Denis Stamper Lawson (born 27 September 1947) is a Scottish actor and director. He is known for his roles as John Jarndyce in the BBC's adaptation of Bleak House, as Gordon Urquhart in the film Local Hero, as DI Steve McAndrew in BBC One's New Tricks, and as Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy. He is the uncle of actor Ewan McGregor.
Lawson was born in Crieff, Perthshire, the son of Phyllis Neno (née Stamper), a merchant, and Laurence Lawson, a watchmaker. Lawson was educated at Crieff Primary School (then called Crieff Public School). After the Control examination (Scottish equivalent of the 11 Plus examination), he went on to Morrison's Academy before attending the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, having first unsuccessfully auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He then sold carpets and did amateur theatre work for a year in Dundee before auditioning again at RADA in London and successfully at RSAMD in Glasgow.
Lawson began his acting career with a small role in a 1969 stage production of The Metamorphosis in London's West End. and has since starred in television dramas such as The Merchant of Venice (1973) opposite Laurence Olivier as Shylock, Rock Follies (1976) and Dead Head (1986).
Lawson played X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles in all three films of the original Star Wars trilogy. In 2001, he reprised the role, in voiceover form, for the Nintendo GameCube game Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader.
He has appeared often on the West End stage, notably in the musical Mr. Cinders at the Fortune Theatre from 1983–84.
In 1999, Lawson directed a production of Little Malcolm & His Struggle Against the Eunuchs which was first staged at the Hampstead Theatre before transferring to the Comedy Theatre in London's West End starring his nephew Ewan McGregor in the lead role of Malcolm Scrawdyke.
He appeared on an episode of Loose Ends hosted by Ned Sherrin on BBC Radio 4 on 10 December 2005.
In 2005, he played the leading role of John Jarndyce in the critically acclaimed BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, receiving an Emmy nomination. Two years later he played Peter Syme in the BBC One drama serial Jekyll, a modern version of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Lawson also appeared as Captain "Dreadnought" Foster in ITV's dramatisations of C.S. Forester's Hornblower. He appeared in Robin Hood in which he played the Sheriff of Winchester.
He also appeared in the West End playing the character of Georges in the revival of the musical hit La Cage Aux Folles. No stranger to musical theatre, Lawson previously starred in the London revival of Pal Joey.
He starred as the lead in Above Their Station, a sitcom for the BBC written by Rhys Thomas about Community Support Officers; it was made as a pilot but never commissioned, only being shown as a one-off special. Lawson appeared alongside actress Helena Bonham Carter in the BBC Four movie based on the life of Enid Blyton, playing Kenneth Darrell Waters, a London surgeon who becomes Blyton's second husband. In July 2009 Lawson appeared as Alexander Fleming in a BBC Four drama called Breaking the Mould: The Story of Penicillin alongside Dominic West. Lawson played the part of Alice's grandfather in ITV1's supernatural crime thriller Marchlands which was shown in February 2011.
Lawson appeared at the Royal Court Theatre once more in The Acid Test by Anya Reiss in 2011.
Lawson replaced James Bolam in the BBC One series New Tricks in its ninth series in 2012.
Lawson has said that he was asked to reprise his role as Wedge in Star Wars: The Force Awakens but turned down the role because he believed it would have bored him.
His sister, Carol Diane McGregor, a retired teacher who still lives in Perthshire, is the mother of actor Ewan McGregor who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
In 1979, Lawson fathered a child, Jamie Lawson, with actress Diane Fletcher, with whom he had a seven-year relationship after meeting in a stage production of Twelfth Night.
He met his wife, actress Sheila Gish, on the set of the 1985 film That Uncertain Feeling. They lived together for nearly 20 years before marrying in March 2004 in Antigua; she died of cancer a year later (9 March 2005).
