Michael Williams, the distinguished British stage and television actor and husband of actress Dame Judi Dench, died Jan. 11 at his London home after a long bout with cancer, the London Times reported. He was 65.
Mr. Williams had been battling lung cancer for some time. In June 1999, Dame Judi missed several performances of the Broadway run of David Hare's Amy's View to fly to her ailing husband's side in London. "I am devastated to disappoint anyone who came to see me in the play," said Dench at the time, "but because of the circumstances I am unable to perform."
Mr. Williams and Dench married on Feb. 5, 1971. Both famously starred in the British television sitcom, "A Fine Romance," which ran from 1981 to 1984. One of his last stage appearances was in 1998's West End production of the one-man play Brief Lives. His theatre roles, however, stretch back to 1959, soon after he graduated from RADA.
A leading member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for 14 years, beginning in 1963, he played such classic parts as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lodowick in The Jew of Malta, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Orlando in As You Like It, the Fool in King Lear, and Troilus in Troilus and Cressida. He played Charles Courtly in London Assurance twice, in 1970 at the Aldwych and in 1972 at the New Theatre.
Other theatre credits included Schweyk, The Representative, Too True to Be Good and Marat/Sade. He also appeared in the 1966 film version of the latter, legendary Peter Brook production. His final film was 1999's "Tea with Mussolini," which also starred Dench. Other movies include Kenneth Branaugh's "Henry V" and "Educating Rita."
Michael Williams was born July 9, 1935 in Manchester, England and attended St. Edward's College in Liverpool. Beside Dame Judy, he is survived by their daughter, Finty Williams, also an actor.
—By Robert Simonson