Birthday: October 9, 1936
Age: 84 Years, 84 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Libra
Born in: Mexborough, Yorkshire, England
Famous as: Actor
Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Hildegarde Neil (m. 1978), Ann Bomann
father: William Blessed
mother: Hilda Wall
siblings: Alan Blessed
children: Rosalind Blessed
education: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
awards: Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Brian Blessed is a famous British actor, comedian, adventurer and author who is known for his giant build up, operatic voice and expressive shrewdness. His best performances include his roles in 'Z-Cars', 'I Claudius', 'Flash Gordon' and 'Dark Ascension'. He has also given his voice to animated TV characters like Grampy Rabbit of ‘Peppa Pig’ and Sir Morris of ‘The Big Knights’. He voiced for the character of Clayton in the 1999 film ‘Tarzan.’ An adventurer at heart, he has attempted to climb Mount Everest thrice and has reached the summits of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Aconcagua. Having reached the North Pole, he wishes to explore the deepest part of Earth. He has escaped death twice – in an avalanche on Mount Everest and in a plane crash in the jungles of Venezuela. He values relationships and hopes to reconcile with his estranged daughter, Cathie, before it is too late. He is an inspiration to his younger daughter, Rosalind. Blessed strongly admires the Dalai Lama for his compassion and love.
Childhood & Early Life
Brian Blessed was born on October 9, 1936 in Mexborough, Yorkshire, to William Blessed and Hilda Wall. His father was a coal miner at Hickleton Main Colliery; therefore, Brian spent his childhood in the mining village of Goldthorpe.
He went to Dearne Secondary Modern School in Bolton. While working in different blue-collar jobs, he took drama training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Onset of Acting Career
In 1962, Brian Blessed's acting career got the momentum from the BBC television series, 'Z-Cars'. He played the role of PC 'Fancy' Smith in it.
In 1966, he rejected the lead role of the doctor in BBC’s sci-fi drama, 'Doctor Who'. In the same year, he participated in the play, 'Incident at Vichy,' screened at the Phoenix Theatre in London.
From 1967-1969, he played small roles in British TV series: 'The Avengers' and 'Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)'. He accepted a role in BBC’s 10-part adaptation of 'The Three Musketeers'. He played Porthos in it.
In 1974, Blessed essayed the role of William Woodcock in 'Boy Dominic', the Yorkshire television series.
He also acted as Caesar Augustus in BBC drama series: 'I, Claudius' (1976) and 'Basileos in The Aphrodite Inheritance' (1979). In 1978, he hosted the docudrama, 'The Joy of Bach,' which was based on the life of German musician Johann Sebastian Bach. He played the title role in a few scenes.
Comedy Career (1980 to 1999)
In the 1980s and 1990s, Brian Blessed showed his brilliant comedic skills. His roles, dialogues, exclamations and voice quality were widely praised. Meanwhile, he continued doing performing on stage.
In 1980, he played the character of Prince Vultan in the movie 'Flash Gordon,' which is remembered for his exclamations, "DIVE!" and "Gordon's alive!" Three years later, he presented his most cherished role of Richard IV in 'The Black Adder' (First Series).
In 1981, he acted as both Old Deuteronomy and Bustopher Jones in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical production, 'Cats'.
In 1986, his TV roles included playing Long John Silver in 'Return to Treasure Island' and King Yrcanos in 'Doctor Who'. The next two years were marked by his work as Spiro in the famous BBC TV adaptation 'My Family and Other Animals,' and as General Yevlenko in the mini-series, 'War and Remembrance'.
Continue Reading Below
In 1991, he portrayed Robin Hood's father Lord Loxley in the Hollywood movie, 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves'. Six years later, he played the role of Squire Western in the BBC TV adaptation 'Tom Jones', a comic novel by Henry Fielding.
From 1989 to 1996, he performed the following roles both on stage and screen: The Duke of Exeter ('Henry V'), Antonio ('Much Ado About Nothing') and the Ghost of Hamlet's Father ('Hamlet'). Ten years after 'Hamlet', Blessed again portrayed Shakespearean characters, Duke Frederick and Duke Senior, in 'As You Like It'.
Voice Acting Career (1999 - Present)
In 1999, Brian Blessed's resonant voice created its magic in: 'Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace' as Boss Nass, Disney's animated feature film 'Tarzan' as the hunter Clayton and the cartoon TV series 'The Big Knights' as Sir Morris.
