Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne CBE (5 April, 1929 – 26 December, 2001) was an English actor, perhaps best remembered for his role as Humphrey Appleby in the sitcom Yes Minister.
Hawthorne was born in Coventry
, although he grew up in South Africa
, where he was educated by the Christian Brothers
. He returned to the United Kingdom
in the 1950s to pursue a career in acting.
In a long and varied career, which began with an advert for Mackeson stout and a bit part in Dad's Army
, his most famous roles were as Sir Humphrey Appleby
in the television series Yes Minister
(and its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister
), for which he won four BAFTA awards, and as King George III
in Alan Bennett
's stage play The Madness of George III
) and the film adaptation
, for which he received an Oscar
He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1987, and was knighted in 1999.
An intensely private individual, he was deeply saddened when he was involuntarily "outed" as gay in the run-up to the Oscars, but nevertheless attended the ceremonies with his long-time partner Trevor Bentham, and spoke openly about being gay in interviews and his autobiography, Straight Face, which was published posthumously.
He had several operations for pancreatic cancer
, although his immediate cause of death was from a heart attack
, aged 72. He was survived by his partner, Trevor Bentham
. He was buried at Parish Church of Thundridge in Ware