Richard E. Grant
Grant in 2018
Richard Grant Esterhuysen
5 May 1957
|Nationality||Eswatini, British |
|Other names||Richard Grant|
Joan Washington (m. 1986)
Richard E. Grant (born Richard Grant Esterhuysen; 5 May 1957) is an English actor. He made his film debut as Withnail in the comedy Withnail and I (1987) and has had prominent roles in films such as How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989), Hudson Hawk (1991), The Player (1992), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), The Age of Innocence (1993), Spice World (1997), Gosford Park (2001), The Iron Lady (2011) and Logan (2017). He will appear in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
Grant was born Richard Grant Esterhuysen in Mbabane, Swaziland (now Eswatini). He is the son of Leonne and Henrik Esterhuysen, who was head of education for the British government administration in the British Protectorate of Swaziland. He has English, Dutch/Afrikaner, and German ancestry. He has a younger brother, Stuart, a tour guide in Johannesburg, from whom he is estranged; Grant has stated that they 'never had any relationship'.
As a boy, Grant went to primary school at St Mark's, a local government school in Mbabane that only recently had become racially integrated. When Grant was 10, he witnessed his mother commit adultery in the back seat of a car with his father's best friend, which subsequently led to his parents' divorce. This event inspired Grant to keep a daily diary, which he has continued to do ever since. Grant used to wear a watch on each wrist, one given to him by his dying father, permanently set on Swaziland time. He is a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Swaziland.
Grant attended secondary school at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa, an independent school just outside Mbabane, where he was a day scholar. Grant studied English and drama at the University of Cape Town. He adopted his stage name when he moved to Britain as an adult and registered with Equity.
Grant was a member of the Space Theatre Company in Cape Town before moving to London in 1982. He later stated, "I grew up in Swaziland when it was mired in a 1960s sensibility. The kind of English spoken where I grew up was a period English sound and when I came to England people said, 'how strange'. Charles Sturridge, who directed Brideshead Revisited for TV, said, 'you speak English like someone from the 1950s'."
Grant's first film role was the perpetually inebriated title character in Withnail and I (1987), which is considered a classic. Following this film, Grant started appearing in Hollywood films, quickly establishing himself as a powerful character actor in a wide array of films, from blockbuster studio movies to small independent projects. Over the past 20 years, Grant has had strong supporting roles in the films Henry & June, L.A. Story, The Player, The Age of Innocence, The Portrait of a Lady, Spice World, Gosford Park, Bright Young Things, and Penelope.
While filming L.A. Story with Steve Martin, the pair communicated by fax in what became for both a hilarious dialogue: "I kept these faxes, which grew to a stack more than 2 inches thick, because they entertained me, and because I thought they were valuable aesthetic chunks from a screeching mind, a stream-of-consciousness faucet spewing sentences - sometimes a mile long - none of it rewritten, and bearing just the right amount of acid and alkaline."
In 1995, Grant starred as the titular character in Peter Capaldi's short film Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life. The film won the 1995 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. In 1996, he portrayed a hilarious Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Trevor Nunn's film of Twelfth Night. He released a single and accompanying video "To Be Or Not To Be" with Orpheus in 1997.
Grant has twice portrayed the Doctor from Doctor Who, both outside the main continuity. In the comedy sketch Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death, he portrayed a version of the Tenth Doctor, referred to as the Quite Handsome Doctor. He also voiced a version of the Ninth Doctor for the BBC original animated webcast Scream of the Shalka. The latter had intended to be the official Ninth Doctor prior to the revival of the TV series.
Grant made his first official Doctor Who appearance in the 2012 Christmas special, titled "The Snowmen", in which he plays the villain, Walter Simeon. During the episode Simeon is erased from his body and it is taken over by the Great Intelligence, voiced in that episode by Ian McKellen until the takeover. The Great Intelligence is one of the Second Doctor's most infamous villains and, was last seen in The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear. Grant reprises the role in "The Bells of Saint John" and in the series 7 finale, "The Name of the Doctor".
Grant appeared as "The Voice" in 2+2+2 at American Nights at The King's Head Theatre, from 3 to 29 July 2007, and in 2008 co-starred in the London-based comedy Filth and Wisdom. On 22 November 2007, he gave a keynote speech at North London Collegiate School in north London as part of their Performing Arts Centre Opening Festival, and presented the 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards.
In 2008, he made his musical theatre debut with Opera Australia, playing the role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, a role he reprised in 2017 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 2009, he played Alain Reille in Yasmina Reza's one-act play God of Carnage at the Theatre Royal, Bath: and subsequently at Cheltenham, Canterbury, Richmond, Brighton and Milton Keynes.
In 2010 he made an appearance in a music video, when short lived Bristol band The Chemists hired him to appear in their video for "This City"; the band split the same year. This appearance also followed up his previous involvement with the band the year before, in which he spoke the lyrics to "This City" to background music, as part of the intro and outro tracks on their only album Theories of Dr Lovelock.
