Longtime comedic and Shakespearian British actordied on February 17 at his home in London at the age of 79. Briers had been suffering from emphysema. Briers, who never had plans to retire, admitted that his breathing difficulties did slow him down a bit. A heavy smoker – he estimated around half a million cigarettes -, Briers freely admitted that his difficulty with emphysema was his own fault.
He was born Richard David Briers on January 14, 1934 in Raynes Park, England; the son of a bookmaker and pianist. He served his National Service in the RAF – Royal Air Force. Prior to his 50 plus year career Briers studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, winning a silver medal. He made his professional acting debut at the Liverpool Playhouse Theatre. He married Ann Davies in 1957. When no acting, Briers enjoyed golf, gardening, and reading. He is also the author of four books.
In 1989 Briers was awarded an OBE – Officer of the British Empire for services to the Arts and in 2003 Queen Elizabeth awarded him the CBE – Commander of the British Empire.
Briers made his television debut in 1956 in the made for TV movie “She Stoops to Conquer”. From there he went on to appear in over 100 roles including “Harper's West One”, four episodes of “The Seven Faces of Jim”, 13 episodes of “Brothers in Law”, 44 episodes of “Marriage Lines”, five episodes of “Jackonary”, six episodes of “Birds on a Wing”, 30 episodes of “Roobarb”, seven episodes of “Noah and Nelly in SkylArk”, “The Norman Conquests”, 30 episodes of “Good Neighbours”, 12 episodes of “One-Upmanship”, 13 episodes of “The Other One”, seven episodes of “Goodbye, Mr. Kent”, four episodes of “Doctor Who”, 10 episodes of “All in Good Faith”, “Henry V”, 27 episodes of “Ever Decreasing Circles”, “Much Ado About Nothing”, the grandfather in “Frankenstein”, seven episodes of “Down to Earth”, “Hamlet”, “Inspector Morse”, 15 episodes of “Watership Down”, “Peter Pan”, nine episodes of “Roobarb and Custard Too”, 27 episodes of “Monarch of the Glen”, “As You Like It”, “Torchwood”, and his final role in 2012 “Cockneys vs. Zombies”.
Along with his numerous television and film roles, Briers appeared on the West End stage in a number of productions including “Relatively Speaking”, “Absent Friends”, and “Absurd Person Singular”.
During his career Briers has worked with Sir, Peter O'Toole, , and Peter Ustinov.
Briers is survived by his wife of over 50 years Ann and daughter Lucy and Kate.