Date of Birth : May 5th 1957
British actor known for portraying the world-weary, drug-crazed alcoholic Withnail in Withnail and I.
Grant was born Richard Grant Esterhuysen in Mbabane, Swaziland, the son of Henrik Esterhuysen, who was the Minister of Education for the British Ministry in South Africa, and a mother who worked as a teacher. Grant was educated in Waterford Kamhlaba School. At the age of nine, he witnessed an adulterous relationship between his mother and another man, which subsequently led to the break-up of his parents’ marriage. At this moment, he started keeping a diary and has done so ever since. He wears a watch on each wrist, one given to him by his dying father, permanently set on Swaziland time. He studied English and Drama at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and moved to London in 1982.
Grant is a successful author, with works such as By Design calling on his Hollywood experience. He is most famous as the hilarious face of the Argos TV commercials, portraying the role of homosexual rock star and fan of the gay designer ‘Ar-Gus’. He has twice portrayed the Doctor from Doctor Who, unofficially on both occasions. In the comedy sketch Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death, he portrayed a version of the Tenth Doctor, referred to as the Quite Handsome Doctor. He also voiced a version of the Ninth Doctor for the BBC original animated webcast Scream of the Shalka.
He wrote and directed the 2005 film, Wah-Wah, loosely based on his own childhood experiences. In 2008, Grant will star in the movie adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s best-selling novel Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance. Grant appeared as “The Voice” in 2+2+2 at American Nights at The King’s Head Theatre, from July 3 to July 29, 2007.
On the 22nd November, Grant gave a keynote speech at North London Collegiate School in North London as part of their Performing Arts Centre Opening Festival.
Grant married Joan Washington in 1986 and has one daughter with her, Olivia, and a step-son, Tom. Grant is a teetotaler. After casting him as the alcoholic Withnail, director Bruce Robinson made Grant drink a bottle of champagne in one sitting so that he had experience of the sensation.