Veteran British actor Roy Dotrice, who starred in the Best Picture winner Amadeus as Leopold Mozart and had a brief two-episode arc on HBO's Game of Thrones, passed away earlier today at the age of 94. The veteran character actor was surrounded by his three daughters, grandchildren and his great grandson when he died at his London home this morning. Roy Dotrice was also a member of the Royal Air Force, who caught the "acting bug" in quite the unconventional manner.
Roy Dotrice was born on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, in 1923, where he lived for the first 16 years of his life before Germany occupied the island in World War II and his family fled to England in 1940, where he lied about his age and joined the Royal Air Force. He was trained as a wireless operator and a gunner, and in 1942, his plane was shot down and he was captured, spending the last three years of the war as a prisoner of war in Germany. He was introduced to acting during his three years of captivity, where the late actor performed in various productions to keep up the morale of his fellow POW's.
After the war ended, Roy Dotrice ended up pursuing acting even further, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), before performing in English repertory theater, where he would meet and marry his wife, Kay Dotrice (Newman). He also produced and directed over 300 plays and founded his own theatre troupe, the Guersney Theater Company in 1955, before he was selected to join the prestigious Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford, England, which would later become the Royal Shakespeare Company. The late performer spent nine years with the company, portraying iconic Shakespeare characters such as Iago, Falstaff and Julius Caesar, with the uncanny ability to play much older than he really was.
This work got him the exposure he needed to cross over into film and television, and after a number of guest starring roles on TV and uncredited roles in film, he made his first credited feature debut in 1965's The Heroes of Telemark, alongside Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, and in that same year, he appeared in the mini-series War of the Roses. He continued to work regularly into the 1970s, and in the 1980s, he started to be recognized by American audiences, were he played Leopold Mozart in the 1984 Oscar winner for Best Picture, Amadeus, Jacob Wells, the surrogate father of Ron Perlman as Beast in the 1980s/1990s TV series Beauty and the Beast and George IV in the mini-series Shaka Zulu.
The 1990s lead to more movie roles like Suburban Commando, The Cutting Edge, Swimming With Sharks, The Scarlet Letter, and TV roles like his recurring character Father Barrett in Picket Fences. He also lent his voice to Keene Marlow/Destroyer on the Spider-Man animated series in the late 1990s, and played Zeus in a three-episode arc on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. He continued working in the 21st Century, winning a Tony Award in 2000 for his role in the Broadway revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten.
He also reunited with his Beauty and the Beast co-star Ron Perlman in 2008's Hellboy II: The Golden Army, playing King Balor, and in that same year, he was honored by Queen Elizabeth II when he was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. His final role came in the second season of Game of Thrones, where he played Hallyne the Pyromance, the head of the Alchemists' Guild in King's Landing, in a two-episode arc. He was originally cast as Grand Maester Pycelle, but had to pull out due to failing health and was replaced by Julian Glover. The late actor is survived by his children, grandchildren and great grandson, as reported by The Daily Mail, and is preceded in death by his wife Kay, who passed away in 2007