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Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: May 27, 1971 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor, singer, busker, guitarist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After making his mark with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in an acclaimed production of Stephen Daldry's "An Inspector Calls" (1992), actor Paul Bettany had a memorable debut as Geoffrey Chaucer in the cheeky adventure "A Knight's Tale" (2001). From there, Bettany developed into a much sought-after supporting actor who made occasional forays into leading man territory. But it was his role as the imagined roommate of a genius mathematician suffering from schizophrenia in "A Beautiful Mind" (2001) that catapulted the actor into a rising star. More importantly, however, Bettany won the heart of his Oscar-winning co-star, Jennifer Connelly, whom he married in 2002. Following another acclaimed performance in the period adventure, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (2003), Bettany took a bit of a misstep with the failed romantic comedy "Wimbledon" (2004), before going virtually unnoticed with the medieval thriller "The Reckoning" (2004). Nonetheless, he continued to have quality turns in large studio films like "Firewall" (2006) and "The Da Vinci Code" (2006), indicating that Bettany was a star who easily transitioned between supporting and leading roles in a variety of film genres.Born...

After making his mark with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in an acclaimed production of Stephen Daldry's "An Inspector Calls" (1992), actor Paul Bettany had a memorable debut as Geoffrey Chaucer in the cheeky adventure "A Knight's Tale" (2001). From there, Bettany developed into a much sought-after supporting actor who made occasional forays into leading man territory. But it was his role as the imagined roommate of a genius mathematician suffering from schizophrenia in "A Beautiful Mind" (2001) that catapulted the actor into a rising star. More importantly, however, Bettany won the heart of his Oscar-winning co-star, Jennifer Connelly, whom he married in 2002. Following another acclaimed performance in the period adventure, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (2003), Bettany took a bit of a misstep with the failed romantic comedy "Wimbledon" (2004), before going virtually unnoticed with the medieval thriller "The Reckoning" (2004). Nonetheless, he continued to have quality turns in large studio films like "Firewall" (2006) and "The Da Vinci Code" (2006), indicating that Bettany was a star who easily transitioned between supporting and leading roles in a variety of film genres.

Born on May 27, 1971 in London, England, Bettany was raised in Harelsdent by his father, Thane, a ballet dancer and actor, and his mother, Anne, a singer, stage performer and secretary. When he was 16, Bettany dropped out of school and spent the next two years as a street performer - or busker - in and around London. After a year working at a home for the elderly, he decided to enroll at the Drama Centre, where he trained from 1991 to 1994. Bettany made his stage debut in Stephen Daldry's "An Inspector Calls," then spent a year with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Following appearances in over a dozen productions over the next four years, Bettany was seen in one of his earliest onscreen roles, playing Prince William of Orange in "Sharpe's Waterloo" (1997), a British drama that follows the career of soldier Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) during the Napoleonic Wars. Bettany had a memorable feature film debut in the small role of a Nazi officer in the feature adaptation of "Bent" (1997), before going on to appear in "Land Girls" (1998) and "David Copperfield" (TNT, 2000).

Already on the rise, Bettany delivered a bravura performance in the British-made crime thriller, "Gangster No. 1" (2000), playing the young incarnation of a suave, but frighteningly violent gangster learning the tricks of the trade from a mob leader (David Thewlis). After starring in the black comedy, "Dead Babies" (2000), adapted from Martin Amis' novel, and revealing himself in more ways than one in "A Knights Tale" (2001), Bettany landed a breakthrough supporting role in "A Beautiful Mind" (2001), Ron Howard's compelling, but sometimes saccharine biopic of mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. (Russell Crowe). His performance as Nash's charismatic, inspirational roommate - who turns out to be nothing more than a physical manifestation of Nash's schizophrenia - gave Bettany some much deserved attention in America. Following a December 2002 wedding to "A Beautiful Mind" co-star Jennifer Connelly, the actor was cast in the Thaddeus O'Sullivan drama, "The Heart of Me" (2003), in which he played a loving husband who finds himself having a torrid affair with his wife's Bohemian sister (Helena Bonham Carter).

Bettany reunited with Russell Crowe for the lavish high-seas adventure "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (2003), playing Dr. Stephen Maturin, the good doctor on the H.M.S. Surprise and close ally to Captain Jack Aubrey (Crowe). Aubrey's intent to take the crew on a perilous mission causes Maturin to question whether or not the journey is professionally or personally motivated, putting a serious strain on their longtime friendship. Bettany was hailed for his performance, which earned him a London Critics Award and a nomination for best supporting actor at the 2004 BAFTA Awards. He next tried to establish himself as a leading man, starring in the romantic comedy "Wimbledon" (2004) as a washed up tennis ace whose passions are reignited by a love match with a feisty young up-and-comer (Kirsten Dunst), leading him to compete in the sport's most prestigious competition. Despite the unique pairing of Bettany and Dunst, the film failed at the box office. Bettany then starred in Scottish filmmaker's Paul McGuigan's Medieval murder thriller, "The Reckoning" (2004), playing a priest on the lam after leaving the church for committing adultery. He encounters a troupe of traveling actors led by the charismatic Martin (Willem Dafoe) who stage a real-life crime drama to find the murderer.

