Sir Thomas Daniel Courtenay is an English actor of stage and screen. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he achieved prominence in the 1960s with a series of acclaimed film roles. He was the first to record the song Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter, doing so for the TV play The Lads.
About Tom Courtenay in brief
Sir Thomas Daniel Courtenay is an English actor of stage and screen. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he achieved prominence in the 1960s with a series of acclaimed film roles. For his performance in the 1983 film adaptation of the play The Dresser, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and received Academy and BAFTA Award nominations. He has been feted for his work on television also, winning two British Academy Television Awards for his performances in the television film A Rather English Marriage and the first series of the crime drama Unforgotten. In February 2001, he was created a Knight Bachelor for his services to cinema and theatre. He was the first to record the song Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter, doing so for the TV play The Lads. He is the son of Annie Eliza and Thomas Henry Courtenays, a boat painter. He attended Kingston High School and went on to study English at University College London, where he failed his degree. He made his stage debut in 1960 with the Old Vic theatre company at the Lyceum, Edinburgh, before taking over from Albert Finney in the title role of Billy Liar at the Cambridge Theatre in 1961.
He said of Finney, ‘We both have the same problem, overcoming the flat harsh speech of the North.’ His film debut was in 1962 with Private Potter, directed by Finnish-born director Caspar Wrede. This was followed by The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, directed. by Tony Richardson and BillyLiar, two highly acclaimed films and performances which helped usher in the British New Wave of the early-to-mid-1960s. In 1969, he played Hamlet for the University Theatre Company at Manchester University directed by Michael Elliott. In 1968, he began a long association with Manchester when he played in Playboy for the Western Century Theatre Company, being the precursor of the Royal Exchange Theatre. He also starred in two spy-comedies, Otley and A D-red in Me along with Kirk Douglas and Laurence Harvey.