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Why Lord Lyman Beesbury From House Of The Dragon Looks So Familiar

Over the course of the first season of "House of the Dragon," the main characters find themselves on opposing sides between Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy), the named heir to the Iron Throne, and Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke), the second wife of King Viserys (Paddy Considine). Where Rhaenyra's supporters believe in her claim, the "Greens" believe that Alicent's son, Prince Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), should inherit Westeros.

Once Viserys dies, the Hand, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), and other Small Council members carry out their conspiracy to give Aegon the Iron Throne. The only Small Council member present who opposes them is Lyman Beesbury, Master of Coin. The older nobleman insists that Viserys named Rhaenyra his heir, calling Aegon's ascension "seizure" and "treason." Unfortunately, Beesbury pays dearly for his loyalty to the Princess. Kingsguard Lord Commander Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) slams the old man on the table and accidentally kills him.

While the actor who plays Lyman Beesbury — Bill Paterson — played a relatively small role in "House of the Dragon," fans have likely seen him before in one of his many roles before the HBO series.

Bill Paterson got his start as a stage and television actor

Bill Paterson's first screen credit is from five decades ago, thanks to the 1973 short film "Passing Places" (via IMDb). But The Herald writes that the Scottish thespian "made his professional acting debut at the Citizens Theatre in his native Glasgow in 1967." The actor also said of his experience of stage acting, "My theatre days in the 1970s with 7:84 [theatre company] and The Cheviot were life-changing. It changed all of us who were part of it."

He has continued hoofing it on the stage since then, including taking on an acclaimed 1982 revival of "Guys and Dolls." But Paterson also started doing more television and film acting in the 1970s. His credits from this time feature Paterson in "The Odd Job," "Comfort and Joy," and as Lauder Strickland in multiple episodes of the John Le Carre adaptation, "Smiley's People." He credited his friends for helping him build up his career, saying, "You make your life on the support, encouragement, and help of others."

He'd soon appear in a major 1980s film nominated for multiple Oscars.

He has a small role in The Killing Fields

"The Killing Fields," directed by Roland Joffe, is based on the true story of Cambodian journalist Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor) and Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston), and is set during the Cambodian Civil War (via The Guardian). Both men are arrested by the Khmer Rouge, but only Schanberg is able to escape to the United States. Pran attempts to survive under the regime while Schanberg tries to locate and evacuate him out of the country safely.

Bill Paterson plays Dr. MacEntire, a doctor trying to help patients inside the war-torn country. The older character actor is the perfect choice to play a professional, world-weary expat physician who has few resources left. Paterson curses in the film, "Why do corpses have to pile up before people decide it's time to go home?"

Ultimately "The Killing Fields" was a major success, grossing $34 million at the box office in 1984 and winning three Oscars (via The Academy Awards). The film also landed on the British Film Institute's list of the Top 100 British Films (via BBC).

Paterson plays the kind coffee shop owner in Spice World

It's a small role for Bill Paterson, but one of Paterson's highest-profile movies might just be the campy 1997 Spice Girls vehicle, "Spice World." The actor has a tiny part as Brian, the owner of the coffee shop where the younger Spice ladies hang out.

Brian is older and doesn't understand the Spice Girls' music, but he lets them use the place to stage their rehearsals. The avuncular barista just watches patiently then as the group performs "Wannabe" for him, supposedly for the first time.

"Spice World" only had a then-novelty pop group and a whole lot of cameos, but the film was still a sleeper hit at the box office (via The Numbers). To this day, it's also still the biggest movie hit ever starring a musical group, despite having no sequel. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film was critically panned, with critics making a particular issue over the film's plot structure.

The actor is a convincing lawyer on Outlander

From 2014 to 2017, Bill Paterson played the character of Ned Gowan across eight episodes of the Starz hit series, "Outlander." A solicitor who advises Clan MacKenzie, Gowan once worked in Edinburgh, but eventually longed for adventure. When Gowan traveled to the Highlands, however, he was accosted by Jacob MacKenzie, the father of Colum (Gary Lewis) and Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish). Yet, Gowan wasn't offended by the robbery, and instead became a friend and companion to MacKenzie and his family.

Paterson described the character as "an interesting wee figure" to The Scotsman, and seemed to enjoy playing the part of the brilliant lawyer. He was just surprised by how strenuous it was to make the show. "It's been much more demanding than I thought it would be," Paterson said. "I've had 60 long, long days or so on it and there has been a lot of travel."

The actor appeared in seven episodes of Season 1 and in one episode of Season 3. It remains to be seen if he'll return for any upcoming seasons of "Outlander."

He's Fleabag's awkward father on the BBC series

Perhaps Bill Paterson's most notable role in America before "House of the Dragon" was his recurring role on the Amazon Prime/BBC dramedy, "Fleabag," as the title character's father. Paterson appears on both seasons of the hit show as the loving, but emotionally distant, widowed dad of Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridges) and Claire (Sian Clifford). He's also marrying the awful Godmother (Olivia Colman) after his wife's death, despite the two women loathing her.

The actor gives a heartbreaking performance as a man who loves his children, but finds it hard to discuss his feelings. Paterson credits part of his success on the series to star and creator Waller-Bridges, saying of the writing, "It's not easy to be awkwardly funny and at the same time portentous of darker emotions underneath" (via The Scotsman).

In 2020, he and the cast were nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy (via IMDb).

He plays Dr. Hathaway in the first Sandman episode

Bill Paterson's other appearance on a major genre television series in 2022 was in the first episode of the big-budget Netflix adaptation of the Vertigo comic, "The Sandman."

The actor appeared in the opening first season episode as Dr. John Hathaway, the senior curator of the British Royal Museum. After Hathaway's son is killed in World War I, the grieving father brings the Magdalene Grimoire to Dr. Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance). Burgess' son has also died, and the occult magician intends to trap Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) in order to bring their children back.

However, Burgess does not conjure Death during his incantation, but her sibling, Dream of the Endless (Tom Sturridge). Burgess then futilely attempts to imprison Dream. In the original comic version, Burgess continues to blackmail Hathaway for more Royal Museum items. The despairing curator, at last, kills himself and attempts to blame Burgess in his suicide note. In either version of the story, Hathaway tragically risks his career and meddles with dark forces, ultimately for nothing.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.