Nicely mixing up genre and character, Bettany co-starred in "Firewall" (2006), playing a ruthless and resourceful thief who kidnaps the family of a computer security specialist (Harrison Ford) in order to rip off $100 million from a bank protected by the specialist's own security system. He next appeared in one of the most controversial and anticipated films in decades, "The Da Vinci Code" (2006), directed by Ron Howard from Dan Brown's mega-blockbuster book. Bettany played an albino assassin for the secretive Catholic society, Opus Dei, which tries to thwart a symbologist (Tom Hanks) called to the Louvre Museum where a curator was murdered. A trail of mysterious symbols and clues eventually leads to a 2,000 year-old secret that could destroy the very foundations of society if revealed. Following a supporting turn in "The Secret Life of Bees" (2008), Bettany was the voice of Jarvis, the artificial intelligence that assists billionaire playboy and industrialist, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), design the suit for "Iron Man" (2008). He next played Dustfinger in "Inkheart" (2009), a children's fantasy based on Cornelia Funke's novels about a bookbinder (Brendan Fraser) who can transport fictional characters into the real world when he reads aloud.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Legend (2015)
4.
 Transcendence (2014)
5.
 Iron Man 3 (2013)
6.
 Blood (2013)
7.
 Avengers, The (2012)
8.
 Priest (2011)
9.
 Margin Call (2011)
10.
 Iron Man 2 (2010)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Harlsden in northwest London
:
Worked as a street performer (busker) in London
:
Spent one season with the Royal Shakespeare Company
1992:
Acted in Stephen Daldry's acclaimed revival of "An Inspector Calls"
1997:
Film acting debut, playing a Nazi captain in "Bent"
1997:
Appeared as Prince William of Orange in the British TV production "Sharpe's Waterloo"
1998:
Had supporting role in "Land Girls"
2000:
First leading role in films, as the young incarnation of the title character in the British drama "Gangster No. 1"
2000:
Debut in a U.S. TV production, cast as James Steerforth in the TNT miniseries adaptation of "David Copperfield"
2000:
Co-starred in the black comedy "Dead Babies"
2001:
Breakthrough screen role as an often naked Geoffrey Chaucer in "A Knight's Tale"
2001:
Cast opposite Russell Crowe, who portrayed mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., in Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind"
2003:
Re-teamed with Crowe for Peter Weir's "Master and Commander"
2003:
Starred in the feature "The Heart of Me," an adaptation of Rosamond Lehmann's novel <i>The Echoing Grove</i>
2003:
Cast as a young monk who joins a traveling band of actors in "The Reckoning"
2004:
Co-starred with Nicole Kidman as Tom Edison, the self-appointed town spokesman, in Lars von Trier's "Dogville"
2004:
Played an aging tennis pro opposite Kirsten Dunst in Richard Loncraine's "Wimbledon"
2006:
Co-starred with Harrison Ford in the thriller "Firewall"
2006:
Portrayed albino monk Silas in Ron Howard's big-screen adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling novel "The Da Vinci Code"
2008:
Co-starred in the feature adaption of the bestselling novel "The Secret Life of Bees"
2010:
Played the archangel Michael, who has become a fallen angel, in the apocalyptic thriller "Legion"
2010:
Co-starred with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp in "The Tourist"
2011:
Joined the ensemble cast of the financial drama thriller "Margin Call"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

The Drama Center: -

Notes

"Busking is a very dull job. I sang things like 'Money (That's What I Want)' by the Beatles. It requires no skill. You just have to have a strong voice and shout loudly. I love playing my guitar though. I don't travel anywhere without it and I still believe it's true that the world can be divided into those people who would rather have a drink with John Lennon and those who would rather drink with Paul McCartney."---Paul Bettany

"I don't do larging it. Not for any moral reasons, simply because I'm fantastically bad at it. I hate parties, and I find members' clubs revolting. I apologize in advance for how boring and fake this is going to sound, but when you get to work 12 hours a day for month after month with inspirational actors, directors and cinematographers whose work you have loved for years, that's a hell of a life."---Bettany quoted in the London Times, August 30, 2001.

"My wife didn't recognise me. It wasn't what she bought, you know. She was rightly convinced before that the way I looked, no one would be interested in me. But suddenly I was in the gym and looking lean. Fortunately, the baby then came along, and I was back to looking knackered."---Bettany on getting fit for his role in "Wimbledon" to film.guardian.co.uk, January 25, 2004.

"Talking about acting ca be really tough, because you sound like an ass," he says. "It is very much akin to sex: It's enormously fun to do and a little embarrassing to talk about afterward."---Bettany quoted in Premiere, July/August 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Laura Fraser. Actor. Born c. 1977; met in late 1999 when they both auditioned for a film; co-starred in "A Knight's Tale".
wife:
Jennifer Connelly. Actor. Met on the set of "A Beautiful Mind" in 2001; began dating in 2002; married C. December 2002 in Scotland.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Stellan Connelly. Born August 5, 2003; named after Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgaard.

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