Richard E. Grant was born in 1957 in Swaziland. After his education, he moved to the UK to begin a career as an actor. He has starred in the cult “Withnail and I” and after it’s success began appearing in Hollywood and international films. His other films include “L.A. Story” with Steve Martin, “The Player” with Tim Robbins, “The Age of Innocence” with Daniel Day-Lewis and “Gosford Park” among many others.
Lanky, British player who has had some success in mainstream Hollywood features. Grant began acting in his native South Africa, where he founded the multi-ethnic Troupe Theater Company. In 1982, he moved to London to stomp the boards in fringe and repertory productions. Grant made his English TV-film debut in Les Blair’s improvisational satire, “Honest, Decent and True” (1985). The next year, he entered films as the star of “Withnail & I” (1986), writer-director Bruce Robinson’s brilliant observation of the eccentricities of English actors in the 1960s. As the acerbic Withnail, Grant conveyed the great likability of a mostly vile character. He reteamed with Robinson for “How to Get Ahead in Advertising” (1988), a scathing comic indictment of the industry’s morals or lack thereof. Here he was Dennis Dimbleby Bagley, an ad exec whose head is taken over by an evil boil.
Grant’s American film credits in the early 90s include some of Hollywood’s more notorious productions. He co-starred as the husband of Anais Nin in “Henry & June” (1990), the first film to receive the NC-17 rating. He also played the mad English villain opposite Bruce Willis in the much-maligned “Hudson Hawk” (1991). Grant had supporting roles in Robert Altman’s “The Player”, as the English filmmaker who initially refuses to compromise his “artistic integrity”, and Francis Ford Coppola’s florid “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (both 1992), as Dr. Seward. He worked with another one of cinema’s titans, Martin Scorsese, in the opulent adaptation of Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” (1993), as a smug member of turn-of-the-century New York’s high society. He reteamed with Altman for “Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Porter)” (1994) as an eccentric homosexual and portrayed a grieving widower coping with a newborn in “Jack and Sarah” (1995). The following year, he played a wealthy suitor to Nicole Kidman’s Isabel Archer in Jane Campion’s “Portrait of a Lady” and appeared as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Trevor Nunn’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”. Also in 1996, Grant published “With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E Grant” in England.
The above TCM overview can also be accessed online here.