Denis Stamper Lawson (born 27 September 1947) is a Scottish actor and director. He is known for his roles as John Jarndyce in the BBC's adaptation of Bleak House, as Gordon Urquhart in the film Local Hero, as DI Steve McAndrew in BBC One's New Tricks, and as Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy. He is an uncle of actor Ewan McGregor.
Denis Lawson at the 2006 Crieff Highland Games
27 September 1947
(m. 2004; died 2005)
|Relatives||Ewan McGregor (nephew)|
Lawson was born in Crieff, Perthshire, the son of Phyllis Neno (née Stamper), a merchant, and Laurence Lawson, a watchmaker. Lawson was educated at Crieff Primary School (then called Crieff Public School). After the Control examination (Scottish equivalent of the 11-plus examination), he went on to Morrison's Academy before attending the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, having first unsuccessfully auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He then sold carpets and did amateur theatre work for a year in Dundee before auditioning again at RADA in London and successfully at RSAMD in Glasgow.
Lawson began his acting career with a small role in a 1969 stage production of The Metamorphosis in London's West End. and has since starred in television dramas such as The Merchant of Venice (1973) opposite Laurence Olivier as Shylock, Rock Follies (1976) and Dead Head (1986).
Lawson played X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles in all three films of the original Star Wars trilogy. In 2001, he reprised the role, in voiceover form, for the Nintendo GameCube game Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader.
In 1999, Lawson directed a production of Little Malcolm & His Struggle Against the Eunuchs which was first staged at the Hampstead Theatre before transferring to the Comedy Theatre in London's West End starring his nephew Ewan McGregor in the lead role of Malcolm Scrawdyke.
In 2005, he played the leading role of John Jarndyce in the critically acclaimed BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, receiving an Emmy nomination. Two years later he played Peter Syme in the BBC One drama serial Jekyll, a modern version of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Lawson also appeared as Captain "Dreadnought" Foster in ITV's dramatisations of C.S. Forester's Hornblower. He appeared in Robin Hood in which he played the Sheriff of Winchester.
He also appeared in the West End playing the character of Georges in the revival of the musical hit La Cage Aux Folles. No stranger to musical theatre, Lawson previously starred in the London revival of Pal Joey.
He starred as the lead in Above Their Station, a sitcom for the BBC written by Rhys Thomas about Community Support Officers; it was made as a pilot but never commissioned, being shown only as a one-off special. Lawson appeared alongside actress Helena Bonham Carter in the BBC Four movie based on the life of Enid Blyton, playing Kenneth Darrell Waters, a London surgeon who becomes Blyton's second husband. In July 2009 Lawson appeared as Alexander Fleming in a BBC Four drama called Breaking the Mould: The Story of Penicillin alongside Dominic West. Lawson played the part of Alice's grandfather in ITV1's supernatural crime thriller Marchlands which was shown in February 2011.
Lawson has said he was asked to reprise his role as Wedge Antilles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but reportedly turned down the role because he believed it would have "bored" him. However, Lawson later said he actually declined to appear in The Force Awakens due to a scheduling conflict, and would have appeared in the film had he been available. Lawson will return the role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
He met his wife, actress Sheila Gish, on the set of the 1985 film That Uncertain Feeling. They lived together for nearly 20 years before marrying in March 2004 in Antigua; she died of cancer a year later (9 March 2005). He married Karen Prentice in Italy in the summer of 2017.
|2019||Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker||Wedge Antilles|
|2013||The Wee Man||Willie|
|2011||Perfect Sense||Restaurant Owner|
|2006||Dolls||Monsieur Nicholas||Short film|
|1996||Cervellini fritti impanati|
|1988||The Zip||Eric||Short film|
|1983||Local Hero||Gordon Urquhart|
|1983||Return of the Jedi||Wedge Antilles|
|1983||Bitter Cherry||Short film|
|1980||The Empire Strikes Back||Wedge Antilles|
|1977||Star Wars||Wedge Antilles|
|2018||Death in Paradise||Philip Marston||1 episode: Series 7, Episode 1|
|2017||Victoria||Duke of Atholl||1 episode: Series 2, Episode 7 "The King Over the Water"|
|2016||In Plain Sight||Episode 2|
|2014||Inside No. 9||Gerald||1 episode: Series 1, Episode 2 "A Quiet Night In"|
|2012–2015||New Tricks||DI Steve McAndrew|
|2011||Candy Cabs||Kenny Ho|
|2011||Hustle||Benny||1 episode: Series 7, Episode 4|
|2010||Above Their Station||Chief Constable Keith Boone|
|2009||No Holds Bard||Miekel|
|2009||Enid||Kenneth Darrell Waters|
|2009||Breaking the Mould – The Story of Penicillin||Alexander Fleming|
|2009||Criminal Justice||DCI Bill Faber|
|2009||Law and Order:UK||Philip Woodleigh||1 episode: "Sacrifice"|
