James Laurenson Dies: ‘The Crown’ And ‘Coronation Street’ Actor Was 84

James Laurenson, the British actor whose 50-year career included roles in Coronation Street, Midsomer Murders and The Crown, had died. He was 84.

His death was reported by multiple UK news outlets today. A cause of death and other specifics have not been reported.

First appearing in 1968 as the Reverend Peter Hope in the long-running soap Coronation Street, Laurenson most recently appeared in the film Matilda The Musical (2022), and TV series The Terror (2018) and The Crown (2016). On the latter, he reccured as Doctor Sir John Weir, Physician Royal to King Edward V and others in the monarchy.

Laurenson also was known for his groundbreaking performance in a stage production and 1970 television broadcast of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II in which he and Ian McKellen shared a kiss, considered the first same-sex kiss for British television and arriving three years after homosexuality was decriminalized.

In 2011, Laurenson was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as the Ghost and the Player King in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Hamlet.

Born February 17, 1940, in New Zealand, Laurenson moved to London after university, making his film debut in 1969’s Women in Love. His career would include work on the stage, including many performances in Shakespeare plays and, in 1984, in his only musical, 42nd Street; in film (Pink Floyd’s The Wall) and many TV series (Prime Suspect, Crown Court, Lovejoy and U.S. series Cagney & Lacey and Remington Steele).

According to UK news outlets, he is survived by second wife Cari Haysom and son Jamie from his previous marriage to actress Carol Macready.


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