Jeremy Irons

Jeremy Irons

His dual role as Beverly and Elliot Mantle in 'Dead Ringers' (1988)

Background:

“I’ve never been passionate about acting, and I find more and more that I work
to live the life I want to live. An actor like Al Pacino lives to act. I’m not
sure though, there’s something about the detachment I have, the feeling of the
lack of importance about what I do, that is healthy.” Jeremy Irons

Elegant and attractive British lead actor Jeremy Irons received a wealth of
appreciation and recognition with his Academy Award starring turn as accused
wife murderer and conceited worldwide playboy Klaus von Bulow in Barbet
Schroeder’s Reversal of Fortune (1990), opposite Glenn Close. In addition to the
Oscar, his magnificent performance in the drama film also handed him a Chicago
Film Critics Association award and a Boston Society of Film Critics award, as
well as earned a Golden Globe nomination. Before the massive victory, Irons, who
was first noticed as Franz Liszt in the miniseries “Notorious Woman” (1974),
launched his status as a worldwide star with such memorable performances as
playing Charles Ryder in the international hit miniseries “Brideshead Revisited”
(1981), where he received nominations at the Golden Globes, Emmys and BAFTA, and
Charles Henry Smithson/Mike in the Karel Reisz-helmed movie The French
Lieutenant’s Woman (1981). In 1988, the actor picked up a New York Critics award
after portraying dual roles Beverly Mantle/Elliot Mantle in David Cronenberg’s
Dead Ringers, and two years before, in 1986, he received a Golden Globe
nomination for his good acting in The Mission. Irons was also praised for his
portrayal of a cheating spouse in Damage (1992), for which he netted a 1994 Sant
Jordi award.

Irons is also remembered for playing roles in such films as Moonlighting (1982),
Betrayal (1983), Kafka (1991), the mega-hit The Lion King (1994, voiced the
cunningly villainous Scar), Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995, with Bruce Willis),
The Man In the Iron Mask (1998, starring Leonardo DiCaprio), the adventure film
Dungeons & Dragons (2000), Last Call (2002, TV), The Merchant of Venice (2004),
Being Julia (2004) and Tom Hopper’s Elizabeth I (2005, TV).

On stage, Irons made a name for himself as the star of the Broadway play “The
Real Thing,” directed by Tom Stoppard, where he won a Tony Award. He also scored
a huge success with the highly successful musical “Godspell” (1973), starring as
John the Baptist.

This classically-trained, gaunt actor with Byronic looks and a rich, haunting
voice is set to play roles in the forthcoming David Lynch’s Inland Empire
(2006), Eragon (2006), the drama Poslednji krug u Monci 2 (2006), the musical
Fantôme de l'opéra (2006, TV) and the Predrag Antonijevic-helmed The Night of
the Iguana (2006).

Off screen, one of the jury members for the Cannes Film Festival in 2000, Irons
owns Kilcoe Castle in County Cork, Ireland, and is involved with regional
politics. On a more private note, he was once married to actress Julie Hallam,
but the relationship was annulled in 1969. He is now the husband of Ireland
native Sinead Cusack and has two sons with her.


King

Childhood and Family:

Son to Paul Dugan Irons and Barbara Anne, Jeremy John Irons was born on
September 19, 1948, in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England. An apathetic student,
Jeremy spent four years at a boarding school called Sherborn in Dorset, where he
acted in several school plays. While there, he also became known as the
harmonica player and drummer in the school band, along with three of his peers,
and half of a comic duo. Upon graduation, he enrolled at a veterinary school but
switched gears to become a stage actor after failing to meet the entrance test
scores. Following a stint as an assistant stage manager in a small rep theater,
Jeremy attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and worked with the school
company for three years before relocating to London to pursue a career as a film
and stage actor.

Jeremy Irons, whose nicknames is King, married actress Julie Hallam in 1969, but
the marriage was annulled. Nine years after the annulment, on March 28, 1978, he
tied the knot with Ireland-born actress Sinead Cusack (born in 1948), with whom
he shares two sons, Samuel James Brefni Irons (actor; born on September 16,
1978) and Maximillian Paul Diarmiud Irons (born in 1985).


Brideshead Revisited

Career:

A native of Cowes and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Jeremy
Irons, who once took a job as an assistant stage manager, launched his stage
career in Bristol by making his first stage appearance in “Hay Fever.” After
staying with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre company for three seasons, where he
portrayed the young lead in plays by Noel Coward, Shakespeare and Joe Orton,
Irons relocated to London to give acting a more serious try. Just like other
struggling actors, however, he met with difficulties in finding work and had to
take a number of odds jobs to earn a living while waiting for a break. Two years
later, Irons’ acting career began to blossom when he debuted on the London stage
with the very successful musical “Godspell,” where he played the lead of John
the Baptist. He continued to triumph in his early career with the West End
theatre.