|2008||The Passion||Annas||Episode 1–3|
|2008||Mumbai Calling||Phillip Glass|
|2007||Robin Hood||Harold of Winchester||1 episode: "For England!"|
|2007||Marple||Leo Argyle||1 episode: "Ordeal By Innocence"|
|2006||Dalziel and Pascoe||John Barron||2 episodes: "The Cave Woman", Parts 1 and 2|
|2006||The Thieving Headmistress||Father Plunkett|
|2006||Feel the Force||Gordon Campbell|
|2005||Bleak House||John Jarndyce|
|2005||Sensitive Skin||Al Jackson|
|2003||Lucky Jim||Julius Gore-Urquat|
|2003||A World in Arms||Narrator|
|2002–2004, 2019||Holby City||Tom Campbell-Gore||Regular character|
|2001||The Fabulous Bagel Boys||DI Morris Rose||TV film|
|2000||Other People's Children||Tom||Series 1, Episodes 2 and 3|
|1998||The Round Tower||Arthur Brett|
|1998||The Ambassador||John Stone|
|1998||Hornblower||Captain 'Dreadnought' Foster||1 episode: "The Examination for Lieutenant"|
|1998||Cold Feet||Alex Welch||1 episode: Series 1, Episode 4|
|1996||A Royal Scandal||Henry Brougham|
|1997||Pie in the Sky||Nick Spencer||1 episode: "In the Smoke"|
|1996||Tales from the Crypt||Frank|
|1992||Natural Lies||James Towne|
|1992||Screen One; Born Kicking||Victor Grace|
|1992||El C.I.D.||1 episode: "My Brother's Keeper"|
|1990||Boon||James Marian||1 episode: "Bully Boys"|
|1989||The Justice Game||Dominic Rossi|
|1989||Screen One; One Way Out||Bernard|
|1987||Love After Lunch||Miles|
|1986||Dead Head||Eddie Cass|
|1986||Kit Curran||Kit Curran|
|1985||That Uncertain Feeling||John Aneurin Lewis|
|1985||Victoria Wood As Seen on TV||Phiilip and Singer||2 episodes: Series 1, Episode 2 and 5|
|1984||The Kit Curran Radio Show||Kit Curran|
|1983||Bergerac||Giroux||1 episode: "Miracle Every Week"|
|1982||Crown Court||John Dickens||1 episode: "Talking to the Enemy"|
|1980||The Good Companions||Albert Tuggridge||2 episodes:|
"In Which We Meet the Company"
|1980||If Winter Comes|
|1980||Play for Today: The Flipside of Dominick Hide||Felix|
|1979||Diary of a Nobody||Frank Mutlar|
|1978||Play of the Week: Fearless Frank||Ernest Dowson/Prof Byron Smith|
|1978||Armchair Thriller: The Girl Who Walked Quickly||David Cooper|
|1977||The Man in the Iron Mask||Claude|
|1977||Rock Follies of '77||Ken Church|
|1977||Seven Faces of Woman||Jerome||1 episode: "She: Anxious Anne"|
|1976||Play for Today; The Jumping Bean Bag||Snare|
|1975||Rock Follies||Ken Church|
|1975||Survivors||Norman||1 episode: "The Future Hour"|
|1974||Ms or Jill and Jack||Jerry|
|1973||Beryl's Lot||Peter Jaret||1 episode: "Getting Up"|
|1973||The Merchant of Venice||Launcelot Gobbo|
|1969||Dr. Finlay's Casebook||Andy Donald||1 episode: "Action, Dr. Cameron"|
|2018||Art||Marc||UK and Ireland tour|
|2011||The Acid Test||Jim||Royal Court Theatre|
|2008||La Cage Aux Folles||George||Playhouse Theatre||nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical|
|1993||Oleanna||John||Duke of York's Theatre|
|1988||The Film Society||Jonathon Balton||Hampstead Theatre|
|1987||The Importance of Being Earnest||Algernon Moncrieff||Royalty Theatre|
|1986||Lend Me a Tenor||Max||Globe Theatre|
|1984||The Lucky Chance||Bellmour||Royal Court Theatre|
|1983–84||Mr Cinders||Jim Lancastar||King's Head Theatre then Fortune Theatre||won the 1983 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical|
|1979||Fifty Words—Bits of Lenny Bruce||King's Head Theatre|
|1978||A Greenish Man||Patrick||Bush Theatre|
|1978||We Can't Pay! We Won't Pay!||Luigi||Half Moon Theatre|
|1977||Censored Scenes from King Kong||Stephen||Open Space Theatre|
|1977||The Dog Ran Away||Brother David||Hampstead Theatre|
|1975||Kidnapped at Christmas||Warder Mullins||Shaw Theatre|
|1973||Sarah B. Divine||Cochrane Theatre|
|1973||Kaspar||Almost Free Theatre|
|1972||England's Ireland||Round House Theatre|
|1971||Titus Andronicus||Martius||Round House Theatre|
- Pendreigh, Brian (April 1999). Ewan McGregor. Thunder's Mouth Press. pp. 26–27. ISBN 1-56025-239-1.
- "Denis Lawson interview". The Wright Stuff. 25 March 2010 – via YouTube.
- "Mr. Cinders". Musical-theatre.net. Archived from the original on 7 February 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2008.
- "An all-star cast to appear in BBC ONE's Jekyll". BBC Press Office. 29 August 2006. Retrieved 30 August 2006.
- "Above Their Station". BBC Three.
- "Cast update for The Acid Test at Royal Court Theatre". Londontheatre.co.uk.
- "Denis Lawson replaces James Bolam on New Tricks". Digital Spy.
- McCormick, Rich (12 May 2014). "Wedge Antilles actor rejected 'Star Wars: Episode VII' role because it would 'bore' him". TheVerge. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Johnston, Rich (9 December 2017). "Denis Lawson, Wedge Antilles from Star Wars, Did Not Reject Doing the New Films After All". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- Nero, Dom (8 October 2019). "Wedge Antilles's Return in the 'Rise of Skywalker' Confirms a Huge 'Star Wars' Theory". Esquire. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "Jamie Lawson". Archived from the original on 6 February 2005. Retrieved 9 September 2006.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Churchill, Carolyn (11 October 2017). "Star Wars actor marries in Italy" (PDF). www.heraldscotland.com.