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Charles Edwards, David Ryall and Simon Callow in Twelfth Night, playing at the National Theatre (photo: Nobby CLark)

David Ryall alongside Twelfth Night co-stars Charles Edwards and Simon Callow at the National Theatre (Photo: Nobby Clark)

Stage veteran David Ryall dies

Published 30 December 2014

Acclaimed stage and screen actor David Ryall passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 79.

The actor’s hugely successful career spanned an illustrious five decades working equally in film, television and on the stage, the latter seeing Ryall collaborate with a number of theatrical greats including Laurence Olivier.

While in later years Ryall has arguably become best known for screen appearances including his much-loved performance in BBC comedy Outnumbered, the actor was a regular on the National Theatre stage throughout his career, appearing in productions under the tenure of all five Directors to date from his work as part of Olivier’s company to his most recent appearance at the theatre in 2011’s Twelfth Night.

Other notable credits at the venue included Guys And Dolls, Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, The Beggar’s Opera and Democracy. Away from the South Bank institution, Ryall’s appearances included Don Juan In Soho at the Donmar Warehouse, Everything Is Illuminated at Hampstead Theatre and his most recent starring role as King Lear at the Cockpit Theatre, in which he appeared opposite his daughter and fellow actor Charlie Ryall earlier this year. 

On screen his many well-known credits included films Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1, The Elephant Man and Around The World In 80 Days, and television series The Village, Doc Martin and Lewis, as well as three turns depicting Winston Churchill in screen dramas.

As news of his passing broke, many of Ryall’s former colleagues took to Twitter to express their sadness and fond memories of the much-loved performer. Actor and writer Mark Gatiss led the tributes, saying: “The great David Ryall left us on Christmas Day. A twinkling, brilliant wonderful actor I was privileged to call a friend.” 

Ryall is survived by his wife Penny, son Jonathan and daughters Imogen, a jazz musician, and Charlie.


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