Born 29 April 1945, in Meopham, Gravesham Borough, Kent, England, UK
Died 16 December 1997, in St John’s Wood, London, England, UK (age 52)
Birth Name Richard Carey Winter
Height 5′ 10″ (1,78 m)
Last update: Tuesday 21 March 2018.
|1945||Richard Warwick was born Richard Carey Winter on 29 April 1945 in Meopham, Gravesham Borough, Kent, England, UK. He was the third of four boys. His father was an aeronautical engineer.|
|About 1951?||He was a student at the Dean Close School, in Cheltenham. One of Richard’s classmates, Bill J., wrote to me an email on the 1st December 2014: “I went to school with Richard, I suppose you could say we were ‘best friends’ until we were about 13. Although I lost touch with him pretty soon after we left school I always followed his career. He was known as ‘Rick’ Winter in those days. His family lived at Tirley nr Tewkesbury which was why he was so suited to play John Moore in ‘Brensham People’ which is based on Tewkesbury.”|
|About 1963?||He trained at RADA and graduated in 1966. About those years, Richard has told in one interview to Fabulous 208 (25 January 1969): “I loathed my first year here. Life consisted of the journey from my bedsitting room to the front door of RADA. I was very shy, terrified. But, eventually I made lots of friends and I had an absolute ball.”
Interviewed again by Fabulous 208 two years later, he told: “Originally I wanted to be a singer – in fact, I’m still more interested in singing, really, and I started acting as a means to an end. I went to RADA, after reading all about it. I thought I would enjoy the life, and in our year we were very lucky – we had a ball. In my year there was Christian Roberts, with whom I’m still close friends, Angela Scoular and Eric Wolfe, all of whom have done pretty well in their careers. When I started at RADA I was scared – one is so ignorant of anything to do with acting, so you have to trust the people who are there to teach you. Mind you, I don’t think good actors are made – the main thing RADA really taught me was that you’ve got to be true, don’t kid yourself about anything.”
|As Richard Warwick, joined the National Theatre under Lawrence Olivier, where he got his first stage roles. He had to change his second name in Warwick to avoid confusion with another Richard Winter on the books of Equity (the actors’ trade union).|
|1965||From 20th October 1965 to an unknown date of 1966, Richard played four different roles in the play “Love for love” by William Congreve: Blackamoor, servant to Sir Sampson / Sailor / Woman / Servant at the Old Vic, in a National Theatre Production. The director was Peter Wood.|
|1966||From 18 October 1966 to 14 April 1967 Richard played Townsfolk / Servant / Soldier in “The Storm” by Aleksandr Ostrovsky, adapted by Doris Lessing, director: John Dexter, at the Old Vic in London, in a National Theatre Production.|
|1967||From 21 February 1967 to 25 July 1969 Richard played one Sentry in “The Dance Of Death” by August Strindberg, translated by C. D. Locock, production by: Glen Byam Shaw, Old Vic in London – Theatre Royal in Brighton, in a National Theatre Production, in association with the Brighton Festival Society – First production. In the cast there were such actors as Laurence Olivier, Geraldine McEwan and Anthony Hopkins.
In the same year, he got his first TV role in “ITV Playhouse – I Love You Miss Patterson” by John Bowen, where he played Peter Baxter.
|1968||Richard, who turned 22, met the actor and director Keith Baxter and they were together for some years until they broke up, but remained close friends. He was a big part of his life until he died. All his friends adored him and Baxter still has a large photograph of him when he was 23 above his desk.
On 19 January 1968 “Half Hour Story – The Casting Session” by Stanley Mann was aired for the first time in UK. Richard played Mike Hamilton, his co-star was Jane Asher. The director was Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
In 1968 Richard got his first role on big screen: he played Gregory in “Romeo and Juliet” by Franco Zeffirelli, which had its London Premiere on 4 March 1968. It was filmed in several locations in Central Italy, strangely never in Verona, and it’s perhaps the most famous screen version of that Shakespeare’s tragedy. Richard played the opening scene where the first scuffle between Capulets and Montagues happens, and appeared briefly in the dancing scene, where he distributed the bells to the masked dancers. But that was enough to him to be noticed by the director Lindsay Anderson, who later in year chose him for his most memorable role in the Sixties’ most memorable film.
On 18 April 1968 ITV aired the episode “Armchair Theatre – Recount”, where Richard played Terry.
Warwick got another TV role in “ITV Playhouse – Your Name’s Not God, It’s Edgar” first aired 9 December 1968 in UK: he played Trevor. Yootha Joyce was in the cast. One reviewer on IMDb.com wrote: “Lovely performance from Richard Warwick as Trevor life this drama above the run of the mill. It provides both a snapshot of a life gone by and looks to the future, as well as making us smile at a likable central character.”
