Description: Welsh actor and director.

Known For: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

Instruments: Voice

Music Styles: Jazz

Location: United States of America

Date Born: 5 May 1944
Location Born: Aberystwyth, Wales

Date Died: 10 July 2015
Location Died: New York City, New York, U.S.

Web Site:   Article on appointment to Williamstown Theater Festival

Other Links: See below:



Roger Rees (5 May 1944 – 10 July 2015) was a Welsh actor and director. He was best known to American audiences for playing the characters Robin Colcord on the American television sitcom show Cheers and Lord John Marbury on the American television drama The West Wing. He won a Tony Award for his performance as the lead in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

Rees was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, the son of Doris Louise (née Smith), a shop clerk, and William John Rees, a police officer.

Rees started his career with the Royal Shakespeare Company and attended the Slade School of Fine Arts.[2] He played Malcolm in the acclaimed Trevor Nunn 1976 stage and 1978 television production of Macbeth. Rees created the title role in the original production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, David Edgar’s stage adaptation of the Dickens novel, winning both an Olivier Award and a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play in 1982. He also starred in the original production of The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard in London in 1984.

Rees began to work in television during the 1970s, appearing opposite Laurence Olivier in The Ebony Tower (1984). From 1988 to 1991 he starred in the late 80s/early 90s British sitcom Singles, with co-star Judy Loe. From 1989 to 1991 and in 1993, he also appeared intermittently on the long-running American TV series Cheers as the English tycoon Robin Colcord. Later television appearances include My So-Called Life as substitute teacher Mr Racine, British Ambassador Lord John Marbury on The West Wing and James MacPherson on Warehouse 13.

His film career began in the 1980s. Rees played the Sheriff of Rottingham in Mel Brooks’ film, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Later film appearances include Frida (2002) and The Prestige (2006).

Continuing his work in the theatre through the 1990s, both as an actor and a director, Rees was awarded an Obie Award for his 1992 performance in the Off-Broadway play The End of the Day. In 1995 he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his role in Indiscretions. That same year, he also participated as narrator for the audiobook edition of Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice. As for audiobooks, Rees performed in a wide variety of programs.

In November 2004, Rees was named artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival,only the fourth person to hold the post in its half century history. He left the position in October 2007.

He replaced Nathan Lane in the role of Gomez in the Broadway musical adaptation of The Addams Family, on 22 March, 2010 and was in the rest of the run until 31 December.

Rees played Anton Schell in The Visit, opposite Chita Rivera, which opened 23 April 2015.

Personal life

Rees became a naturalised United States citizen in 1989. He converted to Judaism in the 1980s.

Rees married his husband, writer/producer Rick Elice, in 2011. Rees and Elice also collaborated professionally, including as co-playwrights of the comedic thriller Double Double. Elice is also the co-author (with Marshall Brickman) of the book of the Addams Family musical, the cast of which Rees had joined on 22 March 2011. In 2012, Elice and Rees received Tony Award nominations for Elice’s stage adaptation and Rees’ co-direction (with Alex Timbers), respectively, of Peter and the Starcatcher.

Rees died at his home in New York on 10 July 2015, following a brief illness.


Star 80 (as Aram Nicholas), 1983
A Christmas Carol (as Fred Hollywell), 1984
God’s Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale (as William Tyndale), 1987
If Looks Could Kill – Teen Agent (as Augustus Steranko), 1991
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot as J. Parnell, 1992
Robin Hood: Men in Tights (as Sheriff of Rottingham), 1993
Sudden Manhattan, 1996
Trouble on the Corner (as McMurtry), 1997
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (as Peter Quince), 1999
The Bumblebee Flies Anyway (as Dr Croft), 1999
The Crossing (as Hugh Mercer), 2000
BlackMale (as Bill Fontaine), 2000
Frida (as Guillermo Kahlo), 2002
The Scorpion King (as King Pheron), 2002
Return to Never Land as Edward, 2002
Going Under (as Peter), 2004
Crazy Like a Fox (as Nat Banks), 2004
Game 6 (as Jack Haskins), 2005
The New World (as Virginia Company Representative, uncredited), 2005
The Pink Panther (as Larocque), 2006
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (as solicitor Mr. Hobbs), 2006
The Prestige (as Owens), 2006
The Invasion (as Yorish), 2007
Falling for Grace (as Andrew Barrington, Sr.), 2007
Happy Tears (as antiques dealer), 2010
Affluenza as Mr. Carson, 2014
Survivor as Dr. Emil Balan, 2015


