British Celebrity Spotlight | Sir Derek Jacobi
Sir Derek George Jacobi, CBE, born 22 October 1938) is an English actor and film director.
A “forceful, commanding stage presence”, Jacobi has enjoyed a highly successful stage career, appearing in such stage productions as Hamlet, Uncle Vanya, and Oedipus the King. He received a Tony Award for his performance in Much Ado About Nothing. His stage work also included playing Edward II, Octavius Caesar, Richard III, and Cyrano de Bergerac.
In addition to being a founder member of the Royal National Theatreand winning several prestigious theatre awards, Jacobi has also enjoyed a successful television career, starring in the critically praised adaptation of Roberts Graves’ I, Claudius, for which he won a BAFTA; the titular role in the acclaimed medieval drama series Brother Cadfael, and Stanley Baldwin in The Gathering Storm. Though principally a stage actor, Jacobi has appeared in a number of films, such as Henry V (1989), Dead Again (1991), Gladiator (2000), Gosford Park (2001), The Golden Compass (2007), The King’s Speech (2010), My Week with Marilyn (2011), and the forthcoming Hippie Hippie Shake. Like Laurence Olivier, he holds two knighthoods, Danish and British.
Jacobi has been publicly involved in the Shakespeare authorship question. He supports the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship, according to which Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford wrote the works of Shakespeare. Jacobi has given an address to the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre promoting Oxford as the Shakespeare author and wrote forewords to two books on the subject in 2004 and 2005.
In 2007, Jacobi and fellow Shakespearean actor and director Mark Rylance initiated a “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt” on the authorship of Shakespeare’s work, to encourage new research into the question.
In 2011, Jacobi accepted a role in the film Anonymous, starring Rhys Ifans and Vanessa Redgrave. In the film Jacobi plays a playwright who raises, through his work, the Oxfordian theory. Jacobi allows that making the film was “a very risky thing to do”, and imagines that “the orthodox Stratfordians are going to be apoplectic with rage”.