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Coronation Street and The Crown star James Laurenson dies aged 84 as tributes pour in

In Europe
May 10, 2024

Coronation Street and The Crown star James Laurenson has sadly passed away at the age of 84. The actor, who had an impressive 50-year career in TV and film, has been remembered with heartfelt tributes.

Laurenson made his film debut in 1969 with a small role in Ken Russell’s Women In Love, and later appeared in The Crown in 2016. In the popular Netflix series about the Royal Family, he played Doctor Weir a Scottish physician and homeopath who served as the Royal physician.

The accomplished actor also made history by performing the first gay kiss on television alongside Ian McKellen. This pivotal moment took place in a 1970 TV adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, three years after homosexuality was decriminalised.

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In 1968, Laurenson featured in Coronation Street as Reverend Peter Hope of St Mary’s Church. He also starred in beloved shows such as Spooks, Taggart, Prime Suspect and Midsomer Murders.

In 2011, he was nominated for an Olivier award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of the Ghost and the Player King in Nicholas Hytner’s acclaimed production of Hamlet. Tributes flooded in online following the tragic news of his death.

.One post read: “Very sad to hear that James Laurenson has died. He was a wonderful actor and I count myself lucky that I saw him at the RSC a few times. He seemed like a gentle soul. His way with words was exemplary, giving feeling and resonance to pretty much any script he worked with. RIP.”

Another person commented: “I’m very sorry to hear that superb actor James Laurenson has died. I saw him many times over the years on stage, and even if I did not much fancy the play, if his name was on the cast list, I bought a ticket. I was never disappointed. RIP.”

James Laurenson had a successful career in theatre, having worked at the Bristol Old Vic, the Old Vic and the RSC, where he played King Claudius in Hamlet, Polonius in Hamlet and Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing.

The New Zealander-born actor is survived by his wife Cari Haysom and his son Jamie from his first marriage. He previously spoke about his acting career, recalling: “The first thing I learnt is that it is really hard to find work and be offered scripts. You have to have a passion for acting Hollywood might come knocking but on the other hand you may spend vast amounts of the time unemployed.”

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