Sir Jonathan Miller, the English theatre and opera director, has died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 85. Widely regarded as something of a polymath, Miller first came to public attention as a comedian, before working as a television presenter and director. He was also known as a writer, broadcaster, lecturer and art historian.

Sir Jonathan Miller

Born on July 21, 1934, Miller studied medicine at Cambridge University, qualifying as a doctor in 1959. His path into the profession was diverted when he found fame in the early 1960s in the revue Beyond the Fringe, with his directorial debut following soon after with John Osborne’s Under Plain Coverin 1962. Championed by none other than Laurence Olivier, the founding artistic director of the National Theatre, Miller would go on to direct several acclaimed productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Among these was an iconic The Merchant of Venice, which saw Olivier in a career-defining turn as Shylock. During this period Miller also worked with the BBC, which saw him adapt plays for television and present cultural programs.  He would become Artistic Director of the Old Vic in 1987, where his programming was...

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