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British actor Nicol Williamson dies at age 75
AMSTERDAM (AP) - Nicol Williamson, the British actor best known for his role as the wizard Merlin in the 1981 film “Excalibur,” has died of esophageal cancer, his son said Wednesday. He was 75.
His son Luke said the actor died Dec. 16 in Amsterdam, where he had lived for more than two decades.
He was nominated for a Tony Award in 1966 for his role in Osborne’s “Inadmissible Evidence” and again in 1974 for Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.” He also was nominated three times for acting honors at the British Academy Film Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars.
In films, he was an acclaimed wizard Merlin in John Boorman’s “Excalibur” and also played Little John to Sean Connery’s Robin Hood and Audrey Hepburn’s Lady Marian in the 1976 movie “Robin and Marian.”
Luke Williamson described his father as multi-talented and multi-faceted.
“He could do it all,” Williamson said in a telephone interview. “He could sing, he wrote poetry, he wrote prose, he wrote a book … He was working on a CD in the year leading up to his illness, and he finished it while he was going through chemotherapy.”
“Dad didn’t play that game,” he said. “One of the tremendous things about Nicol was that he was always straight up with you.”
The Dutch capital appealed to Nicol in part because the city was “a very easy place to live” while being close to Britain and the rest of Europe. As he left the theater behind, he gravitated more toward musical projects, including the CD, which Luke said would eventually be released on his father’s website.
Associated Press writer Raphael Satter in London contributed to this story.
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