Nicholas Clay was a talented and versatile actor who starred in many films, TV shows, and theatre productions. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Sir Lancelot in the 1981 film Excalibur, directed by John Boorman. However, his life was cut short by a devastating disease that claimed his life at the age of 53. In this article, we will explore the Nicholas Clay cause of death and how he fought against liver cancer.
Early Life and Career of Nicholas Clay
Nicholas Clay was born on September 18, 1946, in Streatham, London, England. He was the son of a professional soldier in the British Army’s Royal Engineers. He developed an interest in acting at a young age and performed at the Little Medway Theatre Club. He made his film debut in These Are the Damned (1962), a sci-fi horror film directed by Joseph Losey. He also appeared in several TV shows, such as Dixon of Dock Green, William, and Sergeant Cork.
He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and graduated in 1968. He then embarked on a successful career in theatre, appearing in several West End productions and working with renowned directors such as Laurence Olivier, Franco Zeffirelli, and Michael Blakemore. He also performed on Broadway in 1975, playing Acaste in The Misanthrope, opposite Diana Rigg and Alec McCowen.
He continued to act in films and TV shows, such as The Night Digger (1971), The Darwin Adventure (1972), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1976), Terror of Frankenstein (1977), and Zulu Dawn (1979). He also played Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, in the 1978 drama series Will Shakespeare, about the life of William Shakespeare.
Nicholas Clay’s Breakthrough Role in Excalibur
In 1981, Nicholas Clay achieved his most famous role, playing Sir Lancelot in Excalibur, a fantasy film based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The film was directed by John Boorman and featured an ensemble cast, including Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Liam Neeson, and Patrick Stewart. Clay’s performance as the noble and passionate knight who falls in love with Arthur’s wife Guinevere was praised by critics and audiences alike. He also performed his own stunts and sword fights in the film, which required intensive training and physical preparation.
Excalibur was a commercial and critical success, earning $34.9 million at the box office and receiving four BAFTA nominations, including Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design. It is widely regarded as one of the best adaptations of the Arthurian legend and one of the most influential fantasy films of all time. It also launched the careers of many of its actors, such as Neeson and Stewart, who went on to become Hollywood stars.
Nicholas Clay’s Later Career and Personal Life
After Excalibur, Nicholas Clay continued to work in film, TV, and theatre, but never achieved the same level of fame and recognition. He appeared in films such as Lovespell (1981), The Missionary (1982), The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak (1984), Lionheart (1987), and Merlin (1998). He also starred in TV shows such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984), The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1986), The Lady and the Highwayman (1989), and The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999).
He married actress Lorna Heilbron in 1980, whom he met while working at the National Theatre. They had two daughters, Ella and Madge, who also became actresses. He was a devoted family man and enjoyed spending time with his wife and children. He also loved gardening, fishing, and playing golf.
Nicholas Clay’s Diagnosis and Death from Liver Cancer
In 1999, Nicholas Clay was diagnosed with liver cancer, a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that performs many functions, such as filtering blood, producing bile, storing energy, and making proteins. Liver cancer can be caused by various factors, such as chronic infection with hepatitis B or C, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, diabetes, or exposure to toxins. Liver cancer can cause symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, swelling, weight loss, nausea, and fatigue.
Nicholas Clay underwent chemotherapy and surgery to treat his liver cancer, but the disease was too advanced and aggressive to be cured. He died on May 25, 2000, in London, England, at the age of 53. He was cremated and his ashes were buried at Saint Peter’s Churchyard in Sibton, Suffolk, England. He was survived by his wife and two daughters, who were devastated by his loss. His fans and colleagues also mourned his death and paid tribute to his talent and charisma.
Conclusion: Nicholas Clay Cause of Death
Nicholas Clay was a brilliant actor who had a long and diverse career in film, TV, and theatre. He is best known for his role as Sir Lancelot in Excalibur, a film that is considered a classic of the fantasy genre. He was also a loving husband and father who cherished his family and friends. He died from liver cancer, a disease that affects millions of people around the world. His death was a tragedy that robbed the world of a great artist and a wonderful human being.