British actor Nigel Davenport, best known for his roles in “A Man for All Seasons” and “Chariots of Fire,” died on Oct. 25. He was 85.
The character actor began his five-decade-long career on stage before venturing into film and TV. Davenport will be remembered for his soulful gaze, which he described as “dodgy” due to his lazy right eye.
Although he appeared in more than 40 films, he is most recognized for his roles as Thomas More’s friend, the Duke of Norfolk, in Fred Zinnemann’s “A Man for All Seasons” (1966) and Olympic committee member Lord Birkenhead in Hugh Hudson’s “Chariots of Fire” (1981).
He acted with the Shakespeare Memorial Company at Stratford, Chesterfield Civic Theater and Ipswich Rep before joining the English Stage Company at the Royal Court as one of its founding members. He eventually starred in 15 Royal Court plays. His production of “A Taste of Honey” traveled from the West End to Los Angeles to New York in 1960.
His first major feature film was 1965’s “A High Wind in Jamaica.” Between films, which included “Living Free,” “The Island of Dr. Moreau” and “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes,” he took TV gigs on shows including “South Riding,” “Oil Strike North” and “The Prince Regent.”
He was also president of the British actors’ trade union from 1986 to 1992. Davenport is survived by his son, “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor Jack Davenport.