David Suchet

Widely regarded as one of England’s finest stage, screen, and TV actors, short, stocky, balding David Suchet’s international reputation has only grown over the years, greatly enhanced by his definitive interpretation of Agatha Christie’s suave Belgian super-sleuth Hercule Poirot, a character he played for nearly 25 years in various TV episodes (1988-2013). Born in London on May 2, 1946, the son of actress Joan Patricia Jarché and renowned Lithuanian-Jewish obstetrician and gynecologist Jack Suchet, David, following boarding school, took an early desire in acting and was given a membership with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain at age 16. He then studied for three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and, after a significant route in repertory work, became a company member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973, where he evolved into one of its most dominant players.

In the 1970s, Suchet also began to come into his own on British television. In the classical tradition, his first television movie was A Tale of Two Cities (1980). His first cinematic detective was as a Greek inspector in the Disney mystery comedy Trenchcoat (1983). This was followed by a versatile range of film roles that also express the width of his acting nationalities, such as a Middle Eastern terrorist in The Little Drummer Girl (1984), a Russian operative in The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), a French hunter in Harry and the Hendersons (1987), a Polish bishop in To Kill A Priest (1988), and the emperor Napoleon in Sabotage! (2000).

Suchet’s masterful work in television roles also includes portrayals of historical, biblical, entertainment, and fictional figures, such as Sigmund Freud in Freud (1984), news reporter William L. Shirer in Murrow (1986), Aaron in Moses (1995), movie mogul Louis B. Mayer in RKO 281 (1999), Cardinal Wolsey in Henry VIII (2003), vampire nemesis Van Helsing in Dracula (2006), and Robert Maxwell in Maxwell (2007).

Suchet’s memorable theatre incarnations have included Shakespearean in terms of Iago in “Othello,” Tybalt in “Romeo and Juliet,” Caliban in “The Tempest,” and the title role of “Timon of Athens,” as well as vibrant classical roles such as George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1996), as composer Salieri in “Amadeus” (1998). This mesmerizing performance earned both Olivier and Tony nominations, as Joe Keller in “All My Sons” (2010), James Tyrone in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (2012) (and in the 2014 film), Lady Bracknell in “The Importance of Being Earnest” (2015) (and in the 2015 film), and as Gregory Solomon in “The Price” (2019).

Long married to former actress Sheila Ferris, the couple has two children: Robert Suchet (born 1981) and Katherine Suchet (born 1983). His older brother is BBC newscaster-turned-journalist John Suchet. David was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) at the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to drama. He was awarded Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire at the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his drama and charity services.