Nigel Davenport dies aged 85

The actor will be remembered for his appearances in films 'A Man of All Seasons', 'Chariots of Fire', and TV series 'Howards' Way'

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The Independent Culture

Actor Nigel Davenport, who starred in a succession of TV dramas and classic British films, has died aged 85.

Davenport, who appeared in more than 40 feature films and TV dramas, was known as one of the most versatile actors of his day, alternating between screen and stage.

He is well known for his appearances in Chariots of Fire, in which he played Lord Birkenhead, and for his role as Duke of Norfolk in the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons.

On the small screen, he will be best remembered for his performance as tycoon Sir Edward Frere in BBC1's Howards’ Way, the popular Sunday night drama set in a wealthy yachting set.

He made frequent appearances in TV dramas including The Adventures of Robin Hood, Big Guns, The Avengers, South Riding, Oil Strike North and Don’t Rock the Boat.

In the West End, he starred in plays including Félicien Marçeau’s Bonne Soupe, Arthur Miller’s Incident at Vichy, Frank Marcus’ Notes On A Love Affair and Chekhov’s Three Sisters.

Born in Cambridgeshire, he was educated at Cheltenham College before reading English at Trinity College, Oxford, where he acted with the Oxford University Drama Society.

Davenport was an active member of the actors’ trade union Equity, and served as its president for six years from 1986.

He married twice, first to Helena White, who he met at Oxford, and then to actress and director Maria Aitken.

He had two children from his first marriage, journalist Hugo Davenport and actress Laura Davenport. From his second marriage he had one son, actor Jack Davenport, who is currently appearing in ITV series Breathless.