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A tall, slender British actor with dark matinee idol looks, Rupert Everett was one of the few movie stars in Hollywood to maintain a long and successful mainstream acting career while being openly gay. A former model for Yves St. Laurent, Everett first made his mark on stage in 1982 by playing a character loosely based on the notorious spy, Guy Burgess, in Julian Mitchell's play, "Another Country." Though well received, Everett's performance failed unfortunately to translate into the overnight celebrity he had hoped for. The actor would finally get his belated due, however, thanks to his scene-stealing supporting turn as Julia Robert's charming gay pal in "My Best Friend's Wedding" (1997). In addition to effectively serving as an introduction to mainstream audiences, the role also established Everett as an adept comic presence to be reckoned with. In subsequent years, Everett would play both gay and straight roles with equally convincing aplomb. In 2004, Everett scored big once again as the honeyed voice of Prince Charming in the CGI-animated hit comedy "Shrek 2" and its sequel "Shrek the Third" (2007). Born May 29, 1959, in Norfolk, England, Everett was the younger son of a former British army...
A tall, slender British actor with dark matinee idol looks, Rupert Everett was one of the few movie stars in Hollywood to maintain a long and successful mainstream acting career while being openly gay. A former model for Yves St. Laurent, Everett first made his mark on stage in 1982 by playing a character loosely based on the notorious spy, Guy Burgess, in Julian Mitchell's play, "Another Country." Though well received, Everett's performance failed unfortunately to translate into the overnight celebrity he had hoped for. The actor would finally get his belated due, however, thanks to his scene-stealing supporting turn as Julia Robert's charming gay pal in "My Best Friend's Wedding" (1997). In addition to effectively serving as an introduction to mainstream audiences, the role also established Everett as an adept comic presence to be reckoned with. In subsequent years, Everett would play both gay and straight roles with equally convincing aplomb. In 2004, Everett scored big once again as the honeyed voice of Prince Charming in the CGI-animated hit comedy "Shrek 2" and its sequel "Shrek the Third" (2007).
Born May 29, 1959, in Norfolk, England, Everett was the younger son of a former British army officer-turned-businessman and his Scottish wife. Educated at boarding schools, Everett attended the Catholic all-male institution, Ampleforth. There, Everett met his classmate, the future playwright Julian Wadham. Active in drama, the two were notable for often being cast in female roles during school play auditions. At age 15, Everett dropped out and enrolled at London's Central School of Speech and Drama but was expelled in his second year. Drifting through London's club scene, the good-looking Everett soon landed work as a model in Milan. Returning to Great Britain, Everett landed in Glasgow and began his acting career in earnest with a walk-on role at the Citizens' Theatre. In this early period as a struggling actor, Everett supported himself as a "rent boy," or male prostitute - a fact to which the actor admitted in a 1994 magazine interview.
After establishing his languorous stage presence playing a homosexual college student- turned-incipient spy in "Another Country" - a role he reprised in the 1984 film version - Everett scored as an aristocratic bounder romancing a dance hall manager (Miranda Richardson) in "Dance with a Stranger" (1985), a based-on-true accounts tale of Ruth Ellis, the last female to be executed in England. Around the same period, the actor also attempted to crossover to the American market with appearances in the TV miniseries "Princess Daisy" (NBC, 1983) and "The Far Pavilions" (HBO, 1984). The actor's career suffered setbacks in the mid-80s, however, when he turned down the role of Cecil Vyse in the critically lauded Merchant/Ivory production of "A Room with a View" (1986). More bad luck followed when Everett missed out on a chance to play the young Orson Welles in the Welles-directed "The Cradle Will Rock" -- due to the legendary director's untimely death. Everett did, however, get a chance to work with lifelong idol Julie Andrews in the uneven film, "Duet for One" (1986).
