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Obituary: Actor Ralph Cosham, 78

by Karen Goff October 1, 2014 at 11:00 am 3,563 23 Comments

Ralph Cosham/Credit: Audiofile MagazineReston-based actor Ralph Cosham died on Tuesday after an illness. He was 78.

Cosham, a British-born former journalist, was a regular for many years in productions at Washington’s Arena Stage and Shakespeare Theatre.

Since 1992, Cosham’s distinctive voice had been used for more than 100 audiobook recordings, some using the pseudonym Geoffrey Howard.

He won an Audio Publisher’s Audie Award for best mystery and AudioFile Earphones and Library Journal awards for best audiobook.

Some of the classics Cosham recorded in recent years: The Time Machine, Heart of Darkness, Frankenstein, Around the World in Eighty Days, Alice in Wonderland, and Watership Down. 

His best-known audiobooks were as the voice of Armand Gamache in Candadian author Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series.

He recorded many of the books in his home studio in Reston.

“For me, if you don’t get Gamache, the series is lost to you, Penny told the Washington Post earlier this year. “Ralph brings him alive, I think, because he understands Gamache.”

Cosham also appeared in several movies. Among his film credits: Supreme Court Justice Jensen in The Pelican Brief (1993); a driver in Shadow Conspiracy (1997); Judge Assel Steward in Suspect (1987); a Marine Lieutenant in Starman (1984).

Cosham is the husband of Beverly Cosham, accomplished actress and singer. Beverly Cosham is the Chair of the Reston Community Center Board of Governors and a 2011 “Best of Reston” Honoree.

Service information is pending.

Photo of Ralph Cosham/Credit: AudioFile magazine

  • east297

    RIP Ralph…we will miss your stage presence..

  • Pat Garcia

    A great loss.

  • Kat48

    He will be greatly missed by all

  • IreneTH

    I switched to Audible at Book 3 because I was having eye problems, After I heard Ralph and his brilliant interpretaton of Gamache all my ‘reading’ was via Audible. I’m so pleased he received an Audie award. We will all miss him so much.

  • hoopladeb

    When I can’t sleep at night, I listen to Ralph reading one of Louise Penny’s books. His voice has such humanity and it always brings me great peace.

  • Brian Forbes Colgate

    I have trouble reading and so, when my sister recommended the Chief Inspector Gamache series, I had Ralph “read” all 10 books to me. I cannot image anyone else as Armand Gamache. Requiescat in pace, Ralph. You are belovèd of so many who never met you.

  • Mykle Lyons

    My condolences to Beverly, John and the entire Cosham family. Mr. Cosham was a true Artist and tremendous person. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Marni Graff

    My sincere condolences to his family. The world has lost the voice of Gamache~

  • Debbie

    My thoughts are with Mr. Cosham’s family. I realize that my loss of his voice as Armand Gamache in no way can compare to his family and friend’s loss, however, I will never again be able to listen to the series. Thank you for bringing Gamache and all of the characters in Three Pines alive in your wonderful readings of the books. You will be missed by millions of listeners. I will only read future books in the series so I can hear your voice in my head and in my heart.

  • Adele P Raber

    I share all the sentiments already expressed. About a year after I started listening to audiobooks, I just ordered everything I could find by Ralph Cosham. Yes even Tony Judt’s 800 page Post War book. I regret I never got to experience “Heroes”.
    I will be missing him.

  • Tom Howley

    It had never, ever occurred to me that Ralph might someday not be around. In the theater community in DC he’s always been regarded as a fellow that other actors are absolutely DELIGHTED to be cast alongside. It was just always better for everyone when Ralph was in the show. Highly professional w/out ever being rigid or aloof. Highly observant and smart onstage w/out ever seeming inaccessible. Completely warm and genuine. And, oh MAN, was he ever a funny, funny fellow in his understated, everyman way. Not only onstage but in the general bantering that goes on during rehearsals and around the theater– he was a natural, instinctive master of the art of the delayed reaction, the time-buying pause, the slow taking-in, the trailing comment.
    And he was a great, great pal. We were in a number of shows together in the 90’s and early aughts, and it seems we perpetually had a lot of off-stage time together and often shared a dressing room– and one time-passer was to engage in long, absurd, improvisational scenarios involving the show itself. One in particular had to do with a trained telepathic pig that he was going to replace me with as his understudy. . .
    We had the good fortune to catch his performances in both HEROES and REAL INSPECTOR HOUND, and in talking with him afterward, it was always as if no time had passed at all in between meetings. He remained the same genuine, warm, engaged, funny and good-natured pal that had been there years before. Oh, my wife & I admired him– and I will miss him very, very much. All of our condolences to Bev & Victoria and all the rest of his family.

  • christy045

    I feel as if I knew Ralph Cosham, even though I only knew him through audio books (particularly Louise Penny’s wonderful Inspector Gamache series). I was so sad to hear that he is gone. His family and his friends are in my thoughts.

  • Rebekah

    R.I.P Ralph – you really made my Elder Scrolls IV:Oblivion a magical experience with your voice as Jauffre. You will be missed by all.

  • Sedrethi

    Though I am saddened to say that I am not familiar with your previous/other works, I was always soothed by your spoken dialogue in the Elder Scrolls IV:Oblivion, especially alongside fellow voice cast member Sean Bean. Rest peacefully, Ralph Cosham.

  • Hanzel

    Grandmaster Jauffre, Vicente valteiri, Arch-mage Hannibal Traven, Etc. Etc. You will be rememberd

  • LS

    Sincere condolences to the family. I did not enjoy audio books until I heard them read by this man…

  • Ginger

    I came to know of Ralph Cosham through Louise Penny’s wonderful Armand Gamache series. His interpretation of Gamache in particular and all the rest of Penny’s wonderful characters was pure perfection.

  • Culafin the Nord

    May Talos guide you to Sovngarde good sir.

  • joshua

    RIP You were a great voice on Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

  • rae

    I played Elder Scrolls IV, and while Jauffre and Vicente Valieri were great, I’ll always remember Reynald Jemane as the NPC that made me fall in love with the game. Mr. Cosham really put a smile on my face.

  • Maruca

    I am in Switzerland and have been listening to the Inspector Gamache series (just finished book 8). Only 2 more to go with Mr. Cosham’s amazing voice. I was looking on the net if he would be reading the next book and learned he had passed. What an amazing voice, I will check other work by him for sure! RIP Sir!

  • NightmareNear

    May the nine guide your spirit Ralph. I hope you are resting in peace.

  • Sheila Wilson Brennan

    I only learned of his passing last night when I started Louise Penny’s latest book, *The Nature of the Beast*! I was/am supremely sad to learn of his passing – he “became” all the Three Pines characters for me, and I am – we all are – greatly diminished with his passing. Rest in peace, Ralph Cosham/Geoffrey Howard! Though I never met you, I have loved you!


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