(Billington’s article appeared 3/20 in the Guardian.)

It's a shock to realise that few people under the age of 60 will ever have seen Laurence Olivier on stage. It came as an even greater shock to be told recently that many young actors have either scarcely heard of him, or routinely dismiss him as an "old ham". Nothing could be further from the truth. I first came under Olivier's spell when, as a 15-year-old schoolboy, I saw him play Malvolio, Macbeth and Titus Andronicus in a single Stratford season. He was not only a great actor. He was also, allowing for changes of style and taste, a quintessentially modern actor.


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