(Michael Coveney’s article appeared in the Guardian, 8/10.)

Wood, who has died aged 81, was one of the greatest stage actors of the past century, especially associated with his roles in the plays of Tom Stoppard. But a combination of his enigmatic privacy and low profile on film – he cropped up a lot without dominating a movie – meant that he remained largely unknown to the wider public.

As with all great actors, you always knew what he was thinking, all the time. Wood was especially striking in the brain-box department. Tall, forbidding and aquiline-featured, he was as much the perfect Sherlock Holmes on stage as he was the ideal Brutus. He exuded ferocious intelligence, and the twinkle in his eye could be as merciless as it was invariably amused.


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