Actor Richard Johnson dies aged 87

The British actor almost played James Bond and was a founding member of the Royal Shakespeare Company

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The Independent Online

British actor Richard Johnson, known for The Haunting and Khartoum, has died aged 87.

Johnson’s family said he died on Saturday in a London hospital after a short illness.

A founding member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Johnson’s career spanned several decades with roles in film, TV and on the stage. He played several lead roles with the RSC including Romeo and Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar, and his big screen roles included Khartoum, starring opposite Laurence Olivier and Charlton Heston. He recently appeared in The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas and last year’s Radiator.

Johnson once revealed that he turned down the role of James Bond in the debut film Dr No. Sean Connery took the part instead, and Johnson told Cinema Retro magazine in 2009 that he felt Connery was miscast but nonetheless perfect, “because it turned the thing on its head and he made it funny”.

Johnson wed four times, including a brief 1960s marriage to American star Kim Novak.

He is survived by his wife Lynne, whom he married in 2004, and four children.

Additional reporting by PA