Timothy Spall


Actor

About

Also Known As
Tim Spall, Timothy Leonard Spall
Birth Place
London, England, GB
Born
February 27, 1957

Biography

A slightly paunched British actor of stage, television, and films, Timothy Spall has played a wide array of character parts, but his career has been most enhanced through his work with writer-director Mike Leigh. He first teamed with Leigh on the television drama "Home Sweet Home" (BBC, 1981), playing one of a trio of postmen, then on-stage in "Smelling a Rat" (1988). Feature collaborati...

Family & Companions

Shane Spall
Wife

Notes

Created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in December 1999

Biography

A slightly paunched British actor of stage, television, and films, Timothy Spall has played a wide array of character parts, but his career has been most enhanced through his work with writer-director Mike Leigh. He first teamed with Leigh on the television drama "Home Sweet Home" (BBC, 1981), playing one of a trio of postmen, then on-stage in "Smelling a Rat" (1988). Feature collaborations between the two include "Life Is Sweet" (1991), in which Spall played an inept restaurateur, and the acclaimed "Secrets & Lies" (1996), where he played Maurice, a gentle photographer who possesses secret knowledge about his family.

Spall studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where he earned the school's prestigious Bancroft Gold Medal, then headed for the stage. Among his many successes were his performances as Bottom in the controversial Royal National Theatre production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," directed by Robert Lepage, and as Wackford Squeers in Trevor Nunn's production of "Nicholas Nickleby" at the Royal Shakespeare Company. But British audiences know him best from his television work, which included the early-80's sitcom "Auf Wiedersehen Pet," and mid-90's sitcom "Outside Edge," opposite Brenda Blethyn, who played his sister in "Secrets & Lies." American audiences saw him on the 1993 HBO special "Tracey Ullman: A Class Act," and as guest a star on "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (ABC, 1992).

Spall's feature film appearances have consisted of supporting roles, but he has worked with some of the most important directors of the past two decades. One of his earliest film appearances was in the little-seen "The Life Story of Baal" (1978). Another early role was as a projectionist in Franc Roddam's "Quadrophenia" (1979), the rock-n-roll opera written by The Who's Pete Townshend. Roles became larger in the mid-80s after Spall's exposure on television. Ken Russell cast him in "Gothic" (1986) as Dr John Polidori, while Agnieszka Holland put him in "To Kill a Priest" (1988). In 1990, Spall was among the cast-within-a-cast of Clint Eastwood's "White Hunter, Black Heart." Also that year, Spall had the meaty film role of Eric Lyle, the sinister chap who steals John Malkovich's passport in Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Sheltering Sky."

Spall was also seen as the foppish yet evil Rosencrantz in Kenneth Branagh's all-star "Hamlet" (1996). He reunited with Branagh in 2000, playing a comical Don Armado in "Love's Labour's Lost." Spall enjoyed a career as an character actor who would always bring something fresh and surprising to his roles, both in British productions-including the winning rock group reuniting comedy "Still Crazy" (1998) as David 'Beano' Baggot, in Leigh's much-heralded Gilbert & Sullivan biopic "Topsy-Turvy" (1999) as 'Dickie' Temple, as a voice in the UK-animated, DreamWorks-produced "Chicken Run" and in Peter Cattaneo's prisonbreak comedy "Lucky Break" (2001)-as well as in American films such as "Rock Star" (2001) and "Vanilla Sky" (2001).

