Friday, August 4, 2017

Robert Hardy, 1925-2017

Robert Hardy died yesterday. You may or may not recognize the name but you have seen him. He was an actor whose work spanned a couple of generations. I particularly liked a series in which he played Winston Churchill. From the BBC Obituary:
Timothy Sydney Robert Hardy was born in Cheltenham on 29 October 1925. The youngest of a large family, he was a self-professed "odd child".

His father was the headmaster of Cheltenham College and Hardy himself went to Rugby School before going up to Magdalen College, Oxford to read English. ....

Hardy returned to Oxford after his war service and gained a BA (Hons) in English as well as having enjoyed the opportunity to study under two of Oxford's most eminent names, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.

He had always been fascinated by Hollywood films and had determined to become an actor, joining the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1949. ....

In 1978, Hardy took the part of the irascible but good-natured Siegfried Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small, the long-running BBC series based on James Herriot's best-selling books.

As the senior vet of the small Yorkshire Dales practice, Robert Hardy became one of the best-known faces on British television.

Full of animals, nostalgia and rural scenery, the show became a massive hit, attracting audiences of up to 20 million. ....

...Robert Hardy's own volatility and ability to express his wrath were channeled most successfully into his many portrayals of Britain's most revered premier.

He played Winston Churchill many times, even once in French on stage in Paris, but most memorably in the 1981 mini-series The Wilderness Years. ....

Although he failed to make the lasting impact on Hollywood enjoyed by some British actors, his face became known the world over when he appeared as the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, in several of the Harry Potter films. ....
Episode 8 (the final episode) of The Wilderness Years:



More from the series, via PowerLine, Hardy doing speeches Churchill delivered in the House of Commons: