The Royal National Theatre will be celebrating the life and work of Sir Nigel Hawthorne, who had the greatest success of his stage career in the National's Lyttleton Theatre a decade ago, when he starred in Alan Bennett's The Madness of King George III.
Nicholas Hytner, who directed Sir Nigel in that play (and in the film version afterward) and who is Artistic Director Designate of the National (where he will take over from Trevor Nunn in April 2003), will be among the celebrity-packed tribute to the late actor, as will writer and actor Alan Bennett.
Hawthorne was best known as the co-star (with Paul Eddington) of the "Yes Minister" television series, but fame came late to him — in his early fifties — and he spent the greater part of his acting career onstage in smaller roles.
Hawthorne was a much-loved man as well as a superb actor. His portrayal of children's writer and Oxford don C. S. Lewis in Shadowlands was an emotional tour de force that many people preferred to Sir Anthony Hopkins' film version.
The celebration will be at 11.30 AM on June 6 in the Olivier Theatre. Entrance is free, and seating is unreserved.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow