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Christopher Cazenove (1945 - 2010)
I met Christopher Cazenove after I had seen his performance in the classic comedy The Grass is Greener at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham in September 2009.
He was really friendly, and happily posed for a photograph with me, after he had signed my programme.
It was very sad to hear of his death just six months later.
Christopher de Lerisson Cazenove was born in Winchester, Hampshire, in 1945. His surname is French - it means 'new house'. His father, Arnold, was a brigadier in the Coldstream Guards. Christopher has a younger brother Robert, who followed his father into the Coldstream Guards, and later became an equerry to the Queen.
The Cazenove family's ancestors were Hugenots who fled from religious persecution in France. Ch
Christopher was brought up in Somerset and attended Eton college, where he became known as a prankster. "I was a rule-breaker," he recalled, "and my first 'job' with Ranulph Fiennes was to mount a dustbin on top of the school hall." On one occasion he received a birching from the headteacher.
On leaving Eton, Cazenove worked as a a chauffeur and a handym
handyman, but always had a desire to act, and so went on to train at the Bristol Old Vic theatre. He made his stage debut in Shaw's Man and Superman at Leicester's Phoenix theatre in 1967, followed by two seasons at the Pitlochry Festival theatre where he played Hamlet.
Christopher Cazenove, Alison Steadman & Alan
Ayckbourn in Brighton for Joking Apart
Christopher Cazenove in Art
Cazenove made his London debut in The Lionel Touch with Rex Harrison in 1970, and his later West End productions included The Winslow Boy (1971), Joking Apart (1979), An Ideal Husband (1998), Brief Encounter (2000), Art (2003) and the National Theatre's award
Christopher Cazenove & Lisa O'Hare in
My Fair Lady
award-winning production of My Fair Lady (2006) which toured both the UK and America. I saw him in the 1950s classic comedy The Grass is Greener in Nottingham in 2009.
Christopher Cazenove & Martin Shaw
in Judge John Deed
Christopher Cazenove rose to fame on British television as Richard Gaunt in the 23-episode series The Regiment (1972). Many other TV roles folllowed, most notably as Charlie Haslemere in The Duches
Duchess of Duke Street (1977). Christopher was often cast in parts like this - Edwardian aristocrats with military leanings.
As Charlie in The Duchess of Duke Street
Other, more diverse TV roles have included Tom Martin in Children of the Full Moon (1980); Tears in the Rain (1988) with Sharon Stone, and Rudolph Vyne in The Lady and the Highwayman
Christopher Cazenove & Diana Dors in
Children of the Full Moon
Christopher Cazenove as Rudolph Vyne in
The Lady and the Highwayman
in Fun at the Funeral Parlour
Christopher Cazenove as Urquart Sav
Highwayman (1989). More recently, he appeared as Urquart in Fun at the Funeral Parlour (2001) and as DAC Row Colemore in the first three series of Judge John Deed (2001-2003).
The Opening Title for Dynasty
Cazenove as Michael Bredon in
Christopher Cazenove as Ben Carrington
Kate O'Mara & Christopher Cazenove
Chris Cazenove & Joan Collins
It was the glossy American soap opera
Dynasty that brought Chris- topher Cazenove international fame in 1986. As Ben Carrington, he was the evil brother of Blake Carrington (played by John Forsythe) scheming to reclaim the family inheritance from him.
Tears in the Rain
Cazenove once said his favourite place was "in front of a camera" and preferred performing on screen rather than on stage. After his initial television success in The Regiment, he had a string of film roles, however top billing always eluded him.
James Faulkner & Christopher Cazenove in Zulu Dawn
Greta Scacchi & Christopher Cazenove
in Heat and Dust
He played Eric Hansen in the Victorian British Army swashbuckler Royal Flash (1975), the plantation owner Robert Proudfoot in the colonial drama East of Elephant Rock (1977) and the Zulu War hero Lieutenant Coghill in Zulu Dawn (1979).
Greta Scacchi) scandalises the British Raj. Later film roles included the English cad Edward Hargreave in the comedy 3 Men and a Little Lady (1990)and Melchior in Shadow Run (1998). For
Christopher Cazenove as John Thatcher
3 Men and a Little Lady
Nancy Travis & Christopher Cazenove in
For an actor usually cast as smooth aristocrats or posh military types, Christopher Cazenove took on an altogether different role as Heath Ledger's blind, lowly father, John Thatcher, in A Knight's Tale (2001).
in A Knight's Tale
In 1973, Cazenove married the actress Angharad Rees, with whom he had two sons Linford and Rhys. The marriage ended in 1994 and, five years later, Linford died in a car accident on the M11 in Essex.
Christopher Cazanove with his wife Angharad Rees
and sons Linford & Rhys
Christopher Cazenove died in a London hospital on 7th April 2010. He had been ill for several weeks with septicemia. Coincidentally, his Dynasty co-star John Forsyth had also died a
just a week earlier. Christopher's funeral at St Paul's church, Covent Garden on 16th April 2010, was attended by many famous names from the world of acting. Click here to see pictures.
Christopher Cazenove has signed my programme for
The Grass is Greener
In the lavishly produced Merchant-Ivory production of
Heat and Dust (1983), Cazenove played another colonialist Douglas Rivers, a man whose wife (played by