- Category : Actor
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- Profile : 5/2 - Heretical / Hermit
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- Incarnation Cross : LAX Distraction 2
Martin Shaw (born 21 January 1945) is an English actor. He is known for his roles in the television series The Professionals, The Chief, Judge John Deed and Inspector George Gently.
Shaw was born in Birmingham. According to him, his first stage appearance was at age three, during an amateur show in which his parents were performing. At Great Barr School, where musician Steve Winwood was a classmate, Shaw excelled in English literature and drama lessons. At sixteen, he was offered a scholarship to a Birmingham drama school. Declining the scholarship, he left school and, on the advice of his parents, he sought employment. One job was in the office of a brass foundry. At eighteen, Shaw moved to London to attend the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He served his apprenticeship in repertory as an assistant stage manager at the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch and the Bristol Old Vic.
Shaw took key roles in the first revival of Look Back in Anger (Royal Court/Criterion, 1968); in the National Theatre's Saturday, Sunday, Monday opposite Laurence Olivier (1973); and in A Streetcar Named Desire presented by the Piccadilly Theatre in 1974. He later acknowledged the role of Stanley Kowalski in 'Streetcar' as a point of breakthrough in his career.
In the 1980s, Shaw played Elvis Presley in Alan Bleasdale's critically acclaimed Are You Lonesome Tonight?. It told the story of Elvis' last few hours. After a long run in London, the production visited Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia.
Shaw's portrayal of Lord Goring in An Ideal Husband on Broadway earned him a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk award.
After filming finished on the TV series Judge John Deed, Shaw took the role of Thomas More in Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons. Shaw's daughter, Sophie, played opposite him as More's daughter, Margaret. The production toured Britain's cities before a run in London at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Shaw began television work in 1967. Parts in one-off plays for Granada Television led to his playing hippy student Robert Croft, Lucile Hewitt's boyfriend, in Coronation Street. Another early role was booze and football-loving Welsh medical student Huw Evans in the television comedy series Doctor in the House. Huw Evans later returned in the Doctor at Large episode "Mother and Father Doing Well" as a nervous expectant father.
Shaw appeared with future co-star Lewis Collins in an episode of The New Avengers. Both played the roles of terrorists. Shaw portrayed Ray Doyle ("Agent 4-5") in the British television series The Professionals (1977–1981), opposite Collins. Shaw played another law-enforcement role in the 1990s ITV production The Chief.
In 1983, Shaw played Robert Falcon Scott in The Last Place on Earth. The series was filmed at Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island, Canada. In interview at the time, Shaw commented that he generally responded well to the testing physical conditions, particularly when they enhanced the reality of the scene.
In the same year he played Sir Henry Baskerville in the 1983 TV film adaptation of the mystery novel The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He acted opposite Ian Richardson's Sherlock Holmes and Donald Churchill's Dr. Watson.
Rhodes is an eight-part serial that aired in 1996 and was filmed on location in South Africa. Shaw's younger son, Joe, took early leave of his drama school course to play the part of the youthful Cecil Rhodes before Shaw completed Rhodes's story from the statesman's mature years to his death.
In 2001, he took the title role in the BBC drama Judge John Deed. The character gave an editorial voice to the television writer and producer G.F. Newman's ideas about lifestyle choices such as vegetarianism and alternative medicine as well as issues of social justice. One episode about the safety of the MMR vaccine was banned.
Between seasons of Judge John Deed, Shaw took the role of poetic bespectacled forensic detective Adam Dalgliesh in P.D. James's Death in Holy Orders in 2003 and The Murder Room in 2005.
After the sixth season of Judge John Deed had been filmed, Shaw appeared in the series Apparitions broadcast by the BBC in 2008. This was Shaw's first project as executive director.
In the police drama Inspector George Gently, Shaw appears in the title role.
Shaw also appeared as Sir Charles Cartwright in a 2009 adaptation of Agatha Christie's Poirot tale Three Act Tragedy.
Although Shaw is not classified as a film actor he has had several roles over the years. His first film role was an Irish communist in Love on the Dole (1966). Better known is his 70s role of Banquo in Roman Polanski's Macbeth. He has also been seen as an undercover Second World War operative in Operation Daybreak; a singing and dancing futuristic magician "Zax" in Facelift; the role of Rachid in the 1974 film The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and a wanted villain leading a life on the run in a circus troop in Ladder of Swords.
