RSC Actor-Director David Jones Passes Away at 74Date: 23 September 2008
David Jones (pictured) - who was associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1966 and was last represented in the West End with his production of The Last Confession starring David Suchet - has died aged 74. He had been suffering latterly with emphysema. He was a tall and genial man with a rich deep voice and a cutting intelligence that informed his work on writers as diverse as Gorky, Harold Pinter, Brecht, O’Casey, Shakespeare, Shaw and Ronald Harwood.
After working on BBC television’s first arts magazine, Monitor, Jones joined the RSC in 1964 and, under the successive artistic directorships of Peter Hall and Trevor Nunn, was in effect artistic director of the company’s London operation at the Aldwych for ten years from 1968.
His series of RSC Gorky productions in particular was revelatory. His extensive television work included directing Pinter’s screenplay of Langrishe, Go Down, and he went on to direct feature films of Pinter’s Betrayal in 1982 and Hugh Whitemore’s 84 Charing Cross Road, which was the royal film performance in 1987.
He was artistic director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Theatre Company in New York for three years from 1979, and adjunct professor of drama at Yale. His career as a director, after taking a first class degree in English at Cambridge, started at the Tower Theatre in Canonbury and embraced television, film, the RSC and Broadway in a manner unmatched by any of his contemporaries. He was married for many years to the actress Sheila Allen in 1964, and they had two sons. His recreations in Who’s Who were listed as “restaurants, reading modern poetry, exploring mountains and islands”.
- by Michael Coveney