The Talking Cure's James Hazeldine Dies, Aged 55Date: 19 December 2002
Actor James Hazeldine, who until last week was appearing opposite Ralph Fiennes in the world premiere of Christopher Hampton's The Talking Cure at the National Theatre, passed away on Tuesday, 17 December 2003. He was 55.
Hazeldine was taken ill with chest pains last Tuesday, 10 December, after appearing in a preview performance of The Talking Cure at the NT Cottesloe. The National announced the next day that he was unable to continue in the production and cancelled the press performance (See News, 11 Dec 2002). Hazeldine was hospitalised and in intensive care over the weekend before dying on Tuesday night.
Born in Salford in 1948, Hazeldine trained in repertory theatre as an acting ASM. His first theatre appearances in London were at the Royal Court, where he played leading roles in plays by Bond, Wesker, Peter Gill, John Antrobus and others. At the Royal Shakespeare Company, he played Troilus and Cressida, John Clare in Edward Bond's The Fool and Alcibiades in Timon of Athens, Rodin Nemrov in The Love Girl and The Innocent.
The actor made his Broadway debut as Sam Evans in Strange Interlude with Glenda Jackson and returned to Broadway, via the West End, as Harry Hope in Howard Daviesís Almeida Theatre production of The Iceman Cometh with Kevin Spacey.
On screen, Hazeline was TV's first Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger and appeared in films such as Emma, Business as Usual, Pink Floyd: The Wall and television programmes like Midsomer Murders, Fat Friends, London's Burning, Dalziel and Pascoe and The Vice. He also directed episodes of Heartbeat and London's Burning.
In a statement, National artistic director Trevor Nunn paid tribute, saying: "It is rare that great charismatic talent and selfless warm generosity are found in the same person but this was so with Jimmy Hazeldine. A leading actor of minutely observed truthfulness, comic brio and emotional daring, he was also a man of infectious enthusiasm, great warmth and humanity who was universally popular amongst his colleagues."
Though John Carlisle is now in rehearsal to replace Hazeldine as Sigmund Freud to Fiennes' Carl Jung (after first replacement Bill Paterson dropped out - See News, 16 Dec 2002), the press night for The Talking Cure has still not been rescheduled. An NT spokeswoman said that the cast were having a very difficult time coping with Hazeldine's death.
Hazeldine was born in Salford in 1948. He died Tuesday, 17 December 2003. He is survived by his partner and two children in their twenties.
- by Terri Paddock