Nigel Hawthorne

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Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne, CBE (5 April 1929 – 26 December 2001) was an English actor, perhaps best remembered for his role as Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary in the 1980s sitcom Yes Minister and the Cabinet Secretary in its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister.


Early life

Hawthorne was born in Coventry, England, the son of Agnes Rosemary (née Rice) and Charles Barnard Hawthorne, a physician.[2] He grew up in South Africa, where he was educated at St George's Grammar School, Cape Town and Christian Brothers College.[3] He enrolled at the University of Cape Town but withdrew and returned to the United Kingdom in the 1950s to pursue a career in acting.[3]


Hawthorne made his professional stage debut in 1950, playing Archie Fellows in a Cape Town production of The Shop at Sly Corner.[3]

In a long and varied career, which began with an advert for Mackeson stout and a bit part in Dad's Army, his most famous roles were as Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary of the fictional Department of Administrative Affairs in the television series Yes Minister (and Cabinet Secretary in its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister), for which he won four BAFTA awards, and as King George III in Alan Bennett's stage play The Madness of George III (Olivier Award) and the film version entitled The Madness of King George, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Hawthorne was also a voice actor, and lent his voice to two Disney films. In 1985, he voiced Fflewddur Fflam in The Black Cauldron, and in 1999, he voiced Professor Porter in Tarzan.

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