Once heralded as the greatest British actor of his generation, Scottish-born Nicol Williamson, who lived in Amsterdam, died last month after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer. He was 75. Williamson was not only lauded as a great actor (you loved him as Merlin in the 1981 movie Excalibur and as the drug-addicted, brilliant Sherlock Holmes in 1976’s The Seven-Per-Cent Solution) but legendary for his stormy, seemingly erratic onstage behavior, once calling off a performance of Hamlet mid-speech because he was too tired to go on. “I’ll pay for the seats,” he told the audience, “but I won’t shortchange you by not giving my best.” Then he walked off. Gotta love that.
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