May. 2nd, 1946
London, England, UK
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Best known in the United States and abroad as Agatha Christie's suave Belgian super-sleuth Hercule Poirot in scores of late 1980s and '90s mini-movies, London-born actor David Suchet's early interest in the theater led to his membership with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain in the 1960s following graduation from high school. He then studied for three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and, after much work in repertory, became a company member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973. Balding and stocky-framed with cruel eyes, arched brows and a dark, sinister countenance, he reveled in Shakespearean villainy with expertly loathsome portrayals of Iago in "Othello", Tybalt in "Romeo and Juliet" and Caliban in "The Tempest" to his credit and became one of the dominant players of the RSC by decade's end.
In the 1970s Suchet also began to come into his own on British television. In classical tradition, his first television movie was A Tale of Two Cities (1980) (TV). He actually played his first detective in the Disney mystery-comedy Trenchcoat (1983). His looks were perfect for playing ethnic heavies or dignitaries in 1980s films. He was a Middle Eastern terrorist in The Little Drummer Girl (1984), a Russian operative in The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), a French hunter in Harry and the Hendersons (1987), a Polish bishop in To Kill a Priest (1988) and Napoleon himself in Sabotage! (2000).
He also had some masterful television roles portraying a number of historical, biblical and entertainment figures, including Sigmund Freud in the mini-series "Freud" (1984), news reporter William L. Shirer in the biopic Murrow (1986) (TV), Aaron in Moses (1995) (TV), and movie mogul Louis B. Mayer in RKO 281 (1999) (TV).
While the Poirot mysteries and other TV dramatic showcases still figure into much of his work today, Suchet also has given potent, award-winning performances on the non-Shakespearean stage, particularly his George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" in 1996 and, from 1998 to 2001, composer Salieri in "Amadeus", which he took to Broadway and for which he received a Tony nomination. Short in stature (5' 7") but tall in talent and imposing in figure, Suchet continues to impress, more recently as Cardinal Wolsey in Henry VIII (2003) (TV) and vampire nemesis Van Helsing in Dracula (2006) (TV). Long wed to former actress Sheila Ferris, the couple has a son and daughter. His older brother is BBC newscaster-turned-journalist John Suchet.
- He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2002 'Queen Elizabeth II' (qv)'s Birthday Honors List for his services to drama.
- He attended the National Youth Theatre in the 1960s.
- He was nominated for Broadway's 2000 Tony Award as Best Actor (Play) for portraying 'Antonio Salieri' (qv) in a revival of 'Peter Shaffer' (qv)'s "Amadeus.".
- He has two children: Robert and Katherine.
- He was nominated for a 'Laurence Olivier' (qv) Theatre Award in 1999 (1998 season) for Best Actor for his performance in "Amadeus".
- He was nominated for a 1997 'Laurence Olivier' (qv) Theatre Award for Best Actor in a Play of 1996 for his performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?".
- He is the brother of ITN newscaster 'John Suchet' (qv).
- He was awarded the 1996 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre) for Best Actor for his performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?".
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