Brian Blessed was born October 9, 1936.
One of Blessed’s earliest roles was that of PC “Fancy” Smith in the BBC television series Z-Cars, between 1962 and 1965. In 1966, he appeared in a production of Incident at Vichy at the Phoenix Theatre in London. In 1967, he played Porthos in a 10-part BBC adaptation of The Three Musketeers. Blessed also had minor roles in cult TV series such as The Avengers (1967, 1969) and the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969). He appeared as William Woodcock in the Yorkshire Television series Boy Dominic (1974). He played Caesar Augustus in the BBC Two drama series I, Claudius (1976) and Basileos in The Aphrodite Inheritance (1979). He hosted a docudrama on the life of Johann Sebastian Bach called The Joy of Bach (1978), in which he also played Bach in a number of scenes.
He played Long John Silver in the 10-part serial Return to Treasure Island (1986), King Yrcanos in the Doctor Who serial Mindwarp (1986), General Yevlenko in the mini-series War and Remembrance (1988), and Lord Loxley, the father of Robin Hood, in the Hollywood film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).
Other roles have emphasised Blessed’s comedic abilities. In particular, Prince Vultan in the film Flash Gordon (1980), for which he is remembered for the exclamations “Gordon’s alive!” and “DIVE!”; the mad, comical figure of Richard IV in the first series of The Black Adder (1983), a role Blessed has claimed to be one of his most cherished; and Spiro in the BBC adaptation of My Family and Other Animals (1987). Blessed has joked that he was due to appear in Blackadder II (1986) as Elizabeth I, but was unavailable for filming.
In 1999, Blessed provided both the voice and live-action reference for the blustery CGI character Boss Nass in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and also provided the voice of the villainous hunter Clayton in Disney’s animated feature film Tarzan, a role he later reprised in the video game based on the film and in the critically acclaimed Kingdom Hearts in 2002.
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