Robert Hardy (born 29 October 1925) is an English actor with a long career in the theatre, film and television, beginning in 1959 when he appeared as Sicinius opposite Laurence Olivier in Coriolanus at Stratford-upon-Avon, directed by Peter Hall. Since then he has appeared in many Shakespearean roles. His first continuing role in a TV series was as Alex Stewart in The Troubleshooters (1966-1970), but of course he is most well-known as the senior veterinarian Siegfried Farnon in the long-running All Creatures Great and Small (1978-1990). He is also most notably associated with playing Winston Churchill in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981), for which he won a BAFTA award. More recently he has become recognised by the younger generation for playing Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter films.
He has appeared in numerous films, on stage, on radio and in such television productions as Elizabeth R. - and it was while he was playing Malcolm Campbell in Speed King (1980) and the title role of John Fothergill in Fothergill (1981) with the BBC that Ian Wallace (who was also working on those productions as Production Associate) met him and invited him to become a Patron of The Young Theatre.
He'd studied under C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and was a close friend of actor Richard Burton. He developed an interest in medieval warfare, and he later wrote and presented an acclaimed television documentary on the subject of the Battle of Agincourt and has also written two books on the subject of the longbow. He was Master of the Worshipful Company of Bowyers of the City of London from 1988 to 1990
He was made a CBE in 1981, and in 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
He stood down as a Patron of The Young Theatre in 1996.
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