This wonderfully witty, enormously talented, classically-trained theatre actor has yet to find THE film project to transition into twilight screen stardom; yet, at age 70 plus, there is still a glimmer of hope for Brian Murray if one fondly recalls the late-blooming adulation bestowed upon such illustrious and mature stage stars Judi Dench, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.
Born Brian Bell in September of 1937 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Shakespearean titan attended King Edward VII School, while there. It must have been a sign. He made his stage bow in 1950 as “Taplow” in “The Browning Version” and continued on the South African stage until 1957. Though he made his film debut fairly early in his career with The League of Gentlemen (1960) and showed strong promise and presence in The Angry Silence (1960), his first passion was, and is, the theatre and instead chose to join the Royal Shakespeare Company where his impressively youthful gallery of credits included those of “Romeo”, “Horatio” in “Hamlet”, “Cassio” in “Othello”, “Edgar” in “Lear” and “Lysander” in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
Eventually Broadway (off- and on-) took notice of this mighty thespian and utilized his gifts quite well over the years. A three-time Tony nominee (for “Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”, “The Little Foxes” and “The Crucible”), not to mention a recipient of multiple Obie (“Ashes” and “The Play About the Baby”) and Drama Desk (“Noises Off”, “Travels with My Aunt” and “The Little Foxes”) awards, this lofty veteran continues to mesmerize live audiences with a wide range of parts, both classical and contemporary. Two of his later roles, that of “Sir Toby Belch” in “Twelfth Night” and “Claudius” in “Hamlet”, were taken to TV and film. A more recent movie project was a nice change of pace — voicing the flamboyant role of “John Silver” in the animated feature, Treasure Planet (2002).
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