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17 Actors Who Have Played Richard III

A number of highly recognizable actors have risen to the challenge of portraying the title character in William Shakespeare’s Richard III. As this list of actors who played Richard III proves, there's nothing like a difficult character to inspire a great performance.

By many historical accounts, King Richard III was a malicious tyrant. Whatever he was really like, he's certainly a villain in Shakespeare’s play. He’s a tyrant capable of ferocious evil, one who uses Machiavellian power to assume the throne. Most of the stars who played Richard III in film and on stage relied heavily on his evil nature in their portrayals. And why not? Shakespeare’s Richard III was a true villain.

Sir Laurence Olivier dug into the egotistical side of the King in 1955’s Richard III. Olivier also directed and produced the film, in which he delivers his monologues straight to the camera. Benedict Cumberbatch holds the honor of being the only direct descendant of Richard III to portray him. He's Richard's third cousin, 16 times removed, and he played the King in The Hollow Crown in May 2016.

Which of these famous actors who have played Richard III did it best? Take a look at this list, and share your thoughts in the comment section.