Kent, England, UK
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Paxton Whitehead was born on 17 October, 1937 in Kent, England, UK. He trained at London`s Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts starting at the age of 17. After attending the academy for two years he went to work in stock companies starting with the `weekly rep`, small touring companies that rehearsed and performed a new play each week. He made his professional debut in 1956, and within two years was signed by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Whitehead produced with Doric Wilson, directed and starred in `And He Made A Her` (1961), a production at the off-off-Broadway venue Caffe Cino. He made his Broadway debut in `The Affair` (1962) after appearing in Canadian stage and TV productions. Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett, Peter Cook and Paxton Whitehead provided vocals on the track `Some Thoughts From Aboard` from the comedy album `Beyond The Fringe `64`. He went on to appear with the American Shakespeare Company to direct in regional repertory.
Whitehead was the Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival, the second-largest repertory theatre in North America. The Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake began as an amateur summer happening. It developed into a professional, international event, particularly under Paxton Whitehead, its dedicated artistic director from 1966 to 1977. Notable appearances there included Magnus in `The Apple Cart`, Cusins in `Major Barbara`, `The Philanderer`, Sergius in `Arms and the Man`, Lord Summerhays in `Misalliance`, Fancourt Babberly in `Charley`s Aunt`, Tempest in the North American premiere of Alan Bennett`s `Forty Years On` and Hector in `Heartbreak House` with Jessica Tandy and Tony Van Bridge, a role he repeated at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London with Rex Harrison and Diana Rigg. Whitehead was also the Artistic Director for The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company from 1971 to 1973.
Whitehead appeared opposite Carol Channing in `The Bed Before Yesterday` (1976) at the Robert Morris University, Colonial Theatre, Pennsylvania. He received an honourary degree in arts from Trent University in 1978. At the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Main Stage July 11 - July 15, 1978, Whitehead played Leo in `Design for Living`. Suzanne Grossman and Paxton Whitehead translated and adapted the plays by Georges Feydeau `The Chemmy Circle` in 1979 and `A Flea in her Ear` in 1982.
Whitehead earned a Tony Award nomination for his appearance in `Camelot` during 1980. He has appeared in numerous Broadway productions including `My Fair Lady`, opposite Richard Chamberlain, `The Harlequin Studies` with Bill Irwin, Noel Coward`s `Suite in Two Keys`, `A Little Hotel on the Side`, `Lettice and Lovage` (playing an emotionally shut-down police investigator), `Artist Descending A Staircase`, `Run For Your Wife`, `The Crucifer of Blood`, `Habeas Corpus`, `Candida`, `Beyond the Fringe` (1964), `The Affair` and `London Suite` (a comedy by Neil Simon). Whitehead appeared in `Noises Off` (September 22 - November 27, 1983) with Linda Thorson, his `Marblehead Manor` (1987) co-star.
He moved to California in 1980 to rear his children and has been a resident of Irvine, California for many years. The Shaw Festival of Canada debuted at the Annenberg Centre with `Charley`s Aunt` starring Paxton Whitehead. Whitehead has also appeared in the Los Angeles productions of `Woman in Mind` with Helen Mirren, `The Rocky Horror Show`, `Pirates of Penzance`, `How the Other Half Loves` and `Beyond The Fringe`, as well as duplicating some of his Broadway roles. Paxton Whitehead directed the Seattle Repertory Theatre production of `The Real Thing` in 1986. He was nominated for Best Lead Performance at the 1988-1989 20th Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for `How the Other Half Loves`.
Whitehead appeared in the June 1992 Tiffany Theatre production of `Woman in Mind`. In 1996 Whitehead appeared in the Studio Arena Theatre production of `Springtime for Henry`. From January 7 to February 15, 1997, Paxton Whitehead starred in Hugh Leonard`s play `The Mask of Moriarty` at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. Whitehead was the narrator for the February 1999 Tiffany Theater production of `The Rocky Horror Show`.
In April 2000, Hayley Mills appeared with Whitehead in `Suite in 2 Keys`, `Shadows of the Evening` and `A Song at Twilight`. Whitehead played the celebrated British poet and Latin Professor A.E. Housman in `The Invention of Love` at Court Theatre, Chicago, Illinois (September 6 - October 21, 2000). On October 10, 2001, The UCLA Centre for the Performing Arts for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies sponsored `Lady Windermere`s Fan` by Oscar Wilde, a staged reading by John Lithgow and friends with Lord Augustus Lorton played by Paxton Whitehead. In the Signature Theatre Company production of `The Harlequin Studies` (October 2003) featured Whitehead as Harlequin`s master, Pantalone. Performances of Whitehead`s are available on audio CDs of `The Doctor`s Dilemma` (January 11, 2003), `Thank You, Jeeves` and
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Full Name at Birth
Francis Edward Paxton Whitehead
Claim to Fame
Back to School
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Paxton Whitehead (born 17 October 1937) is a British actor who made his professional debut in 1956. He played Professor Phillip Barbay in the 1986 comedy film Back to School.
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