Meanwhile, Richard had filmed the movie of a generation, “If…” by Lindsay Anderson, where he played Wallace, one of the Crusaders. The film had its London Premiere on 19 December 1968. There are many curious and funny anecdotes about the filming of this movie. The three actors who played the Crusaders, Malcolm McDowell, David Wood and Richard Warwick, were suggested to stay on their own to make their interaction with the other actors more believable, and they developed a friendship. McDowell and Wood still remember Richard fondly. In the DVD extras of “If…” McDowell talks about Richard with friendly, lovely words. Later in years, he hoped to work with him on stage, but the productions didn’t want a kind of “all-together-again” and didn’t engage him. David Wood told that Richard was “a delightful person. Kind, easy-going, gentle, with the most wonderful smile! A very ‘normal’ person, with no pomposity or self-importance. Despite once they were in Hyde Park together, listening to (but not being able to see) the Rolling Stones. But he was a fairly private person, there wasn’t time to get to know him really well.”
Rupert Webster, who played Bobby Philips, said that he was only 13 when he worked in the movie, so he wasn’t aware of the gayness of his character; all the crew was careful with the younger actors, and also Rupert said “Richard was a nice chap”, so he didn’t have nothing to fear (and they played such a scene together!).
In his book of memories “The Confessions of Robin Askwith”, actor Robin Askwith wrote that “In early January, 1968, I was offered the part of ‘Keating’ in ‘If…’ […] I promised my parents that I would take my place at Bristol University the following September. The filming wouldn’t interfere with anything. Other youngster in the film, Charles Sturridge, Hugh Thomas and Richard Warwick would promise their parents the same”. And then: “I struck up a friendship with actor Richard Warwick who was playing the part of ‘Wallace’. For him it was even more traumatic. He had just left Cheltenham School itself. At night he would take me to the dubious downtown night-clubs in Cheltenham. We experienced our first ‘joint’ together. He was pinned up against a night-club wall one night a little worse for wear ‘Are you alright Rich?’ ‘Oh yes, I’m having a wonderful time, I wish I were here’. We paid homage to Brian Jones who came from Cheltenham. We stared at his house for hours one night.” They shot together other two movies “Confessions of a Pop Performer” and “Nicolas & Alexandra” and one episode of “Please, Sir!” and visited New York together on a day trip.
Warwick and Lindsay Anderson remained friends all their lives. Anderson was quoted as remarking, “I never met a young actor like Richard! Without a touch of vanity, completely natural yet always concentrated, he illumines every frame of the film in which he appears.”
This movie had a big impact on young people of the time for the new ideas it expressed, especially on gay people who still remember how the character of Wallace changed their life. There are no explicit sex scenes in the movie, but the gym scene when Wallace and Bobby look at each other for the first time and following one with them together in bed left a mark in the history of Cinema and of the Gay Movement.
|1969||In the following years, Warwick worked in some more cult movies and TV series. He played Allan, the lover of a 17 months pregnant woman, in “The Bed Sitting Room” by Richard Lester, set in a post-nuclear-holocaust England, sharing the scene with such actors as Rita Tushingham, Dudley Moore, Arthur Lowe, Roy Kinnear, Mona Washbourne and Marty Feldman.
He got other TV roles, as well: played Robert Ross in “Plays of Today – The English Boy” by James Forsyth, aired 9 October 1969 on the BBC. Director: Alan Gibson.
On November-December 1969 BBC2 aired “The First Churchills” where Richard played Francis Godolphin. David Giles directed that Donald Wilson’s adaptation of Winston Churchill’s book about the lives of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough and his wife Sarah.
At the end on the year, Richard played another role which was going to be one of his best performances ever, Nicky Lancaster in “The Vortex” by Noël Coward, part of the series “The Wednesday Play”, directed by Philip Dudley. Coward himself was very impressed by the way Warwick portrayed Nicky, the character the playwright wrote and performed himself in a 1924 production on stage and it was his first great commercial success: “There has never been a more superb Nicky – except yours truly, of course”. About the role, Richard told to Fabulous 208: “One part I particularly remember was in a play called The Vortex. As soon as we started rehearsals I knew the part was too much for me, but it was too late to get anything else together. At the time it made me pretty miserable, but not enough to make me want to give up. I said to myself, Try something else. Don’t give in. And gradually my confidence returned.”
