Roger Rees

  1. Robin Williams, Happy Days #110:  My Favourite Orkan, TV, 1978. The stars hated the script. “it’ll get better,” they were told. It got worse. The words didn’t matter. The problem was finding the right Mork from the planet Ork (remember My Favourite Martian?). Voice-over king John Byner and Dom De Luise rejected producer Garry Marshall’s invite. Joanthan Winters, who would have been perfect, was touring down-under. Roger Rees, from London’s Royal Shakespeare Company no less, was signed – and quit in the same week. “I can’t do this – he’s not a real person.” Marshall asked his cast: Anyone know a funny Martian?  Yeah, yelled Al Molinaro, new owner of Arnold’s malt shop. There’s guy at Harvey Lembeck’s improv workshop, also attended by Garry’s sister, Penny Marshall…  As Henry Winkler put it, Williams absorbed the script like a sponge and then “Robinised it.” And the episode led an immediate spinoff, Mork & Mindy,1978-1982…by much time he was in the movies.   
  2. Tim Roth, Rosencrantz &  Guildenstern Are Dead, 1991.       Part of the original cast before the delay when Sean Connery had to quit.  Rees had become (Ton y award) famous in the 80s for headling the Royal Shakespeare Company’s marathon version  of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby –  lasting ten hours wih intermissins.
  3. Bruce Boxleitner, Babylon 5, TV, 1994-1998.    Considered for Captain John Sheridan, the 2258 commander of what’s left of  five space stations…  Also in the mix : Barry Bostwick, James Earl Jones, A Martinez, Michael Moriarty, Michael York – and two Welsh guys: Rees and John Rhys-Davies. 
  4. John Spencer, The West Wing,  TV, 1999-2006.    President Martin Sheen’s Chief of Staff Leo McGarry ws asimed at one of two actors:  Rees, the British  stage star, or trhe US veteran Spencer.  Series creator Aaron Sorkin kwpt his promise to write a new character for Rees –  the UK advisor and eventual ambassador Lord John Marbury. The best take on US politics since Advise & Consent in 1961, the series won a staggering 26 Emmys. I met Spencer at the Monte Carlo TV Festival in 0000, and aranged a Oval Office-ish photo-shoot of him with a visiting USA President – 24’s Dennis Haysbert.  Looking up at Dennis John commented: “He’s, bigger than my guy!”

 Birth year: 1944Death year: 2015Other name: Casting Calls:  4