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CLICK ON THE ACTORS' NAMES TO READ ABOUT THEIR PERFORMANCE

100
99
ALAN HOWARD as OBERON/THESEUS
A Midsummer Night's Dream
98
97
EMMA THOMPSON as BEATRICE
Much Ado About Nothing
96
95
94
HERBERT BEERBOHM TREE as BOTTOM
A Midsummer Night's Dream
93
92
PETER O'TOOLE as PETRUCHIO
The Taming of the Shrew
91
90
89
88
JOHN STRIDE as ROMEO
Romeo & Juliet
87
86
85
JUDI DENCH as JULIET
Romeo & Juliet
84
83
RALPH RICHARDSON as BOTTOM
A Midsummer Night's Dream
82
81
80
HENRY GOODMAN as SHYLOCK
The Merchant of Venice
79
78
77
76
IAN HOLM as RICHARD III
The Wars of the Roses
75
74
CHARLES MACKLIN as SHYLOCK
The Merchant of Venice
73
CHARLES LAUGHTON as ANGELO
Measure for Measure
72
71
70
69
68
67
66
65
64
63
62
61
60
59
58
57
ELLEN TERRY as PORTIA
The Merchant of Venice
56
55
54
53
HENRY IRVING as BENEDICK
Much Ado About Nothing
52
SAMUEL PHELPS as FALSTAFF
The Merry Wives of Windsor
51
50
49
48
47
46
45
JOHN GIELGUD as LEONTES
The Winter's Tale
44
43
42
PEGGY ASHCROFT as BEATRICE
Much Ado About Nothing
41
40
JOHN GIELGUD as ANGELO
Measure for Measure
39
DEREK JACOBI as BENEDICK
Much Ado About Nothing
38
37
36
35
34
33
32
31
30
29
28
27
26
25
24
JOHN GIELGUD as BENEDICK
Much Ado About Nothing
23
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
RALPH RICHARDSON as FALSTAFF
Henry IV Parts I & II
11
ELLEN TERRY as BEATRICE
Much Ado About Nothing
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
HENRY IRVING as SHYLOCK
The Merchant of Venice
1
         

 

ODDS & END

Actors who appear most frequently in the 100 Greatest performance list

JOHN GIELGUD
9
LAURENCE OLIVIER
7
PEGGY ASHCROFT
5
IAN MCKELLEN
5
HENRY IRVING
4

Characters which appear most frequently in the 100 Greatest performance list

 
Hamlet
13
 
King Lear
11
 
Richard III
9
 
Othello
5
 
Benedick
5
 
Shylock
4
 
Benedick
4
 
Richard II
4

Earliest performance on list
c. 1600 - Richard Burbage as Hamlet

Most recent performance on list*
2007- Ian McKellen as King Lear
* Year performer debuted in performance

Production with the most listed performances
Romeo & Juliet at the New Theatre (1935)
Peggy Ashcroft as Juliet (15)
Edith Evans as The Nurse (61)
John Gielgud as Mercutio (80)

Honorable Mention performances
John Gielgud in The Ages of Man
Ian McKellen in Acting Shakespeare
Toshiro Mifune in Throne of Blood