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R.I.P. Nicol Williamson


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"Excalibur" actor Nicol Williamson dies aged 73

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Nicol Williamson, once described by John Osborne as "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando," has died after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was 73.

 

His son Luke said on his father's official website that he passed away on December 16. He died in Amsterdam where he had lived for over 20 years, according to media reports.

 

"He gave it all he had: never gave up, never complained, maintained his wicked sense of humor to the end," Luke wrote. "His last words were 'I love you'. I was with him, he was not alone, he was not in pain."

 

Scottish-born Williamson first rose to prominence in 1964 when he appeared in London in Osborne's "Inadmissable Evidence." When it transferred to Broadway he was nominated for a Tony Award in 1966.

 

He went on to star in other stage productions including "Hamlet" at London's Round House Theatre and Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" for which he was shortlisted for a Tony award a second time.

 

His best known film roles included Merlin in "Excalibur" and Father Morning in "The Exorcist III." His final screen appearance was in 1997 picture "Spawn."

 

Williamson was working on a new album of music before his death, and his son told the Daily Telegraph he was as yet undecided over whether to post it on the website.

 

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

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Nicol Williamson starred in one of my favorite television mini-series: *Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy,* in which he played Lord Louis Montbatten. He was great. In fact, I prefer the depiction of Gandhi in that series to the well-intentioned but stodgy film with Ben Kingsley.

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One of Nicole Williamson's best roles came in "The Seven Per-Cent Solution: as Sherlock Holmes with Robert Duvall as Watson and Lawrence Olivier as Prof. Moriarty. This was a somewhat different portrayal of Holmes with Watson taking him to Vienna to be treated by Sigmund Freud { Alan Arkin } for his drug addiction and still finding time to rescue Vanessa Redgrave from the clutches of Jeremy Kemp. A smashing good time for all. The title refers to the 7 % cocaine and 93 % saline solution Sherlock used..A really fine actor.... :(

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Jan 26, 2012 1:45 AM

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Roy,

 

I totally agree about Nicol Williamson and *Seven Per-Cent Solution*. Another fave of mine is his Little John in *Robin and Marian*. I totally believe his friendship with Sean Connery and jealousy that both he and Marian (Audrey Hepburn) feel towards one another because of Connery.

 

And a great score by John Barry.

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Dale,

You are 100% right about "Robin and Marian". Williamson is marvelous as Little John. The entire cast from Connery to Hepburn to Robert Shaw as the Sheriff of Nottingham really sparkle. Yes, the wonderful John Barry score also stands out.

Speaking of scores, did you know that Bernard Herrmann was to score the "Seven Per-Cent Solution", but sadly he died before the film was completed......

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>Speaking of scores, did you know that Bernard Herrmann was to score the "Seven Per-Cent Solution", but sadly he died before the film was completed......

 

I did know, and had Herrmann been able to write the music, it probably would've been a better film (apart from William Walton, who was a musical titan of the 20th century, I've nver been especially fond of the work of British film composers. John Addison, who did score THE SEVEN-PERCENT SOLUTION, was a middling talent at best; his music failed to dig under the characters' skins and add to the audience's understanding of what they were thinking and feeling. Most of what's there is simple, superficial reinforcement of what's already up there on-screen, which is really the hallmark of second-rate film music, and why it's so often disparaged as being merely "mood music."

 

Of course, all film scores for Sherlock Holmes stand in the shadow of Miklós Rózsa’s brilliant music for Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, which really plumbs the depths of this moody and elegiac look at the great detective's most embarassing and heart-breaking case (Rózsa actually makes a one-second cameo appearance in the film, conducting Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake at the ballet). Had Herrmann been able to score his own Holmes film, it would have fascinating to see (and hear) what a composer equal in skill and stature to his great friend, Rózsa, might've wrought.

 

 

 

>I remember Nicol's Holmes. James Farentino is also gone. Two actors dead at 73? Ugh, too young.

 

Williamson was 75, but both actors are 100% dead.

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"Excalibur" actor Nicol Williamson dies aged 73

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Nicol Williamson, once described by John Osborne as "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando," has died after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was 73.

 

 

 

h1. Nicol Williamson dies at 75; legendary British actor

h2. Nicol Williamson was perhaps best known for his critically acclaimed portrayal of the wizard Merlin in the 1981 film 'Excalibur' and for his turn as the drug-addicted yet brilliant Sherlock Holmes in the 1976 movie 'The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.'

Not my error - correct Reuters, SM.

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