Grant was a mentor on the British Airways Great Britons Programme. In March 2013 Grant starred as intelligence analyst Brian Jones in David Morley's drama The Iraq Dossier, with Peter Firth, Anton Lesser, David Caves, and Lindsay Duncan. It recounted the story of how British Ministry of Defence Intelligence expert Jones had tried to warn that his government's September Dossier on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction was inaccurate. In 2014, Grant was cast on the HBO series Girls because Lena Dunham saw him in Spice World.
In July 2018, Lucasfilm announced that Grant would appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. That same year, Grant's critically lauded performance as Jack Hock in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018), earned him Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. The part also won Grant a New York Film Critics Circle Award and several other critics awards.
Grant wrote and directed the 2005 film Wah-Wah, loosely based on his own childhood experiences. A screenwriter recommended he write a screenplay after reading Grant's memoirs of his Withnail and I experience. The film took him over seven years to complete, and starred Nicholas Hoult in the lead role, with Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Julie Walters and Emily Watson. Grant kept a diary of the experience, later published as a book (The Wah-Wah Diaries). The book received positive reviews from critics, many of whom were impressed by the honesty of the tale, especially in regard to his difficult relationship with the "inexperienced" producer Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar.
Grant stated in subsequent interviews that she was a "control freak out of control", and that he would "never see her again as long as [he] live[s]." In a BBC interview, he again mentioned his "disastrous" relationship with Mention-Schaar. He related that he had received only five emails from her in the last two months of pre-production, and that she rarely turned up on the set at all. She failed to obtain clearance firstly for song rights and secondly to film in Swaziland. For the last infraction, Grant was eventually forced to meet with the King of Eswatini to seek clemency. During an interview with an Australian chat show, he mentioned that Wah-Wah was not released in France, and as a result, his producer did not make money out of it.
Grant married voice coach Joan Washington in 1986 and has one daughter with her, Olivia, and a stepson, Tom. Grant is a teetotaller. His body has an intolerance of alcohol, having no enzymes in the blood to metabolise it. If he does drink alcohol, he can keep it down for 10 minutes and is then violently sick for 24 hours afterward. After casting him as the alcoholic Withnail, director Bruce Robinson made Grant drink a bottle of champagne and half a bottle of vodka during the course of a night so that he had experienced the sensation of being drunk. At age 12 he "developed a rhapsodic crush" on Barbra Streisand and remains a fan. He has done a tour of Streisand's New York, visiting her early home, her high school, and the Village Vanguard, among other places.
In October 2008, he told The Times that he is an atheist. He is an avid supporter of Premier League football club West Ham United. In April 2014, Grant launched his new unisex perfume, JACK, exclusively at Liberty of Regent Street, London. Grant runs the perfume business in collaboration with his daughter.
|1987||Withnail and I||Withnail|
|1989||How to Get Ahead in Advertising||Denis Dimbleby Bagley|
|1990||Mountains of the Moon||Larry Oliphant|
|1990||Killing Dad||Ali Berg|
|1990||Henry & June||Hugo Guiler|
|1991||L.A. Story||Roland Mackey|
|1991||Hudson Hawk||Darwin Mayflower|
|1992||The Player||Tom Oakley|
|1992||Bram Stoker's Dracula||Jack Seward|
|1993||The Age of Innocence||Larry Lefferts|
|1993||Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life||Franz Kafka||Short film|
|1995||Jack and Sarah||Jack|
|1996||The Cold Light of Day||Victor Marek|
|1996||The Portrait of a Lady||Lord Warburton|
|1996||Twelfth Night: Or What You Will||Sir Andrew Aguecheek|
|1997||The Serpent's Kiss||James Fitzmaurice|
|1997||Keep the Aspidistra Flying||Gordon Comstock|
|1997||Food of Love||Alex Salmon|
|1998||St. Ives||Major Farquhar Chevening|
|1999||The Match||Gorgeous Gus|
|2000||The Miracle Maker||John the Baptist||Voice|
|2000||The Little Vampire||Frederick Sackville-Bagg|
|2003||Monsieur N.||Hudson Lowe|
|2003||Bright Young Things||Father Rothschild|
|2004||The Story of an African Farm||Bonaparte Blenkins|
|2005||Wah-Wah||Writer and director|
|2005||Corpse Bride||Lord Barkis Bittern||Voice|
|2005||Colour Me Kubrick||Jasper|
|2006||Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties||Preston||Voice|
|2007||Always Crashing in the Same Car||James Booth|
