courtenay spent the ensuing decades ably transitioning from stage to screen and back again, only to emerge with his first Emmy Award nomination for his performance in "Little Dorrit" (PBS, 2009), which only cemented his status as one of Britain's most decorated performers.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Dad's Army (2015)
3.
4.
5.
 Nicholas Nickleby (2002) Newman Noggs
6.
 Last Orders (2001) Vic
7.
 Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? (1999) Harold Smith
8.
 Boy from Mercury, The (1996) Uncle Tony
9.
 Last Butterfly, The (1991) Antoine Moreau
10.
 Let Him Have It (1991) William Bentley
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1960:
Made debut in "The Seagull" at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland
1961:
Replaced Albert Finney in the West End production of "Billy Liar"
1962:
Made film debut in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"
1963:
Reprised the title role in John Schlesinger's feature version of "Billy Liar"; first screen pairing with Julie Christie
1964:
Portrayed a WWI deserter in Joseph Losey's "King and Country"
1965:
Played the revolutionary Pasha, husband of Lara (Julie Christie) in David Lean's "Doctor Zhivago"; earned Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination
1965:
Played a British WWII lieutenant in "King Rat"; film adapted from the James Clavell novel
1967:
Co-starred with Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif in "Night of the Generals"
1971:
Played the title role in "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"
1977:
Made Broadway debut in Simon Gray's "Otherwise Engaged"
1980:
Originated role of Norman in the London production of "The Dresser"
1981:
Reprised role for the Broadway production of "The Dresser"
1983:
Again portrayed Norman for Peter Yates' film version of "The Dresser"; earned Best Actor Oscar nomination
1985:
Played Daniel Quilp in the animated adaptation of Charles Dickens' "The Old Curiosity Shop"
1987:
Joined Bill Cosby for the lamentable "Leonard Part 6"
1987:
Played a jewelry store owner in "Happy New Year," a remake of Claude Lelouch's "La bonne annee" (1973)
1991:
Starred in Karel Kachyna's "The Last Butterfly" as the French mime coerced by the Nazis to perform for the children of Terezin
1991:
Played the father of Derek Bentley (Christopher Eccleston) in the film "Let Him Have It"
1995:
Acted on Broadway in "Uncle Vanya"
1995:
Reprised role of Daniel Quilp for the Disney miniseries version of "The Old Curiosity Shop"
1996:
Portrayed strange Uncle Tony in "The Boy From Mercury"
1996:
Co-starred with Albert Finney in "Art" on the London stage
1998:
Teamed with Albert Finney for the acclaimed BBC drama "A Rather English Marriage"
1999:
Acted in "Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?"
2002:
Headlined the one-man show "Pretending To Be Me," based on the letters and writings of poet Philip Larkin
2002:
Co-starred in the film "Nicholas Nickleby"
2007:
Appeared in the fantasy film "The Golden Compass"
2008:
Appeared in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Little Dorrit" as William Dorrit; earned an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Television Movie
2012:
Co-starred with Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, and Billy Connolly as retired opera singers in "Quartet"; film marked Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Kingston High School: -
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England -

Notes

Awarded a knighthood for his services to drama in the New Year's Honors list in December 2000.

"He is lean, light with a face that would do for the skull of Yorick. He can be quiet--dangerously quiet" --Caryl Brahms in Plays and Players reviewing Courtenay in "The Seagull" (1960).

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Cheryl Kennedy. Actor. Married on November 12, 1973; separated; met while co-starring in "Time and Time Again" (1971); divorced.
wife:
Isabel Courtenay. Former stage manager. Met when he appeared in "The Dresser" in 1980.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Thomas Henry Courtenay. Ship painter. Painter and cleaner of fishing trawlers.
mother:
Anne Eliza Courtenay.
sister:
Ann Courtenay.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Dear Tom, Letters From Home" Doubleday

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