THE WORLD of stage and screen is mourning the loss of actor and former Stratford schoolboy Tim Pigott-Smith who has died at the age of 70.
He was a well known face on both stage and screen. Arguably his best known role was as sadistic army colonel Ronald Merrick in the epic TV series Jewel in the Crown.
He was also seen on the small screen in everything from Dr Who to Downtown Abbey, and on the big screen in Gangs of New York, Remains of the Day, and Quantum of Solace among many others.
Born in Rugby, Tim grew up in Stratford where his journalist father Harry was editor of the Stratford Herald.
Tim was educated at King Edward VI School where he became head boy in 1963. He returned to play the Chorus in the school’s production of Henry V in the Swan Theatre in 2013, to mark the lives of those KES boys who lost their lives in the Great War.
KES headmaster Bennet Carr said: “Tim was not only a former head boy of whom we were very proud, he was a great friend and supporter who maintained a genuine interest in the school.
“He performed alongside current students in our centenary production of Henry V, and was due to officially open our new library and teaching facilities later this year.
“We will miss his presence and his characteristic warmth and generosity. It is a very sad day for the school.”
Tim had a great love of Shakespeare and a long association with the RSC.
He joined the RSC in 1972, playing small roles in the Roman Season. Then in 1974 he played Posthumous Leonatus in John Barton’s Cymbeline, and Dr Watson in the now famous production of Sherlock Homes with John Wood. He also played Cassius opposite Ed Hall’s Julius Caesar in 2001.
His last appearance with the company was in 2006 in Laurence Boswell’s production of Middleton’s Women Beware Women opposite Penelope Wilton.
Tim also played Leontes and Iachimo in Peter Hall’s productions of Shakespeare’s Late Plays at the National; Angelo and Hotspur in the BBC Shakespeares; was also King Lear at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2011, and Prospero for Adrian Noble at Bath in 2012.
He became an RSC Associate Artist in 2012, and served on both the RSC board – from 2005 until 2011 – and as a governor from 2005 until he retired in 2016. He even worked part-time in the RSC paint-shop.
RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said: “I am very sad to hear of the untimely death of Tim Pigott-Smith.
“Tim was the most versatile of actors, working across all media and for all the major companies.”
He had recently completed filming for the forthcoming BBC Two drama King Charles III – an adaptation of his acclaimed role which proved a hit in the West End and on Broadway. The drama, which depicts Prince Charles as the new king, is due to be screened on television next month.
Tim was made an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours list for his services to drama.
He leaves actress wife Pamela Miles and son Tom, who is a concert violinist.