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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Michael Bryant: Classy actor
Michael Bryant with Francesca Annis in Wives and Daughters
Michael Bryant with Francesca Annis in Wives and Daughters
Michael Bryant was one of Britain's foremost classical actors.

As a National Theatre player from the mid-1970s, he had many memorable roles, as well as appearing in films and on television.

Michael Bryant was born in London in 1928 and trained at the Webber-Douglas stage school after service in the Merchant Navy and Army.

He began his stage career in repertory at Worthing and Oxford, before establishing himself in the West End as Walter Langer in Five Finger Exercise.

He played the role in New York for 14 months, before returning to London to take over from Alec Guinness as TE Lawrence in Rattigan's play Ross.

It established him as a star and led to a two-year spell with the Royal Shakespeare Company in London.

From 1977 he was a National Theatre player, winning a string of awards for roles ranging from Lenin in State of Revolution to Gloucester in King Lear.

Although best-known for his work in the theatre, Bryant appeared in television plays and drama series and a number of films, including Nicholas and Alexandra - again as Lenin - and Gandhi.

His appearance as an escape-obsessed POW officer in Colditz won him many plaudits.

Michael Bryant was awarded the CBE in 1988. He married twice, and had four children.

See also:

30 Apr 02 | Arts
Shakespeare stalwart dies
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