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Sir John Gielgud 1904 – 2000

Sir John Gielgud was arguably one of the greatest actors Britain has ever produced. He had a fine acting pedigree, being the grandnewphew of the legendary stage actress Ellen Terry.

The RADA trained actor had a long association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, both as an actor and director. Gielgud also had a distinguished film career that spanned seven decades. In 1995 The Globe theatre in London’s West End was renamed The Gielgud in his honour.

Many people remember him for some of his later film roles, including Dudley Moore’s butler in Arthur (and as the butler’s ghost in Arthur II!).

Gielgud was arrested and convicted for cottaging in the 1950s, at a time when male homosexuality was illegal and public opinion was harsh. Amazingly, he received a standing ovation at his next stage performance, a sign of the changing attitudes to come. The public loved Gielgud the actor, and did not care about what he did in his private life.

He had a long term relationship with Martin Hensler, who, despite being 30 years younger than him, died shortly before the actor. Gielgud himself died of old age at 96.

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