About Bill Nighy
William Nighy was born on Dec. 12, 1949 and grew up in Caterham, Surrey, just southwest of London, where his dad managed a garage and his mum worked as a psychiatric nurse. A restless, rock-n-roll-loving youth, he left school early and spent time traveling in France, taking on odd jobs while entertaining the notion of following in the footsteps of one his heroes, Ernest Hemingway, by becoming a writer. While his dreams of penning a great novel did not materialize, he did find a creative outlet in theater, urged to audition for a drama program by a girlfriend he was hoping to impress. He did more than impress her; he was actually accepted into the Guildford School of Drama and spent two years training there. By the mid-1970s, he was working regularly as a player and staffer at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, in addition to traveling with Van Load, a theater group he helped found which toured pubs, parking lots, prisons, and other places where the average public could have the chance to enjoy a live production. Nighy made his way onto the London stage, beginning what would be a long career with the National Theater and breaking into film with bit parts in the spy thriller "Eye of the Needle" (1981) and the family favorite "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (1980), among others. Nighy mostly stuck with theater and BBC radio dramas throughout the 1980s, appearing in "King Lear" at the National Theater and voicing radio adaptations of "Lord of the Rings" and the British sitcom, "Yes Minister."
In 1989, Nighy raised his screen profile with a supporting role in Dwight Little's adaptation of "Phantom of the Opera" (1989) and one in "Mack the Knife" (1989) co-starring Raul Julia and Richard Harris. He also appeared in Harold Pinter's "Betrayal" on the London stage in 1991, but by the following year, it was becoming clear that both the actor's career and personal life were hampered by Nighy's excessive drinking and drug habits. He became sober in 1992 and resumed his career with clear eyes and a starring role as an unscrupulous academic in a National Theater production of Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia." Nighy's first major movie role, alongside Robin Williams in Bill Forsyth's "Being Human" (1993), was only given limited release but the actor enjoyed considerable attention for back-to-back stage runs in Chekhov's "The Seagull" and David Hare's "Skylight," which toured the U.K. following a successful run at London's Vaudeville Theater. The newly sober actor's career continued to blossom with a role in the children's fantasy feature "Fairytale: A True Story" (1997), and in the hilarious "Still Crazy" (1998), where he played an aging rocker who reunites with his 1970s rock band to relive the glory days. His work in the latter film was so beloved, he earned the Evening Standard's Peter Sellers Award for his comedic performance as the band's egotistical lead singer.
Nighy continued to endear himself to British comedy fans in Ade Edmondson's "Guest House Paradiso" (1999), an adaptation of the slapstick BBC series "Bottom." For his lead role as a psychiatrist in the National Theater production of "Blue/Orange," Nighy won a nomination from the prestigious Olivier Awards and enjoyed an extended run of the play on the West End. He resumed his film career with another pair of offbeat comedies - Paddy Breathnach's "Blow Dry" (2001) and Peter Cattaneo's "Lucky Break" (2002), which earned Nighy a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the London Film Critics Circle for playing one in a troupe of prison inmates who stage a play to cover up an escape attempt. Supporting roles in "The Lawless Heart" (2001), about complicated dalliances in a small English town and the period drama "I Capture the Castle" (2002) still did not quite establish Nighy as a well-known presence on British screens, but he finally enjoyed that position with a recurring role on the British comedy series "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" in 2002. The following year, he exploded into American commercial cinemas playing the nefarious vampire elder Viktor in the horror actioner "Underworld" (2003). He endeared himself to an entirely different demographic in the ensemble romantic comedy "Love Actually" (2003), stealing the show from a hunky young cast with his spot-on performance as another over-the-hill rocker hoping for a comeback.
Nighy earned a slew of recognition including a BAFTA Award for Supporting Actor for "Love Actually," and went on to give delightfully offbeat supporting performances in "very British" comedies "Shaun of the Dead" (2004), starring Simon Pegg as a twenty-something slacker fighting off zombies, and the long awaited adaptation of Douglas Adams' sci-fi classic "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (2005), where he portrayed planet designer Slartibartfast. Making an about-face from his string of outrageous comedies, Nighy offered an excellent dramatic performance as a greedy British official in "The Constant Gardener" (2005), director Fernando Meirelles' adaptation of the John le Carré novel about a diplomat (Ralph Fiennes) whose wife (Rachel Wiesz) is murdered after discovering corruption between the pharmaceutical industry and Kenyan government. The film was one of the best reviewed of the year and earned Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for best film. The same year, Nighy earned his own Golden Globe nod for "The Girl in the Café" (HBO, 2005), in which he starred as a shy civil servant who meets a mysterious woman (Kelly MacDonald) and develops a life-changing relationship with her. Nighy revived his evil vampire leader in the bloody, over-the-top sequel "Underworld: Evolution" (2006), then earned his first Golden Globe win for starring as an executive whose personal life is a mess after he loses his wife in the BBC television movie, "Gideon's Daughter" (2006).
