Anthony Stewart Head (born 20 February 1954), usually credited as Anthony Head, is an English actor and musician. He rose to fame in the UK following his role in television advertisements for Nescafé Gold Blend (Taster's Choice in the U.S.), and is known for his roles as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and as Uther Pendragon in Merlin.
Head was born in Camden Town, London. His father was Seafield Laurence Stewart Murray Head (1919–2009), a documentary filmmaker and a founder of Verity Films, and his mother was actress Helen Shingler. They had married in 1944 in Watford. His older brother is actor and singer Murray Head. Both brothers have played the part of Freddy Trumper in the musical Chess at the Prince Edward Theatre, London, with Murray a part of the original cast in 1986, whilst Anthony was in the final cast in 1989.
Head was educated at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). His first role was in the musical Godspell; this led to roles in television on both BBC and ITV, one of his earliest being an appearance in the series Enemy at the Door (ITV, 1978–1980). In the early 1980s he sang with the band Red Box. In the late 1980s, he appeared in a storyline series of twelve coffee commercials with Sharon Maughan for Nescafé Gold Blend. (A version made for the US featured the American brand name Taster's Choice.) The soap opera nature of the commercials brought him wider recognition, along with a part in the Children's ITV comedy drama Woof!
Head played Frank N Furter in the 1990–91 West End revival of The Rocky Horror Show at London's Piccadilly Theatre, with Craig Ferguson as Brad Majors. In 1991 Head's rendition of "Sweet Transvestite" was released as a single by Chrysalis Records. Head played the role again in the summer of 1995 at London's Duke of York's Theatre, a 3 May 2006 tribute show at London's Royal Court Theatre, and a 14 October 2000 production at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (Las Vegas).
Success on the stage and a number of brief appearances on American television, such as in the short-lived VR.5, led to accepting the role of Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997. For this role he lived full-time in the United States during the late 1990s and early 2000s, although his family continued to live in the UK. Head left the regular cast of Buffy during the show's sixth season and subsequently appeared several times as a guest star through the conclusion of the series. In many interviews at the time, Head said he left the show in order to spend more time with his family, having realized that he had spent most of the year outside England, which added up to more than half his youngest daughter's life.
Early to Mid-2000s
In 2002, he co-starred in the BBC Two television series Manchild, a show centered around four friends approaching their fifties who try to recapture their fading youth and vitality while dealing with life as 'mature' men. He also appeared in guest roles in various other dramas, such as Silent Witness, Murder Investigation Team, and Spooks. He appeared in the 4th series of the British hit sitcom My Family in 2003 playing one of the main character's (Abi's) father in the episode "May the Best Man Win". He was featured as the Prime Minister in the popular BBC comedy sketch show Little Britain from 2003 to 2005, and guest starred in several episodes of the 2004 series of popular drama Monarch of the Glen.
Outside of television work, he has released an album of songs with musician George Sarah entitled Music for Elevators. Early in his career he provided vocals for some of the tracks on the Chris de Burgh album The Getaway and the reading from The Tempest on Don't Pay The Ferryman.
In 2001, he appeared in a special webcast version of the popular British science fiction series Doctor Who, a story called Death Comes to Time, in which he played the Time Lord Valentine. He also guest starred in the Excelis Trilogy, a series of Doctor Who audio adventures produced by Big Finish Productions, and in 2005 narrated the two-part documentary Project: WHO?, detailing the television revival of the series, for BBC Radio 2 (and released to CD in 2006 by BBC Audio). In April 2006 he appeared as an alien school headmaster, Mr. Finch, in an episode of the second series entitled "School Reunion". Soon after, he recorded an abridged audio book of the Doctor Who novel The Nightmare of Black Island by Mike Tucker. He narrated the third and fourth series of Doctor Who Confidential. He also voiced the character Baltazar, Scourge of the Universe (an evil space pirate searching for the Infinite), in the first ever animated Doctor Who special, "The Infinite Quest". Head had previously auditioned for the role of the Eighth Doctor for the 1996 television movie, but lost out to Paul McGann.
In early 2006, he appeared in an episode of Hotel Babylon, a BBC One drama set in a hotel, in which he played a suicidal man who recovers and lands a music deal. The same year he filmed a pilot for a new show entitled Him and Us, loosely based on the life of openly gay rock star Elton John, for American TV channel ABC, co-starring Kim Cattrall. In July he appeared as Captain Hook at the Children's Party at the Palace, a live pantomime staged in the grounds of Buckingham Palace as part of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday celebrations. In October 2006, he voiced Ponsonby, leader of MI6, in Destroy All Humans! 2.
In 2007, he portrayed Stockard Channing's gay brother in the English film Sparkle and appeared as Mr Colubrine in the ITV1 comedy drama Sold. Head also appeared as Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion. Head also narrated a BBC behind-the-scenes programme for the American television series Heroes, Heroes Unmasked. He has also been seen as Maurice Riley in the BBC Drama The Invisibles alongside Warren Clarke.
