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[Deathwatch] Colin McCormack, actor, 62



Many thanks to a long-time reader for several submissions - Ed.

Colin McCormack

Classical actor who was a stalwart of the RSC

Kenneth Rea
Friday July 9, 2004

The actor Colin McCormack, who has died of cancer aged 62, was most
closely associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was also a
Royal Court stalwart, but distinguished himself in solid classical
roles performed with the RSC - on and off, from 1967.

He was Donalbain in Peter Hall's Macbeth with Paul Scofield (1967),
Ross in Trevor Nunn's Macbeth with Nicol Williamson (1974) and Macduff
in Adrian Noble's Macbeth (1988). He was in Nicholas Hytner's
production of The Tempest (1988), Gregory Doran's King John (2001) and
Edward Hall's productions of Two Gentlemen Of Verona (1999) and Julius
Caesar (2002). He was also in the RSC's production of The Clockwork
Orange (1990).

One of his most recent roles was Pietro in The Malcontent. In this he
starred alongside Sir Anthony Sher as part of the RSC's acclaimed
Jacobethan season at Stratford and the Gielgud Theatre last year.

On television, McCormack made more than a score of appearances,
beginning with Dixon Of Dock Green in 1955 and taking in Yes Minister
(1980), The Sweeney (1975), Martin Chuzzlewit (1994), Inspector Morse
(1987) and Longitude (2000). His films included First Knight (1995) and
Let Him Have It (1991).

McCormack was the son of a railway worker, born in Cardiff, and
educated at King's College, Cardiff, and Penarth County Grammar school.
He studied at the Cardiff Art College before training at the Central
School of Speech and Drama, where he met his future wife, the actor and
movement specialist Wendy Allnutt.

His first professional job was with the Bristol Old Vic, in Bartholemew
Fair and he went on to perform in many of Britain's leading theatres.
His appearances at the Royal Court included Light Shining In
Buckinghamshire, with Joint Stock, Women Beware Women, Shirley, Three
Birds Alighting In A Field and Jim Cartwight's ground-breaking Road.

He had a particular success last year in Harold Pinter's One For The
Road at the Battersea Arts Centre, for which Pinter wrote to him: "I
thought your Nicholas was absolutely terrific. What power and awesome
lucidity."

His fellow professionals admired his striking presence and clarity on
stage, but what made him such a popular company man was his sense of
generosity and loyalty to his fellow players, always putting the
company before himself. He was passionately committed to encouraging
younger actors and those he tutored at the Guildhall School of Music
and Drama included Ewan McGregor, Daniel Craig and Damien Lewis.

McCormack also cultivated an expertise in historic churches and
medieval architecture. And in his earlier years, he was a formidable
squash player. He had just returned from Hong Kong, playing Capulet in
a tour of Romeo and Juliet, when he became ill. With typical fortitude,
he took a script for a Spanish season at the Watermill Theatre,
Newbury, into hospital with him.

He married Wendy shortly after graduating from Central and they were
together for 36 years. She survives him, as do their children Katherine
and Andrew.

· Colin McCormack, actor, born December 2 1941; died June 19 2004