Joseph was born on August 14h 1947 in Saint Lucia, and moved to England when he was just 9 years old. His parents expected him to secure his future by learning a trade, but at the age of 19 he had set his sights on an acting career. In order to prove that he had made the right decision he determined to support himself. He moved into his own place and found a job on a construction site while he pursued his dream.
No one really understood the depth of Joseph's acting desires, but fate played a hand in his favour when one day he noticed a bulletin board advertising acting lessons. He called the number advertised and learnt that the lessons were being offered by the well-known maestro of acting teachers Nina Finberg. Intrigued by Joseph's determination to act she took him on as a private student.
A year later he auditioned for the prestigious English acting academy, the Central School for Speech and Drama, and was immediately accepted. His career was on its way!
After working in regional theatre, Joseph had the opportunity to audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and was signed for the theatre’s 1972 season. A company he has now worked with many times over the years; as he has with the Royal National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe.
Joseph would soon be performing regularly both in England and America (on Broadway, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as well as with Shakespeare & Co. in Massachusetts). Joseph also undertook a British Council tour of the UK and India performing Brutus in Julius Caesar and in the title role of the premiere production of Sir Stephen Spender’s Creon for several months. With the emerging popularity of the late American playwright, August Wilson in England, Joseph began a relationship with the playwright’s work which has seen him take the lead in four of his plays. He starred in the first British production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. During this time, he received public and critical praise for his performance as Othello; acclaim which commanded the attention of director Richard Attenborough, who cast him in his film production of Cry Freedom.
Mr. Marcell is a well known face on British TV having appeared in many of the UK’s best known Soaps, Sit Coms and Dramas, starting in 1977, in a co starring role, with the BBC’s Empire Road .
For the production, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, executives at NBC-TV developed the role of “Geoffrey”, the snooty English butler, specifically for Joseph. And as they say, the rest is history. The hit series was a comedy sensation for six seasons, and brought this acclaimed Shakespearean actor to international attention.
[Source: written from extracts of biography http://www.josephmarcell.com/biog.htm
And Joseph Marcell]