Janet Suzman

Janet Suzman (born 9 February 1939) is a South African actress and director.

Born in Johannesburg to a Jewish family, the niece of civil rights/anti-apartheid campaigner, Helen Suzman, she was educated at Kingsmead College, Johannesburg, and at the University of the Witwatersrand where she studied English and French. She moved to London in 1959.
After training for the stage at LAMDA, Suzman made her debut as Liz in Billy Liar at the Tower Theatre, Ipswich in 1962. She then became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1963 and started her career there as Joan of Arc in The Wars of the Roses (1962-64). The RSC gave her the opportunity to play many of the Shakespearean heroines, including Rosaline in Love's Labour's Lost, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Ophelia in Hamlet, Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Celia and Rosalind in As You Like It, Lavinia in Titus Andronicus and a notable Cleopatra in 1973. Although her stage appearances tended to run naturally towards Shakespeare and the classics, including Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Chekhov's The Three Sisters, Marlowe, Racine, Gorky, Brecht, she has also appeared in plays by Genet, Pinter, Ronald Harwood, Nicholson, Albee and others.


[edit] Films and TV
She appeared in many British television drama productions in the 1960s and early 1970s, including Saint Joan (1968), Three Sisters (1969), Macbeth (1970), Hedda Gabler (1972), Twelfth Night (1973), and Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective (1986). Her first film role was in 1971, in Nicholas and Alexandra, and she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, the BAFTA and the Golden Globe for her portrayal of the Empress Alexandra. This was followed by A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972) opposite Alan Bates.


Janet Suzman (far right) as she appears in the film Nicholas and Alexandra with Michael Jayston and Roderic NobleShe has made few films since, the best-known being Don Siegel's The Black Windmill (1974), Nijinsky (1980), Peter Greenaway's The Draughtsman's Contract (1982), A Dry White Season, (1989) with Marlon Brando, Federico Fellini's E la Nave Va (1989), Nuns on the Run (1990), a rare comedy performance.

Janet Suzman

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