About me

June 1st 1944, Salford, England

Robert Powell was born in Salford, north of England, and was the youngest of three children. He studied law in the Manchester University. When he played in a student play the director was astonished by his performance and convinced him to study acting in Stoke-On-Trent. In 1964 he moved to London where he carried on with his theatrical career.

Robert started in the movies playing supporting parts. His first film was Walk a crooked path in 1969, which was followed by The italian job, with Michael Caine, he played one of the burglars. In1970 his great chance arrived when he took part in the first season of the cult tv series Doomwatch. Robert played Toby Wren, who became one of the tv viewers' favourite character. Nevertheless, the writers decided to "sacrify" him (that's what they say) and kill him off from the series. The truth is that Robert didn't want to make more than one season, however, he made the best choice!

That's how Robert started his prolific career in the movies, as well as on tv and theatre. He played in two horror films that are today considered as cult films: Asylum and The Asphyx, but he had a supporting role in both of them.
In his private life Robert has always taken himself as someone extremely shy who wasn't lucky with girls. Indeed, he was very surprised at the popularity due to Doomwatch. Eventually, he used that popularity to help him to meet the love of his life Barbara Lord, a dancer from the group The Pan's People from the tv show Top of the pops. This is a sweet anecdote: as Robert was so shy, he daren't invite her to go out, so he decided to invite all the dancers to a restaurant (very clever!) and he managed to sit side by Babs. And it was practically love at the first sight! They saw again and three months later they moved together... and the love story still continues. So romantic!
In 1974 Ken Russell gave him the leading part of his most beautiful film, Mahler, he also played in the successful Tom Stoppard's Trasvesties, and "without any enthousiasm" he went to the casting for Franco Zefirelli's Jesus of Nazareth. But, do you think this "unknown" demanded the role of Jesus? Of course not! In fact, believe it or not, Franco Zefirelli had in mind names such as Al Pacino or Dusting Hoffman to play the son of God (thanks whom it wasn't so!).
In fact Robert casted to play... Judas! But when Zefirelli looked at his eyes, he realised they could be Christ's eyes and asked him to cast characterised as Jesus. As soon as he was ready, everybody were astonished: Robert looked exactly as one had imagined Jesus was.

Before playing Jesus, Robert had to get married with Babs, because Sir Lew Grade, the producer, won't accept that the actor who was to play Jesus "lived in the sin". In fact Sir Lew Grade just suggested they should get married, but it wasn't necessary because Robert and Babs have considered that before. And at the end of the filmation he didn't want to get converted... which didn't please a many.
For him Jesus was just a role as another one, and as soon as he returned to London he took away that image because he didn't want to use it to impulse his career. Although with Jesus of Nazareth he became known all around the world, a possible career in Hollywood was stopped by closed-mind producers who couldn't conceive to see the actor who played Jesus make any sin on screen (but on the next film he made Robert proved that he can "sin" on screen). Anyway, Robert didn't like the Hollywood system nor the roles he was proposed. He feels much better in Europe than in America, indeed one of his favourite places is Italy. Robert is a REAL international actor, not just because he's known all around the world, but because he has made a lot of films in many countries.
In 1978 Robert made one of his best films The thirty nine steps, which is one of his fan's favourite film but also he loved to had taken part on it. You have to know that for Robert the most important in any role he plays (except for Jesus) is to find the ironic side, to have fun in order to make it less tough. In those days his son Barney was born.

In the begining of the 80's Robert took part in two films very important in his career Harlequin, 1982, for which he was awarded best actor at the Paris film festival, and in the same year for his performance in Krzistof Zanussi's Imperative, he was awarded best actor at the Venice film festival. In those days his daughter Kate was born.

All along this decade Robert took part in many films for the tv. In 1989 Robert starred a tv series based on his character from The thirty nine steps: Hannay. During the 90's, this exellent actor became the narrator of many documentaries and showed his talent as a comedy actor with the popular tv series The Detectives, with Jasper Carrott and apparead in numerous plays on stage.  

Robert also received an honorary MA from the Salford University, and nine months later he lost his father which affected him a lot because they were much more closer in those years.

Robert is a great man, he actively works with many charity associations, mainly with The Lords' Taverners and takes part in the social and sportive events organised by them. In 2001 Robert and Babs took part in the BT Challenge, the toughest yacht race around the world. While Babs made the entire race, Robert just took part in one leg, with the actor Jeremy Irons.

Most recently Robert returned to active work on tv and films. He recently appeared in Colour Me Kubrick and is playing a current character in the British hospital drama Holby City.