Of himself, he told at the time: “I take things as they come, I never organize what I’m going to do next. I’m moving into another flat soon but I’m not planning piles of furniture. Parties, too, are always best if they’re got together in a couple of hours. I suppose I wish I could organize myself more, but I’m sort of mad, extravagant. I write out mad cheques for things I buy and have to have a lie down afterwards, as I did the other day when I bought my white Mini Moke. I try to be reasonable and sensible, but I’m very scared about buying clothes. I buy one article and then want to buy the whole of the King’s Road. I come back having spent everything.” Anne Wilson, who interviewed him, thought: “Richard is twenty three, has grey eyes, floppy golden hair and a wide friendly smile. He’s alive and elusive. When you’re with him you get the feeling that life mustn’t be taken too seriously or you’re likely to miss out on the fun things around. He’s impulsive, energetic and completely disorganized.”
Judith Wills from the same magazine, was cheeky enough to suggest that perhaps Richard, being interested in acting, playing music and writing at the same time, was a procrastinator – but he didn’t agree. “No, I’m not. It’s just that I haven’t had the opportunity to do these things. Till now there has always been something else I’d rather be doing. I don’t know how other people see me – as an easy-going person I suppose.”
The eccentric personality that came out from those interviews, seemed to clash with the pragmatic man who wrote his memory about his friend Ian Charleson for the tribute book. But of course we must consider that he was a much mature person twenty years after.
|1970||The episode “ITV Saturday Night Theatre – Slattery’s Mounted Foot” was first aired 20 June 1970 on ITV. Richard played Don Robson.
He worked in the movie “Erste Liebe” (First Love) in a cast which included Dominique Sanda, Maximilian Schell and Valentina Cortese, based on an Ivan Turgeyev’s novella. The director was Maximilian Schell. It was filmed in Hungary, Germany and Austria and it had its premiere on 10 July 1970 in Spain during the “San Sebastián Film Festival”.
Only a few month after, he starred in “The Breaking of Bumbo” as Bumbo Bailey, together with Joanna Lumley and Natasha Pyne. The film was based on the novel by Andrew Sinclair, who also directed it. The film was made in the early summer of 1970 and was the opening-night attraction at the “Cinema City” exhibition at London’s Round House in October of that year. Joanna Lumley and him became lifelong friends working together in the movie.
According to the fan site of the late actor Jeremy Brett, Richard was even a model for a magazine: “…in 1970, Jeremy (Brett) landed on the pages of The Daily Telegraph Magazine, in a layout titled, “Verdict on Men’s Classics for the Seventies.”The object was to dress five young British actors (Jeremy Brett, Ian Olgivy, Robin Philips, Corin Redgrave, and Richard Warwick) in frightful, er, fashionable, outfits and record their thoughts about the clothing.”
|1971||Richard liked country life, even if he enjoyed visiting New York for the first time. For this reason, he enjoyed particularly to play Uncas, because “The last of the Mohicans”, inspired by James Fenimore Cooper novel and directed by David Maloney, was shot in a very suitable place of Scotland and first aired on January-March 1971 on BBC One. According to David Wood, “Rather than stay with everybody else in the nice hotel provided, Richard apparently pitched a tent by the side of a river, and camped alone throughout the filming.” Richard himself commented in one interview with Fabulous 208 – 20 March 1971: “At the moment I’m living in a room in the city – but I much prefer the countryside and would love a house outside London. In fact, I’m looking for a home in Dorset. I love everything about the countryside – actually, the super thing about doing The Last of the Mohicans was that a great deal of it was filmed on location in the Highlands, near Loch Ness. They couldn’t have chosen a more suitable place.” And about the TV series: “I like to do every type of part, as long as I enjoy what I’m doing. Besides, one does tend to get typecast and I don’t want that. I always wanted to play a Red Indian, but the difficulty in this series was that one wanted to use more real Indian dialogue, instead of simply the occasional Ugh! and How!”
On March 1971 he took his first-ever holiday in New York. Despite he loved London, he thought: “London annoys me. For the greatest city in the world to have everything shut up at 11 p.m. just seems so ridiculous.” And “To be in a play on Broadway would be great”, he said, “The thing about America is that you’ve got to be a success or forget it. If you’re not successful you won’t be invited to parties, but it appeals to me. It’s a challenge.” – “I haven’t been to New York before, so as it’s a place I think everyone should visit at least once, I’m taking this opportunity to go and stay with friends. I’d loathe to live there, though – I imagine it is like London, but with everything multiplied five times – the traffic, the noise, the pollution… I’m not sure how long I’ll be staying, but it may be a few weeks or longer.”
