Tom Courtenay Biography
Tom Courtenay (Thomas Daniel Courtenay) is an English actor who came to prominence in the early 1960s with a succession of films, including The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), Billy Liar (1963), and Doctor Zhivago (1965).
He attended Kingston High School and studied drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.
Since the mid-1960s, Courtenay has been known primarily for his work in the theatre, although he received Academy Award nominations for Doctor Zhivago and the film adaptation of The Dresser (1983), which he had performed in the West End and on Broadway. In February 2001, he was created a Knight Bachelor in for his services to cinema and theatre.
Tom Courtenay Career
He made his stage debut in 1960 with the Old Vic theatre company at the Lyceum, Edinburgh, before taking over from Albert Finney in the title role of Billy Liar at the Cambridge Theatre in 1961. In 1963, Courtenay played that same title role in the film version, directed by John Schlesinger. He said of Albert Finney, “We both have the same problem, overcoming the flat harsh speech of the North.”
His film debut was in 1962 with Private Potter, directed by Finnish-born director Caspar Wrede, who had first spotted Courtenay while he was still at RADA. He then had roles in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, directed by Tony Richardson and Billy Liar, two highly acclaimed films and performances which helped usher in the British New Wave of the early-to-mid-1960s.
For these performances he was awarded the 1962 BAFTA Award for most promising newcomer and the 1963 BAFTA Award for best actor respectively. Courtenay also was the first to record the song Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter, doing so for the TV play The Lads. The song was released by Decca on a 45 rpm record.
For his role as the dedicated revolutionary leader Pasha Antipov in Doctor Zhivago (1965), Courtenay was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, but was bested by Martin Balsam.
Among his other well-known films is King & Country, directed by Joseph Losey, where he played opposite Dirk Bogarde; the all-star war film, King Rat, directed by Bryan Forbes and costarring James Fox and George Segal; Operation Crossbow, directed by Michael Anderson (starring George Peppard and Sophia Loren); and The Night of the Generals, directed by Anatole Litvak with Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif.
Courtenay provided physical slapstick comedy in the ultimately chilling anti-nuke black comedy “The Day The Fish Came Out” in 1967. In 1969 and 1971, Courtenay was in two spy-comedies, Otley (in the title role) along with “Catch Me A Spy” (1970) starring Kirk Douglas.
Despite being catapulted to fame by the aforementioned films, Courtenay has said that he has not particularly enjoyed film acting; from the mid-1960s, Courtenay concentrated more on stage work, although in a later Telegraph interview on 4/20/2005, he admitted “I slightly overdid the anti-film thing”.
In 1968, he began a long association with Manchester when he played in The Playboy of the Western World for the Century Theatre at Manchester University directed by Michael Elliott.
In 1969, he played Hamlet (John Nettles playing Laertes) for 69 Theatre Company at University Theatre in Manchester, this being the precursor of the Royal Exchange Theatre, which was founded in 1976 where he was to give many performances, firstly under the direction of Casper Wrede.
Courtenay’s first roles for the Royal Exchange were as Faulkland in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals and the hero of Heinrich von Kleist’s The Prince of Homburg. He has since played a variety of roles, including in 1999 the leading role in the theatre’s production of King Lear, and in 2001 Uncle Vanya.
His working relationship with Wrede returned to film when he played the title role in the latter’s 1970 production of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. His best known film role since then was in The Dresser, from Ronald Harwood’s play of the same name (in which he also appeared) with Albert Finney.
Courtenay then played the father of Derek Bentley (Christopher Eccleston) in the 1991 film Let Him Have It. And for an actor known to be cast in good or great films, Courtenay surprisingly co-starred in what’s been considered one of the worst movies ever, the infamous Leonard Part 6 starring Bill Cosby.
Tom Courtenay’s television and radio appearances have been relatively few, but have included She Stoops to Conquer in 1971 on BBC and several Ayckbourn plays. In 1973, he appeared in I Heard the Owl Call My Name on US television.
