~~ "When I was asked to write about David Rappaport's career I at once felt honoured & dismayed. How could I ever cover the gamut of this talented man's career in so few lines? How could I tell of his time at the National Theatre in Peter Hall's VOLPONE & Ken Campbell's ILLUMINATUS? There simply was not enough time to explain how he came to star in the TIME BANDITS. Who will believe the audacity of his one-man shows, the acidity of his wit in BBC 2's GRAPEVINE or on TVAM?
Christopher Fettes first cast him as the Pope in his production of DR. FAUSTUS (which also began at the Lyric). Now for the second time Mr. Fettes shows his originality by letting him loose as the Doctor in Ionesco's EXIT THE KING.
(Potted biography by D. Rappaport)"
((biography transcribed from the poster/program for EXIT THE KING, Lyric Studio, June 16 - July 16, 1983))~~
(((The MGT. felt the same way while writing the following.)))
He may have had achondroplastic dwarfism, but there was absolutely nothing
little, small, tiny, diminutive or pint-sized about David Stephen Rappaport.
Born November 23, 1951 in London, England, David spent the next 38 years proving
the adage that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the
fight in the dog that truly matters (without even actually trying to). He didn't see his condition as an
abnormal disadvantage, nor should he have. David was, however,
conscious of the stereotypical views society in general held in regards to his
physical height & body type through observation as well as personal
David was handsome, charming, sincere & deeply passionate. He had a
natural commanding presence, innate gift for performing, super-sharp mind &
razor-tongued wit. He was also ambidextrous. Despite eventually gaining status as an international
superstar, one thing David never possessed was a superstar ego. One thing
David did possess was an impressive resume.
Music was always an important part of his life. David played accordion, drums, piano & trumpet. He also loved the double bass violin & never gave up
trying to find a way to master the instrument. The drumming turned into a professional sideline as a way to
earn money in college & he continued playing professional gigs for the rest of
his life. David was, most certainly, an eclectic musician, performing with
a variety of musical groups from different genres ~ Jazz music being a particular favorite.
He also held many odd jobs during college in the pursuit of a career
path. After graduating college with a degree in psychology, spending time
hitchhiking in the U.S. & traveling through Ireland, David settled into a career as a school
teacher working with 8 & 9 year olds. This
career path would eventually take an extraordinary turn.
Although David enjoyed acting & performing, he was initially against
pursuing it as a full-time career. He was fortunate enough to be offered
many choice roles, which he would take on occasion. David forever referred
to himself as a "reluctant actor" because the career pursued him more
than he ever pursued it. The role that changed
everything was his turn as Markoff Chaney in the stage adaptation of the Illuminatus! trilogy. A part in which, at one point, he stood alone on stage &
delivered a 30-minute soliloquy. David was, once again, a sensation. It was never difficult to see the
passion in his work. When the show went to London, he was left with a
choice of staying in the steady teaching job with the pension or treading the
boards. The final decision was, of course, to leave the classroom for the
stage, but David remained a teacher for the rest of his life.
At first, David would take any role that came along to see, be seen & learn
all he could about his now chosen profession.
He made it a point to move past this initial stage as quickly as possible &
never go back. It would have been very easy to build a career based solely
on his body type. Luckily for us all, David chose to focus on his talent
instead. David didn't mind
taking roles that called for a 'dwarf' or 'little person', just so long as the
character was a real person & not a stereotypical marionette. In fact,
he was offered & accepted many roles that didn't call for any size or body
type stipulations. David also made a personal choice to not accept roles that required him to work inside of robots or full-bodied puppet costumes. Most
notably turning down the role of R2D2 in Star Wars. A role which
later went to one of his Time Bandits co-stars, Kenny Baker. This
was a decision David was proud of & never regretted.
It was his role as Randall, the monocle sporting, self-appointed leader of the
Bandits that brought David into the international spotlight. He was
already a celebrity in his native U.K. with acting, writing & directing
credits stretching the field from stage to street theater to television to major
motion pictures. David had also held public office as Minister of Foreign
Affairs for the nation of Frestonia.
Hollywood came knocking on his door after his Oscar
worthy (yet sadly overlooked), scene stealing, heartstring tugging tour de
force as Rinaldo, the trapeze artist, in The Bride. David made
guest appearances on many U.S. television series both before & after The
Wizard. A couple of those appearances were in episodes that also
included Fran Ryan.
It's not often that an actor can boast of being hired as the star of anything
without even auditioning, but that's exactly what happened to David & The
Wizard. According to David, he was very shocked to learn of this new
job from an unsuspecting stranger at a party. The Wizard was the
perfect vehicle for an actor who loved science fiction, magic & working with
children. Simon McKay was a character very close to David's heart & he was
able to add a great deal of himself to the character to the point where even he
had trouble discerning where David ended & Simon began. The fans picked up
on this immediately & it added something extra special to the entire
experience. David was even able to incorporate his music into the
show. Most notably, Simon would play the drums when he needed to think.
The show also
offered David a chance to work with some very wonderful people, both in front of
& behind the camera. He wrote the original story for the episode
entitled Trouble in the Stars. In that episode, David was able to
delve a bit deeper into Simon's early years while also showing off his love of
science fiction & magical special effects. David also contributed to
writing, post production & special effects for other episodes. He even
had a sort of souvenir from The Wizard in the form of his dog,
Ricci. Ricci's mom was none other than Lou, the dog who played Aegis in
Dale Kern & Doug Barr's story, Seeing is Believing. David named his dog after
his favorite singer, Ricci Lee Jones, & even boasted of teaching Ricci the
dog to sing the songs of Ricci the human.
Like Simon, family & friendship were very important to David. He was
very blessed with a loving & supportive family & network of
friends. David's parents, Mark & Dinah Rappaport, dismissed the notion that their son should
have been treated differently than everyone else. They refused to send him to
any kind of special school. David's mother instilled the
importance of civic duty in her sons & even took young David to hospitals &
nursing homes to play accordion for the patients. A very important
person in David's life was his son, Joe. David was always proud of his son
& happy to boast about Joe in his interviews & the personal letters he
included in his fan club newsletters. All of David's fans continue to keep
Joe & all of David's family & friends close to their hearts.