Sir Robert's career fell into two distinct parts. In the 60's, he was widely regarded as the heir of Laurence Olivier. But, after his departure from Britain's National Theatre in 1970 and the breakup of his marriage with Maggie Smith three years later, he suffered a slump made worse by heavy drinking. In the 90's, the Royal Shakespeare Company invited him to play first Falstaff in "Henry IV" and then Lear in "King Lear", and this re-established Stephens's career. He was knighted early in 1995.
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