Unfortunately, much of Everett's subsequent work in the remaining years of that decade were spent in European productions that, however prestigious on paper, did little to raise his profile in Tinseltown. Surprisingly, Everett's decision to come out of the closet as a homosexual in 1989 appeared to be a positive career move. Although he came off as a bit stiff as one-half of a British couple fallen prey to psychotic expatriates from Venice in "The Comfort of Strangers" (1990), Everett became perfectly believable playing hetero roles later in his career.
Periodically, Everett would return to the theater, as he did in 1991 for a Los Angeles revival of Noel Coward's "The Vortex," and later; in 1995, when he went out in drag to star as the female lead in Tennessee Williams' "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore." In between, Everett wrote two amusing novels, 1991's Hello Darling, Are You Working?and 1994's The Hairdressers of St. Tropez . After a turn as a zombie hunter in Michele Soavi's well-made thriller, "Cemetery Man/Dellamorte Dellamore" (1996), Everett reinvented his signature cool screen persona with back-to-back comedy roles. In Robert Altman's "Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Porter)" (1994), Everett was the schemer out to sell a fashion empire out from under his own mother. In "The Madness of King George" (1994), the actor proved amusing as the dense, but ambitious Prince of Wales. For what it was worth, Everett was also one of the rare stars to escape with some shred of dignity after being upstaged by an orangutan in the dreadful comedy, "Dunston Checks In" (1996).
Luckily, those roles only served as a warm-up for his scene-stealing turn in the hit romantic comedy, "My Best Friend's Wedding" (1997). Cast as the acerbic confidante to Roberts's character, Everett played magazine editor George Downs, a flamboyant gay male who must pose as a raging heterosexual fiancé to Roberts. In the original cut of the film, Everett actually appeared in fewer scenes, but test audiences praised his chemistry with co-star Roberts. In response, several additional scenes were shot and edited in. While the much-speculated supporting Oscar nomination failed to materialize, Everett became an actor in demand Stateside virtually overnight.
Following his cameo as Bard rival Christopher Marlowe in "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), Everett lent his patrician bearing and plummy tones to the role of Oberon in Michael Hoffman's adaptation of "William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999). This was followed in quick succession by an acclaimed turn as Lord Goring in director Oliver Parker's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" (1999). Everett would later re-team with Parker for a second, less-successful Wilde outing with 2002's "The Importance of Being Ernest."
Everett turned villainous as The Claw in the live-action cartoon "Inspector Gadget" (1999). Taking full advantage of his burgeoning fame, he then went on to polish the script (with writing partner Mel Bordeaux) and co-star opposite real-life friend Madonna in "The Next Best Thing" (2000). In it, he played a gay man who fathers a child with a friend (Madonna). Unfortunately, the film was a critical and commercial bomb - with much of the rancor, fortunately for Everett, directed toward his singer-turned-leading lady. Building further on his writing career, Everett finished two more scripts - the gay James Bondian farce, "P.S. I Love You" and the warm-fuzzy romance "Martha and Arthur" - a script which would have re-teamed him with Julia Roberts in a tale of a closeted actor who marries a beauty to protect his secret from his fans.
In the early 2000's, Everett took a brief sabbatical from the Hollywood spotlight, appearing only in the occasional low-profile European production. The thespian would resurface, though, just a year or two later to lend his distinctive vocal tones to such animated films as "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" (2002) and as Prince Charming in the CGI sequels "Shrek 2" (2004) and "Shrek the Third" (2007).
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"It's a function of age, mostly. I don't have enough energy to be out all night. If you want to work you need to maintain that energy."---Rupert Everett on his formerly "bad boy" image, told Entertainment Weekly, December 23, 1994.
"Acting is not my life. It's PART of my life."---Everett quoted in Vanity Fair, June 1997.
"People think he's like the character in 'My Best Friend's Wedding', a witty, erudite, sophisticated, fun gay man, in real life. He is like that, but perhaps a little raunchier. Probably a lot raunchier."---screenwriting partner Mel Bordeaux to Us, June 1999.