After seeing Anthony Head in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode, "Once More, With Feeling", Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman cast him in his 21st century rock opera, Repo! The Genetic Opera. Head plays the film's grim reaper, an organ repossession man doing the bidding of an out of control biotech company called GeneCo. "Anthony Head was my number one choice for Repo Man from the very beginning, " said Bousman in an interview shortly before the film's release on 7 November 2008. The film also stars musical legend Sarah Brightman and paparazzi favourite Paris Hilton.
Head has also performed for radio, taking two of the lead roles—arch-villain Mr Gently Benevolent, and his descendant, journalist Jeremy Sourquill—in the BBC Radio 4 comedy series, Bleak Expectations (four series, 2007–2010).
Head was part of the regular cast of the BBC drama series Merlin, which derives its title from the mythical wizard of the same name. Head played King Uther Pendragon, the father of Prince Arthur.
Head also provides voice-over work in the Nintendo Wii video game, Flip's Twisted World, developed by Frozen North Productions.
Head lives near Bath, Somerset with his partner Sarah Fisher and two daughters, Emily, born in December 1988, and Daisy, born in March 1991, who are both actresses. On Saturday Kitchen, in September 2010, Head declared he is a pescetarian.
"Sweet Transvestite" (1991 single) Chrysalis Records, 7″ single, 12″ single, CD single, and shaped picture CD Music for Elevators (2002 album) in collaboration with George Sarah.
Sarah Fisher (1982–present) 2 children.
Younger brother of Murray Head.
His mother, Helen Shingler, played Madame Maigret in the original BBC series of "Maigret" (1960).
Appeared, with Sharon Maughan, in a series of popular "Nescafe Gold Blend" coffee adverts in the UK in the 1980s. The adverts were re-edited for broadcast in the U.S. where the coffee is known as "Taster's Choice".
His own home in Somerset, which he shares with Sarah, Daisy and Emily, was used for the filming of some episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997).
Once played "Dr. Frank N Furter" in a London stage production of "The Rocky Horror Show". He met his partner, Sarah Fisher, at the National Theatre in England. He was performing in "Danton's Death".
After his musical performance in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, with Feeling (#6.7)" (2001), he teamed up with artist George Sarah to create the album "Music for Elevators", which was released on February 5, 2002.
On August 1, 2004, after the May 11, 2004 incident in which 9 people were killed and more than 40 were injured in an explosion at ICL Plastics in Glasgow, Scotland, he was the headliner at a science fiction convention to raise money for the for the Grovepark Memorial Fund (for victims and their families). He met fans at the Thistle Hotel. With him were Paul Darrow and Michael Sheard.
Named #5 of the Top Ten Sexiest Men of the Buffy /Angel universe in a fan poll by the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanzine (2004).
A huge fan of "Doctor Who" (1963), and auditioned for the role of the Eighth Doctor in the TV movie, Doctor Who (1996) (TV). He later appeared as a villain in "Doctor Who: School Reunion (#2.3)" (2006) and Doctor Who: The Infinite Quest (2007) (TV).
Father of Daisy Head and Emily Head.
Divides his time between homes in Los Angeles and England.
Grew up in Hampton, and attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
Musical talent was showcased early on in his career when, for two Christmas seasons, he appeared as Joseph in Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham in the late 1970s.
Was originally cast in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), as a ghost of one of Sweeney Todd's victims. This character would have sung "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd", its reprises, and the "Epilogue". These songs were recorded, but eventually cut before filming began, as director Tim Burton felt that the songs were too theatrical for the film.
We used to hang out at Joss's place Sunday nights and do Shakespeare readings. I got to do my Richard III recently. Then we'd have a few tequilas, sit around the piano and sing. I talked to Joss years ago about doing a Buffy musical, and then finally in the summer he sat down and wrote "Once More, With Feeling," episode seven of season six. He's taken the inaccessible area of musicals - why does everybody keep singing? - and turned it to his advantage. It's the answer to "Hush, season four's spellbinding silent episode where nobody could talk. We all sing about the things we're thinking; musicals are about expressing those emotions that you can't talk about. It works a real treat. [January 9, 2002]
I think Giles likes Buffy, but she annoys him. The mere fact that she doesn't want the job that he's offering her—she frustrates him. She represents everything he doesn't understand. Ultimately he becomes extremely fond of her. People have said, What is it? A father/daughter relationship? And it's not quite. There's nothing like it on TV. It's difficult to pigeonhole. He becomes extremely fond of her and gets into all sorts of terrible trouble because of it. ... Xander is complete anathema to him. A great annoyance because he never seems to take anything seriously. Cordelia is ... Who knows where she's coming from? Willow he respects greatly, but it's all a confusion to him. He's never really sure of anybody or anything. The only thing he is sure about is what he's supposed to do.
'Don't fall back on the parachute (my safety net). Go outside the zone of confidence and find out what's on the other side.' Anthony Head's answer to the question 'In a nutshell, my philosophy is this...'