Tales of the Unexpected (in episode 96 as James Howgill), 1984
A Christmas Carol (as Fred Holywell/Narrator), 1984
Singles (as Malcolm), 1988–1991
Cheers (as Robin Colcord), 1989–1993
The Young Riders (in episode “Lady for a Night” as Tyler Dewitt), 1990
M.A.N.T.I.S. (as Dr. John Stonebrake), 1994–1995
My So-Called Life (in episode “The Substitute” as Vic Racine), 1994
Titanic (as J. Bruce Ismay), 1996
Boston Common (as Harrison Cross), 1997
Liberty! The American Revolution 1997
Extreme Ghostbusters (as The Piper), 1997
Double Platinum (as Marc Reckler) 1999
Oz (in episode “Medium Rare” as Jack Aldridge), 2001
Law & Order (in episode “Kid Pro Quo” as Wyatt Scofield), 2003
The West Wing (as Lord John Marbury), 2000–2005
Grey’s Anatomy (in episodes “Scars and Souvenirs”, “My Favourite Mistakes” and “Time After Time” as Dr. Colin Marlow), 2007 (season three)
Law & Order: Criminal Intent (in episode “Alpha Dog” as Duke DeGuerin), 2009
Warehouse 13 (in episodes “Implosion”, “Breakdown”, “Nevermore” and “MacPherson” (as James MacPherson), 2009
The Good Wife (in episode “Nine Hours” as Dr. Todd Grossman), 2010
Elementary (in episode 6, “Flight Risk”), 2012
The Middle (in episode “The Smile”), 2013
Forever (in episode “Diamonds are Forever” as Priest), 2014


The Comedy of Errors (as Antipholus of Syracuse), Stratford-on-Avon and London, 1976
Three Sisters (as Tusenbach) Stratford-upon-Avon London and tour, 1979
Cymbeline (as Posthumus), Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-on-Avon 1979
Cymbeline (as Posthumus), Royal National Theatre, 1980
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (as Nicholas Nickleby), Royal Shakespeare Company
Aldwych Theatre, London, June 1980 – June 1981
Plymouth Theatre, Broadway, September 1981 – March 1982
The Real Thing (as Henry), London, 1982
Hamlet as Hamlet, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford upon Avon, 1984
The End of the Day (as Graydon Massey), Playwrights Horizons, off-Broadway, 1992
Indiscretions (as George), Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Broadway, 1995
A Man of No Importance (as Alfie Byrne), Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, off-Broadway, 2002
Waiting for Godot (as Vladimir, replacing Patrick Stewart), Haymarket Theatre, London, 2010
Waiting for Godot (as Vladimir), His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, 2010
Waiting for Godot (as Vladimir), Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, 2010
Waiting for Godot (as Vladimir), Comedy Theatre, Melbourne, 2010[17]
The Addams Family (as Gomez [Replaced Nathan Lane]), Broadway, 2011
Peter and The Starcatcher (director of the play, along with Alex Timbers), Broadway, 2012 (and then it moved to an Off-Broadway theatre in 2013)
The Primrose Path (Director), Guthrie Theater, 2013
The Visit (musical) (as Anton Schell), Broadway, 2015


  1. Jump up ^ Roger Rees Film Reference biography
  2. Jump up ^ Roger Rees Biography – Yahoo! Movies
  3. Jump up ^ Indiscretions Listing on Broadway”

    playbillvault.com, accessed 24 May 2015

  4. Jump up ^ “Narrator profile” at AudioFile
  5. Jump up ^ “Rees Leaving Williamstown Theatre Festival”


  6. Jump up ^ “Roger Rees to Replace Nathan Lane in The Addams Family” at Broadway World
  7. Jump up ^ “Roger Rees Extends THE ADDAMS FAMILY Run Through Closing on December 31”

    . Broadwayworld.com. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2012.

  8. Jump up ^ [1]
  9. Jump up ^ http://www.jewishjournal.com/the_ticket/item/how_peter_and_the_starcatcher_took_flight
  10. Jump up ^ Interview with Rees
  11. Jump up ^ “Roger Rees Tests His ‘Will’ Shakespearean Roles Don’t Define the Actor, but He’s Clearly Bard-Wired”

    by Peter Marks The Washington Post Sunday, 25 March 2007

  12. Jump up ^ “Backstory” by Michael Schulman “The New Yorker” 4 June 2012, p. 54
  13. Jump up ^ Barnes, Mike (10 July 2015). “Roger Rees, Star of ‘The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,’ Dies at 71”

    . The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 July 2015.

  14. Jump up ^ Trowbridge, Simon (2010). “Roger Rees”. A Biographical Dictionary of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Oxford, England: Editions Simon Creed. ISBN 0-9559830-2-9.
  15. Jump up ^ “Cymbeline”

    . RSC Performance Database. Retrieved 20 November 2011.

  16. Jump up ^ “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby”

    . RSC Database. Retrieved 20 November 2011.

  17. Jump up ^ “Sir Ian McKellen is mistaken for a tramp on a Melbourne bench between Waiting for Godot rehearsals”

    . Alison Barclay (herald sun). 7 May 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2010.