The actor lent his velvety voice to the sewer-set animated film "Flushed Away" (2006) and continued to entertain family audiences as undead pirate Davy Jones in the box office record breaker "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (2006). The fifty-something actor also made his Broadway debut in David Hare's "The Vertical Hour," for which he earned rave reviews, and had a supporting role in the highly acclaimed psychological drama "Notes on a Scandal" (2006) the same year. In the third blockbuster of the series, Nighy appeared as Davy Jones in "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" (2007) and followed up with an solemn but sympathetic portrayal of Freidrich Olbricht, a German general who conspired to kill Adolph Hitler, in Bryan Singer's "Valkyrie" (2008). From sharing the spotlight with star Tom Cruise, Nighy took front and center in the sequel "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" (2009), one of the better reviewed films of the series and one that found an enthusiastic reception at the box office.
Despite his success with giant Hollywood films, Nighy remained loyal to British cinema and returned to the U.K. sound stage for "The Boat That Rocked" (2009), Richard Curtis' comedic chronicle of the underground radio movement that flourished in the U.K. in the 1960s. He went on to star as a hit man who falls for an intended victim (Emily Blunt) in the comedy "Wild Target" (2009) and also delivered the World War II drama "1939" (2009) and the live action/3-D animation hybrid "G-Force" (2009) the same year. Meanwhile, Nighy was the latest British actor to join the "Harry Potter" series, playing Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister of Magic, in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows" (2010). After voicing Rattlesnake Jake in the animated "Rango" (2011) and Grandsanta in "Arthur Christmas" (2011), Nighy returned to his native country to star in "Page Eight" (BBC, 2011), playing a long-time MI5 officer trying to expose the fact that the Prime Minister (Ralph Fiennes) covered the torturing of prisoners overseas that ultimately cost British lives. Nighy's performance was hailed with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a miniseries or TV movie. He went on to play Hephaestus, a Greek god stripped of his powers for siding with Hades (Ralph Fiennes) in "Wrath of the Titans" (2012), and followed that with a turn as a rebel leader in the panned remake of "Total Recall" (2012). Showing his lighter side, Nighy was a retiree who had lost most of his savings and seeks respite alongside a group of fellow pensioners - including Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Tom Wilkinson - at "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2012).
|Diana Quick. Were in a relationship for 27 years; never married, but had one child together; split in August 2008|
|The John Fisher School, Purley , Surrey|
|The Guildford School of Dance and Drama, Guildford , Surrey|
|Co-starred in the ensemble comedy drama "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"|
|Replaced Paul Kynman in the role of Hephaestus in the fantasy adventure sequel "Wrath of the Titans"|
|Voiced the character Grandsanta in the animated feature "Arthur Christmas"|
|Voiced Rattlesnake Jake in the computer-animated comedy "Rango"|
|Cast as Rufus Scrimgeour for the seventh and final installment of the serie, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"; film released in two parts, Part 1 in November 2010 and Part 2 in July 2011|
|Played the ship's Captain, Quentin, in Richard Curtis' "Pirate Radio"|
|Reprised role of Viktor for "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans"|
|Co-starred in the WWII thriller "Valkyrie"|
|Reprised role of Davy Jones for "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"|
|Played Cate Blanchett's husband in the award-winning film "Notes on a Scandal"|
|Portrayed Oliver, a reclusive doctor hostile to the war in Iraq, in David Hare's Broadway play "The Vertical Hour"|
|Cast as Davey Jones in Gore Verbinski's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"|
|Played a public relations guru in BBC America's romantic drama "Gideon's Daughter"|
|Once again played a vampire in the Len Wiseman helmed "Underworld: Evolution"|
|Co-starred with Kelly Macdonald in the HBO movie "The Girl in the Cafe"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a TV movie|
|Appeared in the Fernando Meirelles directed thriller "The Constant Gardener"|
|Co-starred in the thriller "Enduring Love"|
|Portrayed a vampire in the Len Wiseman directed "Underworld"|
|Played a burned-out rock star whose career gets rejuvenated by the Christmas hit 'Love Is All Around Us' in the film "Love Actually," directed by Richard Curtis|
|Starred in Peter Cattaneo's "Lucky Break"|
|Co-starred with Alan Rickman and Josh Hartnett, as Ray Roberts, the reigning hairdressing champion in "Blow Dry"|
|Co-starred with Stephen Rea and Billy Connolly in "Still Crazy"|
|Appeared in David Hare's London play "Skylight"|
|Cast in the London production of Harold Pinter's play "Betrayal"|
|Played Prof. Mark Carleton in the sexually-charged British series, "The Men's Room"|
|Appeared opposite Raul Julia and Richard Harris in "Mack the Knife"|
|Starred as Barton in "The Phantom of the Opera"|
|Co-starred with John Shea in the TV-movie "Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil"|
|Had a small role as an ENT Doctor in Blake Edwards' "Curse of the Pink Panther"|
|Feature film debut in Richard Marquand's "Eye of the Needle"|
|Made TV series debut in the British sitcom, "Agony"|
|Made London stage debut at the National Theatre in "Illuminatus!"|