Another TV role as Alec in “Out of the Unknown – The Shattered Eye” where he played a young painter who suddenly finds himself having a disturbing encounter with a shabby old man. The episode was aired 30 June 1971 on BBC Two.
Just a few months later, Richard joined the cast of the successful TV series “Please Sir!”, playing the dishy teacher David Ffitchett-Brown, in seven episodes, where he seemed to enjoy much himself. The episodes were written by John Esmonde, Bob Larbey, Andy Baker, Geoff Rowley, Tony Bilbow and directed by Howard Ross and aired between October and December 1971 on ITV.
In the same year, he played the Grand Duke Dimitry who, with his friend the Prince Felix Yusupov, assassinated Gregori Rasputin, in “Nicholas and Alexandra”, premiered on 29 November 1971 in the UK, written by Edward Bond and James Goldman from the book of Robert K. Massie and directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. Askwith remembers: “Next on the agenda was another episode of ‘Please, Sir’ at London Weekend Television in Wembley followed by my second stint on ‘Nicholas and Alexandra’. Things were obviously going downhill. I was downgraded on my flight to Madrid to economy and I shared, yes shared my car with another actor. As I turned out I was only happy to, as it was my old friend from ‘If…’ Richard Warwick. ‘Hello, darling, I’m being poisoned by Rasputin first thin Monday, how about you?’ ‘Oh, I’m being shot on the Russian front Tuesday lunch’. We were dropped off at the Castellana Hilton once again and made our way to Oliver Reed’s fish tank for a cocktail. […] I flew back to Heathrow with Richard Warwick who had been suitably poisoned by Rasputin. ‘So tell me, what did they use for poison, Rich?’ ‘Cold tea, darling, it was disgusting. What did they use for rabbit?’ ‘Er…rabbit, Rich!’.” On his diary entry on 14th February 1971 he reported: “Return from Madrid with Richard Warwick. Filmed second part of my role in ‘Nicholas and Alexandra’. This involved skinning a rabbit and eating the meat raw. […] I returned to Richard Warwick’s new flat in Westbourne Grove, West London for a couples of days. That was until I received my brand spanking new American Express card. ‘Oh let’s try it out darling, I’ve heard about these thing, we could go to New York it we fancied it, you know.’ So we had a very nice large joint, then took a taxi window on our way down the M4. About ten hours later, we arrived in New York, bought a pair of shoes each for some reason and then returned to England.”
Despite he got some important roles in international productions, Richard thought that “I don’t act for fame – to be famous you have to take big parts and I hate them. They tax you too much so you don’t enjoy them.” And “Several things are more important to me than acting, but none is more important than art. For instance, writing – I’d love to get that together and I have had a bash before, but I don’t know if I have enough imagination to write.” And again: “At the moment I’m waiting – waiting till I’m much better at playing the guitar which I’m practising now. What I’d really like to do is get back into theatre. I’m talking about an exciting musical, a comedy, at the moment, and if it comes off it will be great for me to do. I find comedy terribly interesting.” And about being interviewed: “Talking about myself is part of being an actor, so I do talk to people, but it’s not something I like doing. The reason is that I have never been quoted correctly.”
|1972||On March 1972 the BBC aired the historical TV series “The Shadow of the Tower”, where Richard played Perkin Warbeck, who was a pretender to the English throne claiming to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the second son of Edward IV and one of the so-called “princes in the tower”. Directors were Prudence Fitzgerald, Darrol Blake, Joan Kemp-Welch and writers Anthea Browne-Wilkinson (script editor), John Gould, Julian Mitchell, Hugh Whitemore, John Peacock.
Then Richard went back to stage in “The Shadow of a Gunman” by Sean O’Casey, set during the Irish War of Independence, at the Young Vic London for the National Theatre, playing Tommy Owens, a young man of twenty five that is enamored with the Republican effort. The director was Peter James and started on 4th July 1972.
Later that Summer, he played three roles, Cinna/ Pindarus/ Dardanius, all of them on the side of the conspirators against the imperator, in “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare, directed by Peter James at the Young Vic London for the National Theatre. It started on 17th August 1972.
On 20 November 1972 in Los Angeles, California it took place the premiere of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” directed by William Sterling, written by William Sterling from Lewis Carroll’s novel. Richard played the funny role of 7 of Spades, opposite to Fiona Fullerton’s Alice.
