Having just completed his autobiography, Nigel Hawthorne died on Boxing Day 2001. His ambitions to be an actor when a young man in South Africa were strongly discouraged by his father. He came to England alone and struggled for many years to make his name - eventually joining the Royal Court, starring in the West End, and finally having his great television break as Sir Humphrey in "Yes, Minister". He won many awards for his role as King George III in Alan Bennett's play at the National Theatre and then in the film "The Madness of King George". His most recent major role was as King Lear in Japan and at the RSC in 1999. As well as the trials of his career as an actor, he also struggled with his sexuality. He found his life partner in production manager Trevor Bentham whom he met in 1977 but the relationship was kept strictly private. His media "outing" in the run-up to the Oscar ceremony for "The Madness of King George" was the source of much pain, although ultimately it became a liberation. At the peak of his career he was struck by cancer and his battle with the illness forms a moving final section to the book.