Antony Sher, who has died at the age of 72, was a man of staggering versatility. As well as being a brilliant actor, he was an accomplished artist and writer. But, far from being separate, his three careers all fed into each other: you only have to look at his sketches of Richard III in his book Year of the King to see how his draughtsman’s eye enriched his performance. Gifted in numerous ways, Sher also saw his acting career as one that evolved from impersonation to embodiment of a character.
Sher once told me that, when growing up as a boy in South Africa, his idols were Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers: what he envied, and initially sought to emulate, was their capacity for physical transformation. He also said that, when he left Cape Town at the age of 19 to make a career in the UK as an actor, he was aware, as a gay, Jewish South African, of being a triple outsider. He was even unsure whether he was cut out to be an actor; in his autobiography, Beside Myself, he describes himself arriving in London as a “short, slight, shy creature in black specs” understandably rejected by Rada, who strongly urged him to seek a different career.
Happily, he persevered, but in much of his early work you feel Sher was relying as much on his imitative skills as his inner self. That didn’t stop him being totally persuasive as the Beatles’ legendary drummer in John, Paul, George, Ringo … & Bert, which transferred from the Liverpool Everyman to the West End: he was equally good as the lecherous redbrick sleazeball Howard Kirk in the TV version of Malcolm Bradbury’s The History Man. But it was his stage performance as an exploited Arab visitor in Mike Leigh’s Goose-Pimples that marked his development as an actor: the performance, based on meticulous research, was mimetically brilliant but also called on Sher’s own experience as an outsider struggling to fit into an alien culture.
In other news – Malcolm X blesses the young man who was mocked for wearing fake sneakers
Business mogul Malcolm X has made a man very happy in Tlhabane in Rustenburg, North West. This after the man was embarrassed by a group of friends for wearing fake sneakers at Reggie’s Cigar Lounge last week.
Malcolm X can be seen donating clothes to the man, who keeps smiling even though he is visibly shocked. The mogul was fulfilling a promise he had made to him after the incident. Learn more