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‘House of Cards’ star Richardson dies

Actor best known in U.S. for Grey Poupon ad

Ian Richardson, who brought Shakespearean depth to his portrayal of a thoroughly immoral politician in the hugely popular satirical British TV drama “House of Cards,” died Friday 72.

In addition to his many stage, screen and TV roles, Richardson also appeared in one of the mustard commercials as the man in the Rolls-Royce who asked, “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?”

Richardson played the silkily evil Francis Urquhart in three miniseries, “House of Cards” in 1990, “To Play the King” in 1993 and “The Final Cut” in 1995.

Urquhart’s smooth riposte to any slur against another character — “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment” — was picked up by British politicians and heard again and again in the House of Commons.

His other television roles included Bill Haydon in John Le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”; Sir Godber Evans in “Porterhouse Blue” and Sherlock Holmes in “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

In 2001, he starred in “Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes,” playing Dr. Joseph Bell, the mentor of Arthur Conan Doyle, in a miniseries that was broadcast in the United States on PBS’ “Mystery.”

He also portrayed the British spy Anthony Blunt in the BBC-TV play “Blunt.”

On Broadway, he played Jean-Paul Marat in “Marat/Sade” in 1965, reprising the role in the United Artists film the following year, and Henry Higgins in a 1976 revival of “My Fair Lady,” for which he was nominated for a Tony Award as best actor in a musical.

Other movie credits included “Brazil” in 1985, “The Fourth Protocol” in 1987, “BAPS” in 1997, and “102 Dalmatians” in 2000.

The miniseries was shown in the United States as part of PBS’ “Masterpiece Theatre.”

Richardson, born in Edinburgh, joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960.

He is survived by his wife, Maroussia, and two sons.

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