( b. Oct 16, 1953 - d. Nov 12, 2012 ) Male
Very few actors start out in middle age, having thrown off a previous life as a high-flying money broker, and live the theatrical dream to such an extent that they play a season on Broadway with the National Theatre. But that is precisely the extraordinary story of Fred Ridgeway, who repeated his performance as a cockney criminal in Richard Bean's uproarious One Man, Two Guvnors, in New York.
In a comparatively short career which started in the mid-1990s, he made a name for himself as a television regular in series such as The Bill, Heartbeat, EastEnders and Casualty, but counted the greatest day of his life as leading a 1998 West End revival of Joe Orton's black comedy Loot.
He was born into a Catholic family in Dublin, the youngest of eight children of Benjamin Ridgeway, a railway worker, and his wife, Christina McCormack. They all moved to Peckham, south-east London, where his father worked at Peckham Rye station.
While in New York, he fed his passion for theatre by attending classes at the Actors' Playhouse in Greenwich Village.
Ridgeway joined the National Youth Theatre after being encouraged to do so by his teachers at St Thomas the Apostle College, in Nunhead. He left school aged 18 and began a meteoric financial career, 25 years in all, rising to the position of associate director at Exco, striking deals on foreign exchange markets and working in Frankfurt and on Wall Street.
Ridgeway worked consistently in television until 2003, when he appeared as another inspector in Franco Zeffirelli's sleek production of Pirandello's Absolutely! (Perhaps), translated by Martin Sherman, starring Joan Plowright, at Wyndham's.
Source: The Guardian