Gibbons, Philip

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Born in 1920 in Neath, Wales, William Squire began his working life in a bell foundry before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Following graduation and a five-year spell in the Royal Navy during WW2, he joined the Old Vic Company and began his stage career, staying for two seasons and touring America with them.

Squire's first performance on stage was in 1937 with the Bedford Guild of Players in a production of Jerome K. Jerome's The Passing of the Third Floor Back . He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1948 and played Laertes to Paul Scofield and Robert Helpmann's Hamlet in his first season. Performances in Troilus and Cressida, Cymbeline and A Midsummer Night's Dream followed. His Christmas performances as Ratty in Toad of Toad Hall proved popular, and he continued to play the role at both Stratford and West End theatres well into the 1950s.

Leaving the RSC, Squire worked seasons at both the Bristol Old Vic and London's Old Vic, where he played Horatio to Richard Burton's Hamlet (he was later to replace Burton as King Arthur in Camelot on Broadway in 1963). He played the role of Vladimir in the original London production of Waiting for Godot (1955) and appeared in a production of TS Eliot's final play, The Elder Statesman (1958).

During a varied career he also played Captain Cat in Under Milk Wood (1956), Teddy Lloyd in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1966), Headmaster Sunstroke in Spring Awakening (1974) and Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night (1976).

His television work included the BBC series Callan and film roles ranged from Aeschines in Alexander the Great (1956) and Roy Martin in The Battle of the River Plate (1957) to the voice of Gandalf in the animated version of The Lord of The Rings (1978).

Married twice, Squire died in 1989.

From the guide to the Philip Gibbons collection of William Squire materials, 1937-1989, (V&A Department of Theatre and Performance)

Archival Resources
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creatorOf Philip Gibbons collection of William Squire materials, 1937-1989 V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
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associatedWith Andrews, Harry., 1911-1989 person
associatedWith Atienza, Edward., b. 1924 person
associatedWith Burton, Richard., 1925-1984 person
associatedWith Chekhov, Anton., 1860-1904 person
associatedWith Eliot, Thomas Stearns., 1888-1965 person
associatedWith Grant, Duncan., 1885-1978 person
associatedWith Helpmann, Robert., 1909-1986 person
associatedWith Jerome, Jerome K.. , 1859-1927 person
associatedWith Milvain, Douglas., d. 2011 person
associatedWith Rossen, Robert., 1908-1966 person
associatedWith Scofield, Paul., 1922-2008 person
associatedWith Shakespeare, William., 1564-1616 person
associatedWith Shaw, George Barnard., 1856-1950 person
associatedWith Turner, Bridget., b. 1939 person
associatedWith Vickers, John., d. 1976 person
associatedWith Wreford, Edgar., 1923-2006 person
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