This Welsh-born actor (who never felt the need to moderate his strong Welsh accent when playing Russian, Arab, Irish, Cypriot, French or American characters) began his working life as a bank clerk, but such a world could never contain so flamboyant an extrovert. By the start of the Second World War, he had begun to make his mark on stage in London; and during the decade after the end of his wartime army service, he came into his own. He was a distinguished Shakespearian at the Old Vic, particularly notable as Caliban and Falstaff, but it was on Broadway that he moved into stardom with his Tony-winning performance in "Look Homeward, Angel". Some big TV roles followed - notably as Long John Silver in a version of "Treasure Island" - and he won a very popular Oscar as the wily Sheikh Ilderim in "Ben Hur". For the next ten years, he was very busy indeed, but, as his fame increased, so did the huge alcohol intake for which he had always been notorious. He starred in a popular sitcom for the BBC, "The Walrus And The Carpenter", but it never went to a second series, despite rave reviews and good ratings, because he was too often drunk when taping episodes. In the 1970s, his roles grew noticeably smaller and he worked too often in unimpressive minor films.