|2013||The Wee Man||Willie|
|2011||Perfect Sense||Restaurant Owner|
|2006||Dolls||Monsieur Nicholas||Short film|
|1996||Cervellini fritti impanati|
|1988||The Zip||Eric||Short film|
|1983||Local Hero||Gordon Urquhart|
|1983||Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi||Wedge Antilles|
|1983||Bitter Cherry||Short film|
|1980||Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back||Wedge Antilles|
|1977||Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope||Wedge Antilles|
|2014||Inside No. 9||Gerald||1 episode: Series 1, Episode 2 "A Quiet Night In"|
|2012–2015||New Tricks||DI Steve McAndrew|
|2011||Candy Cabs||Kenny Ho|
|2011||Hustle||Benny||1 episode: Series 7, Episode 4|
|2010||Above Their Station||Chief Constable Keith Boone|
|2009||No Holds Bard||Miekel|
|2009||Enid||Kenneth Darrell Waters|
|2009||Breaking the Mould – The Story of Penicillin||Alexander Fleming|
|2009||Criminal Justice||DCI Bill Faber|
|2009||Law and Order:UK||Philip Woodleigh||1 episode: "Sacrifice"|
|2008||The Passion||Annas||Episode 1–3|
|2008||Mumbai Calling||Phillip Glass|
|2007||Robin Hood||Harold of Winchester||1 episode: "For England!"|
|2007||Marple||Leo Argyle||1 episode: "Ordeal By Innocence"|
|2006||Dalziel and Pascoe||John Barron||2 episodes: "The Cave Woman", Parts 1 and 2|
|2006||The Thieving Headmistress||Father Plunkett|
|2006||Feel the Force||Gordon Campbell|
|2005||Bleak House||John Jarndyce|
|2005||Sensitive Skin||Al Jackson|
|2003||Lucky Jim||Julius Gore-Urquat|
|2003||A World in Arms||Narrator|
|2002–2004||Holby City||Tom Campbell-Gore||Regular character|
|2001||The Fabulous Bagel Boys||DI Morris Rose||TV film|
|2000||Other People's Children||Tom||Series 1, Episodes 2 and 3|
|1998||The Round Tower||Arthur Brett|
|1998||The Ambassador||John Stone|
|1998||Hornblower||Captain 'Dreadnought' Foster||1 episode: "The Examination for Lieutenant"|
|1998||Cold Feet||Alex Welch||1 episode: Series 1, Episode 4|
|1996||A Royal Scandal||Henry Brougham|
|1997||Pie in the Sky||Nick Spencer||1 episode: "In the Smoke"|
|1996||Tales from the Crypt||Frank|
|1992||Natural Lies||James Towne|
|1992||Screen One; Born Kicking||Victor Grace|
|1992||El C.I.D.||1 episode: "My Brother's Keeper"|
|1990||Boon||James Marian||1 episode: "Bully Boys"|
|1989||The Justice Game||Dominic Rossi|
|1989||Screen One; One Way Out||Bernard|
|1987||Love After Lunch||Miles|
|1986||Dead Head||Eddie Cass|
|1986||Kit Curran||Kit Curran|
|1985||That Uncertain Feeling||John Aneurin Lewis|
|1985||Victoria Wood As Seen on TV||Phiilip and Singer||2 episodes: Series 1, Episode 2 and 5|
|1984||The Kit Curran Radio Show||Kit Curran|
|1983||Bergerac||Giroux||1 episode: "Miracle Every Week"|
|1982||Crown Court||John Dickens||1 episode: "Talking to the Enemy"|
|1980||The Good Companions||Albert Tuggridge||2 episodes: |
"In Which We Meet the Company"
|1980||If Winter Comes|
|1980||Play for Today: The Flipside of Dominick Hide||Felix|
|1979||Diary of a Nobody||Frank Mutlar|
|1978||Play of the Week: Fearless Frank||Ernest Dowson/Prof Byron Smith|
|1978||Armchair Thriller: The Girl Who Walked Quickly||David Cooper|
|1977||The Man in the Iron Mask||Claude|
|1977||Rock Follies of '77||Ken Church|
|1977||Seven Faces of Woman||Jerome||1 episode: "She: Anxious Anne"|
|1976||Play for Today; The Jumping Bean Bag||Snare|
|1975||Rock Follies||Ken Church|
|1975||Survivors||Norman||1 episode: "The Future Hour"|
|1974||Ms or Jill and Jack||Jerry|
|1973||Beryl's Lot||Peter Jaret||1 episode: "Getting Up"|
|1973||The Merchant of Venice||Launcelot Gobbo|
|1969||Dr. Finlay's Casebook||Andy Donald||1 episode: "Action, Dr. Cameron"|
|2011||The Acid Test||Jim||Royal Court Theatre|
|2008||La Cage Aux Folles||George||Playhouse Theatre||nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical|
|1993||Oleanna||John||Duke of York's Theatre|
|1988||The Film Society||Jonathon Balton||Hampstead Theatre|
|1987||The Importance of Being Earnest||Algernon Moncrieff||Royalty Theatre|
|1986||Lend Me a Tenor||Max||Globe Theatre|
|1984||The Lucky Chance||Bellmour||Royal Court Theatre|
|1983–84||Mr Cinders||Jim Lancastar||King's Head Theatre then Fortune Theatre||won the 1983 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical|
|1979||Fifty Words—Bits of Lenny Bruce||King's Head Theatre|
|1978||A Greenish Man||Patrick||Bush Theatre|
|1978||We Can't Pay! We Won't Pay!||Luigi||Half Moon Theatre|
|1977||Censored Scenes from King Kong||Stephen||Open Space Theatre|
|1977||The Dog Ran Away||Brother David||Hampstead Theatre|
|1975||Kidnapped at Christmas||Warder Mullins||Shaw Theatre|
|1973||Sarah B. Divine||Cochrane Theatre|
|1973||Kaspar||Almost Free Theatre|
|1972||England's Ireland||Round House Theatre|
|1971||Titus Andronicus||Martius||Round House Theatre|
- Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2001) (VG) Wedge Antilles (voice)