Derek Jacobi

Handpicked to cofound Britain's National Theatre Company by Sir Laurence Olivier in 1963, Sir Derek Jacobi gained notice in Shakespearean classics such as "Hamlet" and "Othello" before segueing to feature films like "Day of the Jackal" (1973) and "The Odessa File" (1974). Jacobi's profile rose considerably with his career-making turn as "I, Claudius" (PBS, 1977), soon followed by his chilling embodiment of history's most reviled dictator in "Inside the Third Reich" (ABC, 1982). As an actor and public figure, his honors were numerous, including a Tony Award, Emmys, the Laurence Olivier Award, and a British knighthood in 1994. Other notable efforts on television, film and stage included his run as the 12th-century monk detective "Cadfael" (PBS, 1995-99), performing as a member of the award-winning ensemble cast of "The King's Speech" (2010) and what some called the definitive portrayal of "King Lear" on the London stage in 2011. Whether it was redefining another of Shakespeare's iconic characters, portraying a well-known historical figure, or creating a completely original performance for a modern work, Jacobi approached each role armed with classic training, fresh ideas and an indefatigable creative energy.