EDWARD Petherbridge was born in Bradford in 1936 and trained at Esme Church's Northern Theatre School.
He made his professional stage debut at the Ludlow Festival in 1956, playing Gaveston in Marlowe's Edward II. His first London appearance was at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park in 1962, playing Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
He began his tenure as part of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company in the 1960s, walking on in Olivier's Othello and later creating the role of Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
Edward has been a leading actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre; was a founding member of the Actors' Company in 1972; and with Ian McKellen established the McKellen-Petherbridge Group at the RNT in 1985. He is a winner of the Olivier and London Theatre Critics' Awards, and has twice been nominated for a Tony Award. He has also been a recipient of the Sony Award for Best Actor in a Radio Drama.
He has been praised for both tragic and comic parts, interpreting a wide range of roles from Feydeau to Euripides. His major roles on stage include Newman Noggs in Nicholas Nickleby; Charlie Marsden in Strange Interlude; Gaev in The Cherry Orchard; the Cardinal in The Duchess of Malfi; Alceste in The Misanthrope; Frank Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor; Malvolio in Twelfth Night, King Cymbeline in Cymbeline; Dr Dorn in The Seagull; Sir Anthony Blunt in Single Spies; Krapp in Krapp's Last Tape; Donner in Tom Stoppard's Artist Descending a Staircase; and Tiresias in Sophocles' Antigone.
Edward has performed in stage musicals, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White, Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars, The Fantasticks by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, Coco by Andre Previn and Alan Jay Lerner, and most recently a musical version of Oscar Wilde's The importance of Being Earnest. He has devised a number of innovative one-man shows on a variety of subjects. In addition to acting, he has presented mime workshops and directed, particularly for the Actors' Company.
On television Edward was a definitive Lord Peter Wimsey in the Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries. Other television appearances include Journey's End, Maigret, A Christmas Carol, The Brief, Midsomer Murders, Land Girls and Doctors. His film roles include Richard St Ives in Mike Newell's An Awfully Big Adventure and Aesculapius in Pope Joan, directed by Sonke Wortmann.
In 1989 he was awarded an Honorary D.Litt. by the University of Bradford. His book, Slim Chances and Unscheduled Appearances was published in March 2011. An audio version was released in December 2012. He held his first art exhibition at Burgh House in Hampstead in the Spring of 2011. On 22 October 2013, the 50th anniversary of the National Theatre, Edward will release a special NT 50 edition of Slim Chnaces. With his friend Kathleen Riley, he is working on a history of West Hampstead, entitled NW6 and All That.
Edward lives in West Hampstead, north London and is married to fellow actor Emily Richard, with whom he has appeared several times on stage. They have two children, Dora and Arthur, and Edward has a son David by his first marriage.
In 2013, Edward co-wrote and starred with Paul Hunter in My Perfect Mind, a semi-autobiographical play in which Edward played himself and Shakespeare's King Lear. The play, which was directed by Kathryn Hunter and designed by Michael Vale, had its world premiere in Plymouth on 14 February and, after a short national tour, opened at London's Young Vic to huge critical success. For his performance in My Perfect Mind, Edward has been nominated for a UK Theatre Award (Best Perfoamnce in a Play).
Stage Chronology compiled by Kathleen Riley