“In Praise Of Love” programme reports that Richard has played a role in “While The Sun Shines” (so before 1973), but I don’t have any further details.
|1973||In the original London production of Terence Rattigan’s double-bill play “Before Dawn” and “A divertimento” at the Duchess Theatre in London, which had its first performance on Thursday 27th September 1973, Richard played the double role of Joey Cruttwell and The Captain. Director was John Dexter and the co-stars Joan Greenwood, Donald Sinden, Don Fellows. Joey is an aspiring young playwright, on the opposite side of the political spectrum to his over-bearing father Sebastian.
Back to TV, Richard played Lieutenant Parry in three episodes of “Warship”, aired July-August 1973 on the BBC. Directors: David Cunliffe, Frank Cox, Lennie Mayne. Writers: Mervyn Haisman, Stuart Douglass, John Wiles.
|1974||I’ve found out only by chance, finding a photo from the production on the web, that Richard was in the cast of “Hamlet” in 1974, directed by Richard Cottrell, together with Ian Charleson, Heather Canning, Ian Collier, Tim Woodward and the Cambridge Theatre Company touring the UK. But neither the website administrator, nor another source they suggested me could help me in finding out which characters the actors played or other details.
I hadn’t idea that Warwick and Charleson had worked together on stage, I didn’t find a mention in my sources until a few weeks ago, I thought they were just friends: they made it again from September to October 1974 in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s “The School for Scandal”, where Richard played Charles Surface, a young bachelor notorious for his extravagance and dissipation, but a good and generous person at heart and in love with Maria. The director was Robert Lang and it took place at the Cambridge Arts Theatre for Cambridge Theatre Co.
|1975||The movie “Confessions of a Pop Performer” by Norman Cohen was screened on July 1975 in the UK. Christopher Wood had written the novel and the screenplay. Robin Askwith was the protagonist and Richard Warwick played Petal, one members of his band Kipper. In his book, Askwith remembers “Two up and coming songwriters, Bugatti and Musker, were commissioned to write the songs for the band which would be called ‘Kipper’. Peter Cleall, Richard Warwick, Mike King (from the fifties group The King Brothers) and Bill Maynard’s son, Maynard Williams would make up the band.”
Then Richard played Pete Webber in one episode of “Oil Strike North” “First Lion“, a drama series with action adventure overtones detailing life for the men who work for international oil company Triumph Oil; director Michael Hayes, written by Gerard Glaister and Mervyn Haisman. First aired on 16 September 1975 in the UK.
The following month, on 24 October 1975, BBC One aired “Quiller – The Thin Red Line”, a spy series, where Richard played Wentworth. Director: David Sullivan Proudfoot – Writers: Brian Clemens, Trevor Dudley Smith (characters).
|1976||Richard played Donald Lamborbey in “The Expert – Inheritance”, a crame series where police investigates a murder, directed by David Sullivan and Proudfoot, written by Gerald Kelsey and created by N.J. Crisp and Gerard Glaister.
In 1976 Richard was in the cast of another cult movie, “Sebastiane” by Derek Jarman and Paul Humfress, filmed in he beautiful Cala Domestica in Sardinia and in England. He played Justin, one of the soldiers, who is in love with the protagonist. The movie was filmed entirely in Latin with English subtitles and cause controversy from the very beginning. There were rumors at the time it was filmed, some Italian people thought the production wanted to hide some dirty purpose behind the movie. In one entry of his diary, Derek Jarman wrote that he quarreled with the other colleagues and remained alone, only Richard and another man returned back to see if he was right. Anyway this movie is still much loved by the gay community. In the DVD extras, there is the “Making of”, where the cast & crew seemed to have fun and it caught the magic atmosphere of the Italian Summers of the ’70s. Richard appears in them, smiling, playing and having a toast with the other actors.
On 3-10-17 Dec. 1976 BBC Two aired three episodes of “Brensham People” with Richard as John Moore. The series was about life in a Gloucestershire town from the novels of John Moore, adapted by Hugh Whitemore. Directors were Brian Parker, Lawrence Gordon Clark, Peter Smith and it was filmed in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, where Richard’s family lived.
|1977||In 1977, Richard went to Cape Town in South Africa to play Arthur in “New-Found-Land”, part of a double-bill play with “Dirty Linen” by Tom Stoppard, directed by Peter Bowles. His co-star was Charles Hawtrey, who played Bernard.
On May, he played Matthew in one episode of “Miss Jones and Son” “And Father Came Too”, aired on 23 May 1977 on ITV. Paula Wilcox played the protagonist. The two characters meet each other, have a date and both pretend they haven’t got a baby, but their sons both enter in a baby contest.
|1978||In the following year, Richard got a small role as Tim in Bryan Forbes’s “International Velvet”, based on the novel by Enid Bagnold and sequel of the 1944 classic “National Velvet”, as part of the British Olympic team together with Anthony Hopkins. Its first time in cinemas was on 19 July 1978 in New York City. Howard Rayner, writer and designer, remembers working with Richard being part of the TV crew in ‘Walking the Course’ sequence – which was cut – and told that he was a nice man and they had fun filming at Burghley House in Lincs.
