When we think about the most famous English actors of all time, images of legendary movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor or Vivien Leigh often come to mind. But there is another side to the story.
Since the 1950s, British stage and film actor Robert Pattinson has been creating a character named “Clay” to entertain the world. Although he is best known for his film roles, Robert has been acting on stage since he was 10 years old. Even before he became famous, he was known for his dark complexion and brooding looks. And now, at the age of 45, with a daughter who just turned one and a son who will soon be two, Robert has a new reason to live.
If you’ve never heard of or seen the character Robert Pattinson plays, chances are you’ve heard of the homonymous clay figure he created. Aptly named after the famous kaolin clay used to make terracotta pots and decorative tiles in Europe during the Renaissance, Robert Pattinson’s “Clay” persona was first used in theater in the 1950s. Although he had previously played some comic characters in his films, such as Harry Parker in Watermelon Man, this was the first time Robert played a full character in a play. He performed the play at the Royalty Theatre in London, and the character received widespread recognition. Since then, Robert Pattinson has continued to play the dual role of actor and creator, regularly performing and posting updates about his work to his website.
What is interesting about “Clay” is that it is a character that Robert Pattinson has created based on himself, taking aspects of his personality and combining them with elements from other classic English actors. According to designer Kate Bracken, “Clay” is as much an idea as a character; he came about because Robert thought it would be fun to play with the fashion world’s perception of him as an actor. He wanted to prove to the world that he wasn’t just a movie star and that he could act on stage just as easily as he could on screen.
The designer notes that although Robert is best known for his acting roles, he has been acting since he was 10 years old, so he has a lot of experience in the field. Having seen his work, it quickly becomes clear that Kate and her team at Bracken & Bracken had a lot of fun creating the characters for the film. Apart from the titular clay figure, they also designed the titular character’s two “parents,” Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the dog, Bertie.
The designer explains that they based the dog’s name on Queen Victoria’s pet dog, King George, and the cat’s name on Princess Alice’s feline companion, Mollie. They also based the character of the Duchess of Bedford, played by actress Helena Bonham Carter, on a real-life ancestor of hers, Georgiana Cavendish, who was known for her patronage of the arts. Furthermore, the Duchess’ dress is based on a design by royal designer John Fairweather. Finally, the character of Lady Olga Maitland, played by actress Anna Chancellor, is based on a personage named after the late Princess Marina, who was the second wife of King George. Interestingly, this is not the first time that a descendant of the Duke of Bedford has been associated with the Duchess of Cambridge. In fact, the two are eighth cousins once removed.
More Than Meets The Eye
While researching this article, I discovered that Princess Marina’s granddaughter, Zara, is the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Therefore, not only does Robert have an interesting family connection to the Duchess of Cambridge, but he is also the cousin of a Duchess! This is the kind of celebrity connection that can’t be found in most genealogies, I imagine. Perhaps it’s time for Robert to make the big announcement and finally come out of the closet.
Apart from having a famous relative, Zara’s, who is the Duchess of Cornwall, the character’s other connection, the Duke of Edinburgh, is based on King George’s uncle, Prince Andrew. The Duke of Edinburgh is also the uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, which puts him in a unique position of authority. This is something else that might interest Robert Pattinson—playing the dual role of father and uncle to the Queen and Elizabeth II. What an opportunity!
An Actor’s Actor
“Clay” is not the only creative endeavor Robert Pattinson has undertaken since becoming famous. The actor has also branched out into fashion design and photography, making him a one-man style shop for those who want to emulate his unique look. I couldn’t find any information on whether or not he still owns the Royalty Theatre, where he first performed as “Clay,” but I would assume that he does, as it would be hard for him to find a theater in England that doesn’t already have his picture on the wall. He has also published a book, Memoirs of a Book-Collector, which documents his love of books and collecting them. Although he has always been regarded as a talented amateur photographer, he has recently been working with renowned photographer Guy Norman-Davis on a photo project for Vogue that sees the actor playfully posing in his underwear.
For all of his talents, it would seem that Robert Pattinson still finds time for his family. He has a new wife and has been seen with his children in public numerous times. And although he is no longer a bachelor, he does have a steady partner in his life named Amber Heard. They have been married since 2016 and welcomed their first child, a daughter, in March 2018. Although no further details have been revealed, it seems that both families are happy and settled.
It would be interesting to see what other creative projects Robert Pattinson has in the pipeline, now that he has found a side that he can truly call his own. Perhaps he will finally give his fans a glimpse of what they have been patiently waiting for—a performance as “Clay.” And who knows? Maybe he will surprise us all and decide to go all the way and play the dual role of father and uncle to the Queen and Elizabeth II. What a performance that would be!