RSC & Dr Who Actor Bruce Purchase Dies

Passed away aged 69 at his home in Putney

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Bruce Purchase, who was born in Thames, New Zealand, won a scholarship to Rada as a young actor, lived in Putney with his partner Sara Hebblethwaite .

He was a founder member of Sir Laurence Olivier's National Theatre and a regular performer with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In 2003 he gave the first performance of Johnson is Leaving, John Wain's adaptation of his 1974 biography of Dr Samuel Johnson, at The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Wain wrote the drama especially for Purchase after the two men met in Oxford and Purchase subsequently performed the play around the world.

He appeared opposite Richard Chamberlain in a European tour of My Fair Lady and his television work included Doctor Who (pictured left), I, Claudius and Rumpole of the Bailey. His film performances included Richard III and All Quiet on the Western Front.

Purchase's autobiography Changing Skies was published shortly before he died and he was also an accomplished artist who exhibited in London and abroad. He became seriously ill while touring in a production of The Last Confession last year which also starred David Suchet.

June 13, 2008