Stephens was born in Bristol, England, and rose to become one of the most respected actors of his generation. By the 1960s he was regarded as the natural successor to Laurence Olivier. He and his third wife, actress Maggie Smith appeared together on stage and in film, notably in the film version of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in 1969.
His other films in this period included a minor role as Prince Escalus in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet (1968), as well as a starring role in Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) and the science fiction film, The Asphyx (1973). However, following his departure from the National Theatre in 1970 and the breakup of his marriage in 1973 he suffered a career slump, not helped by heavy drinking.
Although he continued to work on stage (notably in the National Theatre'sThe Mysteries in 1986), film (The Fruit Machine (1988), a/k/a Wonderland (USA), and television (notably in the role of Abner Brown in the 1984 BBC TV dramatisation of the children's classic The Box of Delights), it wasn't until the 1990s that he re-established himself at the forefront of his profession, when the Royal Shakespeare Company invited him to play Falstaff in Henry IV, part 1 and then the title role in King Lear. He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1993 for Best Actor, for his performance as Sir John Falstaff in Henry IV for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was knighted in 1995.
Stephens was married four times:
Following years of ill health, he died from cancer at the age of 64, eleven months after he was knighted.
Stephens was one of eight actors profiled in Roger Lewis' 1989 book Stage People.
CHIEF GEEK CHECKS OUT; Robert Stephens, who sold Geek Squad to Best Buy 10 years ago, is moving to California to launch new companies.(BUSINESS)
Mar 12, 2012; Byline: THOMAS LEE; STAFF WRITER Best Buy's top Geek has left the Squad. Robert Stephens, whose computer-repair business...
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