Narration and documentaries
Shaw has narrated many audiobooks, including Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Silmarillion; Swift's Gulliver's Travels; and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.
In 2006, Shaw narrated and appeared in a DVD chronicling the "Merlins over Malta" project. This featured the return of a World War II Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane from Britain to Malta for the first time in fifty years.
In December 2006, Shaw presented the six-part Discovery Channel Real Time TV series Martin Shaw: Aviators, produced by Twofour, which followed the two-year restoration of his Boeing Stearman biplane after it was crashed by another pilot at Old Buckenham airfield in Norfolk. Shaw fulfilled a lifetime ambition to take the controls of a Spitfire (owned by Maurice Bayliss) and, though take-off was not permitted, he also powered an English Electric Lightning (owned by Russell Carpenter) to 150 mph in three seconds along the runway at Cranfield Airport. Shaw also compared notes with the nonagenarian builder and developer of the modern autogyro, Wing Cdr. Ken Wallis.
In 2010 he presented a documentary for the BBC titled Dambusters Declassified in which he investigated and debunked some of the myths of the dambusters raid known as Operation Chastise story which had been portrayed in the books Enemy Coast Ahead and The Dambusters, and the film The Dam Busters.
Advertisements and endorsements
Among several voiceovers and appearances, in 1974, Shaw starred in a three-minute advertisement for the Mk II Ford Capri and in 1987, a TV advert for the Vauxhall Cavalier.
In March 2012, he also announced that he would become the official patron to the community organisation Stop Norwich UrBanisation or SNUB, which is trying to protect Norfolk's countryside from overdevelopment and excessive urbanisation. In the press release, he stated that he was "simply furious and upset by your plight and that of all of us who wish to live in quiet and peace. I will be your Patron and keep fighting".
His childhood was spent in Erdington and then Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham. In his youth, Shaw was involved in a drunken brawl with a friend, suffering broken teeth, injuries to his face and a fractured skull. A mid-face fracture involving the right cheekbone required surgical rebuilding.
In 1971, Shaw became a follower of Charan Singh, a master of the ancient spiritual tradition of Sant Mat. This involved a strict lacto vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga and the avoidance of alcohol and other mind-altering drugs.
He is a celebrity activist for animal rights and animal welfare. He is the patron of the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk, a charity organisation which provides a safe home for neglected and abused animals. He also supports Viva!
In interviews and in the Martin Shaw - Aviators documentary series, Shaw readily shares his passion for vintage aeroplanes. He is the holder of a private pilot's licence. For several years, Shaw owned a 1943 Boeing Stearman PT-17 Kaydet (G-BAVO) and now flies a Piper Cub (G-BFBY).
Shaw has three children by his first wife, actress Jill Allen, whom he married in 1968: Luke Shaw, an actor; Joe Shaw, an actor and director and Sophie Shaw, an actor and singer with the band "Blue Harlem".
Shaw's second wife was former nurse turned alternative therapist and core process psychotherapist, Maggie Mansfield.
Shaw's third wife was TV presenter, environmental activist and fellow pilot Vicky Kimm.
For a while he also lived with the late actress Morag Hood.
Between January 2003 and July 2008, Shaw and his current partner, Karen da Silva, were stalked by Sandra Price, a divorcee in her sixties. Price sent Shaw several letters (which he said he found "offensive and intrusive") as well as a 120-page dossier of her views on his career and a 45-minute cassette tape.
In the early hours of a morning in July 2008, Price poured petrol through the door of Ms da Silva's home. This action precipitated Price's arrest by police. In a two-day trial at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court (6–7 January 2009), Price pleaded guilty to damage to property. She was also convicted of harassment. Price was sentenced on 28 January. Although she avoided a custodial sentence, she was ordered to perform 240 hours of unpaid community work and to pay a contribution towards the Crown's costs of £800. An electronically monitored curfew between 19:00 and 07:00 was imposed and the complainants received a restraining order against Price.
On 18 August 2010, Shaw collapsed during the first act of the matinee showing of A Country Girl at Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn. His agent, Roger Charteris, said he had been suffering from cracked ribs and was taking antibiotics for a severe chest infection. An understudy went on in his place.