Having just completed his autobiography, Nigel Hawthorne died on Boxing Day 2001. His ambitions to be an actor when a young man in South Africa were strongly discouraged by his father. He came to England alone and struggled for many years to make his name - eventually joining the Royal Court, starring in the West End, and finally having his great television break as Sir Humphrey in "Yes, Minister". He won many awards for his role as King George III in Alan Bennett's play at the National Theatre and then in the film "The Madness of King George". His most recent major role was as King Lear in Japan and at the RSC in 1999. As well as the trials of his career as an actor, he also struggled with his sexuality. He found his life partner in production manager Trevor Bentham whom he met in 1977 but the relationship was kept strictly private. His media "outing" in the run-up to the Oscar ceremony for "The Madness of King George" was the source of much pain, although ultimately it became a liberation. At the peak of his career he was struck by cancer and his battle with the illness forms a moving final section to the book.
Sir Nigel Hawthorne died aged 72. He was born in England, but moved to South Africa when only 4. He returned to England as a young man and began to make his name in such productions as Joan Littlewood's Oh What a Lovely War and Peter Nichols' Privates on Parade. His major TV breakthrough came as Sir Humphrey in Yes, Minister - then Yes, Prime Minister. He won many awards for his role as King George III in Alan Bennett's play at the National Theatre and then in the film Madness of King George. His most recent major role was as King Lear in Japan and at the RSC in l999. Since 2000 he had been battling with cancer and died on December 26, 2001.