Richard E. Grant

Infobox actor

imagesize =
caption = Grant as The Voice for "2+2+2" at Heavy Entertainment, London.
birthdate = birth date and age|1957|5|5
birthplace = Mbabane, Swaziland
birthname = Richard Grant Esterhuysen
spouse = Joan Washington (1986-)
yearsactive = 1987 – present
academyawards =

Richard E. Grant (born May 5, 1957) is an English actor, screenwriter and director, perhaps most famous for portraying the world-weary, drug-crazed alcoholic Withnail in "Withnail and I".Fact|date=September 2008


Early life

Grant was born Richard Grant Esterhuysen in Mbabane, Swaziland. He adopted the surname Grant when he moved to the UK as an adult and registered with the British Actors' Equity Association. His father was Henrik Esterhuysen, a man of Afrikaner extraction, who was head of education for the British government administration in the British Protectorate of Swaziland. His mother was a local ballet teacher of South African and German extraction. [ [ Richard E. Grant Biography (1957-) ] ] [ [ Richard E. Grant Biography - Yahoo! Movies ] ] Fact|date=May 2008 As a young child Richard went to primary school at St Marks, a local government school in Mbabane that had only recently become racially integrated. At the age of nine, he witnessed an adulterous relationship between his mother and another man that subsequently led to the break-up of his parents' marriage.Fact|date=May 2008 This event stimulated him to keep a daily diary, which he has continued to do ever since.Fact|date=May 2008 He wears a watch on each wrist, one given to him by his dying father, permanently set on Swaziland time. [ [ ENOUGH ROPE with Andrew Denton - episode 108: Richard E. Grant (19/06/2006) ] ]

Richard went to high school at Waterford Kamhlaba, just outside Mbabane, where he was a day scholar. He studied English and Drama at the University of Cape Town. Richard was a member of The Space theatre company in Cape Town before moving to London in 1982.Fact|date=May 2008

Fact|date=May 2008 "I grew up in Swaziland when it was mired in a 1960s sensibility. The kind of English spoken where I grew up was a period English sound and when I came to England people said 'how strange'. Charles Sturridge, who directed "Brideshead Revisited" for TV, said 'you speak English like someone from the 1950s'. (Interview with Valerie Lawson of the Sydney Morning Herald on 04/06/08.)


He is a successful author, with works such as "By Design" calling on his Hollywood experience. His first film role was the perpetually inebriated Withnail in "Withnail and I". He has twice portrayed the Doctor from "Doctor Who", unofficially on both occasions. In the comedy sketch "Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death", he portrayed a version of the Tenth Doctor, referred to as the Quite Handsome Doctor. He also voiced a now non-canonical Ninth Doctor for the BBC original animated webcast "Scream of the Shalka".

Grant appeared as "The Voice" in "2+2+2" at "American Nights at The King's Head Theatre", from July 3 to July 29, 2007, and also recently co-starred in the London-based comedy "Filth and Wisdom", a film which marks the directorial debut of pop singer Madonna.

In 2008, he will star in the movie adaptation of Irvine Welsh's best-selling novel "", and he will also make his music theatre debut with Opera Australia, playing the role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, at the Theatre Royal, Sydney. As it is a musical, this will require him to sing.


Grant wrote and directed the 2005 film, "Wah-Wah", loosely based on his own childhood experiences after a screenwriter recommended he write a screenplay after reading his memoires of his "Withnail and I" experiences. The film took him over seven years to complete, [ [ Wah-Wah Interview - "I've had seven birthdays..."] ] and was received positively by the critics.Fact|date=October 2008 It starred Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Julie Walters and Emily Watson. It was also the first film to have ever been shot in Swaziland. Grant also kept a diary of the experience, later published as a book ("The Wah-Wah Diaries"), which was met positively by the critics, many of whom were impressed at the honesty of the tale, especially in regard to his frictional relationship with the "inexperienced" producer Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar. [ [ - "The Wah-Wah Diaries"] ] [ [ The Guardian - Books - Wah-Wah Diaries review] ] [ [ The Independent - Books - Wah-Wah Diaries review] ] He mentioned in subsequent interviews that she was a "control freak out of control", and that he would "never see her again as long as [he] lives". [ [ Richard E Grant - Wah-Wah interview] ] [ [ The Sun Herald Interview - Wah-Wah] ] In a BBC interview, he again mentioned his "disastrous" relationship with Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, relating that he received 5 emails in the last two months of pre-production from her, and that she rarely turned up on the set at all and failed to obtain clearance firstly for song rights, and secondly to actually film in Swaziland (without the knowledge of Grant, who eventually was forced to meet the King of Swaziland to seek clemency). [ [ BBC Interview with Richard E. Grant - Stand Alone Player] ] During an interview with an Australian chat show, he mentioned that Wah-Wah didn't get released in France, and as a result, his producer didn't make money out of it. [ [ Interview with "Ten" - REG] ]

Personal life

He married Joan Washington (a voice coach; she worked with Emily Watson in "Wah-Wah") in 1986 and has one daughter with her (Olivia) and a stepson (Tom). Grant is a teetotaler. After casting him as the alcoholic Withnail, director Bruce Robinson made Grant drink a bottle of vodka in one sitting so that he had experience of the sensation. He is an avid follower of West Ham United, and appeared on Sky Sports' "Soccer AM" to show his support for the team on the morning of the 2006 FA Cup Final.

