Early life and career
Rees was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, the son of Doris Louise (née Smith), a shop clerk, and William John Rees, a police officer.
Rees started his career with the Royal Shakespeare Company and attended the Slade School of Fine Arts. He played Malcolm in the acclaimed Trevor Nunn 1976 stage and 1978 television production of Macbeth. Rees created the title role in the original production of the play The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, winning both an Olivier Award and a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play in 1982. He also starred in the original production of The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard in London in 1984.
Rees began to work in television during the 1970s, appearing opposite Laurence Olivier in The Ebony Tower (1984). From 1988 to 1991 he starred in the late 80s/early 90s British sitcom Singles, with actress and co-star Judy Loe. From 1989 to 1991 and in 1993, he also appeared intermittently on the long-running American TV series Cheers as the English tycoon Robin Colcord. Later television appearances include My So-Called Life as substitute teacher Mr Racine, British Ambassador Lord John Marbury on The West Wing and James MacPherson on Warehouse 13.
His film career beginning in the 1980s, Rees played the Sheriff of Rottingham in Mel Brooks' 1993 film, Robin Hood: Men in Tights. More recent film appearances include Frida (2002) and The Prestige (2006).
Continuing his work in the theatre through the 1990s, both as an actor and a director, Rees was awarded an Obie award for his 1992 performance in the off-Broadway play The End of the Day. In 1995 he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his role in Indiscretions. That same year, he also participated as narrator for the audiobook edition of Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice. As for audiobooks, Roger has performed in a wide variety of programs.
In November 2004, Rees was named artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, only the fourth person to hold the post in its half century history. He left the position in October 2007.
In October 2010, it was announced that on 22 March, he would be portraying the role of Gomez in the Broadway musical adaptation of The Addams Family, following the departure of Nathan Lane.
Rees died of brain cancer at age 71 at his home in New York on July 10th 2015.
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