In 2002 Spall enjoyed another outing with Leigh in the bleak but affecting "All or Nothing," playing part of a couple who must experience tragedy in order to rekindle their fading love. Spall shined as Charles Cheeryble for a production of "Nicholas Nickleby," and was part of the ensemble of HBO's much-honored telepic "My House In Umbria" (2003) opposite Maggie Smith and Chris Cooper. His highest-profile role in a major American release came with "The Last Samurai" (2003), in which Spall played the British diplomatic interpreter Simon Graham, who befriends an alcoholic Army captain (Tom Cruise) on his way to Japan to teach Western warfare. Children and booklovers embraced the actor when he took on the role of Peter Pettigrew for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2003), the third sequel in the beloved film franchise, directed by Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron. Continuing the trend, Spall appeared as Mr. P in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" (2004), an adaptation of the popular children's book series, starring Jim Carrey as the dastardly Count Olaf.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Early Man (2018)
Voice
The Party (2018)
The Changeover (2017)
The Journey (2017)
Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)
Voice
Eye Digress (2016)
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
Denial (2016)
Away (2015)
Mr. Turner (2014)
Love Punch (2014)
Wasteland (2013)
Ginger & Rosa (2012)
Comes a Bright Day (2012)
Assassin's Bullet (2012)
Love Bite (2012)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Voice
Heartless (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
The King┬┐s Speech (2010)
The Damned United (2009)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Desert Flower (2009)
Appaloosa (2008)
A Room With a View (2008)
Death Defying Acts (2008)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Enchanted (2007)
Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman (2006)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle (2005)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Peter Pettigrew
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
The Last Samurai (2003)
Simon Graham
My House in Umbria (2003)
Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
All or Nothing (2002)
Phil Bassett
Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise (2001)
Lucky Break (2001)
Cliff Gumbell
Vanilla Sky (2001)
The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (2001)
Luis Agalla--Mayor
Rock Star (2001)
Chicken Run (2000)
Voice
Intimacy (2000)
Andy
Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
Vatel (2000)
Gourville
Topsy-Turvy (1999)
The Clandestine Marriage (1999)
Sterling
The Wisdom of Crocodiles (1999)
Inspector Healey
Still Crazy (1998)
Hamlet (1996)
Secrets & Lies (1996)
Maurice
White Hunter Black Heart (1990)
Life Is Sweet (1990)
Aubrey
The Sheltering Sky (1990)
Eric Lyle
1871 (1990)
Ramborde
Crusoe (1988)
Reverend Milne
Dream Demon (1988)
To Kill a Priest (1988)
Igor
Gothic (1986)
Dr John Polidori
The Bride (1985)
Paulus
The Missionary (1981)
Parswell
Remembrance (1981)
Quadrophenia (1979)
The Life Story of Baal (1978)
Lupu
Helpin Melwyn (1900)

Music (Feature Film)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Song Performer
My House in Umbria (2003)
Song Performer
Lucky Break (2001)
Song Performer ("Sunny")

Cast (Special)

Shooting the Past (1999)
Our Mutual Friend -- By Charles Dickens (1999)
Tracey Ullman: A Class Act (1993)

Life Events

1978

Made early film appearance in "The Life of Baal"

1979

Joined Royal Shakespeare Company; appeared in "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "Cymbeline," "The Three Sisters," and "Nicholas Nickleby"

1979

Appeared in rock opera "Quadrophenia"

1981

First collaboration with director Mike Leigh, BBC film "Home Sweet Home"

1983

Was part of ensemble cast of hit British sitcom "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" (ITV) as awkward and bashful Barry

1988

Had featured role in stage play "Smelling a Rat," directed by Leigh

1990

Appeared in Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Sheltering Sky"

1991

First feature collaboration with Leigh, "Life Is Sweet"

1992

Made U.S. debut as guest star on episode of "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (ABC)

1993

Played title role on British sitcom "Frank Stubbs Promotes" (ITV)

1993

Appeared as comedy player on HBO Special "Tracey Ullman: A Class Act"

1994

Co-starred with Brenda Blethyn on ITV comedy series "Outside Edge"

1996

Briefly retired from acting while undergoing treatment for leukemia

1996

Received international recognition for starring role in Leigh's "Secrets & Lies"

1999

Cast in featured role as D'Oyly-Carte performer Richard Temple in Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy"

2000

Co-starred as Kerry Fox's cab driver husband in "Intimacy"

2001

Co-starred in Peter Cattaneo's film "Lucky Break"

2001

Cast as the road manager of a heavy metal band in "Rock Star"

2001

Appeared in "Vanilla Sky," starring Tom Cruise

2002

Reunited with Mike Leigh as co-star of "All or Nothing"

2003

Portrayed Simon Graham, Tom Cruise's British Interpreter in "The Last Samurai"

2004

Starred as Mr. Poe in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," an adaptation of Daniel Handler's beloved children's book series

2004

Cast as Death Eater Peter 'Wormtail' Pettigrew in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," the third installment of hit series

2005

Again portrayed Wormtail in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," directed by Mike Newell

2007

Played Beadle Bamford in Tim Burton's production of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

2007

Portrayed British executioner Albert Pierrepoint in "Pierrepoint," directed by Adrian Shergold

2009

Reprised role in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," directed by David Yates

2010

Voiced Bayard the Bloodhound in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland"

2010

Cast as Winston Churchill in "The King's Speech"; later reprised Churchill in Summer Olympic Games Closing Ceremony (2012)

2010

Reprised Wormtail for two-part finale of series "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" and " Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"

2012

Helped Jim Sturgess find his soulmate Kirsten Dunst in futuristic love story "Upside Down"

2012

Cast opposite Elle Fanning and Alice Englert in 1960s drama "Ginger & Rosa"

2013

Starred as Lord Emsworth on BBC comedy series "Blandings"

Family

Pascale Spall
Daughter
Mercedes Spall
Daughter
Rafe Spall
Son
Actor. Born c. 1983; appeared in revival of "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby".

Companions

Shane Spall
Wife

Bibliography

Notes

Created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in December 1999