WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link
Theatre News

Comic and director Jonathan Miller has died aged 85

The Beyond the Fringe comic and director had a lengthy career on stage, page, screen and more

Jonathan Miller in 1988
© Open Media Ltd. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Director and writer Jonathan Miller has died aged 85, it has been announced.

His family confirmed the news in a statement, saying that the comic, who appeared in Beyond the Fringe alongside Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett, had died peacefully following a long battle with Alzheimer's.

Beyond the Fringe first ran at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1960 before becoming a smash-hit in the West End, with Miller then going on to present programmes on the BBC as well as direct productions at venues including the National Theatre, such as a revival of The Merchant of Venice starring Laurence Olivier.

More recent productions include Camera Obscura at the Almeida and on tour with Peter Eyre, The Cherry Orchard at the Sheffield Crucible and Northern Broadsides productions of King Lear and Rutherford and Son.

From 1988 to 1990 he was artistic director of the Old Vic, and directed numerous operas for the ENO, with his famous production of The Barber of Seville revived in 2017. He was knighted in 2002, and has a history of writing documentaries for UK and US audiences.

He was also responsible for the BBC Television Shakespeare, with actors including John Cleese, Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins appearing in small-screen versions of Shakespeare's works.