Richard worked often in international productions. He was in Slovenia for a Swedish and Yugoslav production called “Mannen i skuggan” (“Black Sun”) by Arne Mattsson, who wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Per Wahlöö. It had its premiere on 9 September 1978 in Sweden. The crime story took place in a Spanish fishing village.
|1979||In 1979, Warwick worked with Jarman again, playing Antonio in a very peculiar production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. Jarman wrote the screenplay and directed it. It went to the Toronto Film Festival in Canada on 13 September 1979. As Prospero’s younger brother, Antonio is motivated by envy and by a desire to create trouble. He becomes the fraudulent duke of Milan and still actively engaged in plotting rebellion. When confronted with the spirits and later Prospero, Antonio reveals no sign of remorse for the actions he has committed.
He got another TV role in “BBC2 Playhouse – School Play” as R.D. Jackson, first aired 7 November 1979 on BBC Two, directed by James Cellan Jones and written by Frederic Raphael. It was a play about the horrors of life at an English public school – with all the schoolboys played by adults. David Nicholas Wilkinson, founder and current owner of Guerilla Films, remembers working with Richard: I worked with Richard on a BBC film called SCHOOL PLAY. The younger actors playing the junior boys were all the young turks of the industry- Michael Kitchen, Tim Piggott-Smith, David Troughton, Richard Morant, Jeremy Sinden, Jeremy Clyde and Richard Warwick. They were all a very funny bunch. The funniest of them all was Richard.I knew him of course from IF which was a seminal film for my generation. He told me lots of stories of the filming. Interestingly he was not as tall as many people thought. Later that year I was walking in New York with a couple of friends and telling them all about Richard. We walked around the corner and Richard was walking towards us. I did not know he was in the City. I saw him a couple of years before he died. I did not know he was ill. He told me he was broke and had a very big tax bill and he just did not know how he was going to pay it. I had to rush to a meeting so did not talk further. He was one of the nicest people I knew. I always thought he should have been a bigger star. I think it was probably because he was gay. This was not because of homophobia as I have rarely come across this in the industry. I think it was just because directors would probably not think he could play those manly roles that are required in leading film parts. Which is rather ironic as several big action Hollywood stars today are gay but it’s all hidden. Richard never hid his sexuality. Everyone liked him. I never heard anyone say a bad word about him. My wife worked him long before I knew her and she said he was a dream to work with. I am often sad when I see him in films or TV repeats that I never knew him better.”
|1980||He was back to stage in the US, at Hartford Stage, Hartford, Conneticut, in T.S. Eliot’s “The Cocktail Party” by Paul Weidner, playing Henry Harcourt-Reilly, a mysterious stranger/psychiatrist. It was staged between January and February 1980.
On 13 February 1980 the TV movie “Very Like a Whale” was first aired by ITV. It was written by John Osborne, directed by Alan Bridges and starred Alan Bates, Gemma Jones, Ann Bell, Charles Dance. Richard played a party guest.
Richard made a brief apparition as guest in the documentary in “The Alternative Miss World 1978”, held in a circus tent on Clapham Common in South London, which was first aired only on September 1980 in USA. You can see him in the first part, smiling on the background, while another guest gets interviewed.
From an unknow date in October to 2 November 1980, Richard played Folgard in “The Beaux Stratagem” at the Hartford Stage, Hartford, Conneticut. Directed by Mark Lamos and written by George Farquhar.
|1981||In 1981 for four years, Richard worked in a successful British series, “A Fine Romance”, playing Phil Baker opposite to Judi Dench, Michael Williams and Susan Penhaligon who played his wife. The two actors started a friendship that lasted until his death. According to an interview with TV Times Magazine, 23-29 January 1982, Richard didn’t altogether hold with the idea of trying to team up people romantically. “It’s been tried on me and it was a disaster” he recalled. “I tried to bring two friends together and that was a disaster too.” He felt there was more to his screen marriage than met the eyes, adding that he and co-star Susan Penhaligon tried to put across that their marriage in the series was not perfect. “Later in the series, we have one or two rows.”|
|1982||IMDb reports Richard having been in the cast of “My Favorite Year” in 1982 as Technical Director. The film came out on 8 October 1982, but I’m not sure it was him.
