Four hundred and forty nine years ago today, William Shakespeare was born. So today, we celebrate his birthday with National Shakespeare Day in the UK and the rather less elegant Talk Like Shakespeare Day in the US. With this in mind, we’ve put together a set of videos of famous actors reading or performing Shakespeare — both elegantly celebrating the man and, well, talking like him. NB: we’ve ignored clips of famous actors performing Shakespeare on film or in proper plays, leaning toward recital of sonnets and informal monologues. Fill your ears with Shakespeare read by wonderful actors after the jump, and let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments.
James Earl Jones reading from Othello at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word in 2009.
Alan Rickman reading Sonnet 130.
Kim Cattrall reading Sonnet 103.
Al Pacino reading Sonnet 150.
Stephen Fry reading Sonnet 130.
Patrick Stewart reading Sonnet 116.
Tom Hiddleston performing a monologue from Henry V.
Dominic West reading Sonnet 131.
Matthew Macfadyen (Mr. Darcy) performing Sonnet 29.
David Tennant reading Sonnet 71.
And just for fun: Jim Meskimen reading Clarence’s speech from Richard III in 25 celebrity voices.