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I met Simon Callow after I had seen him performing in The Man From Stratford at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Edinburgh, in August 2010. It was not hard to see why he is regarded as one of the world's finest stage actors!
I was able to have a good chat with him about acting. I told him that I was in The Importance of Being Earnest which was running all week as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe events. He was very interested and told me how much he enjoyed Oscar Wilde's plays.
He signed my programme and then I had this super photo taken with him.
His parents split when he was three, and he lived with his mother in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) for several years. After returning to England he went to the London Oratory Grammar
Simon Philip Hugh Callow was born in Streatham, London, in 1949. His father, Neil, was a businessman and his French mother, Yvonne, was a secretary.
Grammar School (part of the Catholic Church), and eventually becoming Head Boy.
Simon's parents Neil & Yvonne Callow
Always interested in the Old Vic Theatre, he wrote a fan letter to Sir Laurence Olivier who was their Artistic Director at the time. Olivier's reply led to Callow taking a job in the box offices of first the Mermaid Theatre and then of the RSC at the Aldwych Theatre. He often used to sneak in to watch the actors rehearse and he became convinced that he too wanted to be an actor. Although he began a degree course at Belfast's Queen's University, he left after nine months to train at the Drama Centre in London.
Simon Callow in 1975
Callow made his stage debut in 1973, playing the front end of a horse in
in Woyzeck at the Edinburgh Festival and then, for several years worked in repertory, mainly in Lincoln and Edinburgh.
His first West End appearance was in The Plumber's Progress (1975), and his countless stage credits as an actor include Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus at the Bristol Old Vic, and David Edgar's Mary Barnes at the Royal Court. These successes led to him being asked to play Mozart in the premiere of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus at the National Theatre in 1979. He has since played the title role in Goet
Simon Callow as Garry Essendine in
no less than forty nine different characters in The Mystery of Charles Dickens, which Callow took to Broadway, Ireland & Au
In 2006 Callow played Essendine in Noel Coward's Present Laughter, and in 2009 Callow was seen as Pozzo in Waiting for Godot, alongside Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart. The same year, Callow did
Simon Callow in the two Dickens' one-act plays Dr Marigold and Mr Chops
Simon Callow in Waiting for Godot
As Fosco in The Woman in White
Felicity Kendal & Simon Callow in Amadeus
Judi Dench & Simon Callow in
The Merry Wives of Windsor - The Musical
Goethe's Faust in 1988; the one-man show The Importance of Being Oscar at the Savoy Theatre in 1997; Count Fosco in the Lloyd Webber musical The Woman in White (2005) and
Australia after its success in the West End.
The Man From Stratford
did two one-act plays by Dickens Dr Marigold and Mr Chops - last performed 140 years ago! Simon Callow's most recent touring production was his Shakes
Shakespeare - The Man from Stratford which I saw at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Edinburgh in August 2010.
Callow as Shakespeare - The Man from Stratford
Simon Callow has also made several pantomime ap
appearances - as Abanazaer in Aladdin (2006) and as Captain Hook in Peter Pan (2008).
Simon Callow as Captain Hook
Callow has also directed more than thirty plays, musicals and operas including the original West End production of Shirley Valentine in 1988.
Callow & Greta Scacchi in Jefferson in Paris
It was in the movie version of Am
Amadeus (1984) that Callow made his first film appearance at the
the age of thirty five - not as Mozart this time but as the impresario Schikenader. Two years later, he became well known in America with the role of Rev. Arthur Beebe in the Merchant-Ivory production of A Room with a View (1985). He
Callow as Schikenader in the film Amadeus
Callow as Rev. Arthur Beebe in A Room with a View
A notable big-screen success was as Matthew's gay partner Ga
Other TV appearances have been in episodes of long-running series like Inspector Morse (1987), Trial & Retribution (1998-2002) and Midsomer Murders (2006).
He has also been seen in four other Merchant-Ivory films Maurice (1987), Mr & Mrs Bridge (1990), Howards End (1992) and the historical romance Jefferson in Paris (1995).
Gareth in the Oscar-nominated comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Callow's later roles have included Vincent Cadby in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995); Sir John Osgood in the comedy Thunderpants (2002); Andre in The Phantom of the Opera (2004); St John in Surveillance (2007) and the dual role of Haddo and Crowley in Chemical Wedding (2008).
Simon Callow as Gareth in
Simon Callow as Cadby in
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
Simon Callow as Andre with Ciaran Hinds in
The Phantom of the Opera
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Dorothy Tutin & Simon Callow in La Ronde
Simon Callow in Surveillance
Simon Callow in Chemical Wedding
Simon Callow is no stranger to television, having made his first appearance as Wally in Get Some In (1975). He appeared with Do
Dorothy Tutin in Schnitzler's La Ronde (1982), and as the composer Handel in the feature-length Honour, Profit & Pleas
Pleasure (1985). Other credits include the comedy series Chance in a Million (1984-86) with Brenda Blethyn, and his reprise of the role of Count Fosco in the BBC's lavish production of The Woman in White (1997).
Simon Callow as Count Fosco in
The Woman in White
For Channel 4's History series, Callow played the astronomer Galileo in Galileo's Daughter (2003).
Brenda Blethyn & Simon Callow in
Chance in a Million
Simon Callow as Galileo
Simon Callow excels in the role of the author Charles Dickens. The TV series An Audience with Charles Dickens (1996) saw him recreate the readings of Dickens who, during the last 12 ye
Christopher Eccleston & Simon Callow in
Doctor Who: The Unquiet Dead
years of his life, gave 500 performances to
Callow took the Peter Ackroyd one-man stage play The Mystery of Charles Dickens to America, Australia & Ireland, but it also had a showing on British TV in
in 2000, and is now available on DVD. It chronicles the life and times of Charles Dickens
Simon Callow has now become the definitive Charles Dickens and has had several cameo roles as the author - most notably in Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairy Tale (2001) and the Doctor Who
to huge audiences in Britain and America.
Dickens and is a mixture of biography, fact, fiction and quotations from Dickens' novels.
Who episode The Unquiet Dead (2005). Set in Cardiff in 1869
Simon Callow as Charles Dickens
Simon Callow as Dickens
Simon Callow as Charles Dickens
Simon Callow as Charles Dickens
Simon Callow is the author of thirteen books, which include Sho
Simon Callow as Theodore Kemp
1869, The Doctor and his assistant enlist the help of Charles Dickens to investigate a plague of zombies!
in Inspector Morse
Simon Callow is one of Britain's most prominent gay actors, publicly declaring his homosexuality, in his book Being An Actor (1984).
The Queen awarded Callow a CBE in 1999 for his services to acting.
Shooting the Actor (1990) and Love is Where it Falls (1999) along with biographies of Charles Laughton and Orson Welles. His book Dickens' Christmas was first published in 2003, with a second edition in 2009. Simon Callow's autobiography My Life in Pieces was published in 2010.
My Life in Pieces
Simon Callow promoting his autobiography
Simon has signed my programme for
Shakespeare - The Man from Stratford
Callow now lives in London with his two unruly boxer dogs Bi
Biff & Roxy!
Simon Callow as William Shakespeare in
The Man from Stratford
His first appearance as an actor at the National Theatre was in 1979, playing Orlando in Shakespeare's As You Like It. This led on to him being given the chance, which he took without hesitation
hesitation, to perform the Sonnets. As Simon Callow says in his autobiography, "I embarked on a series of programmes at the National which climaxed one afternoon in a performance of all 154 poems in a sold-out Olivier Theatre in which Sir John Gielgud rath
rather prominently sat, scaring the life out of me!"