“The Real Thing” had its first performance on Tuesday 16 November 1982 at the Strand Theatre (now the Novello Theatre). Richard worked with Susan Penhaligon again, playing Max. A play by Tom Stoppard, directed by Peter Wood.
|1983||Richard played Mike in two episodes of “No Excuses”, first aired on ITV on May 1983, a series written by Barrie Keeffe and directed by Roy Battersby.|
|1984||Richard played Antonio, a merchant of Venice, in William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” a Chichester Festival Theatre which had its Royal Gala on Tuesday 10 July 1984, directed by Patrick Garland. In the cast there were Alec Guinness, Joanna McCallum and David Yelland. The Chichester Festival Production was made in aid of the NSPCC Centenary Fund.
IMDb reports Richard having been in the cast of “Johnny Dangerously” as Prisoner. The film came out on 21 December 1984, but I’m not sure it was him. I watched the movie but I couldn’t recognize him. There’s an US actor with his same name, so I wonder who of them it was.
|1985||Richard played Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics, in “My Fair Lady” 1985-1986 at the Theatre Royal Bath (and tour?). Adapted by Alan Jay Lerner, based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. Director: John Doyle.|
|1987||The UK tour of “See How they Run” took place from 1 September to 5 December 1987. Richard played Cpl Clive Winton. The play was written by Philip King and directed by Leslie Lawton.|
|More in the ‘80s||According to some sources, Richard played more stage roles, but I can’t find further information:
before 1982 – Atlanta, USA – played Jack Absolute in “The Rivals”
before 1984 – played an unknown role in “Jane Eyre” on tour
before 1984 – played an unknown role in Terence Rattigan’s “Charley’s Aunt”
before 1984 – USA – played Sir Quartermaine in “Quartermaine’s Terms“
|1990||Richard was chosen to play Basil Fields, British Partner, in Clint Eastwood’s “White Hunter Black Heart”, which went for the first time in cinema on May 1990 in France, at the Cannes Film Festival and in theatres. Fields was part of the crew filming the fictional film in Africa.
From 20 to 25 August 1990, Richard played Dr Livesey in “Treasure Island” from Robert Louis Stevenson, directed by Frank Dunlop, at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, for the Edimburgh Festival.
On the same year, Richard worked with Zeffirelli again. He played Bernardo in “Hamlet”. The impressive cast included Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Dillane, Nathaniel Parker. It went for the first time in cinema on 19 December 1990 in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York. Christien Anholt, who played Marcellus, remembers working with him: “Richard was a lovely chap and a pleasure to work with. I used to pick him up and give him a lift to Shepperton studios when we filmed Hamlet there. A true gent!” And again: “Richard was indeed a kind and sensitive man. We got to know each other quite well during our time working together. Always had a good giggle too!”
According to the tribute account “The Aids Memorial”, at one point of his life Richard married a woman called Marjorie Graham, who remembers: “I was married to Richie. I was Mrs. Warwick. He was truly one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known. He is missed everyday and in my heart always.” Maybe he married an American friend to get a Green Card in NY.
Richard was diagnosed with Aids in 1990 or 1991 (I have two different years from my sources) and he was devastated, as he lectured friends in the 80s about what was and what wasn’t safe behavior. Warwick had seen many friends dying of AIDS, including the actor Ian Charleson, whom he tended until death on January 1990. But he never lost his spirit.
He took part in the book “For Ian Charleson: A Tribute”, with contributions by friends and colleagues of the late actor: an introduction by Ewen MacLachlan and stories by Sir Alan Bates, Sir David Puttnam, Hilton MacRae, Di Trevis, Hugh Hudson, David Rintoul, Ruby Wax OBE, Sharman MacDonald, Johanna Kirby, Peter Eyre, John Whitworth, Sean Mathias, Catriona Craig, Suzanne Bertish, Sir Richard Eyre and Sir Ian McKellen. While other authors wrote long pages about their time spent with Charleson, Richard seemed so grieved that he used just a few words, full of love and sympathetic, with touches of humour, which were enough to make you understand Charleson’s personality and how they friendship had been: “Ian was an artist. I mean he wasn’t merely a fine actor, he was a musician, a singer, a painter, a gardener, and a great wit. He had the most wonderful sense of the absurd. He enjoyed nothing more than having an audience round a table and reducing any situations to the point of ridicule. I don’t mean he was a ‘big’ ‘Oscar Wilde’ kind of a wit. His was a much quieter, more innocent sort of waggishness. God, he was fun. He also drove me mad. Any decision was impossible for him. If we were going to a movie, I had to decide on the film, the time, the place, when to meet, what to do afterwards – everything. But that was part of his attraction, and maybe we all enjoyed bossing him around. He suffered a lot, too. He resented the fact that his film career never came to more; but then if it had, he’d probably never have had his success in the theatre. Ian never had a lover. He was often quite lonely. He would always say, ‘Well, isn’t that the human condition, after all?’ Perhaps he was right. His illness was wretched. He was terrified. We were all terrified. And I miss him just as much as I knew I would.“
|1991||Richard was in a Chichester Festival Production again, playing the Duke of Suffolk in “Henry VIII or All Is True” by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, directed by Ian Judge, at the Chichester Festival Theatre.
