‘The Crown,’ ‘Blake’s 7’ Actor Dies – The Hollywood Reporter
Dec 29, 2022
Veteran British theater actor Stephen Greif has died at the age of 78.
His death was announced online on Monday by his representatives at Michelle Braidman Associates. “With great sadness we announce the death of our wonderful client Stephen Greif. His extensive career included numerous roles on screen and stage, including at the National Theatre, RSC and in the West End. We will miss him dearly and our thoughts are with his family and friends,” the statement on the talent agency’s Twitter site read.
Greif played House of Commons Speaker Sir Bernard Weatherill in the fourth season of The Crown in 2020. And the British actor was also known for his performance as space commander Travis in Blake’s 7, a sci-fi series that ran from 1978 to 1981.
Greif was born on Aug. 26, 1944 in Sawbridgeworth, Herts at a nursing home that at one time was a residence for Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, before launching himself in British theater, first with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.
After a North American tour with that celebrated British theater troupe, Greif joined the Prospect Theatre Company, where he took part in stage productions of Richard II and Edward II with Lord of the Rings actor Ian McKellen.
After stage theater stints with The National Theatre at The Old Vic — where he worked with Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright and Anthony Hopkins — Greif worked extensively in London’s West End, including playing Biff in a revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, for which he earned an Olivier award nomination.
He also played in stage productions opposite Albert Finney, Frank Langella, Elaine Stritch, Topol, Denholm Elliott, Felicity Kendall, Frances De La Tour, Jerry Hall, Joseph Fiennes and Lesley Manville.
On TV, Greif landed the role of treacherous space commander Travis in Blake’s 7. His British TV credits also include Doctor Who, New Tricks, Silent Witness, Waking The Dead, He Kills Coppers, Eastenders and cult series like The Persuaders, The Professionals, Minder and The New Avengers.
On the big screen, Greif appeared in Risen, Woman in Gold, Bill, Boogie Woogy, Casanova, Shoot on Sight, Eichmann and Upside of Anger.
Fellow actor and director Barnaby Edwards paid tribute to Greif on his own Twitter account: “Very saddened to hear that Stephen Greif has left us. A rock-solid performer with a voice as liquid and deadly as molten lava. When it came to playing villains, he was unsurpassed. His acerbic wit and obvious intelligence made him a joy to direct. Thanks for the fun, Stephen.”
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