Obituary: Laurence Kennedy – ‘stage and screen actor of consummate skill’
Having worked with Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on My Very Own Story in 1993 and again in the West End at the Gielgud Theatre in 1995’s Communicating Doors, Laurence Kennedy won the rare accolade of being described by the playwright as “my kind of actor: walking the fine line between comedy and drama without sacrificing the truth of either”.
Born in Harrogate, Yorkshire, he graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1987 and made his professional debut at the Palace Theatre, Watford, in 1988 and appeared in Chichester Festival Theatre’s revival of Brian Friel’s Translations the same year.
In 1989, he followed the Chichester premiere of Royce Ryton’s The Royal Baccarat Scandal into the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
He was seen in Diane Cilento’s translation of Luigi Pirandello’s The Naked and in Pericles at the Leicester Haymarket in 1990 and toured with the English Shakespeare Company in The Merchant of Venice and Ben Jonson’s Volpone in 1991.
He took the title role in the Belgrade Coventry’s 1993 adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit but otherwise proved to be an ensemble player of consummate skill, especially so in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit (Chichester) and Present Laughter (Royal Exchange, Manchester) in 1997 and JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls (Garrick Theatre, 1998).
More recently, he was seen in Derby, Liverpool and Salisbury, latterly in the 2015 regional premiere of Laura Wade’s Posh co-produced by Salisbury and Nottingham Playhouses.
His screen credits included The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby (2012), The Musketeers (2015) and Stephen Poliakoff’s Close to the Enemy (2016) on television, and The Imitation Game (2014) and The Rizen (2017) on film. Laurence Kennedy was born on April 27, 1963, and died on October 24, aged 55, after a short illness.
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