Back to cinema, Richard played Frank in “The Lost Language of Cranes” from the novel by David Leavitt, screenplay by Sean Mathias and directed by Nigel Finch. Several details and the location had been changed for the movie, but it’s very poetic and well performed. Frank is an openly gay man, one night lover of Brian Cox/Owen and there is a good chemistry between them.
|1992||Richard played Adam in “Cain” for Chichester Festival Theatre, Minerva Theatre, Chichester on September 1992. The play was based on Lord Byron’s book and directed by Edward Hall.
He was in the same venue again 1992-1993 playing Alec, Robert’s friend, in “King Lear in New York” by Melvyn Bragg, directed by Patrick Garland.
And then on a two years tour 1992-1994 which included the Minerva Theatre in Chichester and the Theatre Royal in Bath, in a production of Patrick Hamilton’s “Rope”, directed by Keith Baxter. The production got excellent reviews at the time. About his performance, the Financial Times in “Rope ensures a reputation – Theatre.” July 12, 1993, by Andrew St. George commented: “Richard Warwick adds commendatorial weight as the victim’s father, Sir Johnstone Kentley.”
According to The Daily Thelegraph 19 December 1997, “As the father in Rope, his stillness and dignity when he realized that some terrible tragedy had occurred to his son, brought the house to a breathless silence”. In one entry of “The Diaries” on 5 May 1994, Lindsay Anderson talked about an extract of a letter he wrote to Malcolm McDowell about meeting Richard after the show: “I went a week ago to see Rope, which I’m happy to say Richard Warwick had a part in. I saw an advertisement in the Evening Standard, which quoted a number of excellent reviews, all completely nonsensical since I’m afraid Keith Baxter had done a quite bad production, absolutely without the necessary conviction of the play. Afterwards, I went with Richard to dinner at the Ivy… Richard seemed in good form, amiable and humorous as ever – and quite aware of the shortcomings of the evening. It was, as always, good to see him again.”
Reading Anderson’s statement on my blog, years later, Keith Baxter wrote in a comment (you can read it in full below): “Lindsay Anderson was always rather jealous of the relationship between Richie and me, which dated back to 1968, and his report that “Rope” had received indifferent notices is untrue. Richard was heartbreaking in it. (Read the Chichester notices where it opened).” It’s interesting to report this argument here.
|1996||In 1996 Richard worked for the third and last time with Zeffirelli, playing John in “Jane Eyre”, inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s novel. It was for the first time in cinema 20 January 1996 South Korea. Sadly, this was Richard’s last performance.
Richard died on 16 December 1997 at 52. At the end he was very weak but he could hear the Christmas Carols being sung in the Chapel at the Hospice and that pleased him.
Susan Penhaligon was with him, visiting, caring, helping all the way through his AIDS illness along with Giles, Richard’s brother, at a time, in the difficult atmosphere of AIDS, other friends weren’t sure how to cope.
Keith Baxter, too, had seen him every day that he was in the Hospice and arranged his Funeral and a month later his Memorial Service in January 1998. The church was packed and many of his closest friends asked him if they could speak: Zoe Wanamaker, Sara Kestelman, Susan Penhaligon, Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi, Joanna Lumley, Judi Dench. And he gave the address. Susan Penhaligon, Sara Kestelman and Baxter took Richie’s ashes to a field outside his home and scattered them under a tree he used to climb when he was a little boy. His brother had made a wooden plaque and nailed it to the tree. There are now daffodils growing over the site where his ashes were scattered and it inspired a beautiful poem by Susan Penhaligon, “The Ashes”.
As his brother Giles wrote me, “It’s great to read how everyone who worked with Richard was charmed by his enthusiasm and sense of humour, but he also had a very good sense of proportion. If ever I moaned about how bad life seemed to be treating me, he would inevitably point out that half the world was starving, whereas I had a home, a job and plenty of food!” That’s how Richard Warwick should be remembered.
I will add the bibliography soon.