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David Neal obituary

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Versatile actor David Neal, who appeared extensively in both regional and London theatre, as well as in films and on television, died on June 27.

He was born in Desborough, Northamptonshire, in 1932, and on leaving the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1958, joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, before working in several leading repertory companies in the sixties and seventies.

I met David in 1963 at the Liverpool Playhouse. and we worked together again at the Nottingham Playhouse in 1964 during the glorious John Neville period, when we thought that regional theatre was safe forever.

During this time he played many leading roles, including Thomas More in A Man for all Seasons, Gloucester in King Lear, and subsequently the title role in Lear. Though David was of humble beginnings, he, like his idol John Gielgud, was more at ease playing men of breeding.

David worked with Sir John on several occasions, and understudied him in Ivanov. He made a fine Caesar in Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra, and at Bernard Miles' then new Mermaid Theatre in the sixties, he appeared in Henry IV Parts I and II, St Joan and The Tempest.

He was in the original 1968 cast of Peter Barnes' The Ruling Class, at the Piccadilly Theatre, and appeared in several films and numerous television productions. His features included the 1970 version of Julius Caesar, Superman, Flash Gordon, M Butterfly and Feast of July, while he was seen on the small screen in series such as The Flockton Flyer and By the Sword Divided.

David portrayed Scroop. Archbishop of York, in BBC Television's Henry IV, Part I, in 1979, and had good roles in Timon of Athens, Antony and Cleopatra, Hands of a Murderer and The Garden of Redemption (1997).

He also made notable guest appearances in popular dramas like Dr Who, The Professionals, Inspector Morse and Poirot.

David was a fine interpreter of HE Bates. He broadcast several of the author's short stories, and co-wrote the screenplay for the 1998 Swedish film, Under Solen (Under the Sun), which was adapted from Bates' novel, The Little Farm.

He also toured his one-man show round Northamptonshire, the county he loved so much, and where he lived with his beloved cats in a cottage in the woods, near the remains of a Cistercian Abbey.

Graced with good looks and charm, he was much liked by his fellow actors, and wonderfully professional.

His marriage to costume designer Margaret Manning was dissolved in 1981. He leaves two devoted daughters, a grandchild and many friends who will miss him dearly.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Davis, Noel (2000-08-10). David Neal obituary. The Stage p. 26.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Davis, Noel. "David Neal obituary." The Stage [add city] 2000-08-10, 26. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Davis, Noel. "David Neal obituary." The Stage, edition, sec., 2000-08-10
  • Turabian: Davis, Noel. "David Neal obituary." The Stage, 2000-08-10, section, 26 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=David Neal obituary | url= | work=The Stage | pages=26 | date=2000-08-10 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=David Neal obituary | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 April 2024}}</ref>