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Roy Dotrice, 94, UK stage actor; father of Karen Dotrice (Mary Poppins)
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That Derek
2017-10-16 15:19:54 UTC
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https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/oct/16/roy-dotrice-obituary

Theatre

Roy Dotrice obituary
Roy Dotrice, who has died aged 94
Veteran actor best known for playing John Aubrey in Brief Lives, Fagin in the stage version of Oliver! and a late role in Game of Thrones


Michael Coveney

Monday 16 October 2017 08.38 EDT Last modified on Monday 16 October 2017 09.32 EDT

As leading character actors go, , was among the finest of his generation, not least because of his record-breaking run of performances in the 1960s as the 17th-century gossipmonger and diarist John Aubrey in Brief Lives. This solo show was devised by Patrick Garland after the director had seen Dotrice’s brilliant study in decrepitude as Justice Shallow in the Henry IV, Part II in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1964 Wars of the Roses history play cycle.

He opened in Brief Lives at the Hampstead Theatre Club in 1967, moving to Broadway and back to London in 1969 to the Criterion theatre, where he played 400 shows; then on to the May Fair, another Broadway season and a world tour. In all, he notched up 1,782 performances and claimed a place in the Guinness Book of Records. His gibbering, miraculously observed portrait of the reclusive, randomly vivacious and lovable antiquarian – Garland had compiled the text from Aubrey’s memories, miscellanies, letters and jottings – had fully occupied nine years of his life and he celebrated his release by leaping into Fagin’s rags in a 1979 revival of Oliver! at the Albery, with little need to alter his costume or makeup. He was an old man for life

The role of Aubrey defined his career, with the double-edged consequence of typecasting in Britain, so he reinvented himself in Los Angeles, becoming almost a household name in the US on various American sitcom and drama series, performing further solo stage shows as Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill and the entertainer Will Rogers, and winning a Tony on Broadway as the paternalistic Irish farmer Phil Hogan in Daniel Sullivan’s superb revival in 2000 of Eugene O’Neill’s Moon for the Misbegotten, co-starring Cherry Jones and Gabriel Byrne. His flame flickered only intermittently on home soil, and a British touring revival of Brief Lives in 2008 did not reach the West End.

Dotrice was born in Guernsey in the Channel Islands, son of Louis Dotrice, a master baker, and his wife, Neva (nee Wilton). He was educated at the island’s Dayton and Intermediate schools and, when the Germans occupied Guernsey in 1940, he escaped in a small motorboat with his friends, mother and brother to the south coast of England. He was consigned to a workhouse in Manchester before signing up, aged 16, with the RAF as a wireless operator and air gunner. One year later he was shot down over enemy lines and spent the rest of the second world war in German PoW camps.

While interned he became absorbed in theatre, saying he was roped in to play female roles – first, as a fairy godmother in pantomime – because “I was the youngest and prettiest”. He discovered when liberated in 1945 that he had accumulated both status – he was now an officer – and pay packets; he spent the lot in six months of parties and short stays at the Savoy hotel. He performed with fellow ex-PoWs in a touring revue, Back Home, in aid of the Red Cross, trained briefly at Rada, and took his first leading role – on £4 a week – in Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path at the Stockport Hippodrome.

Over the next eight years, from 1947, he played hundreds of leading roles and directed in rep at Liverpool, Oldham and Manchester, forming the Guernsey Rep in 1955, where he acted and directed for two years before joining the Shakespeare Memorial theatre company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1957. He was made a contract player, appearing as Egeus in The Comedy of Errors and the Duke of Burgundy in the King Lear of Charles Laughton; the 1959 company also included Laurence Olivier (as Coriolanus), Albert Finney, Peggy Ashcroft and Paul Robeson (as Othello) and was renamed the RSC by Peter Hall in 1960.

Like Diana Rigg and Ian Holm, he was part of the Stratford continuity, and at the RSC’s new London home at the Aldwych in 1961 he played in John Whiting’s The Devils and as the senile family retainer Firs in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. Back at Stratford in 1963 he was Caliban in The Tempest, Julius Caesar, and Edward IV in the Wars of the Roses, adding the Olivier double-act of Hotspur and Shallow in 1964.

His first major movie role was in The Heroes of Telemark (1965) with Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, but he never matched his theatrical pre-eminence on celluloid, though he made a mark in Lock Up Your Daughters (1969) with Christopher Plummer, Glynis Johns and Susannah York, Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), and as Mozart’s father, Leopold, in Miloš Forman’s Amadeus (1984). In the 70s he oscillated between Chichester and Australia, appearing in the title role of Peer Gynt in Sussex, and touring Australia in Move Over, Mrs Markham and Bernard Shaw’s The Apple Cart.

While living and working mostly in the US, he kept his flat in St Martin’s Lane, next door to the Duke of York’s theatre, so that he and his wife Kay Newman, whom he had met and married in rep in 1947, could visit their family. But his returns to the London stage were insignificant; he played the elegantly sinister husband of Nyree Dawn Porter’s unhinged art dealer in a low-grade thriller, Murder in Mind, at the Strand in 1982, and Magwitch in a mediocre four-hour Great Expectations at the Old Vic in 1985.

