Riad Sattouf - The Arab of the Future 2 - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781473638235
    • Publication date:22 Sep 2016
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The Arab of the Future 2

Volume 2: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984-1985 - A Graphic Memoir

By Riad Sattouf

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The highly anticipated continuation of Riad Sattouf's internationally acclaimed graphic memoir.



'I tore through it... The most enjoyable graphic novel I've read in a while' Zadie Smith
'I joyously recommend this book to you' Mark Haddon
'Riad Sattouf is one of the great creators of our time' Alain De Botton
'Beautifully-written and drawn, witty, sad, fascinating... Brilliant' Simon Sebag Montefiore

The first volume of Riad Sattouf's The Arab of the Future introduced young Riad as his family shuttled back and forth between France and the Middle East.
Here is the continuation of his heart-rending, darkly comic story. Now settled in his father's village of Ter Maaleh near Homs, Riad finally begins school, where he dedicates himself to becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad.
Told simply yet with devastating effect, Riad's story takes in the sweep of Middle Eastern life of the 1980s, but it is steered by acutely observed small moments: the daily sadism of his schoolteachers, the cruelty and vulnerability of his fellow students, and the obsequiousness of his father in the company of those close to the regime. And as the family strains to fit in, one chilling, barbaric act drives the Sattoufs to take the most dramatic of steps.
Immediate and gripping, The Arab of the Future 2 once again reveals the inner workings of a tormented country and a tormented family, delivered through Riad Sattouf 's dazzlingly original graphic style.

Translated by Sam Taylor.



Biographical Notes

RIAD SATTOUF is a bestselling cartoonist and filmmaker who grew up in Syria and Libya and now lives in Paris.
The author of four comics series in France and a former contributor to the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, Sattouf is now a weekly columnist for l'Obs. He also directed the films The French Kissers (winner of a César Award for Best First Film) and Jacky in the Women's Kingdom.
The Arab of the Future - which was awarded the Fauve d'Or Prize for Best Album of the Year at the Angoulême International Comics Festival and has been translated into twenty languages - is his first work to appear in English.


