Letter: William Russell obituary

<span>William Russell, right, as Shylock, with Alison Fiske, left, and Ronnie Stevens during rehearsals for The Merchant of Venice at the Open Air theatre, Regent’s Park, London, in 1969.</span><span>Photograph: Ian Showell/Getty Images</span>
William Russell, right, as Shylock, with Alison Fiske, left, and Ronnie Stevens during rehearsals for The Merchant of Venice at the Open Air theatre, Regent’s Park, London, in 1969.Photograph: Ian Showell/Getty Images

William Russell was an actor of considerable range, as brought out in the excellent obituary by Michael Coveney.

As a young director it was my very good fortune to direct Bill in two contrasting leading roles in Shakespeare at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London. First, in 1968, came Master Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, in which he managed to be, in his jealous rages, both wildly funny and curiously pathetic.

In the following season he was inevitably my first choice as Shylock – chilling and impassioned by turn. His enthusiasm, intelligence and energy made him a constant pleasure to work with. I came to appreciate him as an actor in complete command of his craft, and only wish I had worked with him more often.