Richard E. Grant (born Richard Grant Esterhuysen; 5 May 1957) is a British actor of Afrikaner descent born and raised in the small African country of Swaziland (today eSwatini). One of his earliest, and still one of his best-known, roles was as Withnail in Withnail and I. Other notable roles include the villain in Hudson Hawk, the hero in Warlock (1989), Dr Seward in Bram Stoker's Dracula, and the title character in the 1999 TV version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. His performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me? was widely praised and earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
He has played two different and non-canonical versions of the Doctor, first in the charity spoof Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death, and then in the animated expanded universe special Scream of the Shalka (which was this close to becoming canon, had the 2005 revival not happened). An incarnation of the Master, appearing in the novel The Infinity Doctors in the Past Doctor Adventures range, was also modelled after him. He was eventually cast as the villain in the 2012 Christmas Special, "The Snowmen" — which means he played an alternate Ninth and an alternate Tenth Doctor, before fighting the Eleventh.
He's also appeared in two different Sherlock Holmes' adaptations playing Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock: Case of Evil and Jack Stapleton in the 2002 adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Sadly he's never gotten a chance to play the Great Detective himself.
Grant has been an avid diarist since childhood (ever since he caught his mother cheating on his father in the back of a car), and has published the diaries he's made during filmmaking in two books, With Nails and The Wah-Wah Diaries. He's also written a satirical novel on the making of a disaster movie, By Design. He is now on Twitter too.
He also wrote and directed the 2005 film Wah-Wah, inspired by his own childhood experiences.
On September 3, 2021, Grant announced the passing of Joan Washington, his wife of 35 years, with whom he had one daughter and a stepson. In 2022, he published A Pocketful of Happiness, a collection of the diaries he kept during her illness.
- Withnail and I
- How to Get Ahead in Advertising
- Warlock (1989)
- Henry & June
- Hudson Hawk
- L.A. Story
- The Player
- Bram Stoker's Dracula - as Dr. Jack Seward
- The Legends of Treasure Island - as Long John Silver in Season 1 (Voice)
- The Scarlet Pimpernel
- Jack & Sarah
- Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life
- Oscar's Orchestra Kevin/The Phantom
- Spice World
- A Christmas Carol (1999) - as Bob Crachitt
- Gosford Park
- Sherlock: Case of Evil
- Captain Star
- Corpse Bride
- Penelope (2006)
- The Iron Lady
- Doctor Who
- Always Crashing in the Same Car
- Horrid Henry: The Movie
- Dom Hemingway
- Posh Nosh
- Downton Abbey
- Jekyll and Hyde
- Game of Thrones - as Izembaro
- Their Finest
- The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
- Can You Ever Forgive Me?
- A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Dispatches From Elsewhere
- Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker - as Allegiant General Enric Pryde
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure
- Loki - as Classic Loki
- Robin Robin
- Saltburn (2023)
Tropes relating to Richard E. Grant's works:
- Faux Affably Evil: He's very skilled at playing seemingly polite and classy characters who are monstrous underneath.
- I Am Very British: He's well-known for his posh, Received Pronunciation accent.
- Large Ham: Anthony Hopkins acknowledges that Grant is "a scenery chewer's scenery chewer", as can be seen from the top quote.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: He's a good guy who happens to be very good at portraying the absolute worst of humanity.
- Promoted Fanboy: He watched A New Hope back during its theatrical debut when he was 20, becoming a fan of the franchise afterwards. When J. J. Abrams approached him to play Allegiant General Enric Pryde in The Rise of Skywalker, he jumped on without hesitation. In fact, Grant was so excited, he more than once asked to be pinched in the shoulder, just to assure himself that he really was on the film.
- Stage Names: Created by swapping his middle and last names (he started life as Richard Grant Esterhuysen).
- The Teetotaler: Due to his body not producing an enzyme that allows him to tolerate it, he's allergic to alcohol and so never drinksnote .