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  • ISBN: 9781473638228
  • Publication date: 22 Sep 2016
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Two Roads
I tore through two volumes of The Arab of the Future, by Riad Sattouf - it's the most enjoyable graphic novel I've read in a while — Zadie Smith
This is a masterpiece that deserves the widest readership. The Arab Of The Future reminds us that, in talented hands, graphic novels are capable of carrying the weightiest themes, making us think, and touching our hearts while also keeping us hugely entertained. Riad Sattouf is one of the great creators of our time' — Alain De Botton
The Arab of the Future is wonderfully observed, funny, grim, sharp and sad. Riad Sattouf, with his ear for anecdote, his nimble drawing and his understanding of human frailty, has created a masterpiece. — Posy Simmonds
I joyously recommend this book to you. You will be moved, entertained and edified. Often simultaneously — Mark Haddon
The second volume of Riad Sattouf's acclaimed graphic memoir takes a darker turn as he endures school and his father is complicit in a terrible crime... I loved it — Rachel Cooke, Observer Graphic Book of the Month
"Sattouf experienced both Gaddafi's Libya and Hafez al-Assad's Syria while still a small boy. Kids don't spend a lot of time reflecting on totalitarianism, but they do form strong impressions. His simple depictions of living in an almost-abandoned building for expatriates in Libya, or of watching Assad praying on TV are the kind of banal micro-details that would lose their significance in written prose. Captured in the panels of a cartoon strip, however, they attain a luminous resonance that lingers long after you've finished the book. — Guardian
Like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, the story captures wonderfully the disorientating effect of growing up between Arab and European cultures. Sattouf has a fine eye for the details and characters of his childhood in Syria, where the possibility of sudden violence was ever present — New Statesman
Sattouf's memoir of a childhood in the Middle East continues and it's great to have him back. I really think he could be the Marcel Proust of the illustrated form. Charming and subtle, The Arab of the Future opens a much-needed window onto the Syrian past. — Gary Perry, Foyles Staff Pick
The books in the graphic memoir series The Arab of the Future make me feel like a child about to read the new Harry Potter or see the new Star Wars film. I look forward to them with so much anticipation and read each new volume immediately... These books are such a joy to read for their lively and expressive drawings and engaging stories that present the author's wide-eyed innocent look at his cross-national childhood... This volume continues to give a fascinating view of what it was like growing up in a country under what's effectively a military dictatorship... Sattouf sensitively shows how the social imbalances and rigidly enforced moralities are a result of people living under a government regime which does not tolerate any different or dissident opinions that conflict with the prevailing order. I'm absolutely gripped now and can't wait to read the third volume of this striking and original memoir. — Lonesome Reader
The acclaim of recent years for the work of Alan Moore, Posy Simmonds, Joe Sacco, Neil Gaiman and others means the genre of the graphic novel no longer suffers the condescension of critics. It has left the countercultural ghetto and gone global. This second volume of Riad Sattouf's childhood memoir offers a fine example of its virtues... A more enjoyable introduction to understanding the everyday hopes and despairs of the Middle East's middle class is hard to imagine — Prospect
Since these larger contours repeat from the first volume, it's now easier to appreciate the cartoonist's ability to pick out peculiarities, marking out a character's whole persona and philosophy with the surgical shorthand of a practised caricaturist. His bit players are brilliant: merchants who haggle with lunatic abandon; the indignant girl, her face screwed up in demonic distortions, hurling mean curses; the towering teacher, built like a bull, sweet one moment and sadistic the next; a cross-eyed young aunt, generous and bubbling, brutally dealt with by her father for supposedly dishonouring the family. By volume's end, there's something about the adult world that even naive young Riad can tell is not only puzzling, but deeply troubling, as well — Globe and Mail
In the second volume of an acclaimed five-part graphic memoir, originally published in France, cartoonist Sattouf captures the discomfiting and occasionally humorous details of his first year in school in a Syria that is casually anti-Semitic and not particularly kind to anyone... Because everything filters through a six-year-old boy's point of view, the more disturbing moments that Sattouf recounts aren't bleak so much as confusing, surreal, and sad... Sattouf is a master of visual storytelling, capable of compressing a great deal of human emotion and contradictions within a few panels. He creates a searing depiction of growing up poor in a country ruled by corruption and religious zealotry. — Publishers Weekly - Starred review

Not since Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi's graphic memoir of revolutionary Iran, has a comic book seemed so important, or been so acclaimed... There is a feeling that the book throws some light both on the roots of the Arab spring, and what has happened since. In a country - and beyond it, a world - in which bewilderment and anxiety at recent events polarises communities as often as it unites them, it has an authenticity with which no expert or talking head could ever hope to compete.