"I think it's part of his appeal that he knows his weaknesses, but people who are fond of him like me love him in spite of those things. He's a very loveable person, as long as you accept him on his terms. He's a very loyal friend. But he doesn't hold anything back. I think he's hugely courageous in that sense. That's why people rejoice in him, he challenges one's own cowardcie. He's a tremendously life-affirming person in that way, you see the whole bloody thing, warts and all."---high school classmate and actor Julian Wadham to Us, June 1999.
In response to a bad review, Everett sent the offending critic a note enclosing clippings of his pubic hair.
"I came out because I couldn't be bothered to not. I was going out a lot. I didn't see why I should have to lie about it. It certainly wasn't some heroic ... It wasn't about being a banner waver. It was a very gradual thing, and I was proud of it, anyway."---Everett on coming out as a gay man, told Us, June 1999.
"Actors owe it to their work to invent more in their lives. If they don't, they don't know anything to tell anybody."---Rupert Everett
"I don't think anyone's particularly shocked by anything any more. Are they? We are all such old sluts now. And people never know what they think themselves. They only think what they're told to think. I once saw some magazine say that Hugh Grant was a Rupert Everett who could act and then, on a separate occasion. that I was a Hugh Grant who could act. One minute you're very bad and the next you're very good. Actually nothing much has changed in you. But public perception is more important that private talent."---Everett to London's Evening Standard, April 1999.
"The great actors in America are the ones who haven't really made it, such as Eric Roberts and Sean Penn. The Costners and the Branaghs are the corporate bores staring at us with dead eyes."---Rupert Everett
"When you say, 'I love you', if you say it to 15 people in the course of a year, it doesn't mean anything. If you say it to one person in the whole of your life, it means a lot. I think actors do the big ones for the camera. Once you've done that, it sucks your soul out."---Everett in BUZZ, February 1998.
"If I am typecast, then I am. I don't have any illusions about it. My feeling is that if I only get to play gay characters from now on, then that's really fine by me. Gay characters, contrary to popular opinion, are not all the same."---Everett to New York Post, July 7, 1997.
"I would find it kind of depressing if part of my Christian name becomes 'Openly Gay'."---Rupert Everett
"When I was 15, I wanted to be a star. I would spend my whole time pretending I was being photographed by paparazzi and stuff or bowing at curtain calls. But the reality of both of those things I find very awkward. One of my least favorite things in acting when I'm in the theater is to take curtain calls. I find it really embarrassing.
I find the attention incredibly nerve-racking as well. Nerve-racking when you get it, nerve-racking when you don't. It's a lose-lose situation either way. However, having said that, I like working ... I like being successful, but I like being successful on the level I am."---Everett quoted in Los Angeles Times, June 23, 1997.
"What's the point in lying? I want to have a long career in America and not find myself facing skeletons in the closet."---Everett on his discussing all aspects of his life with the press, told The San Francisco Examiner, July 1997.
"The only thing that changes people's feelings is success. Achieve success and people treat you well, anywhere, regardless. If you're a failure people ignore you completely, whatever your sexuality. That's been my experience in Hollywood. For years, I was regaled with just supernatural disinterest, and now people are interested in my. I can't fit the gay thing into this because I'm just getting used to the change, really."---Everett quoted in Paper, March 1998.
Edward Margulies: "In that novel ["Hello Darling, Are You Working?"], you seem to be saying there's no difference at all between actors and prostitutes."
Rupert Everett: "You raise statues to one and put the other in prison, but what's the difference? The hustler is selling his body, the actor is selling his emotional memory. Neither job is ideal. The only bigger hustlers than actors are journalists, now they're whores! Of course, nothing wrong with that; I'm a journalist myself."
---From Movieline, January/February 1996.
"An actor's life is very up and down most of the time and you can't really afford to spend much time reflecting on why it's up or why it's down or what's happening. Everybody has a cross to bear in their career and some people's crosses are easier to bear than others. I was never allowed to go on to the next step."---Everett to darkhorizons.com, May 18, 2004.
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