On December 1, 2006, Grant turned real life investigator when with the help of the BBC Newsnight programme he exposed a $98 million scam to sell a bogus AIDS cure. [ [ Swazi 'Aids cure' scam uncovered] , BBC Newsnight.] [ [ "Richard E Grant investigates the AIDS scam"] , "Newsnight", December 1, 2006.]

He also appeared on BBC1's show "Saturday Kitchen" on 14 July 2007, where he confessed to detesting dairy products, while his favourite food is giant prawns on a bed of rice. On the 22nd November 2007, he gave a keynote speech at North London Collegiate School in North London as part of their Performing Arts Centre Opening Festival, [ [ North London Collegiate School - an independent day school for girls from the ages of 4 to 18 ] ] and presented the 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards. [ [ "Playbill News: London Hairspray Breaks Record With 11 Olivier Award Nominations". ] ]



*"Withnail and I" (1987) as Withnail
*"Warlock" (1989) as Giles Redferne
*"How to Get Ahead in Advertising" (1989) as Denis Dimbleby Bagley
*"Mountains of the Moon" (1990) as Larry Oliphant
*"Henry & June" (1990) as Hugo Guiler
*"Hudson Hawk" (1991) as Darwin Mayflower
*"L.A. Story" (1991) as Roland Mackey
*"The Player" (1992) as Tom Oakley
*"Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992) as Dr. Jack Seward
*"The Age of Innocence" (1993) as Larry Lefferts
*"Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life" (1993) as Franz Kafka
*"Prêt-à-Porter" (1994) as Cort Romney
*"Jack and Sarah" (1995) as Jack
*"The Portrait of a Lady" (1996) as Lord Warburton
*"" (1996) as Sir Andrew Aguecheek SCARLET PIMPERNEL
*"The Serpent's Kiss" (1997) as James Fitzmaurice
*"Keep the Aspidistra Flying" (1997) (a.k.a. "A Merry War") as Gordon Comstock
*"Spice World" (1997) as Clifford
*"St. Ives" (1998) as Major Farquhar Chevening
*"The Little Vampire" (2000) as Frederick Sackville-Bagg
*"Gosford Park" (2001) as George
*"Monsieur N." (2003) as Hudson Lowe
*"Bright Young Things" (2003) as Father Rothschild
*"Tooth" (2004) as Jarvis Jarvis
*"The Story of an African Farm" (2004) as Bonaparte Blenkins
*"Colour Me Kubrick" (2005) as Jasper
*"Wah-Wah" (2005) - writer, director
*"Penelope" (2006) as Franklin Wilhern
*"Always Crashing in the Same Car" (2007) as James Booth
*"The Garden of Eden" (2008) as Colonel Philip Boyle
*"Filth and Wisdom" (2008) as Professor Flynn
*"Cuckoo" (2008) as Professor Julius Greengrass
*"Ecstasy" (2008) as TBA


*"Codename Kyril" (1988) as Sculby
*"Absolutely Fabulous" (1995) as Edina's dream Justin
*"Captain Star" (1997) as Captain Jim Star
*"A Royal Scandal" (1996) as King George IV
*"The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1998) as Sir Percy Blakeney
*"Let Them Eat Cake" in episode "The Portrait" (1999) as Monsieur Vigée-Lebrun
*"Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death" (1999) as The Conceited Doctor
*"A Christmas Carol" (1999) as Bob Crachit
*"The Hound of the Baskervilles" (2002) as Jack Stapleton
*"Posh Nosh" (2004) as Simon Marchmont
*"Frasier" in episode "Goodnight, Seattle" (2004) as Stephen Moon
*"90 Days in Hollywood" (2004) as the narrator
*"The story of Bohemian Rhapsody" (2004) as the narrator
*"Home Farm Twins" (2005) as Paul Baker
*"Above and Beyond" (2006) as Don Bennett
*"Dalziel and Pascoe" (2007) as Lee Knight

Voice acting

*"The Pillars of the Earth" - audiobook by Ken Follett, as the narrator
*"The Legends of Treasure Island" (1993) as Long John Silver - an animated TV series
*"The Miracle Maker" (2000) as John the Baptist - stop-motion story of Jesus Christ
*"Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka" (2003) as The Doctor ( [ online] )
*"Corpse Bride" (2005) as Lord Barkis Bittern - a Tim Burton stop-motion feature
*"" (2006) as Preston
*"Jackboots on Whitehall" (2008) as The Vicar


*"The Wah-Wah Diaries: The Making of a Film". 2006. ISBN 0-330-44196-5 (hardcover).
*"With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E. Grant". ISBN 0-87951-828-6 (hardcover). ISBN 0-87951-935-5 (paperback).
*"". Picador, 1999. ISBN 033036829X (10). ISBN 978-0330368292 (13).



* [,3605,1542390,00.html "Memories of Mischief"] . "The Guardian", August 6, 2005. (Interview and profile pertaining to the release of his film "Wah-Wah".)

External links

* [ The REG Temple] - The official website of Richard E. Grant.
* [ "Performer Profile: Richard E Grant"] , with sample from audio recording of Richard E Grant reading "A Study in Scarlet", by Arthur Conan Doyle.

NAME= Grant, Richard E.
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Esterhuysen, Richard Grant
DATE OF BIRTH= 1957-5-5
PLACE OF BIRTH= Mbabane, Swaziland

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