— Observer
Excellent... The graphic novel has proved itself again and again. It already has its canon: Art Spiegelman on the Holocaust, Marjane Satrapi on girlhood in Islamist Iran, and, perhaps most accomplished of all, Joe Sacco'sFootnotes in Gaza, a work of detailed and self-reflexive history. Edging towards this company comes Riad Sattouf's childhood memoir of tyranny... It's this sort of detail, drawn with the cartoon clarity of childhood perception, that makes the book such a success... The Arab of the Future is an authentic, emotionally honest memoir, and much more useful background reading for present events than a romanticised account of cosmopolitan, bourgeois Damascus would be. — Guardian
The whims of Sattouf's increasingly authoritarian father drive volumes one and two, which mix darkness, dry humour and sharp observation. — Guardian
Marvellous... Sattouf records it all in an endearing cartoony style, his clean lines enhanced by discreet colour shading to indicate which country they're living in at the time. His comic timing is immaculate, but there's always an edge to his humour. Packing a host of unforgettable scenes, The Arab of the Future begs to be read in one long sitting. — Herald (Paperback of the Week)
Riad Sattouf's shockingly blunt The Arab of the Future, which tells the story of the French cartoonist's itinerant childhood in the Middle East, is a must for anyone who wants to understand more about the failure of the pan-Arab dream, with all the consequences this has had for the situation in which we now find ourselves. It's also a page-turner, dissecting as it does the psychology of a man (Riad's Syrian father) whose increasingly deluded idealism results in a form of tyranny when it comes to his own family. — Guardian (Best Graphic Books of 2015)
The Arab of the Future confirms Riad Sattouf's place among the greatest cartoonists of his generation. — Le Monde (France)
As the very young Riad Sattouf navigates life in Libya, France, and Syria, he gets a serious education in the mysterious vectors of power that shape not just the political world, but the intimate sphere of his own family. With charming yet powerful drawings and vivid sensory details, Sattouf delivers a child's-eye view of the baffling adult world in all its complexity, corruption, and delusion. This is a beautiful, funny, and important graphic memoir. — Alison Bechdel, author of FUN HOME
Exquisitely illustrated, and filled with experiences of misfortune bordering on the farcical, Mr. Sattouf's book is a disquieting yet essential read. — New York Times
Fascinating... A really moving and at times quite melancholy story of an odd childhood. I'm really looking forward to reading Volume 2 in September — Annie James, A Case for Books
The Arab of the Future has become that rare thing in France's polarized intellectual climate: an object of consensual rapture, hailed as a masterpiece in the leading journals of both the left and the right. . . . it has, in effect, made Sattouf the Arab of the present in France. — New Yorker
Sattouf's work is laced with astute observations of human beings. His memoirs often dwell on their failings: hypocrisy, cowardice, bullying. Yet there's humour too - mainly because his humans are so helplessly absurd. — Guardian
Engrossing . . . Sattouf writes in a fluid prose, beautifully translated by Sam Taylor. — New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
Captivating, compelling, informative and an amazing read... Using his voice as a child, Saffouf deals with the topics such as Arabs v Jews, America and the Western Influences, the madness of Gaddafi, racism in France and the general treatment of women. With these topics one might think it's a heavy read but by telling his life in graphic format is ingenious and powerful... An important book. I will be recommending this to all our customers, a must read. — Sheilla O'Reilly, Dulwich Books
Drawn with remarkable flair and a winning visual style, Sattouf's memoir is an incredible achievement. The Arab of the Future took me to places that, until now, I only really knew through headlines. Vital, funny and poignant, it's Sattouf's focus on the common aspects of childhood that gives this book so much punch. — Gary Perry, Foyles Staff Pick
Epic... Told with childlike wonder and the merest hint of mature understanding, it's a wide-eyed and unforgettable tour of the early days of Muammar Gaddafi's Libya and Hafez al-Assad's Syria (via rural Brittany), as Sattouf's professor father pursues an unbridled ambition to help build a proud Arab nation through the power of education. — Bookanista

Sattouf's book takes us from place to place and culture to culture, and in the emphasis of differences there is also the unveiling of similarities... Sattouf retells, with words and images, the heartbreaking realisation of the non-place in which many immigrants are forced to exist... Sattouf's book is challenging amongst other reasons because it deals with the most demonised, othered identity in Europe. Because the narrative takes the characters from country to country, language to language and culture to culture, the narrative perspective is necessarily comparative, and because things are never black and white, either/or, often the conclusions are contradictory... There is a loneliness in all of Sattouf's characters, who, often, do not really talk to each other, but to themselves, or keep a repressed/repressive silence. In the constant coming and going of the trial and error from country to country, the immigrant's story is, in spite of the presence of family, one of solitude, but moved forward by hope...
In this sense The Arab of the Future is a profoundly political and timely book... The present historical moment in Europe calls more than ever for exercises of solidarity and empathy: in retelling his past Sattouf is not merely retreating into himself, but telling us very important things about the historical past, present and possible futures of us all.

