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If you like Jeremy Irons's story, you might also like:
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Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
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Jeremy Irons Biography

Award-winning Stage and Screen Actor

Jeremy Irons Date of birth: September 19, 1948

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  Jeremy Irons

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Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes, England, on the Isle of Wight. An indifferent student, his teachers and family were unsure what he would do for a career. After failing to win admission to veterinary school, he determined to pursue a career in the theater, an interest that had been piqued by acting in plays at Sherborne, his boarding school. He worked as an assistant stage manager in a small rep theater, then entered the two-year program of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. After graduation, he stayed in Bristol for three seasons, playing the juvenile leads in plays by Shakespeare, Noel Coward and Joe Orton.

In 1971 he moved to London to pursue a career in film and on the West End Stage. He won the role of John the Baptist in the London production of the musical Godspell and soon came to the attention of casting directors for film and television. In Simon Gray's play the The Rear Column he was directed by the famous playwright Harold Pinter, who recommended him to film director Karel Reisz. After viewing some of Irons' film and commercial work, Reisz cast him opposite Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant's Woman, for which Pinter was writing the screenplay.

Before production of The French Lieutenant's Woman began, Irons was cast in another leading role, Charles Ryder in Grenada Television's 11-part adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. When a technicians' strike interrupted shooting of Brideshead the schedule was extended. Irons had been assured he would be done in time to start work on The French Lieutenant's Woman, but when the time came, shooting on Brideshead was still not finished, and Grenada offered the actor a difficult choice: give up his first leading role in a feature film, or walk out on the series. Walking out could mean being permanently barred from professional film and television work in England. He believed he was in the right, but knew that a long lawsuit would probably prevent him from doing the film as well.

Jeremy Irons Biography Photo
Irons refused to be intimidated; he walked out, and production on Brideshead was shut down. The television company relented and worked out an arrangement that enabled Irons to finish both jobs. As it happened, Brideshead Revisited was a phenomenal worldwide success. When The French Lieutenant's Woman hit the theaters in 1981, Irons' position as an international star was consolidated.

Throughout the 1980s, Irons continued to work onstage, undertaking classical roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He made his Broadway debut in 1984, playing opposite Glenn Close in The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard. His performance in that play won him a Tony Award for Best Actor. Irons and Close worked together again in Reversal of Fortune (1990), the film for which Irons won a Best Actor Oscar. His other notable film roles include The Mission, Swann In Love, Die Hard: With a Vengenace, The Man in the Iron Mask and Lolita.

Jeremy Irons is married to the actress Sinéad Cusack; they have appeared together in two films Stealing Beauty and Waterland. They have two sons, Maximilian and Samuel, who appeared with his father in Danny, Champion of the World.

Jeremy Irons Biography Photo
Despte his enormous success in film, Irons has remained active in the theater, television and the recording studio. He portrayed Professor Henry Higgins in a 1997 recording of My Fair Lady with the opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. In 2003 he starred in a New York revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. He returned to the London stage in 2006, after an absence of nearly 20 years, to star in Embers, adapted by playwright Christopher Hampton from the novel by Sándor Márai. He received a second Emmy Award and a second Golden Globe in 2007 for his performance as Sir Robert Dudley in the television miniseries Elizabeth I. Irons played the British Prime Minister Sir Harold Macmillan in the play Never So Good by Howard Brenton for Britain's National Theatre in 2008. The following year, he returned to Broadway to star with actress Joan Allen in the new play Impressionism by Michael Jacobs.

This page last revised on Apr 27, 2010 09:48 EDT
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