More than half a billion people follow his every move, from the meticulous eating habits and cleansing rituals, to the now-trademark rapid short-stepped walk.
David Suchet's Hercule Poirot, the fussy sleuth created by Agatha Christie, has become a television hit in 53 countries.
Ever since the original series ended in 1994, fans have been calling for more installments. This month, A&E Television debuted "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd," the first of two new feature-length Poirot films it will air. The second, "Lord Edgware Dies," is not yet scheduled.
After a five-year hiatus, David Suchet was thrilled to reprise his popular role as Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's brilliant and eccentric Belgian detective, in the new A&E movie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, premiering Sunday.
In fact, the British actor thought it would be a snap to get back into Poirot's shoes, having played the legendary sleuth on TV for more than six years. But that wasn't the case.
"It was strange," Suchet said by phone from New York, where he is appearing on Broadway as Mozart's nemesis, Salieri, in Amadeus.
photo by Casey Curry // The Seattle Times
David Suchet // Limelight
The actor discusses the power ofÂ Mozart, duetting with his wife and taking upÂ the clarinet late inÂ life.
Music has touched meÂ inÂ soÂ many areas ofÂ myÂ life, going right the way back toÂ being aÂ teenager. MyÂ brother formed aÂ jazz band atÂ school and inÂ the holidays heÂ and his mates used toÂ come toÂ our house and play trad jazz. HeÂ was aÂ great musician, myÂ brother John. HeÂ played the clarinet, trombone, violin, the pianoÂ â€” everything. HeÂ was aÂ natural musician. IÂ was not. Anyway, IÂ learned toÂ play the drums. SoÂ myÂ introduction toÂ music, toÂ use the classical term, would beÂ asÂ aÂ percussionist.
The English term â€śyeomanâ€ť was once defined variously as a manservant in a royal household and as a person who owns and cultivates a small tract of land. The British actor David Suchet, best known for assaying the role of Agatha Christieâ€™s Belgian gentleman detective Hercule Poirot on the long-running BBC series Poirot, is a yeoman actor in the sense that he learned to serve the material, not his ego, in the royal household of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where we worked from 1972 to 1986; also in that he has cultivated within his short, stout frame the sort of offhandedly formidable acting craft that only years of stage time can produce.
If that sounds like faint praise, it is meant instead to honor Suchetâ€™s unique achievement in building a modestly thriving trans-Atlantic career without a knighthood or the kind of leading-man glamour that typically bring great British actors, from Laurence Olivier to Ewan MacGregor, international attention. The U.S. media are full of solid, unflashy character actors like Suchetâ€”guys like Joe Pantoliano, Charles Dutton, John C. Reilly â€” but apart from such anomalies as Ben Kingsley or Alan Cumming, the English actors we see cross over successfully typically fit our image of the fine-boned, well-spoken Englishman, or his ruddy-cheeked, foul-toothed Cockney cousin.
David Suchet has shrugged off Poirot toÂ play...another detective. HeÂ explains why.
David Suchet isÂ playing mother. Immaculately dressed asÂ one would expect from the man who has made Agatha Christieâ€™s natty Belgian detective Hercule Poirot his own, heâ€™s wandering around aÂ BBC meeting room, pouring the tea, serving the biscuits and smiling. â€śEveryone takes meÂ soÂ seriously,â€ť heÂ grumbles, stirring his cup. â€śEverybody IÂ know takes meÂ seriously. Iâ€™m actually desperate toÂ doÂ some comedy.â€ť
AGATHA Christie may have hated her creation, the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, but the actor who played what many describe asÂ the definitive Hercule has nothing but affection for the man. David Suchet goes from hero toÂ villain when heÂ appears atÂ the Malvern Theatres next week, playing Salieri inÂ Sir Peter Hallâ€™s production ofÂ Amadeus.
IÂ caught upÂ with him just aÂ couple ofÂ hours before the curtain went upÂ onÂ the opening night atÂ Bathâ€™s Theatre Royal.
Now inÂ his 30th year, heÂ has consistently attracted the plaudits ofÂ critics, hence the long list ofÂ awards and nominations which accompany the bewildering number ofÂ plays, shows and films.
You hardly recognize David Suchet when heÂ walks into aÂ room. The man who portrays Hercule Poirot onÂ the hit cable series doesnâ€™t have Poirotâ€™s mustache and hat orÂ Poirotâ€™s Belgian accent, isnâ€™t heavy and isnâ€™t formally dressed.
â€śEverybody seems surprised when they seeÂ me,â€ť the British actor says with aÂ smile, â€śbutÂ I keep getting stopped onÂ the street here inÂ New York byÂ people who recognizeÂ me. IÂ donâ€™t know how they doÂ it, but theyÂ do.â€ť
One ofÂ the many ways David Suchet prepares for aÂ theatrical role isÂ byÂ making private lists ofÂ the attributes heÂ shares with his character and those heÂ doesnâ€™t. Seeing him without the weight and waxed mustache ofÂ Agatha Christieâ€™s Hercule Poirot, then itâ€™s fun toÂ imagine what heÂ might have inÂ common with the brainy, pompous, irritating and charming Belgian detective with whom heÂ has become soÂ identified.
ItÂ isÂ somewhat more daunting, however, toÂ consider what the 53-year-old Suchet might see ofÂ himself inÂ the character ofÂ Antonio Salieri, Mozartâ€™s nemesis inÂ Peter Shafferâ€™s â€śAmadeus,â€ť which opens atÂ the Ahmanson Theatre today before heading for Broadway.
David Suchet, dressed for work asÂ the brainy Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot, isÂ turning his mind toÂ the mysteries ofÂ God and Mozart. InÂ his imminent Broadway debut, Suchet aims toÂ make playwright Peter Shafferâ€™s envy-ridden, murderous Salieri seethe anew.
"Its aÂ first forÂ me, and Salieri has provided enormous challenge, â€śsays Suchet, 53, talking onÂ aÂ location shoot for the second ofÂ two upcoming Poirot adventures. (The first ofÂ those films, â€śThe Murder ofÂ Roger Ackroyd,â€ť will air Feb. 13Â inÂ the United States onÂ the A&E Network, with the second, â€śLord Edgware Dies,â€ť toÂ follow later.)