Tom Wilkinson dies aged 75

Saturday 30th December 2023, 5:43pm

The Full Monty. Gerald (Tom Wilkinson)

Tom Wilkinson, who has starred in British comedy films such as The Full Monty, Shakespeare In Love and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has died aged 75.

Wilkinson was last seen on screen earlier this year reprising his role of Gerald in the TV series version of The Fully Monty (pictured). He was attached to next appear in The Liar, the forthcoming film written by Stephen Fry.

In Shakespeare In Love he played Hugh Fennyman and he was cast as Graham Dashwood in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The actor's other British comedy film credits include This Beautiful Fantastic, Burke & Hare and The Importance Of Being Earnest. He also took the lead role of soon-to-retire hitman Leslie in 2018's Dead In A Week (Or Your Money Back) (pictured below).

Dead In A Week (Or Your Money Back). Leslie (Tom Wilkinson)

Meanwhile his TV comedy credits include playing David Hanratty in 1995 penal system satire A Very Open Prison and its follow-up Crossing The Floor.

Aside from comedy, he also starred in many drama productions, amassing a CV of over 130 productions, including such films as Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Batman Begins and Rush Hour. He gained Oscar nominations via the movies Michael Clayton and In The Bedroom.

The BBC notes: "Born in Leeds before moving to Canada and then Cornwall in childhood, he found his calling at the age of 18 when he was asked to direct a play. 'For the first time in my life, I started doing something I knew how to do', he said. 'I realised it wasn't necessarily just these southern middle-class types that got to be actors; it could possibly be people like me. And once I knew, I never changed my mind.'"

He married fellow actor Diana Hardcastle in 1988, having met her on his first key screen project, the 1986 Jeffrey Archer TV series First Among Equals. The couple later worked together again in The Kennedys and Good People. They have two daughters, Alice and Molly.

Talking in an interview about taking on the role of former factory foreman Gerald in The Full Monty, he said: "I was simultaneously offered the lead in a TV series and a possible part in a low-budget movie. I remember phoning a friend and he said, 'Take the TV, take the TV'. But I didn't follow his advice, and the TV turned out to be crap." Meanwhile the film went on that year to set a new record for the highest-grossing British film.

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