Jeremy Brett

Jeremy Brett's performance as Sherlock Holmes generated a worldwide fan base for Brett. Jeremy Brett (born Peter Jeremy William Huggins) died in 1995 of heart failure related to a childhood case of rheumatic fever (and smoking). Some say he died from prolonged grief after the death of his second wife in 1985. In The New York Times obituary, Mel Gussow wrote: "Mr. Brett was regarded as the quintessential Holmes: breathtakingly analytical, given to outrageous disguises and the blackest moods and relentless in his enthusiasm for solving the most intricate crimes." Below are a few more details found on Wikipedia about Jeremy Brett's life and death...

During his 40-year career, Brett is best remembered for portraying Sherlock Holmes in the 198494 series of Granada Television films, adapted by John Hawkesworth and other writers from the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Though he feared being typecast, Brett appeared in 41 episodes of the Granada series, alongside David Burke and, latterly, Edward Hardwicke as Dr Watson.

Brett had played Doctor Watson on stage opposite Charlton Heston as Holmes...making him one of only three actors to play both Holmes and Watson professionally.

Brett claimed he was an "academic disaster" at Eton and attributed his learning difficulties to dyslexia. However, he excelled at singing and was a member of the college choir.

Jeremy Brett was considered for the role of James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service after Sean Connery quit the series in 1967.

Brett was born with a speech impediment that kept him from pronouncing the "R" sound correctly. Corrective surgery as a teenager, followed by years of practicing, gave Brett an enviable pronunciation and enunciation. He later claimed that he practiced all of his speech exercises daily, whether he was working or not. Notable in all of Jeremy Brett's roles is his precisely honed diction.

In 1958, Brett married the actress Anna Massey (daughter of Raymond Massey), but they divorced in 1962 when he left her for a man. Their son, David Huggins, born in 1959, is now a successful British cartoonist, illustrator and novelist.

In 1977 Brett married American PBS producer Joan Wilson. She died of cancer in 1985. Brett was devastated by Wilson's death and did not marry again.

Brett suffered from bipolar disorder (commonly known as manic depression), which worsened after the death of his second wife, Joan Wilson, on 4 July 1985. She died shortly after Brett finished filming Holmes' "death" in The Final Problem. He took a break from filming the Holmes series. When he returned to film new episodes in 1986, however, grief and the stressful shooting schedule aggravated his disorder.

He suffered a full-blown manic depressive crisis and was hospitalized. During the last decade of his life, Brett was treated in hospital several times for his mental illness, and his health and appearance visibly deteriorated by the time he completed the later episodes of the Sherlock Holmes series. During his later years, he discussed the illness candidly, encouraging people to recognize its symptoms and seek help.

There were plans to film all the Holmes stories, but Brett died of heart failure at his London home before the project could be completed. Brett's heart had been damaged by a childhood case of rheumatic fever and was apparently further weakened by his heavy smoking.

From Jeremy Brett - Wikipedia

Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television Series (12 DVD)
Starring: Jeremy Brett

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