Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne, (5 April 1929 – 26 December 2001) was an English actor. He portrayed Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary in the 1980s sitcom Yes Minister and the Cabinet Secretary in its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. For this role, he won four BAFTA TV Awards for Best Light Entertainment Performance. He won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for portraying King George III in The Madness of King George (1994). He later won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor, for the 1996 series The Fragile Heart. He was also an Olivier Award and Tony Award winner for his work in the theatre.
Hawthorne had several operations for pancreatic cancer, although his immediate cause of death was from a heart attack, aged 72. He was survived by Bentham, and his funeral service was held at St Mary's, the Parish Church of Thundridge near Ware, Hertfordshire, following which he was cremated at Stevenage Crematorium. His funeral was attended by Derek Fowlds, Maureen Lipman, Charles Dance, Loretta Swit and Frederick Forsyth along with friends and local people. The service was led by the Right Reverend Christopher Herbert, the Bishop of St Albans. The coffin had a wreath of white lilies and orchids and Trevor Bentham, Hawthorne's partner was one of the pallbearers.
On hearing of Hawthorne's death, Alan Bennett described him in his diary, "Courteous, grand, a man of the world and superb at what he did, with his technique never so obvious as to become familiar as, say, Olivier's did or Alec Guinness's."