Friday, April 09, 2010

British Actor Christopher Cazenove, 1943-2010

British actor Christopher Cazenove, known for his roles in THE DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET and DYNASTY, has passed away at the age of 66.

Cazenove's death comes less than a week after the passing of his DYNASTY costar, John Forsythe. Cazenove played Ben Carrington, brother to Forsythe's Blake, in the latter part of the show's run in the '80s.

For me, Cazenove is best remembered as Charlie Tyrrell of THE DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET, which I watched on MASTERPIECE THEATRE in the late '70s. I highly recommend adding the DVD set to your Netflix queue if you've not yet had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with one of the great British series, which followed in the tradition of UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS.

Cazenove was also in JENNIE: LADY RANDOLPH CHURCHILL, which comes to DVD this summer.

In the spring of 2008 I was very fortunate to see Cazenove on stage in a touring production of MY FAIR LADY. I went to see the show specifically because he was in it. In my review I wrote "Cazenove knows his way around a stage and is a compelling, charismatic presence as Professor Henry Higgins. While the ghost of Rex Harrison is present in some of Cazenove's Harrison-perfect line readings -- which is a good thing -- Cazenove also makes the role fully his, including a childlike petulance at times, which is most amusing."

He was a superb Henry Higgins, and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to see him perform in person.

Cazenove was married for many years to actress Angharad Rees, who achieved fame for bringing Demelza Poldark to vivid life in the classic British series POLDARK. A few years after they divorced, they tragically lost one of their sons in a traffic accident.

More on Cazenove's life and career has been published at the New York Times.


Blogger NoirGirl said...

Oh no. This is so sad. :( I loved Christopher in Duchess of Duke Street. His was one of my favorite characters along with the Major and Mary.

You are very lucky to have been able to see him on stage. It sounds amazing.

Thank you for writing a lovely tribute.

4:20 AM  
Blogger la peregrina said...

Wonderful memorial, Laura, well done.

5:41 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to both of your for your comments...I'm glad to hear from others who appreciated Cazenove's work.

Aren't the characters from DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET unforgettable, Casey?

Best wishes,

10:16 AM  
Blogger Moira Finnie said...

I was so crestfallen when I read that Christopher Cazenove had passed away at a relatively young age. I adored him in The Duchess of Duke Street and Jennie, but does anyone remember him in a British series called A Fine Romance in the late '80s? It had considerable charm, thanks in large part to Mr. Cazenove.

I enjoyed your appreciation of his gifts enormously.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks so much for your note, Moira. I didn't see A FINE ROMANCE and will make a note to be watching for it!

Best wishes,

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, it's nice to know that some people actually care about him because in my country Nada ! I've loved him long before and long after Dynasty, and yes I saw 'A fine Romance'. I tried to see everything he did. But I missed him on stage even though I lived in London in 1992, I went back to France one day before the opening of 'Sound of Music'. But I saw him in an American Airport 3 years ago. I did not dare go to him, I just stared at him, I regret it now, I should have been more braver...

6:20 PM  

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