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Richard E. Grant

Richard E. Grant
Grant as The Voice for"2+2+2" at Heavy Entertainment, London. Born Richard Grant Esterhuysen
May 5, 1957(1957-05-05) (age 51)
Mbabane, SwazilandYears active 1987– present Spouse(s) Joan Washington (1986-)

Richard E. Grant (born May 5, 1957) is a British actor perhaps most well known for portraying the world-weary, drug-crazed alcoholic Withnail in Withnail and I.



Early life

Grant was born Richard Grant Esterhuysen in Mbabane, Swaziland. He adopted the name Richard E Grant as an adult when he moved to the UK and registered with the British Actors' Equity Association. His father was Henrik Esterhuysen, a head of education for the British government administration in Swaziland. His mother was the local ballet teacher.[1][2] He attended primary school at St Marks, a local government school in Mbabane that had only recently become racially integrated, and went on to secondary school at Waterford Kamhlaba, just outside Mbabane, where he was a day scholar. 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.[citation needed] This event stimulated him to keep a daily diary, which he has continued to do ever since.[citation needed] He wears a watch on each wrist, one given to him by his dying father, permanently set on Swaziland time.[3] He studied English and Drama at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and moved to London in 1982.[citation needed]

His father was an Afrikaner, working in Swaziland; his mother a white South African of German extraction.[citation needed] Richard went to boarding school in South Africa, then university and began his acting career there (before arriving in the UK, with a South African accent), and his family retained their strong South African ties.[citation needed]Q "I rew 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. He is most famous for his role as the drunk 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 version of the Ninth Doctor for the BBC original animated webcast Scream of the Shalka.

He wrote and directed the 2005 film, Wah-Wah, loosely based on his own childhood experiences. In 2008, he will star in the movie adaptation of Irvine Welsh's best-selling novel Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance. 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.

He has also recently co-starred in the London-based comedy Filth and Wisdom, a film which marks the directorial debut of pop singer Madonna.

On the 22nd November, he gave a keynote speech at North London Collegiate School in North London as part of their Performing Arts Centre Opening Festival.[4] He will also present the 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards.[5]

On 9 October 2008, Richard E. Grant makes his music theatre debut with Opera Australia, playing the role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, at the Theatre Royal, Sydney.

Personal life

He married Joan Washington 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.

On December 1, 2006, Richard E. 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.[6][7]

He 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.

Grant 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.




Voice acting



  1. ^ Richard E. Grant Biography (1957-)
  2. ^ Richard E. Grant Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  3. ^ ENOUGH ROPE with Andrew Denton - episode 108: Richard E. Grant (19/06/2006)
  4. ^ North London Collegiate School - an independent day school for girls from the ages of 4 to 18
  5. ^ "Playbill News: London Hairspray Breaks Record With 11 Olivier Award Nominations".
  6. ^ Swazi 'Aids cure' scam uncovered, BBC Newsnight.
  7. ^ "Richard E Grant investigates the AIDS scam", Newsnight, December 1, 2006.


External links

Preceded by
Paul McGannThe Doctor
(Shalka Doctor)
2003 Succeeded by
Christopher Eccleston
v • d • eDoctor Who: Incarnationsof The DoctorFirst Doctor(William Hartnell) Second Doctor(Patrick Troughton) Third Doctor(Jon Pertwee) Fourth Doctor(Tom Baker) Fifth Doctor(Peter Davison) Sixth Doctor(Colin Baker) Seventh Doctor(Sylvester McCoy) Eighth Doctor(Paul McGann) Ninth Doctor(Christopher Eccleston) Tenth Doctor(David Tennant) Other DoctorsDr. Who(Peter Cushing) The Watcher(Adrian Gibbs) The Valeyard(Michael Jayston) Shalka Doctor(Richard E. Grant)

PersondataNAME Grant, Richard E. ALTERNATIVE NAMES Esterhuysen, Richard Grant SHORT DESCRIPTION ActorDATE OF BIRTH 1957-5-5 PLACE OF BIRTH Mbabane, SwazilandDATE OF DEATH PLACE OF DEATH
Categories: 1957 births | English diarists | English film actors | English television actors | English voice actors | Living people | University of Cape Town alumniHidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since May 2008

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