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Theatre actor Richard Howard dies aged 79

Theatre actor Richard Howard has died aged 79, his agent has announced.

He was a star of Olivier-nominated productions including as Sir Robert de Lesseps in the original cast of historical fiction Shakespeare In Love – an adaption of the 1998 film – at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Howard also taught at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada).

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Yui Mok/PA)

A statement from Scott Marshall Partners said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved client, Richard Howard, at the age of 79, after a short illness.

“He is survived by his son, three stepdaughters and nine grandchildren.”

His other theatre work included tours of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Macbeth and Romeo And Juliet across America, Europe and Asia.

Howard was also in Stanley at the National Theatre, which was about the life of painter Sir Stanley Spencer and won an Olivier for best new play in 1997, and a Kiln Theatre adaption of James Baldwin’s play about racial oppression in the US called Blues For Mr Charlie.

He was part of the Stables Theatre Club in Manchester, and Brian Friel and Stephen Rea’s theatre company Field Day.

“Howard acted and directed with the Jill Freud Theatre Company for many seasons, and was a member of the London Shakespeare Group,” his agent said.

Howard also appeared in an episode of Poirot, titled Four And Twenty Blackbirds, and BBC Radio 4 play The People’s Princess about George IV’s wife Caroline of Brunswick.