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Brian Blessed Collapses on Stage During Production of 'King Lear' and Still Finishes the Performance, Quits Future Shows Due to Heart Condition

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Jan 31, 2015 02:41 PM EST

Actor Brian Blessed has quit the Guildford Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear after collapsing on stage with an apparent heart problem. The always professional Blessed retuned to stage after 20 minutes and continued to act but has bowed out due to medical advice.

78-year-old Blessed had just begun his lines as the title role when he fainted, falling off a raised platform on the stage. The audience panicked as fellow actor Noel White, playing the Earl of Kent, announced quietly, “Ladies and gentlemen this is not part of the play. Is there a doctor in the house?” After being examined by a doctor and being removed from the stage, the actor returned 20 minutes later and apologized to the audience for the mishap. “I feel such as idiot and I am not in the habit of doing this, but I have a little fibrillation,” he said. He then finished the rest of the show.

However, it seems as if the stage is too much strain for the actor, who had small heart operation three years ago. It has been announced that he has officially quit the show.

According to the Daily Mail, his agent said: “Mr. Blessed’s heart condition is more serious than he was aware. With a broken heart, Brian has therefore been compelled to withdraw from the production of which he is so proud. He is immensely grateful for the support he has received from the Guildford Shakespeare Company.”

Blessed will be replaced by Terence Wilton.

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TagsBrian Blessed, Collapses, Guildford Shakespeare Company, King Lear, Quits, Heart Condition, Terence Wilton

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