|2008||Filth and Wisdom||Professor Flynn|
|2008||The Garden of Eden||Colonel Philip Boyle|
|2009||Cuckoo||Professor Julius Greengrass|
|2009||Love Hurts||Ben Bingham|
|2009||Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva||David||Voice (English Version)|
|2010||Jackboots on Whitehall||Campbell Babbitt||Voice|
|2010||1st Night||Adam Drummond|
|2010||The Nutcracker in 3D||Father|
|2011||Foster||Mr Potts||A.K.A. Angel in the House|
|2011||Horrid Henry: The Movie||Vic Van Wrinkle|
|2011||How to Stop Being a Loser||Ian|
|2011||The Iron Lady||Michael Heseltine|
|2012||Kath & Kimderella||Alain|
|2013||About Time||Lawyer in Play||Uncredited cameo|
|2013||Dom Hemingway||Dickie Black|
|2014||Queen and Country||Major Cross|
|2016||Their Finest||Roger Swain|
|2017||The Hitman's Bodyguard||Seifert|
|2018||Can You Ever Forgive Me?||Jack Hock||Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male|
Nominated--Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated--BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated--Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated--Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated--Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
|2018||The Nutcracker and the Four Realms||Shiver|
|2019||Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker||Allegiant General Pryde||Post-production|
|2020||The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard||Seifert||Post-production|
|2020||Everybody's Talking About Jamie||Hugo Battersby||Post-production|
|1983||Sweet Sixteen||Anton||Episode: "Episode Six"|
|1985-1989||Screen Two||Moonee Livingstone / David Dunhill||2 episodes|
|1988||Codename: Kyril||Sculby||4 episodes|
|1993||Great Performances||George Holly||Episode: "Suddenly Last Summer"|
|1993||The Legends of Treasure Island||Long John Silver||Voice|
|1994||Absolutely Fabulous||Justin||Episode: "Hospital"|
|1994||Hard Times||James Harthouse||3 episodes|
|1996||Karaoke||Nick Balmer||4 episodes|
|1996||Cold Lazarus||Nick Balmer||2 episodes|
|1997||A Royal Scandal||King George IV||Television film|
|1997-1998||Captain Star||Captain Jim Star||Voice|
|1999-2000||The Scarlet Pimpernel||Sir Percy Blakeney / The Scarlet Pimpernel||6 episodes|
|1999||Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death||The Conceited Doctor||Television special|
|1999||Let Them Eat Cake||Monsieur Vigée-Lebrun||Episode: "The Portrait"|
|1999||Trial & Retribution III||Stephen Warrington||2 episodes|
|1999||A Christmas Carol||Bob Cratchit||Television film|
|2002||Sherlock: Case of Evil||Mycroft Holmes||Television film|
|2002||The Hound of the Baskervilles||Jack Stapleton||Television film|
|2003||Posh Nosh||Simon Marchmont||8 episodes|
|2004||Frasier||Stephen Moon||Episode: "Goodnight, Seattle"|
|2004||90 Days in Hollywood||Narrator||Documentary|
|2004||The Story of Bohemian Rhapsody||Narrator||Documentary|
|2005||Home Farm Twins||Paul Baker||Unknown episodes|
|2006||Above and Beyond||Don Bennett||2 episodes|
|2006||That'll Teach 'Em: Boys Versus Girls||Narrator||5 episodes|
|2007||Agatha Christie's Marple||Raymond West||Episode: "Nemesis"|
|2007||Dalziel and Pascoe||Lee Knight||2 episodes|
|2008||Mumbai Calling||Benedict T. Harlow||Episode: "Good Sellers"|
|2011||The Crimson Petal and the White||Dr Curlew||4 episodes|
|2011||Rab C. Nesbitt||Chingford Steel||Episode: "Broke"|
|2012-2014||Richard E. Grant's Hotel Secrets||Himself (host)||14 episodes|
|2012||Playhouse Presents||Stephen / Tony||Episode: "The Other Woman"|
|2012||The Fear||Seb Whiting||3 episodes|
|2012||The History of Safari With Richard E Grant||Himself (host)||Documentary|
|2012-2013||Doctor Who||Dr Simeon / The Great Intelligence||3 episodes|
|2013||The Riviera: A History in Pictures||Himself (host)||2 episodes|
|2014||Downton Abbey||Simon Bricker||4 episodes|
|2014||Psychobitches||Matthew Hopkins||Episode #2.6|
|2015||Dig||Ian Margrove||9 episodes|
|2015||Wellington: The Iron Duke Unmasked||Wellington||Documentary|
|2015||Jekyll and Hyde||Sir Roger Bulstrode||9 episodes|
|2016||Game of Thrones||Izembaro||3 episodes|
|2016||The Last Dragonslayer||Dragon||Voice|
|2018||Hang Ups||Leonard Conrad||5 episodes|
|2019||A Series of Unfortunate Events||The Man with a Beard but No Hair||3 episodes|
|2019||Tuca & Bertie||Holland||Voice|
|2020||Dispatches from Elsewhere||Octavio||Upcoming series|
|2003||Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka||The Doctor|
|2007||George's Marvellous Medicine||Narrator||Audiobook|
|2007||The Pillars of the Earth||Narrator||Audiobook|
|2007||World Without End||Narrator||Audiobook|
|2008||My Fair Lady||Henry Higgins||Theatre Royal, Sydney|
|2010||"This City"||Human cyborg||The Chemists music video|
|2013||Fuck: An Irreverent History of the F-Word||Narrator||Audiobook|
|2017||My Fair Lady||Henry Higgins||Lyric Opera of Chicago|