Actor, playwright and artist Antony Sher was born into a Lithuanian Jewish family in Cape Town, South Africa on 14 June 1949. At the age of 19, he travelled to London to audition at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Central School of Speech and Drama, but studied instead at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art from 1969-71, followed by a postgraduate course at Manchester University. After graduation, he launched his career at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982. Two years later, he won the Laurence Olivier Award for his performance of Richard III. His many other memorable roles with the company include: Macbeth, Tamburlaine and King Lear, as well as Cyrano de Bergerac, and Stanley Spencer, for which he won his second Laurence Olivier Award in 1997. In 2000 he was made Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) for services to theatre.

Sher also wrote plays, including 'Primo' (2004), a multi-award-winning one-man show adaptation of Primo Levi’s novel entitled 'If This Is A Man', and painted, primarily self-portraits in his dramatic roles including 'The Fool, Self Portrait, Stratford' (from 'King Lear'), 1982, and 'Richard III, Self Portrait, Stratford' (from 'Richard III'), 1984, both Royal Shakespeare Theatre, as well as 'Self-portrait as Primo' (2008, Ben Uri Collection). Sir Antony Sher died at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England on 2 December 2021.