Richard E. Grant

FiFi UK Fragrance Awards 2015 - Arrivals

Grant in 2015, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Richard Grant Esterhuysen

Place of Birth: Mbabane, Protectorate of Swaziland (now Eswatini)

Date of Birth: 5 May, 1957

Ethnicity: Afrikaner [Dutch, possibly other], German, English, possibly Hungarian

Richard E. Grant is a Swaziland-born English actor, screenwriter, director, perfumier, and presenter. His roles include Withnail and I, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Warlock, among many other films. He has also been credited as Richard Grant.

Richard was born in Mbabane, Protectorate of Swaziland, now Eswatini. At the time, the African country was a protectorate of the U.K., after the British victory there in the Second Boer War, 1899-1902. Richard is the son of Leonne “Leonie,” a ballet teacher, and Henrik Abraham Esterhuysen, who was head of education in the protectorate, and continued on in the position in the post-Colonial government. His father was of Afrikaner/Dutch descent. His mother is South African, and has German ancestry.

Richard has said that he considers his father to have been English, and also that he has Hungarian ancestry. It is not clear if this is accurate.

Richard took on his stage surname after moving to the U.K. to become an actor.

Richard was married to voice coach Joan Washington, until her death, with whom he has a daughter.

Richard’s childhood in Swaziland is depicted in his book The Wah-Wah Diaries (2006), and in the film Wah-Wah (2005), which he wrote and directed; in the film, a fictionalized version of Richard as a teenager is played by Nicholas Hoult.

Sources: Genealogies of Richard E. Grant –

12 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    I hope you remove the “Hungarian” thing pretty soon

    The man has an Afrikaner surname, Esterhuysen.

    It’s not Hungarian by any means.

  2. andrew says:

    He does not have “Hungarian” ancestry whatsoever. Remove it.

    “Esterhuysen” is a common Afrikaner surname of French origin.

  3. andrew says:

    Richard E. Grant is an Afrikaner in disguise.

    To begin with, his father carries the uber Afrikaans name “Henrik Abraham Esterhuysen”. His mother was born in South Africa and she is described as having German ancestry; it means that she is also ethnically Afrikaner. Maybe her maiden name is of German origin, like many common Afrikaner last names as Botha or Pretorius.

    He absolutely has no Hungarian ancestry because no ethnic Hungarian settler compare in the Dutch Church registers of South Africa, which are very accurate, before the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (abt 1000 refugees were sent to S.A.)

    I don’t rule out the chance that he has English ancestry, but it seems unlikely. The quote on the Englishness of his father wasn’t about his ethnic background.

  4. andrew says:

    Afrikaner does not mean to be ethnically Dutch, but at least for 90% a mixture of Dutch, French and German.

    Just for a start, his patrilineal line traces back to a man, Jean Estreux (later Esterhuysen/Esterhuyzen), who was a Dutch-born French Huguenot immigrant, and to his wife Elizabeth Beyers, who was the daughter of a German immigrant from Saxony and of a woman with slave ancestry (her mother, Catharina van Paliacatta, was from modern Bangladesh)

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