Happy birthday to you! I know you neither need nor want any presents, and you have requested donations to your charities instead. But let me at least send some good karma your way – as a sign of appreciation. Because a birthday is opportunity to give back to the people we appreciate. And even though I do not know you, have hardly spoken to you (apart from a stammered ‘thank you’ at the stage door), and could only look at you through the filter of my lens for fear of giving away how much it moved me to stand in front of you, I am glad that you exist. Because you move me. In a good way.
Your convincing, nuanced and respectful portrayals of a wide variety of characters are a pleasure to watch. I love that you put so much research and preparation in your work. It inspires me (and others) to strive for always giving our best. Your humility when deflecting praise, and your generosity in crediting and promoting others, are heart-warming. I like your wit and cheeky humour, and you are a feast for the ears, both when extemporising, as well as when acting or reading. You have a knack for choosing interesting roles. Yes, they occasionally stretch my boundaries, but then again, it is nice to be challenged every once in a while. As a fan, I am delighted by your friendly conduct towards your “well-wishers”. You seem like a pretty decent guy. And a pretty, decent guy (punctuation matters!) at that. Because let’s be honest here, it is nice to look at you, as well, however much of a genetic coincidence your appearance may be.
Three and a half years in, I am still not tired of watching your work, of hearing what you have to say, and of following your career. And that is probably the highest compliment I can pay anyone; you sustain my interest, you have made a lasting impression.
For your birthday I wish you the same: That you continue to find interest, joy and fulfillment in your work and in the encounters you have in your life, face-to-face, or remote.
I have saved a special bottle for my virtual toast to you. Pinot Noir, of course. Here’s to you, Richard!