After a stroke of fate that led him past 16,000 hopefuls to win the role of a lifetime, actor Daniel Radcliffe was propelled into international stardom as the titular boy magician in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001). Thanks in part to Radcliffe, legions of readers and moviegoers worldwide helped make "Harry Potter" one of the most successful franchises in film history. Radcliffe's dead-on portrayal of J.K. Rowling's bespectacled young wizard made him one of the most recognizable and highest-paid actors of his generation. The award-winning actor appeared in all eight "Harry Potter" installments, all of which were transatlantic blockbusters. Easily one of the most famous child actors to emerge from near obscurity, Radcliffe was at the peak of the Potter-mania considered to be one of Britain's richest teenagers. In fear of forever being typecast, however, he attempted to leave his boy wonder image behind with a controversial performance in the London stage revival of "Equus" (2007), in which where he played a disturbed young stable hand who blinds horses. Radcliffe's emotionally charged performance drew audiences and established him as a serious actor, while "Harry Potter" cemented his place in cinema history.
Daniel Jacob Radcliffe was born on July 23, 1989 in Fulham, London, England, where he was the only child of Alan, a literary agent, and Marcia, a casting agent. After voicing his desire to be an actor at age five, he began performing small parts in school productions. In 1999, he made his professional acting debut in the BBC's two-part adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel, "David Copperfield," portraying the title character as a young boy. A few years later, he landed a small role in the spy drama "The Tailor of Panama" (2001), starring Pierce Brosnan and Jamie Lee Curtis. Though Radcliffe's parents were loath about a showbiz career for their son, they nonetheless allowed him to pursue his dream. Fate intervened one night in 2000, when Radcliffe and his father were seeing a performance of "Stones in His Pockets" in a West End theater. Also in attendance was producer David Heyman, a friend of Radcliffe's father, and screenwriter Steve Kloves. Both were searching for a young actor to play Harry Potter were auditioning some 16,000 hopefuls. Heyman was struck by Radcliffe's striking resemblance to the Harry on the book's covers, leading him to persuade his parents to let him try out for the role.
Following several callbacks, Radcliffe became titular lead character in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001), after beating out numerous seasoned young actors. Radcliffe was overwhelmed by the news to the point that he broke down and cried. Meanwhile, the author herself gave Radcliffe her seal of approval when she reportedly said that "she felt it was like being reunited with her long-lost son" when she saw his screen test. Upon its release, "The Sorcerer's Stone" became a box office smash, earning almost $1 billion when all was said and done, while making Radcliffe and his two co-stars, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, international stars. Both critics and audiences were delighted with Radcliffe's performance in a role that many felt he was born to play. The young actor suddenly found himself on the cover of countless magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom, while he became very much in demand for interviews. Filming of its sequel, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002), started just days after the first film was released. Though it made less money than its predecessor, "The Chamber of Secrets" was still a huge blockbuster hit.
Following the success of the first two installments, Radcliffe was signed on to star in the remaining five adaptations. The next, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004) was considered by some to be the best of the bunch, thanks to Alfonso Cuarón's strong direction. The young actor continued to weave his magic on screen in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005), which took viewers into a darker world of wizardry while showing Radcliffe and his costars struggling with their adolescence. In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007), Radcliffe's performance was well received by viewers and critics alike, especially during Harry's awkward onscreen kiss with Cho Chang (Katie Leung). It was evident that as the series progressed, Radcliffe became increasingly comfortable with the role, while infusing more of his own personality into his character. Like his bespectacled alter ego, Radcliffe grew up with the world watching his every move. After years of being known only as Harry Potter, the media in particular suddenly became enamored with his personal life, which the young actor tried to keep under wraps.
In his late teens, he took on more serious roles in an attempt to transition from child to adult actor, costarring in the Australian coming-of-age drama "December Boys" (2007). Not one to take himself too seriously, he appeared in the British-made sitcom "Extras" (BBC/HBO, 2005-07), parodying himself as a rebellious, hyper-sexual teenage movie star. A breakout role in the London stage production of "Equus" gave the world a taste of a darker Radcliffe. In the revival of Peter Schaffer's play, he played an emotionally disturbed stable hand named Alan Strang who mutilates horses by blinding them. Unlike the boyish Harry, Radcliffe's character smoked, dealt with harrowing sexual themes, and appeared nude for one scene in the play. In fact, promotions for the play featured semi-nude photos of Radcliffe performing in the role. It was rumored, however, that Warner Bros. was concerned about how the play would affect the future of the "Harry Potter" series. But all concerns about a possible fallout and Potter backlash dissipated when Radcliffe hit the stage, delivering a convincingly raw and vulnerable performance. He reprised his role in "Equus" on Broadway in September 2008. In both the New York and London performances, Radcliffe proved once and for all that he was more than just the actor who played a junior wizard.
In 2007, as a testament of his fame, Radcliffe - along with his Potter co-stars - left imprints of their hands, feet and wands in front of Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theater in 2007. Prior to that, the 16-year-old Radcliffe became the youngest non-Royal to have an individual portrait hanging in Britain's National Portrait Gallery. In 2009, Radcliffe donned Hogwart's robe again in the sixth installment of the series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." The actor revealed that it was the most challenging of all the "Potter" films to make, with more character deaths than ever before. Meanwhile, filming began on the final adaptation of the much-loved series "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" that same year.
Following the blockbuster end of the hugely successful "Potter" series, Radcliffe starred in the period thriller "The Woman in Black" (2012) and played Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the 1950s Greenwich Village-set "Kill Your Darlings" (2013). After his first romantic comedy, "What If" (2013) (originally titled "The F Word"), Radcliffe starred in the horror comedy "Horns" (2014), directed by Alexandre Aja and based on the novel by Joe Hill. During this era, Radcliffe also starred in his first television series, the quirky comedy-drama "A Young Doctor's Notebook" (Sky Arts 2012- ), in which he plays a nameless young doctor during the Russian Revolution who meets and befriends an older version of himself, played by Jon Hamm.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Reprised role of Harry in the sequel "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"; again directed by Chris Columbus
Appeared as a guest in the West End production "The Play What I Wrote" directed by Kenneth Branagh
Appeared on the television series "Extras" (BBC/HBO) as a parody of himself
Played a supporting role in the independent Australian drama "December Boys"
Reprised the role of Harry for the sixth installment of the series "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," again directed by David Yates
Starred on Broadway in the revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"
Starred in the supernatural thriller "The Woman in Black"
Had a cameo in comedy "Trainwreck"
Appeared in ensemble thriller "Now You See Me 2"