Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nicol Williamson 1938 - 2011

Some news from the BBC reporting that the Scottish born actor Nicol Williamson passed away last month.

Regarded by many as one of the finest actors of his generation, his varied and award-winning career encompassed both film and theatre, from the the powerful war drama, The Bofors Gun (1968) to the anti-apartheid thriller The Wilby Conspiracy (1975) and, both on stage and screen, title roles in Macbeth and Hamlet.

However, for genre fans, his most notable role was probably that of Merlin in John Boorman's Excalibur (1981) a mesmeric performance that gives the film its heart and soul as well as its primary focus. A bold retelling of the Arthurian myths, Excalibur remains one of the few examples of intelligent fantasy on screen, mixing its more fantastical elements with gritty realism and superb cinematography.

Other genre roles included Little John in Richard Lester's Robin and Marian (1976), Sherlock Holmes in The Seven Per Cent Solution (1976) Badger in Terry Jones' The Wind in the Willows (1996) and Father Morning in the much underrated Exorcist 3 (1989).

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