Alan Howard dead: RSC 'icon' dies from pneumonia aged 77

Tributes have been paid to the 'great spirit' of English theatre

Renowned Royal Shakespeare Company actor Alan Howard has died aged 77 after suffering from pneumonia.

Howard played a series of lead roles at the National Theatre and in the West End, with notable performances as Macbeth and King Lear, but always described the RSC as his “spiritual home”. He was a mainstay there for 17 years after joining in 1966.

Gregory Doran, RSC artistic director, paid tribute to the English actor today, branding him a “giant gifted with a great classical physique, a prodigious talent and an utterly unmistakeable voice”.


Howard’s regular theatre collaborator Terry Hands also spoke about his death. “Alan was an RSC icon, a great classical actor in the line of Olivier, Redgrave, Scofield,” he said. “I have lost a brother.”

Howard’s other stand-out roles included Oberon in Peter Brook’s 1970 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Antony alongside Glenda Jackson’s Cleopatra in the 1978 staging of Antony and Cleopatra.

His last stage appearance was as Sir Peter Teazle in The School for Scandal in 2011.

His novelist wife Sally Beauman and their son James were at his side when he died on Saturday 14 February.