Born July 14, 1931, in Bristol, England; died of liver and kidney ailments, November 12, 1995, in London, England. Actor and director. Sir Robert Stephensbegan his career playing in regional theaters in the west of England. He wastrained at the Bradford Civic Theatre School and was discovered by directorTony Richardson in the 1950s, who suggested Stephens join the English Stage Company at the Royal Court. By the early 1960s Stephens was being celebrated as the successor to Laurence Olivier. He won critical acclaim in the role of Atahualpa in The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964). In 1967 he married the actressMaggie Smith with whom he starred in several plays and films, including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1967). The couple separated after appearing together in Noel Coward's Private Lives (1972) and were divorced three years later.Stephens played the title role in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970),but his career faded over the next decade. In 1992, however, he made a comeback as Falstaff in the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production of Henry IV, for which he won the Olivier Award. He was working as the title character in the RSC production of King Lear when his health began to seriously fail. His autobiography, Knight Errant, was published in 1995.