Sussex

Patrick Garland, theatre producer and director, dies aged 78

Patrick Garland and Alexandra Bastedo
Image caption Patrick Garland and Alexandra Bastedo were married in Chichester Cathedral in 1980

One of British theatre's most distinguished producers and directors, Patrick Garland, has died at the age of 78, it has been announced.

His wife, actress Alexandra Bastedo, was at his bedside at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex where he was admitted following a long illness.

Garland was the only director to have had four plays running in the West End of London at the same time.

He was also artistic director of Chichester Festival Theatre twice.

Garland worked with many stars of stage and film, including Rex Harrison on Broadway in a revival of My Fair Lady, about whom he also wrote a best-selling biography, The Incomparable Rex.

He won a Golden Globe for his 1971 film The Snow Goose which was also nominated for a Bafta and an Emmy.

During his time at Chichester, he raised money to build and open the West Sussex theatre's second space, The Minerva Theatre, from where many productions have transferred to London.

'Wonderful man'

After beginning his career as an actor Garland joined the BBC, where he directed programmes for Huw Wheldon on the arts programme Monitor, working alongside Melvyn Bragg and Ken Russell.

He founded the Poetry International foundation with Ted Hughes and wrote several distinguished books of poetry himself.

In 1989, Garland was invited to direct the thanksgiving service for his friend Lord Olivier at Westminster Cathedral.

Bastedo, who married Garland at Chichester Cathedral in 1980, described him as a "wonderful man" who was a staunch supporter of the animal rescue charity she runs from their home.

"Patrick had been ill for a long time but bore all of his troubles with great fortitude," she said.

"He was a wonderful man, brilliant with people of all types, and life will never be the same."

A private funeral service will be held with a memorial service at Chichester Cathedral at a later date.

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