According to published reports, stage and screen star Richard Briers passed away yesterday, February 17, from a serious lung condition. He was 79 years old.
Prominent for half a century, Briers' career encompassed television, stage, film and radio performances. Briers first came to prominence as George Starling in Marriage Lines in the 1960s, but it was in the following decade, when he played Tom Good in the BBC sitcom The Good Life (1975-78), that he became a household name. In the 1980s he starred in Ever Decreasing Circles (1984-89), and had a leading role in Monarch of the Glen (2000-02).
Briers spent much of his career in the theatre, including appearances in plays by Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw. In 1967, one of his earliest successes was playing alongside Michael Hordern and Celia Johnson in the London production of Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking.
Briers was a member of Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company, taking on classical and Shakespearean roles including Malvolio in the production of Twelfth Night and the title parts in King Lear and Uncle Vanya. Briers also appeared in nine of Branagh's films, including Twelfth Night (1988, as Malvolio); Henry V (1989, as Bardolph), Much Ado About Nothing (1993, as Signor Leonato) and Hamlet (1996, as Polonius).