Sir Ronald Harwood author of Quartet

One of the great delights of acting, is bringing to life the written word. Allowing it to breathe, to move and to fulfil its destiny. The author is of course the start of it all.

So let’s take a peek at Ronald Harwood, or should I say Sir Ronald Harwood, the author of Quartet. He was born Ronald Horwitz in Capetown, South Africa in 1934 and came to Britain in 1951 to work in the theatre. He wanted to become an actor from a very young age and this steadfast ambition led him to study at Rada in London. He was married to Natasha Riehle, an assistant stage manager, in 1959. A wise move, as it turned out, as his father- in- law gave him a typewriter for his birthday. He never looked back and was later heard to say that he hadn’t made any money at all until he started writing.

He wrote prolifically – both novels and plays, and became one of the most successful screenwriters of his day. One of his best know films, The Dresser, starring Albert Finney and Sir Tom Courtney, was a runaway triumph, and in 2002 he won an Oscar for his screenplay of The Pianist. He also wrote the play and the screenplay for our own Quartet, creating magical roles in the film for Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Sir Tom Courtney and the irrepressible Billy Connolly.

His success as a writer was to earn him a CBE in 1999 followed by a knighthood in 2010. He was truly a master of his art.

Sir Ronald Harwood CBE, playwright and screenwriter, died in 2020. He is survived by his three children. We salute you.

But don’t take my word for it! Come and judge for yourselves.