— Comics Grid
Riven with flashes of dark humour... The penmanship is simple and witty, oddly it reminded me of Matt in the Telegraph. Despite writing for Charlie Hebdo, Sattouf had never been an overtly political cartoonist and yet inThe Arab of The Future he has said more about the problems of the Arab world than a hundred newspaper articles. The story ends in 1984 with the family about to return to Syria. The sequel is already out in France with an English edition to come in September. I can't wait. — CapX
Engaging and lovely to look at . . . Sattouf has an eye for grimly funny details . . . and milks the disjunction between how he experienced his political environment at the time and how he understands it now for all it's worth. — Los Angeles Times (Best Books of the Year 2015)
Sattouf's timely graphic memoir - a bestseller in France, where he lives - recounts his upbringing in Syria and Libya. Despite the starkness of much of his story, Sattouf maintains a playful touch in all his panels. — San Francisco Chronicle (Best of 2015)
With a judicious eye for an anecdote, and even more judicious doses of commentary, Sattouf - a former contributor to the French humor magazine Charlie Hebdo - delivers a vicious denunciation of pan-Arabism and Islamic politics. It might seem impossible to depict the recent history of the Middle East using Sattouf's zany drawing style... But Sattouf uses this style to establish a subtle and contradictory relationship with his reader. He simultaneously disclaims the reader's attention - No, nothing important going on here - and challenges the discerning few to look closer. — NPR
The hundred-and-fifty-odd pages of Riad Sattouf's internationally bestselling graphic memoir . . . move with anirrepressible comic velocity. The book is told Candide-style . . . an indictment of the adult world and its insidious methods of diminishment we all have either faced or been fortunate enough to escape. — New Republic
The book, whose title pokes fun at Abdel-Razak's pan-Arabist obsessions, shows the hypocrisy behind one man's understanding of that failed political ideology, makes tangible the absurdity of living under propaganda-mad dictators, and it humanizes, for better or worse, certain segments of very poor Muslim populations in two specific parts of the Middle East. — Vice
The Arab of the Future maintains a balance of comedy and commentary and ...is carried by excellent drawings. Riad Sattouf's work takes its place alongside other classic animated retrospective memoirs from the region, Persepolis . . . and Waltz with Bashir. — New York Journal of Books
The book's highest achievement is the ability to portray the tacit power structures that govern family and nation through the eyes of a child, with all of a child's parental worship and bafflement... The Arab of the Future begs for a more complex and compassionate understanding of an area of the world that's all too often the target of misunderstanding and fear. — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Arab of the Future is already being compared to biographical classics like Maus and Persepolis, and the modern relevance of the countries in which it is set is sure to make this a widely talked about book this year. — Mentalfloss.com
In his comics, Sattouf deftly weaves the political background with the everyday. He tells a personal story but also observes the society and country around him, and his great sense of humor makes reading the book thoroughly enjoyable. It'll have you laughing to the point of tears. — Haaretz (Israel)
Rarely I've encountered a more convincing combination of wit and depth. — Frankfurter Allgemeine (Germany)
Brilliant, sharp and surprising. — Repubblica (Italy)
Touching, chilling and very instructive. — El Mundo (Spain)
Sattouf presents timely, candid insights into life behind the curtain in news-making nations - namely, in this case, Libya and Syria... he nails the inexplicable dizziness of being a child. — Globe and Mail
Sattouf's account of his childhood is a deeply personal recollection of a peripatetic youth that can resonate with audiences across the world. It also paints an incisive picture of the Arab world in the late 1970s and early 1980s that sets the stage for the revolutionary changes that would grip and roil the region decades later. — Foreign Policy
Wide-eyed, yet perceptive, the book documents the wanderings of [Sattouf's] mismatched parents? His bookish French mother and pan-Arabist father, Abdel-Razak Sattouf . . . often disquieting, but always honest. — France 24
Very funny and very sad . . . the social commentary here is more wistful and melancholy than sharp-edged . . . subtly written and deftly illustrated, with psychological incisiveness and humor. — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Despite his father's determination to integrate his son into Arab society, little Sattouf - with his long blond hair - never fully fits in, and this report reads like the curious pondering of an alien from another world. Caught between his parents, Sattouf makes the best of his situation by becoming a master observer and interpreter, his clean, cartoonish art making a social and personal document of wit and understanding. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Two Roads

