Heartbreak at the Royal Shakespeare Company: Actor Sir Antony Sher, 72, is diagnosed with terminal illness and his husband Greg Doran quits top theatre job to care for him
- Sir Antony Sher has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, husband revealed
- Greg Doran taking compassionate leave from Royal Shakespeare Company
- Sir Antony and Mr Doran one of first gay couples to enter into a civil partnership
Shakespearean actor Sir Antony Sher has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, his husband revealed yesterday.
Greg Doran also announced he would be taking compassionate leave from his role as artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company to care for Sir Antony, 72.
One of Prince Charles’s favourite actors, he is best known as a star of the RSC, playing many of the great tragic heroes, including King Lear and Macbeth.
Greg Doran, right, also announced he would be taking compassionate leave from his role as artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company to care for Sir Antony, 72, left
He won fans more widely through television roles, such as The History Man in 1981, while his film work includes Shakespeare In Love and Mrs Brown.
Sir Antony was born in South Africa and moved to the UK aged 19.
He joined the RSC in 1982 and went on to win the first of two Olivier awards three years later, for playing Richard III.
His last role with the company was in 2019. He starred in Kunene And The King, playing a cantankerous ageing actor who hopes to overcome severe liver cancer to travel to Cape Town to play Lear.
Sir Antony and Mr Doran became one of the first gay couples to enter into a civil partnership in the UK in 2005 and married in 2015.
Yesterday Mr Doran, 62, said in a statement: ‘I am very sorry to say that my husband, Tony Sher, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and in order to look after him, and with the agreement of the board, I will be taking a period of compassionate leave with immediate effect. I expect to return in early 2022.’
Nigel Hugill, chairman of the RSC, said: ‘All our thoughts are very much with Greg and Tony at this extremely difficult time’.
Henry IV Part I and II by William Shakespeare and directed by Gregory Doran at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Royal Shakespeare Company
Among the tributes to the couple posted on social media, actor Eddie Marsan wrote: ‘When I worked with Antony I was blown away by his amazing commitment, talent and kindness.’
Sir Antony, who was knighted in 2000, said that of all his roles, Macbeth was the most challenging.
‘He’s so wonderfully complex,’ he told the Guardian in 2013. ‘He has strange little soliloquies early on in the play, in which he’s flirting with the idea of murdering the king. But then he says he won’t – and when he does, he botches it, and freaks out at the sight of blood.’
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