Simon Callow

Simon Callow

Infobox actor

imagesize = 180px
occupation = Theatre director, actor
birthdate = birth date and age|1949|6|15|df=y
birthplace = Streatham, London, England
domesticpartner = Daniel Kramer
laurenceolivierawards = Best Director of a Musical
1992 "Carmen Jones"
awards = Evening Standard Awards
Patricia Rothermere Award
1999 Outstanding services to theatre

Simon Phillip Hugh Callow, CBE (born 15 June 1949) is an English stage, film and television actor and director.


Early years

Callow was born in Streatham, London, England to Yvonne Mary Guise, a secretary, Neil Francis Callow, a businessman. [cite web | title=Simon Callow Biography | url= | work=filmreference | date=2008 | accessdate=2008-09-01] He attended the London Oratory School and then went on to study at the Queen's University of Belfast before giving up his degree course to go into acting at the Drama Centre in London.


Callow made his stage debut in 1973 with "The Thrie Estates", Assembly Hall Theatre, Edinburgh. He was an established stage actor before making his first film appearance in "Amadeus" in 1984 (having played Mozart in the original stage production at the Royal National Theatre). His first television role was in "Carry On Laughing" episode "Orgy and Bess", in 1975, but it was apparently cut from the final print. He starred in several series of the Channel 4 situation comedy, "Chance in a Million", as Tom Chance, an eccentric individual to whom coincidences happened regularly. Roles like this and his part in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" brought him a wider audience than his many critically acclaimed stage appearances.

At the same time, Callow was successful both as a director and as a writer. His "Being An Actor" (1984) was a critique of 'director dominated' theatre, in addition to containing autobiographical sections relating to his early career as an actor. At a time when subsidised theatre in the UK was under severe pressure from the Thatcher government, the work's original appearance caused a minor controversy. In 1995 he directed a stage version of the classic French film "Les Enfants du Paradis" for the RSC. Unfortunately, the production was not a success. Callow has also directed opera productions.

One of Callow's best-known books is "Love Is Where It Falls", a poignant analysis of his eleven-year relationship with Peggy Ramsay (1908-91), a prominent British theatrical agent from the 1960s to the 1980s. He has also written extensively about Charles Dickens, whom he has played in a one-man show, "The Mystery of Charles Dickens" by Peter Ackroyd,in the film "", and on television several times including An Audience with Charles Dickens (BBC 1996) and in "The Unquiet Dead", a 2005 episode of the BBC science-fiction series "Doctor Who".

Callow appeared with Saeed Jaffrey in 1994 British television series "Little Napoleons". In 1996 Callow directed Cantabile in three musical pieces (Commuting, The waiter's revenge, Ricercare No 4) composed by his friend Stephen Oliver.Ricercare No4 was commissioned by Callow especially for Cantabile. In 2004, he appeared on a Comic Relief episode of "Little Britain" for charity causes. In 2006, he wrote a piece for the BBC1 programme "This Week" bemoaning the lack of characters in modern politics. He has starred as Count Fosco, the villain of "Wilkie Collins"'s novel "The Woman in White", in film (1997) and on stage (2005, in the Andrew Lloyd Webber "musical" in the West End).

In December 2004, he hosted the London Gay Men's Chorus' Christmas Show, "Make the Yuletide Gay" at the Barbican Centre in London. He is currently one of the Patrons of the Michael Chekhov Studio London. Callow narrated the audio book of Robert Fagles' 2006 translation of Virgil's "The Aeneid".

In July 2006 the World renowned London Oratory School Schola announced Callow as one of their new patrons. In November 2007 he threatened to resign the post over controversy surrounding the Terrence Higgins Trust (an AIDS charity of which Callow is also a patron). Other patrons of the Catholic choir are HRH Princess Michael of Kent and the leading Scottish composer James MacMillan.

From 11 July 2008 to 3 August, Callow will appear at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada in his new one man show "There Reigns Love", a play about the poetry of William Shakespeare [cite web
title=Stratford Shakespeare Festival - There Reigns Love
publisher=Stratford Festival
] and also in 2008,he appeared at the Edinburgh Festival giving a recital, directed by Patrick Garland,of two stories by Charles Dickens.

In February 2008, he played the psychiatrist in Chichester Festival Theatre's production of Peter Shaffer's "Equus".

He has also written biographies of Orson Welles and Charles Laughton. Callow was also the reader of "The Twits" and "The Witches" in the Puffin Roald Dahl Audio Books Collection (ISBN 978-0-140-92255-4). He also was the reader of several abridged PG Wodehouse, Jeeves books including "Very Good, Jeeves" and "Aunts Aren't Gentlemen".

Personal life

Callow is one of the most prominent gay actors in Britain, listed 28th in the "Independent"'s 2007 listing of the most influential gay men and women in the UK. [|title= Independent, 18th October 2007] In 1999 he was awarded the CBE for his services to acting.

Callow's partner is director Daniel Kramer. They share a house in Camden, North London. [cite web |url= |title=An American's bravura on the London stage |work=Herald Tribune |date=2006-11-21 |accessdate=2008-01-26 |last=Wolf |first=Matt ]







External links

* [ Simon Callow] - "Downstage Center" interview at American Theatre, September 2006
* [ Simon Callow] on BBC1's " [ This Week] "
* [ Simon Callow] in "Master/Mistress of my Passion"

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