Clive Swift had a successful and varied acting career which spanned over half a century. A member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he made over a dozen appearances in films and had countless television roles but is undoubtedly best known for his portrayal of the long-suffering Richard Bucket, husband to social-climbing Hyacinth, in the sit-com Keeping Up Appearances. He appeared in 41 episodes of the comedy between 1990-95.
He was born in Liverpool on 9th February 1936, the son of Abram Samson Swift and his wife Lillie Rebecca (née Greenman.) Abram was a very successful furniture retailer with premises in Bootle, the family home being at 229 Queen Drive L15. Along with his brother David, who also took up acting, he was sent for schooling at Clifton College in Bristol and then read English at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. His Cambridge days saw his first forays into acting and it was at the university that he met the writer Margaret Drabble, whom he married in 1960.
After making his first professional appearance in a J B Priestley play in 1958 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960, staying with them until 1968, including a tour of the USA. His television work encompassed a host of popular shows, including The Liver Birds, Dr Who, Inspector Morse, Peak Practice and Midsomer Murders. His first film credit was in the 1965 Catch Us If You Can, a vehicle to display the dubious acting talents of the Dave Clarke Five. He also appeared in Hitchcock’s Frenzy (1972) and David Lean’s A Passage To India .
His marriage to Drabble ended in 1975. They had three children, Rebecca, a noted poet and essayist, Adam, a political philosopher and sociologist, and Joe, a garden designer well-known for his appearances TV gardening programmes. Clive Swift died on 1st February 2019 in London aged 82.
Clive Swift's family home in Liverpool
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