The Arab of the Future 3

Riad Sattouf
Riad Sattouf
Two Roads

The Arab of the Future

Riad Sattouf
Riad Sattouf

VOLUME 1 IN THE UNFORGETTABLE STORY OF AN EXTRAORDINARY CHILDHOODA GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR 2015/2016 | AN OBSERVER GRAPHIC BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016 | A NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' TOP BOOKS OF 2016 'EXUBERANTLY HERETICAL''I tore through it... The most enjoyable graphic novel I've read in a while' Zadie Smith'I joyously recommend this book to you' Mark Haddon'Riad Sattouf is one of the great creators of our time' Alain De Botton'Beautifully-written and drawn, witty, sad, fascinating... Brilliant' Simon Sebag MontefioreThe Arab of the Future tells the unforgettable story of Riad Sattouf's childhood, spent in the shadows of three dictators - Muammar Gaddafi, Hafez al-Assad, and his father.In striking, virtuoso graphic style that captures both the immediacy of childhood and the fervor of political idealism, Riad Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in rural France, Gaddafi's Libya, and Assad's Syria - but always under the roof of his father, a Syrian Pan-Arabist who drags his family along in his pursuit of grandiose dreams for the Arab nation.Riad, delicate and wide-eyed, follows in the trail of his mismatched parents: his mother, a bookish French student, is as modest as his father is flamboyant. Venturing first to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab State and then joining the family tribe in Homs, Syria, they hold fast to the vision of the paradise that always lies just around the corner. And hold they do, though food is scarce, children kill dogs for sport, and with locks banned, the Sattoufs come home one day to discover another family occupying their apartment. The ultimate outsider, Riad, with his flowing blond hair, is called the ultimate insult... Jewish. And in no time at all, his father has come up with yet another grand plan, moving from building a new people to building his own great palace.Brimming with life and dark humour, The Arab of the Future reveals the truth and texture of one eccentric family in an absurd Middle East, and also introduces a master cartoonist in a work destined to stand alongside Maus and Persepolis.Translated by Sam Taylor.WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR GRAPHIC NOVELSNOMINATED FOR 'BEST REALITY-BASED WORK' AT THE EISNER AWARDS'ENGROSSING' New York Times'A PAGE TURNER' Guardian'MARVELLOUS... BEGS TO BE READ IN ONE LONG SITTING' Herald'AN OBJECT OF CONSENSUAL RAPTURE' New Yorker'ONE OF THE GREATEST CARTOONISTS OF HIS GENERATION' Le Monde

Agnes Light

Agnes Light has been a midwife for over 30 years. She lives in London and this is her first book.

Bernard Hare

Bernard Hare was born in 1958 into a Leeds mining family. He was educated at grammar school and after gaining a BA in Applied Social Sciences at Hatfield Polytechnic, he became a social worker. Dillusioned with the system following the miners' strike of 1984, he dropped out, working occasionally as a removal man. He now writes, plays chess, and works in community arts - he has edited Reflections, a collection of pieces by the creative writing class at East Leeds Family Learning Centre, and Flatlands, an anthology of writing and a CD of music by local people, organised by the Flatlands Community Arts Group which Bernard co-founded.

Bill Oddie

Bill Oddie is the ultimate 'jack of all trades', known as a comedy writer, pop singer, musician, TV presenter, naturalist, depressive, environmental campaigner, husband of two, father of three and author, with his 2009 autobiography One Flew Into the Cuckoo's Egg. Aged 67, hee was made an OBE in 2003.

Bill Paterson

Bill Paterson was born in Glasgow. His theatre career includes being a founder member of 7:84 Theatre Company with the landmark production of The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil. Film and Television work includes Wives and Daughters, The Crow Road, The Witches, Truly Madly Deeply, Traffik, The Singing Detective, Aufweidersehn Pet, Comfort and Joy and The Killing Fields. He is a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Brenda Ashford

Brenda is 91 years old and lives near Milton Keynes. She worked as a Norland Nanny for over sixty years and loved every minute of it.

Cherry Denman

Almost educated at St Teresa's Convent, Effingham, Cherry Denman went on to study at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford and at the Royal College of Art. An acclaimed artist and illustrator, she has written and illustrated several previous books including A Modern Book of Hours and The History Puzzle. Cherry is married with two children and, when not abroad, lives in London, where she tries to ignore the glazed looks of her loyal friends as she recounts her tales of typhoons and tarantulas, and pretends not to care when they assume her West African voodoo fetish earrings come from Accessorize. And how was she supposed to know that samphire was the new broccoli?

