Nicol Williamson has died aged 75 following a two year battle with esophageal cancer. The actor passed away in December, his son confirmed today.
Williamson enjoyed a successful stage and screen career in the 1960s and 70s before moving to Amsterdam to concentrate on his love of music.
The actor’s breakthrough moment came in 1964 when Williamson originated the role of Bill Maitland in John Osbourne’s Inadmissible Evidence at the Royal Court. The actor went on to play the role of the disgruntled lawyer on the edges of insanity in the West End, on Broadway and in the 1968 film which also starred Eileen Atikins. The role led Osbourne to describe Williamson as “…the greatest actor since Marlon Brando”.
The Scottish-born actor was a regular at the Royal Court also appearing in plays including Spring Awakening, Kelly, Kelly’s Eye, and The Ginger Man. Williamson also worked extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company starring in Coriolanus, Uncle Vanya, Twelfth Night and Macbeth.
In 1968, Williamson starred as Hamlet in a production at the Roundhouse in which the actor famously walked off mid-performance declaring he was too tired to continue. The critically-acclaimed production transferred to New York before being made into a film also starring Anthony Hopkins and Marianne Faithful. The actor’s many other film credits included Excalibur, The Bofors Gun, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and The Wind In The Willows.
In a statement on the actor’s website, Williamson’s son said: “It’s with great sadness, and yet with a heart full of pride and love for a man who was a tremendous father, friend, actor, poet, writer and singer, that I must bring news of Nicol’s passing. Dad died peacefully in the early hours of the 16 December after a two year all out, balls to the wall struggle against esophageal cancer. He gave it all he had: never gave up, never complained, maintained [sic] his wicked sense of humour to the end.”