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Grieving Sir Mark Rylance is said to have insisted on returning to stage tonight (10.06.22) despite the death of his brother in a cycling accident in California.
The Oscar winner, 62, would continued to play Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in the sellout West End revival of his hit show’ Jerusalem’, theatre bosses confirmed before the show was scheduled to start.
It comes came after the actor revealed to fans his wine specialist brother Jonathan’s death aged 60 in a horrific cycling smash in Oakland.
It had been previously reported Rylance was planning to fly to the US to “grieve” his younger brother as friends and family raised $130,000 (£110,000) for the actor’s bereft niece to go to college in the autumn.
But a family friend told MailOnline on Friday evening (10.06.22): “Mark is at the theatre tonight. He will go on stage despite his obvious heartache. Mark will then travel to America for the memorial service.”
A spokesman for the Apollo theatre in London where ‘Jerusalem’ is being shown confirmed ahead of the performance Rylance would appear on stage, in what critics have hailed an “almost superhuman” performance.
He said ahead of the show at 7.30pm: “Mark will be on stage tonight. He has just arrived at the theatre. The show must go on.”
Rylance will miss performances of the show this weekend, but it had been unclear whether he would be on stage tonight.
He said in a statement about his brother’s death: “I am so sorry to tell you that on the 28th of May my dear brother Jonathan Waters was knocked from his bicycle and tragically died of his injuries.
“In order to attend his funeral in California, I unfortunately have to miss three performances of ‘Jerusalem’.
“I hope you understand my need to grieve my beloved brother and thank you for your support at this time. I hope you will be able to attend another performance of ‘Jerusalem’.”
Jonathan was cycling late in Oakland a fortnight ago when he was hit by an oncoming vehicle, leaving him with fatal head injuries.
Firefighters who were first on the scene have him treatment but after being raced to hospital the sommelier – known as ‘Jonno’ by family and friends – died the following morning.
He had one daughter, Hazel, with her mother, Kate Razo.
It is another blow for Rylance as one of his two step-daughters – filmmaker Nataasha van Kampen, 28 – was killed in 2012 by a brain haemorrhage while on a flight.
Her death forced him to quit his role in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony in London.
Rylance’s brother’s passing is being marked by a memorial service and a celebration of his life at a winery in California on Sunday.
Rylance – born David Mark Rylance Waters – also has sister Susannah, and they grew up with ‘Jonno’ largely in Wisconsin where their father taught at the University School of Milwaukee.
The actor’s sister paid tribute on Instagram to their late brother with the message: “The spirit and love that poured out of him toward people. Even meeting him a few times, people immediately felt they were his friend.
“And for me, his sister, he was my touchstone, my person on this earth. Along with the other members of my family whom I am so so blessed to have. I am lost. A huge piece of me gone.”