He has voiced for various TV characters, including Grampy Rabbit in 'Peppa Pig' (2004–present), Bob in 'Kika & Bob' (2008) and Great Sultan Shahryār in 'The Princess, the Pirate and the Baboon' (2011).
He also narrated stories for 'Story Teller', a children's magazine series; and "The White City" story for the album series, 'Late Night Tales'. The Sky 1 series, ‘Crash Test Dummies’ also features on his narration list.
He also provided his voice to various radio programs like ‘Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show’, 'Focus on the Family' and 'Cinderella'.
In 2010, his voice was used in advertisements for Orange mobile phones and marketing campaigns for satellite navigation products manufacturer, TomTom.
He participated in many theatrical plays from 2002 to 2008, including Adrian Noble's stage musical version of 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', the Christmas pantomime production of 'Peter Pan' at Ipswich's Regent Theatre and again 'Peter Pan' at the Grove Theatre in Dunstable.
From 2004-2013, he appeared in many TV shows like 'Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes', UKTV G2’s 2006 FIFA World Cup telecast, 'A Question of Sport', 'Have I Got News for You', 'Loose Women' and 'The Paul O'Grady Show'.
Continue Reading Below
In December 2017, he portrayed Guardian Paul in the first part of the film trilogy, 'Dark Ascension', directed by Gene Fallaize.
In the gaming zone, he narrated the downloadable content for 'War of the Roses'. He voiced Lord Konrad Kyeser in an action role-playing game and 'Kingdom Come: Deliverance'.
In February 2019, he was signed to be the voice for the bacterium in 'Beasts Of London,' which will be featured in Museum Of London exhibition. His voice together with others' will tell the story of how the animals, including bacteria, played their roles in shaping the history of London.
A Gentleman Adventurer
Brian Blessed has tried climbing Mount Everest thrice, reaching up to 8,600m and 7,700m in 1993 and 1996 respectively. He, however, did not reach the summit. During one of his journeys, he had to abandon his expedition midway to save the life of a fellow mountaineer.
He has successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, reaching their highest points.
He also has undertaken expeditions to the North Magnetic Pole and into the jungles of Venezuela.
His interest in astronomy made him complete 800 hours of space training at Star City in Russia.
He has swum across the Amazon with Pemon Indians, and was nibbled on by piranhas.
From 2007 to 2008, Brian Blessed served as President of the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC).
He is a patron of the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary (a non-profit organization that cares for animals) and PHASE Worldwide (an NGO that works in remote areas of Nepal to improve education, healthcare and livelihoods).
In the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to the arts and charity, he was appointed as the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Awards & Achievements
Brian Blessed holds the world record for being the oldest man to climb a height of 28,500 feet without oxygen supplement.
BBC documentary series 'Who Do You Think You Are?' made him the subject for one of the episodes telecasted on August 14, 2014.
He was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Bradford (2003) and Sheffield Hallam University (2004). He was also awarded Honorary Membership of the Cambridge Union.
He received the Spirit of Hammer Award in 2013 at the Metal Hammer magazine's 'Golden Gods Awards'.
Continue Reading Below
Family & Personal Life
Brian Blessed married American actress and Egyptologist Ann Bomann soon after they graduated from acting school. The alliance ended in divorce after 10 years of togetherness. They have a daughter named Catherine who lives with her mother and has not met Blessed for the last 30 years. The father-daughter duo had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro together in 1988.
He married actress Hildegarde Neil in 1978, and the couple has a daughter, Rosalind. The father-daughter duo has worked together in theatre productions, 'Doctors' and 'King Lear'.
Blessed lost three uncles in the pit. His father never wanted his son to work in coal mines like him. Many of his paternal relatives hail from Brigg since his great-great-grandfather lived there with his 13 children.
He regards actor and director Kenneth Branagh, who is his neighbour in Surrey, as his surrogate son.
When Blessed was six, he visited his uncle George in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. His happiest moment till date is the time he spent with his cousin Gary on the beach.
He had collapsed on stage while playing King Lear at Guildford Theatre but returned after 20 minutes to complete the play. Though, two weeks later, he had to withdraw his contribution to undergo a heart surgery. He was fitted with a pacemaker in January 2015.
Brian Blessed had a penchant for boxing since his childhood days.
He punched a polar bear in the face on his trek to the North Pole.
He holds a 3rd dan in Judo.
Being an animal lover, he has several dogs as pets. He describes his late dog as a soulmate. He meditates with his seven dogs around him.