In 1994, Courtenay starred as Quilp opposite Peter Ustinov in a Disney Channel ‘made for television’ version of The Old Curiosity Shop. Rather unexpectedly, Courtenay had a cameo role as the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski in the 1995 US TV film Young Indiana Jones and the Treasure of the Peacock’s Eye.
In 1998, Courtenay teamed with Albert Finney again for the acclaimed BBC drama A Rather English Marriage. He then played the role of God, opposite Sebastian Graham-Jones, in Ben Steiner’s radio play “A Brief Interruption”, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2004.
In 2004, Courtenay played the role of Stanley Laurel in Neil Brand’s radio play ‘Stan’, broadcast on Radio 4. He also played title roles for Radio 4 in Nick Leather’s The Domino Man of Lancashire and Maurice in Richard Lumsden’s Man in the Moon, both broadcast in 2007.
In 2007, he appeared in two films: Flood, a disaster epic in which London is overwhelmed by floods, and The Golden Compass, an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novel, playing the part of Farder Coram.
In 2008, Courtenay appeared in the BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, playing William Dorrit. He then appeared in the Christmas edition of The Royle Family, playing David (Senior).
In March 2011, Courtenay joined the cast of Gambit, a film starring fellow RADA alumnus Alan Rickman that began filming in May. The film was released in Great Britain in November 2012. In 2012, Courtenay co-starred in Quartet, directed by Dustin Hoffman.
Tom Courtenay Age | How Old Is Tom Courtenay?
She was born on 25 February 1937 in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.
Tom Courtenay Family
Courtenay is the son of Annie Eliza Courtenay (née Quest) and Thomas Henry Courtenay, a boat painter.
Tom Courtenay Wife
Courtenay married Isabel Crossley, a stage manager at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester in 1988. The couple has homes in Manchester and Putney in London.
He was previously married to actress Cheryl Kennedy from 1973 to 1982.
Tom Courtenay Net Worth
Courtenay’s net worth has not yet been disclosed.
Tom Courtenay Royle Family
Courtenay appeared in the 2008 Christmas special of the BBC show The Royle Family, playing the role of Dave’s father, David Sr.
Tom Courtenay Unforgotten
This crime-drama stars Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar as the lead characters DCI Cassie Stuart and DS Sunil “Sunny” Khan. The detectives are on a mission to uncover the mystery behind an unsolved murder that occurred 39 years ago. Beneath the ground of a demolished house, the bones of the victim are found. With this evidence, the modern police team open a case to unearth the history that has remained buried for decades. Four main suspects emerge, and as their dark past is unraveled, the truth behind the events of the crime are finally revealed.
First episode date: October 8, 2015
No. of episodes: 18 (list of episodes)
Program creator: Chris Lang
Tom Courtenay Movies | Tom Courtenay Films
2019: The Aeronauts playing a role as TBA
2018: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society playing a role as Eben Ramsey
2018: King of Thieves playing a role as John Kenny Collins
2016: Dad’s Army playing a role as Lance Corporal Jones
2015: 45 Years playing a role as Geoff Mercer
2015: The Legend of Barney Thomson playing a role as Chief Superintendent McManaman
2013: Night Train to Lisbon playing a role as Older João Eca
2012: Quartet playing a role as Reginald Paget
2011: Gambit playing a role as The Major
2007: Flood playing a role as Leonard Morrison
2007: The Golden Compass playing a role as Farder Coram
2002: Nicholas Nickleby playing a role as Newman Noggs
2001: Last Orders playing a role as Vic
Tom Courtenay Awards
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture – Drama
1984 · Tender Mercies, The Dresser
- Volpi Cup for Best Actor
1964 · King and Country
- British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor
2016 · Unforgotten
- BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
1963 · The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
- British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
1999 · A Rather English Marriage
- Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Actor
1995 · Moscow Stations