David Warner was born in Manchester England on the 29th July 1941, the Son of Doreen (nee Hattersley) and Herbert Simon Warner, who was a nursing home proprietor. He was was educated at Feldon School, Leamington Spa, and trained for the stage at the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art, London.
David made his professional stage debut at the Royal Court in January 1962, playing Snout, a minor role in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Tony Richardson for the English Stage Company. In March 1962 at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry he played Conrad in Much Ado About Nothing, following which in June he appeared as Jim in Afore Night Come at the New Arts Theatre in London.
He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford on Avon in April 1963 to play Trinculo in The Tempest and Cinna the Poet in Julius Caesar, and in July was cast as Henry VI in the John Barton adaptation of Henry VI, Parts I, II and III, which comprised the first two plays from The Wars of the Roses trilogy. At the Aldwych Theatre, London, in January 1964 he again played Henry VI in the complete The Wars of the Roses history cycle (1964). Returning to Stratford in April he performed the title role in Richard II, Mouldy in Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry VI. At the Aldwych in October 1964 he was cast as Valentine Brose in Eh?
He first played the title role in Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the 1965 repertoire. This production was transferred to the Aldwych Theatre in December of that year. In the 1966 Stratford season, his Hamlet was revived and he also played Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night. Finally at the Aldwych in January 1970, he played Julian in Tiny Alice.
According to his 2007 programme CV, David Warner's other work for the theatre has included The Great Exhibition at Hampstead Theatre (February 1972); I, Claudius at the Queen's Theatre (July 1972); A Feast of Snails at the Lyric Theatre (February 2002); Where There's a Will at the Theatre Royal, Bath; King Lear at Chichester Festival Theatre (in 2005, see details below); and also Major Barbara on Broadway.
In 1963, he made his film debut in Tom Jones, and in 1965 starred as Henry VI in the BBC television version of the RSC's The Wars of the Roses cycle of Shakespeare's history plays. Another early television role came when he starred alongside Bob Dylan in the 1963 play The Madhouse on Castle Street. A major step in his career was the leading role in Morgan: A Suitable Case For Treatment (1966) opposite Vanessa Redgrave, which established his reputation for playing slightly off-the-wall characters. He also appeared as Konstantin Treplev in Sidney Lumet's 1968 adaptation of Anton Chekov's The Sea Gull He also played The Reverend Joshua Duncan Sloan in Sam Peckinpah's The Ballad Of Cable Hogue, perhaps one of David Warner's (and Peckinpah's) least known or appreciated films.
David has also managed to become a cult horror star and is very popular to fans of the genre. Early horror movies he appeared in is one of the stories of From Beyond the Grave and opposite Gregory Peck in The Omen (1976) as the ill-fated photojournalist Keith Jennings.
Since then, he has often played villains, in films such as The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978), Time After Time (1979), Time Bandits (1981), Tron (1982), and television series such as Batman: The Animated Series playing Ra's al Ghul, the anti-mutant scientist Herbert Landon in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, as well as rogue agent Alpha in the animated Men in Black series and the Archmage in Disney's Gargoyles and finally The Lobe in Freakazoid. He was also cast as Henry Niles in Straw Dogs (1971) and as Bob Crachit in the 1984 telefilm of A Christmas Carol. In addition, he played German SS General Reinhard Heydrich both in the movie Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil, and the television mini-series Holocaust.
David has also gained a cult following in sci-fi has movies such as Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Avatar, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991). More horror followed with a brief role in Wes Craven's Scream 2. David appeared recently in independent television's adaptation of the Hornblower series (which starred Ioan Gruffudd, David's co-star on Titanic). David also appeared in three episodes of the second series of Twin Peaks (1991). He also continues to play classical roles. In "Chain of Command", a 6th-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, he was a Cardassian interrogator. Other featured roles included cult classic Waxwork (1988), and David featured alongside a young Viggo Mortensen in the 1990 film Tripwire. A double-role was to be had in the campy low-budget fantasy Quest of the Delta Knights (1993) . He also played Admiral Tolwyn in the movie version of Wing Commander. The late 90's would see David appear as Spicer Lovejoy in James Cameron's Blockbuster 'Titanic' (1997)
On the "nice guy" side, he played the charismatic Aldous Gajic in Grail, a first-season episode of Babylon 5 and Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He also portrayed the sympathetic character of Capt. Kiesel in Sam Peckinpah's Cross of Iron. In an episode of Lois & Clark he played Superman's deceased Kryptonian father Jor-El, who appeared to his son through holographic recordings. He has also played ambiguous "nice guys" like vampire bat exterminator Philip Payne in 1979's Nightwing; and Dr. Richard Madden in 1994's Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, who had to kill to sustain his life, but was a generally nice person. He also appeared as mad scientist Dr. Alfred Necessiter in the film The Man with Two Brains in 1983 alongside Steve Martin and Kathleen Turner. David also worked with acclaimed horror directer John Carpenter, first on Body Bags (1993) and followed up 2 years later with the highly underated In The Mouth Of Madness.
