Emlyn Williams

1905-1987

From the time of his definitive success in 1935 in his own play NIGHT MUST FALL, Emlyn Williams was an outstanding figure in the British and American theatre as actor, playwright and director. His other plays include THE LIGHT OF HEART, SPRING 1600, THE WIND OF HEAVEN, SOMEONE WAITING and THE CORN IS GREEN, in which he starred with Sybil Thorndike in London. The American production starred Ethel Barrymore and the play was filmed with Bette Davis and - later - Katherine Hepburn. Numerous stage appearances in London and New York included THE WINSLOW BOY (Rattigan) and MONTSERRAT (Hellman), while his films include THE CITADEL, THE STARS LOOK DOWN, MAJOR BARBARA, HATTER'S CASTLE, IVANHOE, THE LAST DAYS OF DOLWYN (which he also directed, having written it for Edith Evans and Richard Burton), and an historical curiosity, the unfinished I CLAUDIUS.


In 1951 he embarked on a solo performance as CHARLES DICKENS ENACTING SCENES FROM HIS STORIES, a pioneering venture so successful that it took him all over the world, as did his second similar venture as DYLAN THOMAS GROWING UP. In between these tours he appeared in a Shakespeare season at Stratford-upon-Avon, in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS and THE DEPUTY IN NEW YORK, and in London in his own adaptation of Turgenev's A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY with Ingrid Bergman and Michael Redgrave. His adaptation of THE MASTER BUILDER was presented by the National Theatre with Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Michael Redgrave. Later film appearances included THE DEEP BLUE SEA (with Vivien Leigh), I ACCUSE (with Jose Ferrer), THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE (with Gary Cooper), THE L-SHAPED ROOM (with

Leslie Caron) and THE EYE OF THE DEVIL (with Deborah Kerr).

 

In 1961, he was a commentator at the televised Investiture of the Prince of Wales. Later television appearances included THE DEADLY GAME and RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY.

 

He also wrote two volumes of autobiography, GEORGE and EMLYN, a novel, HEADLONG and BEYOND BELIEF (A CHRONICLE OF MURDER AND ITS DETECTION).

 

Emlyn Williams was made CBE in 1962 and died in 1987.

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