(b. Coventry, 5 April 1929) Actor. Educated in South Africa, where he began his professional life in 1950 before returning to Britain in 1951, he has built a reputation for stylish comedy chiefly based on his award-winning television role of Sir Humphrey in the successful series Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. Although there have been such comedy roles in the theatre – e.g. in Privates on Parade (1978), Tartuffe (1983) and The Magistrate (1986) – later work has confirmed him as an actor of greater versatility. Shadowlands (London, 1989; Broadway, 1990) won him a Tony Award, and The Madness of George III (Royal National Theatre, 1992; American tour, 1993; European tour, 1994) won him an Olivier Award for best actor. He successfully repeated the title role in the film (1994). In 1999 he appeared as King Lear in Japan and at the Royal Shakespeare Company in a production directed by Yukio NinaGawa. He was knighted in 1998.
From The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre in Oxford Reference.