David has done extensive voice work and has contributed "Sonnet 25" to the 2002 compilation album, When Love Speaks (EMI Classics), which consists of Shakespearean sonnets and play excerpts as interpreted by famous actors and musicians. He has performed in many audio plays, starring in the Doctor Who "Unbound" play Sympathy for the Devil (2003) as an alternative version of the Doctor, and in a series of plays based on ITV's Sapphire & Steel as Steel, both for Big Finish Productions. He will reprise his incarnation of the Doctor in a sequel, Masters of War. In 2007, he guest starred as Issac Newton in the Doctor Who audio drama Circular Time. He also guest starred in the BBC Radio 4 Sci-Fi comedy Nebulous (2005) as Professor Nebulous' arch-enemy Dr. Klench. In all these productions David has worked with writer and comedian Mark Gatiss of the League of Gentlemen, and plays a guest role in the League's 2005 feature film The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse. In 2005 David read a new adaptation of 'Oliver Twist' for BBC Radio 2 (adapted by Neville Teller and directed by Neil Gardner). In 2008, he guest-starred as Mycroft Holmes in the Bernice Summerfield audio play The Adventure of the Diogenes Damsel.
He has also contributed voice acting to a number of computer games, most notably playing the villain Jon Irenicus in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and Morpheus in Fallout.
David also did voice work on the short-lived FOX animated show Toonsylvania as Dr. Vic Frankenstein. On the Cartoon Network animated television series The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, David provided the voice of Nergal, a demonic creature from the Earth's core that is obsessed with making friends. He voiced the character until 2003. He also voiced one of Batman's greater enemies, Ra's Al Ghul, in Batman: The Animated Series, and an episode of Batman Beyond. He also voiced The Lobe on Freakazoid.
David appeared recently in independent television's adaptation of the Hornblower series (which starred Ioan Gruffudd, Warner's co-star on Titanic).
In May 2005 at the Chichester Festival Theatre David made a long overdue return to Shakespeare, playing the title role in Steven Pimlott's unsettling production of King Lear. Tim Walker, reviewing the performance in the Sunday Telegraph, wrote: "Warner is physically the least imposing king I have ever seen, but his slight, gaunt body serves also to accentuate the vulnerability the part requires. So, too, does the fact that he is older by decades than most of the other members of the youthful cast."
On 30 October 2005, he appeared on stage at the Old Vic theatre in London in the one-night play Night Sky alongside Christopher Eccleston, Bruno Langley, Navin Chowdhry, Saffron Burrows and David Baddiel. In December 2006 he starred in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather on Sky1 as Lord Downey. And in August 2007, as an RSC Honorary Artist, he returned to Stratford for the first time in over 40 years to play Sir John Falstaff in the Courtyard Theatre revival of Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2.
In February 2008 David returned to voice work as the popular fictional character Hugo Rune in a new 13-part audio adaptation of Robert Rankin's The Brightonomicon released by Hokus Bloke Productions and BBC Audiobooks. He starred alongside some high profile names including cult sci-fi actress and Superman star Sarah Douglas, Rupert Degas, Lord Of The Rings actor Andy Serkis, Harry Potter villain Jason Isaacs, Mark Wing-Davey and Martin Jarvis (written by Elliott Stein & Neil Gardner, and produced/directed by Neil Gardner).
Back To The Small Screen
David appeared in the BBC production of Sweeney Todd alongside Ray Winstone.
In October 2008 David played the role of Lord Mountbatten in the BBC Four television film In Love with Barbara, a biopic about the life of romantic novelist Barbara Cartland.
He is currently filming for the ITV production of Albert's Memorial (2009) which will also star T.V favourite David Jason.
Current Projects As Of September 2012
David recently completed work on Independent feature 'Shakespeare's Daughter' and featured in Dana Lustigs 'A Thousand Kisses Deep'. More voice work has followed with David joining the cast of Cosmic Hobo's The Scarifyers and more audio for various BBC Radio plays including The Tempest.
David Will appear this October in The Secret Of Crickley Hall for BBC Television and has delighted Dr Who fans around the world for finally appearing on screen in the live action series to be screened in early 2013.