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Richard Pearson obituary

Distinctive actor often cast as harassed establishment figures

It was the destiny of the actor Richard Pearson, who has died aged 93, to be remembered for his role in one of the most famous theatrical failures of modern times: what you might call a flop d'estime. In 1958, he was the original Stanley in Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party. After a short, highly successful provincial tour, the play was critically slaughtered when it opened at the Lyric Hammersmith in London in May 1958. In all, Pearson enjoyed a fruitful career spanning around 70 years, often playing harassed establishment figures, but it was Stanley that he always listed as one of his favourite parts. He reprised the role in an ITV production in 1960.

With his high-pitched voice and crestfallen features, Pearson conveyed Stanley's baffled vulnerability. As Harold Hobson, the play's sole critical champion in 1958, wrote in the Sunday Times: "Pearson's Stanley, excellent throughout, is

See full article on The Guardian - TV News