Full Monty actor Tom Wilkinson dies at 75

Leeds-born actor described as ‘one of the best’ dies suddenly at home with his family

British actor Tom Wilkinson, known for films like The Full Monty, Shakespeare In Love and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, has died suddenly aged 75.

Wilkinson won a Bafta for 1997′s The Full Monty, and reprised the role of Gerald when a Disney+ streaming series revisited the characters 26 years on.

He received six Bafta nominations in total as well as two Oscar nominations, for Michael Clayton and In The Bedroom.

He died at home with his wife and family on Saturday, a statement said.


With more than 130 film and TV credits in total, Wilkinson was as comfortable in period dramas like 1995′s Sense and Sensibility and 2013′s Belle, as he was playing criminal masterminds in movies like Rush Hour opposite Jackie Chan in 1998, or Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla in 2008.

He also earned an Emmy for playing US political figure Benjamin Franklin in 2008 mini-series John Adams and an Emmy nomination as John F Kennedy’s father Joe in The Kennedys. He played President Lyndon B Johnson in 2014′s Selma, and appeared in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Girl with a Pearl Earring.

His death was confirmed in a statement shared by his agent on behalf of his family.

“It is with great sadness that the family of Tom Wilkinson announce that he died suddenly at home on December 30th. His wife and family were with him,” the statement read.

“The family asks for privacy at this time.”

Wilkinson was, according to the Encyclopaedia of British Film, “a major character star, with a remarkable gift – one among several – for conveying inner pain”.

Born in Leeds before moving to Canada and then Cornwall in childhood, he found his calling at the age of 18 when he was asked to direct a play.

“For the first time in my life, I started doing something I knew how to do,” he said.

“I realised it wasn’t necessarily just these southern middle-class types that got to be actors; it could possibly be people like me. And once I knew, I never changed my mind.”

He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) before following the well-worn path to theatre and television work. In 1986, he got his first major screen role in the mini-series First Among Equals, based on Jeffrey Archer’s best-selling novel.

Playing alongside him was Diana Hardcastle. The couple married in 1988, and also went on to play husband and wife in The Kennedys in 2011, and in the 2014 action film Good People. The couple had two daughters, Alice and Molly.

His long-term agent Lou Coulson has described him in interviews as “one of the best”.

Off screen, Wilkinson was known for being down-to-earth and keeping a relatively low profile. He said in an interview: “I like to go to Waitrose and not be recognised.”

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