Ronald Harwood


09 Nov 1934


Cape Town, South Africa


Born in South-Africa in 1934, Ronald Harwood moved to London in 1951 to pursue a career in the theater. After attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he joined the Shakespeare Company of Sir Donald Wolfit, one of the last 'actor-manager' of Great-Britain. From 1953 to 1958, Harwood became the personal dresser of Sir Donald. He would later draw from this experience in his play 'The Dresser' and write a biography 'Sir Donald Wolfit CBE: His life and work in the Unfashionable Theatre'.

In 1960, he started a new career as a writer and would prove to be quite prolific, penning plays, novels and non-fiction books. He also worked often as a screenwriter but he seldom wrote original material directly for the screen, rather acting as an adapter sometimes of his own work.

One of the recurring themes in Harwood's work is his fascination for the stage, its artists and artisans as displayed in the aforementionned 'The Dresser', his plays 'After the Lions' (about Sarah Bernard) ,'Another time' (about a gifted piano player), 'Quartet' (about aging opera singers) and his non-fiction book 'All the world's a stage', a general history of theater. Harwood also has a strong interest in the WWII period, as highlighted by the films 'Operation daybreak', 'The Statement', 'The Pianist', and his play turned to film 'Taking sides'. Based on true stories, the two last films feature once again musicians as their main characters.

Made Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1974 and Commander of the British Empire in 1999, Harwood was president of the international PEN Club from 1993 to 1997 after presiding the British section during the four previous years.

Actor ( 13 credits )

The First Film (2015) Himself
In Conversation (2015)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
Revealing Mr. Maugham (2012) Himself
Clive James Talking in the Library (2006)  Himself
Mackendrick on Film (2004) Himself
God Is African (2003) Himself (archive footage)
The Theatre Quiz (1981)  Himself - Panellist (1 episode, 1981)
Arena (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Read All About It (1974)  Himself - Presenter (1 episode, 1978)
The Small House at Allington (1960)  Cradell (3 episodes, 1960)
Formula for Danger (1960)  PC Gale (4 episodes, 1960)
ITV Television Playhouse (1955)  Dave / ... (3 episodes, 1956-1961)
BBC Sunday-Night Theatre (1950)  Man (1 episode, 1959)

Producer ( 1 credit )

The Dresser (1983) producer

Writer ( 27 credits )

Quartet (2012)
A Therapy (2012) (screenplay)
Australia (2008) (screenplay) and
Love in the Time of Cholera (2007) (screenplay)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) (screenplay)
Oliver Twist (2005)
Being Julia (2004)
The Statement (2003) (screenplay)
The Pianist (2002) (screenplay)
Taking Sides (2001) (screenplay)
Cry, the Beloved Country (1995) (screenplay)
The Dresser (1983) (screenplay)
Tales of the Unexpected (1979) (12 episodes, 1979-1981)
Operation: Daybreak (1975)
Sudden Terror (1970) (screenplay)
ITV Saturday Night Theatre (1969) (1 episode, 1972)
The Girl with a Pistol (1968) (English adaptation)
Diamonds for Breakfast (1968) (writer)
ITV Playhouse (1967) (1 episode, 1972)
A High Wind in Jamaica (1965) (screenplay) &
Knock on Any Door (1965) (2 episodes, 1965-1966)
Private Potter (1962) (written by) and
The Barber of Stamford Hill (1962) (TV play)
ITV Sunday Night Drama (1959) (1 episode, 1960)
ITV Play of the Week (1955) (2 episodes, 1966-1967)
ITV Television Playhouse (1955) (4 episodes, 1960-1963)
The Kitchen Boy (0)