Keith Michell obituary

Actor and theatre director best known for his many portrayals of Henry VIII

Regally tall and strong-featured, the Australian-born actor Keith Michell, who has died aged 88, made his reputation in the 1960s and 70s in classical roles, and probably played the part of King Henry VIII more than any other performer. But he also made a significant contribution to British theatre when he followed Laurence Olivier and John Clements to become artistic director of Chichester Festival Theatre. The appointment in 1974 was Michell’s first of this kind, and came as a surprise to many, since contenders for control of the huge apron stage, and the chance to experiment in a kindlier atmosphere than that of the West End in London, had included Jonathan Miller, Peter Dews and Robin Phillips, all of whom had directing experience, including plays at Chichester.

Michell had been recruited by Olivier to play the lead, Don John,

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