In this post I will count down my top five actors to have given life to Henry VIII in films and television.
Number 5: Ruairi O’Connor in The Spanish Princess
~In the series based on the life of Katherine of Aragon, and books by Philippa Gregory Henry VIII is portrayed by Ruairi O’Connor. During the two seasons the audience gets to see the evolution of Henry from second son, to Prince of Wales, to King of England.
Number 4: Jonathan Rhys Meyers in The Tudors
~In the 2007-2010 run of this Showtime television show, Henry VIII is portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He was able to aptly show the passion and anger within Henry. His mercurial and romantic natures are also visible. This is a fun and interesting take. While like, all shows and films, there is not a ton of historical accuracy, it is still well worth watching!
Number 3: Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII
~In the 1930’s Charles Laughton was the man to portray Henry VIII! He was a great actor in historical dramas in the time of classic Hollywood. This film is atmospheric and entertaining.
Number 2: Keith Michell in The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Henry VIII and His Six Wives
~In the 1970s Keith Michell portrayed the king in first the BBC miniseries, and then a film about Henry and his wives! He truly captured the essence of the king, and is very enjoyable to watch. A huge plus is that he also looks the part more than most people. He even was willing to use padding to show the king gaining weight, as not all were willing to (like Jonathan Rhys Meyers)!
Number 1: Richard Burton in Anne of the Thousand Days!
~In 1969 Richard Burton played Henry VIII in this film based on the life of Anne Boleyn (Henry’s second wife). Burton would be nominated for an Oscar (though he would lose to John Wayne), and it was hard for him emotionally as he himself had left a wife of many years for a younger woman (his second wife Elizabeth Taylor)! He has always been my favorite Henry VIII, and I honestly wish they would have agreed to cast Elizabeth Taylor as his Anne! No matter what, he was able to make an amazing personification of this iconic royal!
Note: I hope you have enjoyed my top five countdown of actors who have played Henry VIII. Let me know in the comments your favorite Henry VIII portrayals!