Theatre offered `total escape'
Tuesday 14 November 1995
"For me there is no life outside the theatre" - Robert Stephens's own words are as good an epitaph as any. In his last interview, by Georgina Brown for the Independent last weekend, Sir Robert confessed that he had little time for the "real" world. His marriages were disastrous, his parenting skills non-existent by his own admission.
Only acting brought true satisfaction to the towering talent, renowned raconteur, dedicated smoker and fearsome drinker who died yesterday. His reaction to the illness was typical of his view generally on life's slings and arrows: "It's such a fucking nuisance." The stage offered "always a total escape".
His career began at 16 with his discovery of "the lethal cocktail of theatre and sex and it seemed like a very good idea indeed. In my life sex and theatre were always bound up together. It's the way it is, but not for everybody. You're thrown into close contact with people very quickly and it's hard to deal with. I just love the company of women as opposed to the company of men who get on my nerves a bit. . . An actor's life is hedged around with what I choose to call romances."
His first marriage he described as a mistake. "I'd just bumbled along in my usual, amiable manner. I had no plans to be a good husband, or a good father."
Acting was all: "I'm a capricious person. . . But I've never been capricious about my work."
He was hard on those he felt were not equally dedicated. Hugh Grant and Anthony Hopkins used "a one-trick flick, always the same. It's not acting".
For him, there was no life outside the theatre. "It was just theatre, theatre, theatre. I was never bored of it. It's a very rare thing and probably not good. One should have some golfing friends. I never did."
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...
£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...
£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...