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March 31 2013


Richard Griffiths: 'I've always hated the way I look' | Stage | The Observer

… ‘That’s not girth,’ he says. ‘That’s a para-umbilical hernia. I don’t like it. Here are two pretty boys [he points to Stott and Hurt]. He’s pretty, and he’s pretty. I’m not. I’m ugly.’

‘But this is how you are,’ I say. ‘It’s great.’

‘It’s a vanity thing. I’m vain enough not to want to appear in stills.’ He quotes an old Jewish proverb: everybody hates the way they look, but no one complains about their brains. ‘And that’s true. I’ve always hated the way I looked, and I’ve never complained about my brains.’

At 58, Griffiths’ brain appears to contain more synapses than most. A question will seldom elicit a simple answer, but spark a vast amount of detours and studious explanations. I asked about his childhood and his straight answer was accompanied by detailed descriptions of the double-shifts a neighbour had to work to pay for his planned emigration to Australia. And it was a delight to hear it, because his love of language and accents and the bigness of life is such that almost every sentence is a performance. It was a constant battle to rein this in, but it made it easy to ask him about the one part in which his loquacity secured his reputation as one of Britain’s great character actors.

Despite his contributions to many fine pieces of work, including, most recently, Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, it is still very difficult for those who have seen Withnail & I to see Richard Griffiths as anyone but Uncle Monty, the lascivious homosexual aesthete who desires to have his way in an isolated farmhouse with a young actor played by Paul McGann. ‘That was almost 20 years ago,’ he says, delighted and distressed. The photographer, Richard Saker, had asked him to preface an autograph with the line ‘As a youth I used to weep in butchers’ shops’, one of the many absurd phrases in Bruce Robinson’s screenplay that have become as familiar to fans of the film as their own address….

March 30 2013

9391 6db5 500

Oh, my boys. My boys, we’re at the end of an age.

We live in a land of weather forecasts and breakfasts that ‘set in,’ shat on by Tories, shoveled up by Labour.

And here we are, we three, perhaps the last island of beauty in the world.

Now, which of you is going to be a splendid fellow and go down to the Rolls for the rest of the wine?

  Via Richard Griffiths – a life in pictures

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… Richard E Grant, who played the title role in Withnail & I, paid tribute to his late co-star on Twitter. He wrote: “My beloved ‘Uncle Monty’ Richard Griffiths died last night. Chin-Chin my dear friend.”

Griffiths was feted for his roles as Withnail’s eccentric Uncle Monty in the cult classic and Hector, the unconventional teacher in Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys, for which he won the Laurence Olivier Award for best actor, the Drama Desk Award for outstanding actor in a play, the Outer Critics Circle Award for best featured actor in a play, and a Tony Award for best performance by a leading actor in a play.

He gained widespread fame as grumpy Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films and was much loved as disillusioned police officer and pie chef, Inspector Henry Crabbe, in the successful TV detective drama series Pie In The Sky.

Sir Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, said Griffiths’ “army of friends” would be devastated by his unexpected death. “Richard Griffiths wasn’t only one of the most loved and recognisable British actors – he was also one of the very greatest,” he said.

“His performance in The History Boys was quite overwhelming: a masterpiece of wit, delicacy, mischief and desolation, often simultaneously. But that was just one small part of a career that spanned Shakespeare, cutting-edge new plays and major work in film and television.” …

Richard Griffiths, uncle to Withnail and Harry Potter, dies aged 65

Reposted bysiriusminerva siriusminerva
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