Christina Noble

Christina Noble was born in the slums of Dublin city. At the age of ten her mother died, and her alcoholic father could no longer care for her or her siblings. In the years that followed she suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse in orphanages and on the streets, and after her marriage she was the victim of domestic violence. One night she had a dream about the street children of Vietnam and decided to make it reality. In 1989 she set up the Christina Noble Children's Foundation in Ho Chi Minh city and in 1997 she expanded it to Mongolia. To this day she continues to devote her life to improving the lives of the street children.

Clarissa Dickson Wright

Clarissa Dickson Wright found fame alongside Jennifer Paterson as one half of the much-loved TV cooking partnership Two Fat Ladies. She is the author of the bestselling memoir Spilling the Beans as well as many cookery books including The Game Cookbook and, most recently, Potty - her one-pot cookbook. She is also a passionate supporter of the Countryside Alliance and of rural life. She lives a little in London but mostly in Scotland.

Constance Briscoe

Constance Briscoe practises as a barrister and in 1996 became a part-time judge - one of the first black women to sit as a judge in the UK. She lives in Clapham with her two children, Martin and Francesca. Her partner is Tony Arlidge QC.

Denis Avey

Denis Avey was born in Essex in 1919. He fought in the desert during the Second World War and was captured and held as a Prisoner of War in a camp near Auschwitz III. In 2010 he received a British Hero of the Holocaust award. Denis lives in Derbyshire.

Dickie Bird

Born in 1933, the son of a miner, Dickie Bird has spent a life 'married to cricket'. He was signed up to play for Yorkshire age 19, and played on the county circuit for the next 13 years. In 1979 he became a Test match umpire. The announcement that he would umpire his final Test at Lord's in June 1996 signalled the end of an international career which has won him worldwide affection as the finest umpire in cricket history.

Elizabeth Sherill

Elizabeth Sherrill is a prolific Christian writer, based in the USA. She often collaborates on books with her husband John.

Emma Pearse

Emma Pearse is an Australian journalist who lived in New York for over ten years, where she wrote for New York, Slate, Salon and Village Voice, among others. Emma now lives and works between Australia and New York. Sophie is her first book.

Gary Mulgrew

Gary Mulgrew was born in Glasgow in 1962 and lived there until he graduated from the University of Strathclyde. He joined NatWest Bank in 1983 and worked for them in Manchester, London, Tokyo and New York before joining the Royal Bank of Canada in 2000. His banking career ended in June 2002 when he was indicted by the US authorities for allegedly defrauding NatWest. After years of court battles and a high profile public campaign, he and two other members of the 'NatWest Three' were eventually extradited to America. Two years of detention in Houston, Texas were followed by two years in seven different prisons in the United States and England until his full release in early 2010. He now runs a number of successful businesses in the south of England, supported by his bankers, NatWest.

Jacqueline Walker

Jacqueline Walker arrived in Britain in 1959. She has been a teacher and a mother of three, and taught creative writing as well completed two Arvon writing courses. Pilgrim State is her first book.

Jai Pausch

Jai Pausch became an impassioned advocate promoting pancreatic cancer research following the 2008 death of her husband, Randy Pausch, Ph.D, acclaimed Carnegie Mellon University professor and author of the international best seller, The Last Lecture. During Randy's twenty-three-month battle with cancer, Jai took on the responsibility as his cancer caregiver, learning specialised medical, palliative, and hospice care. Previously, Jai Pausch led the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science Web team as the Director of Electronic Publications. Today, Pausch researches do-it-yourself instructional videos for home repairs and remodelling. She lives with her children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe, in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

John Devane

John Devane still practices as a lawyer in his home town of Limerick, Ireland. He is married with a family.

John Gielgud

Sir John Gielgud spent a lifetime on the stage and in front of the camera; his first film was in 1924 when he starred as Daniel in Who Is The Man? Venerated for giving gravitas to a variety of Shakespearean roles, Gielgud made the role of respected old sage his own, and is considered by many to have been one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century. He died in May 2000.