Antony Sher, a Shakespearean actor, dies at age 72

One of the best modern actors in Britain was largely regarded as Antony Sher.

London: The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) announced on Friday that award-winning theatre and screen actor Antony Sher had passed away at the age of 72 following a battle with cancer. Sher, who was born in South Africa, was regarded as one of Britain's best modern performers, having taken on nearly every major Shakespearean part, from King Lear to Shylock. He earned an Olivier Award in 1985 for his dynamic performance as the evil hunchback Richard III, propelling himself about the stage on crutches. Gregory Doran, who would later become the RSC's creative director, and Sher Doran met there; Gregory Doran was once referred to by Prince Charles as his favorite actor.

They were among the first gay couples in Britain to establish a civil partnership in 2005. After learning that his husband's condition was terminal, Doran resigned from his position to take care of him in September.

Both acting artistic director Erica Whyman and RSC executive director Catherine Mallyon expressed their "great sadness" over Sher's passing.

They continued, "At this heartbreaking time, our thoughts and profound sympathies are with Greg, Antony's family, and their friends.

Many closets

She was born on June 14, 1949, in Cape Town to a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant family, one year after the National Party took control and started enforcing the apartheid regime. She claimed in 2000, "I had a typical childhood among white folks.

"My parents had little political knowledge." means that I unwittingly experienced apartheid's atrocities as I was growing up. Although it seems bad, it's the reality.

However, he never truly felt at home, and at the age of 19, after completing his national service in the South African army, he moved to Britain. "I was a complete wimp, totally out of place in that big macho athletics milieu in South Africa. With all of it, I felt uneasy. My entire personality was artistic.

But initially, nothing went as planned, as he was rejected by the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the heart of London.

Instead, he was accepted into a different theatre program and later began working at Liverpool's Everyman Theatre among people like Jonathan Pryce and Julie Walters.

His time on stage was an education in both theatre and life, earning him a reputation for groundbreaking politically charged performances in the 1970s and 1980s. He admitted to having multiple relationships with women while trying to remain straight for a few years before realizing that it was absurd.

"I was gay but didn't want to be," you said. I needed to come out as homosexual, white, and South African. Jewish too. I needed to come out of a lot of closets.

Cape Town boy

She was no (1998), a Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes film, in the eyes of audiences. He played British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in the play Mrs. Brown the year before, for which Judi Dench, another mainstay of the RSC, received an Oscar nomination for her depiction of Queen Victoria.

The films were released following his recovery from a cocaine addiction that landed him in the hospital in 1996. She expressed gratitude for his time spent performing Shakespeare but regretted not portraying Hamlet because he didn't think he was tall enough, attractive enough, or blonde enough.

After being knighted in 2000, he adopted the title "Sir Antony," and he cited having his mother present at Buckingham Palace as one of his happiest moments. But he also found it difficult to accept that, referring to himself as "a bit of a closet knight".

Later that year, he admitted, "I have come out in many areas of my life, but I have yet to manage this one."

The honor cemented his place in the British establishment, but in 2015 he admitted to The Times that "in my soul, I'm the Cape Town lad growing up and feeling awkward in the world."

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