Meanwhile, in the US, he won an Emmy for a televised performance of Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker and critical plaudits for his Washington and New York stage appearances in Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Noël Coward’s Hay Fever (opposite Rosemary Harris) and The Woman in Black. In 2006 he returned first to Chichester as the Starkeeper in Angus Jackson’s revival of Carousel and then to Hampstead theatre as Shaw himself in a revival of Hugh Whitemore’s Best of Friends, with Patricia Routledge and Michael Pennington. He made his last British appearance in 2009 as the retired army general running a ski resort in Vermont, in White Christmas at the Lowry in Salford; he gave, said the British Theatre Guide, “a lovely, tender performance”.

Through his American television work he was well known to the producers of Game of Thrones, eventually appearing as Pyromancer Hallyne in the second series in 2012. Before then, unavailable in physical presence because of illness, he “voiced” 224 characters in the audio book of the series, and won another name-check in the Guinness Book of Records.

He loved baseball, fishing and soccer, was a stalwart member of the Garrick Club and was appointed OBE in 2008.

Kay died in 2007. He is survived by their daughters, Karen, Michele and Yvette, who are all actors, and seven grandchildren.

• Roy Dotrice, actor, born 26 May 1923; died 16 October 2017





Veteran actor best known for playing John Aubrey in Brief Lives, Fagin in the stage version of Oliver! and a late role in Game of Thrones
Rick B.
2017-10-16 18:17:11 UTC
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Post by That Derek
Roy Dotrice obituary
Roy Dotrice, who has died aged 94
Veteran actor best known for playing John Aubrey in Brief Lives, Fagin
in the stage version of Oliver! and a late role in Game of Thrones
The instant ping for this brain was his role as Father on TV's Beauty and
the Beast, which wasn't even mentioned in the obit.

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Diner
2017-10-16 18:27:01 UTC
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Post by Rick B.
Post by That Derek
Roy Dotrice obituary
Roy Dotrice, who has died aged 94
Veteran actor best known for playing John Aubrey in Brief Lives, Fagin
in the stage version of Oliver! and a late role in Game of Thrones
The instant ping for this brain was his role as Father on TV's Beauty and
the Beast, which wasn't even mentioned in the obit.
Yes, probably his best-known role in America. Odd that it was left out; I wonder if it was aired in Britain.

I also remember him from his recurring role as the town priest on "Picket Fences." The episode where his character was discovered to have a secret shoe fetish was a very good showcase for him.
c***@aol.com
2017-10-16 18:59:19 UTC
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I think I saw every episode of Beauty and the Beast and don’t remember him in it at all.
A Friend
2017-10-16 20:06:46 UTC
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Post by c***@aol.com
I think I saw every episode of Beauty and the Beast and don’t remember him in it at all.
He was in it every week. He played the leader of the underground
people.
c***@aol.com
2017-10-16 20:25:28 UTC
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Are you talking about the recent popular 4 season long running hit or some older less popular show?
David Samuel Barr
2017-10-17 00:16:43 UTC
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Post by c***@aol.com
Are you talking about the recent popular 4 season long running hit or some older less popular show?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092319/
Far better and more popular in its time
than the already-forgotten recent CW
effort which was initially intended to
be a "reboot" of this earlier one (whose
creator also was behind the later show)
but went off in a different direction
early on.
Michael OConnor
2017-10-17 01:02:11 UTC
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Post by David Samuel Barr
Post by c***@aol.com
Are you talking about the recent popular 4 season long running hit or some older less popular show?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092319/
Far better and more popular in its time
than the already-forgotten recent CW
effort which was initially intended to
be a "reboot" of this earlier one (whose
creator also was behind the later show)
but went off in a different direction
early on.
It was a good series, great atmosphere, and the story was interesting:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092319/?ref_=nv_sr_6

It was one of those that didn't quite last long enough to get into general syndication.
c***@aol.com
2017-10-17 01:02:49 UTC
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More episodes, on longer. Give me a break. I never heard of the 30 year old show. Had to look it up.
RH Draney
2017-10-17 02:18:46 UTC
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Post by c***@aol.com
More episodes, on longer. Give me a break. I never heard of the 30 year old show. Had to look it up.
Even though it starred Sarah Connor and Hellboy, and had a song
co-written by Melanie?...r
c***@aol.com
2017-10-17 03:02:39 UTC
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Never heard of those people.

Sad fanboys of 30 year old shite.
e***@aol.com
2017-10-17 04:15:06 UTC
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Post by c***@aol.com
Never heard of those people.
Sad fanboys of 30 year old shite.
Thanks for clarifying your perspective.
A Friend
2017-10-17 11:57:20 UTC
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Post by e***@aol.com
Post by c***@aol.com
Never heard of those people.
Sad fanboys of 30 year old shite.
Thanks for clarifying your perspective.
I'd given this creature a civil answer, since it seemed confused. I
won't make that mistake again.
RH Draney
2017-10-17 12:08:52 UTC
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Post by A Friend
Post by e***@aol.com
Post by c***@aol.com
Never heard of those people.
Sad fanboys of 30 year old shite.
Well, in another eighteen years you'll be 30 years old too, and then
we'll see how you feel....
Post by A Friend
Post by e***@aol.com
Thanks for clarifying your perspective.
I'd given this creature a civil answer, since it seemed confused. I
won't make that mistake again.
I take it you're new here....r
c***@aol.com
2017-10-17 14:15:00 UTC
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I just like to point out the silliness of fanboys who think THEIR fanboy show is the most important thing in a person’s career.
As the dozens of obits have shown your fanboy show was a blip as it was barely mentioned it at all

He was far better known for more significant work.

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