British actor Nicol Williamson dies at 75

FILE - Composer Richard Rodgers, left, begins prepares for the opening of his newest musical AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, file

Nicol Williamson, center, prepares for the opening of his newest musical "REX" with composer Richard Rodgers, left, and fellow actors on Jan. 19, 1976, in New York.
Nicol Williamson, center, prepares for the opening of his musical "REX" with composer Richard Rodgers, left, and fellow actors on Jan. 19, 1976, in New York.
AP

(CBS/AP) AMSTERDAM - British actor Nicol Williamson, best known for his role as the wizard Merlin in the 1981 film "Excalibur," has died of esophageal cancer in the Netherlands. He was 75.

His son Luke said Wednesday that Williamson died Dec. 16 in Amsterdam, where he had lived for more than two decades.

The Scottish-born Williamson had dozens of film credits to his name but won more plaudits for his stage acting. Playwright John Osborne once described him as "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando."

His film credits include "I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can," "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution," and "The Exorcist III."

He was nominated for a Tony Award in 1966 for his role in Osborne's "Inadmissible Evidence" and again in 1974 for Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya."

Luke Williamson said his father was also survived by his wife, Jill Townsend, whom he met in the Broadway cast of "Inadmissible Evidence." Williamson's death was first confirmed by his son Wednesday on his father's website.

  • CBS News Staff

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