The success subsequently put Irons on the radar of casting directors for
television and film and in 1974 he won his first notice as Franz Liszt in the
British miniseries “Notorious Woman.” He continued to take on TV roles, but it
was the TV serial adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” (1981)
that garnered him international recognition. Playing
witness-to-aristocratic-decadence Charles Ryder, Irons was so convincing that he
earned many nominations, including one for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in
a Limited Series or a Special, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor
in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV and a BAFTA Best Actor
nomination. As for the miniseries, it was a phenomenal worldwide success. The
same year, Irons, who had made his wide screen debut a year before with Herbert
Ross’ biopic Nijinsky, solidified his reputation as an international star with
Karel Reisz’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman, opposite Meryl Streep. For his
bright starring turn as Charles Henry Smithson/Mike, Irons was nominated for
Best Actor at the BAFTA awards.

Irons was in high demand and more roles soon followed, such as Finishing
Moonlighting (1982), The Wild Duck (1983) and The Captain’s Doll (1983, TV). He
was then cast opposite Ben Kingsley and Patricia Hodge in David Jones’ film
version of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal (1983), playing the caddish lover Jerry. In
1984, Irons once again attracted attention when he made his Broadway debut,
opposite Glenn Close, in Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing,” where his brilliant
performance won a 1984 Tony for Best Actor.

Continuing his film acting, Irons starred in Swann in Love (1984), received a
Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of a Jesuit priest in Roland Joffe’s
The Mission (1986, opposite Robert De Niro), and played Guy Jones in A Chorus of
Disapproval (1988). He was also seen as William Smith in Danny the Champion of
the World (1989, TV) and Edouard Pierson in Australia (1989). Irons’
breakthrough big screen role arrived when director David Cronenberg had him
portray the unhinged twin brother, protagonists Beverly Mantle/Elliot Mantle, in
Dead Ringers (1988). His performance in the thriller film was critically
applauded, and Irons won a New York Critics for Best Actor.

The gifted actor gained even more recognition in the following year when he
reunited with Glenn Close for the drama Reversal of Fortune (1990). With Barbet
Schroeder directing at the helm, Irons’ spectacular performance as arrogant
international playboy and murder suspect Claus von Bulow won him a 1991 Best
Actor Oscar, as well as a Chicago Film Critics Association and a Boston Society
of Film Critics award. Additionally, he earned a Golden Globe nomination for
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

After the award-winning performance, Irons went on to demonstrate his
versatility by portraying an obsessed insurance clerk in Steven Soderbergh’s
psychological thriller Kafka (1991), a history teacher haunted by childhood
memories in Waterland (1992) and a conventional British politician undone by a
neurotic affair with the girlfriend of his son in Damage (1992). Irons’ bravura
acting in the latter film even handed him a 1994 Sant Jordi for Best Foreign
Actor. The next year, the actor failed to make an impression on audiences and
critics with the disappointing M. Butterfly (1993) and seemed miscast as a South
American aristocrat, alongside Meryl Streep and Glenn Close, in The House of the
Spirits (1993). Irons was put back into the mainstream with the animated Disney
mega-hit The Lion King (1994), in which he was nominated for MTV Movie’s Best
Villain award for his fine work in voicing the cunningly villainous Scar. In the
mid 90s, despite mixed reviews, Irons’ collaboration with Hollywood A-list actor
Bruce Willis in Die Hard With a Vengeance earned him extra fame. 1996-1999 saw
roles in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty (1996), Mirad (1997, TV), the
Wayne Wang-directed Chinese Box (1997), Adrian Lyne’s remake of Lolita (1997,
received a MTV Movie nomination for Best Kiss), the movie adaptation of the
classic Alexander Dumas adventure The Man In the Iron Mask (1998, starring
Leonardo DiCaprio), Faeries (1999, provided voice), Poseidon’s Fury: Escape from
the Lost City (1999, did voice over) and CTS: Toronto (1999, TV).

Entering the new millennium, the recipient of the 1997 Donostia Lifetime
Achievement Award from the San Sebastián International Film Festival opened up
the new era with a couple of TV films, the British TV drama Longitude and Ohio
Impromptu (2000) and the adventure film Dungeons & Dragons (2000). He followed
these up with performances in such films as The Fourth Angel (2001, with Forest
Whitaker), The Time Machine (2002), And Now... Ladies and Gentlemen... (2002,
opposite Patricia Kaas) and director Franco Zeffirelli’s biopic Callas Forever
(2002, costarring Fanny Ardant). Before the made-for-television films Comic
Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do (2003) and Dame Edna Live at the Palace (2003),
Irons was widely praised as F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Showtime telepic Last
Call (2002).

In 2004, after Nina Mimica’s Mathilde (2004), Irons offered a good performance
as Michael Gosselyn, the pleasantly cuckolded husband-manager of an aging,
diva-like 1930s stage actress (Annette Bening) in director Istvan Szabo’s
radiant Being Julia. He was then seen as scornful Antonio in The Merchant of
Venice, a Shakespearian adaptation set in 16th century Venice and costarring Al
Pacino.

In the following years, he teamed up with director Ridley Scott in the
unsatisfactory Kingdom of Heaven (2005), had a supporting role in one of the
most ill-conceived and disappointing films of the year, Casanova (2005, starring
Heath Ledger), and was cast as the Earl of Leicester, opposite veteran Helen
Mirren as the Virgin Queen, in the lavish HBO film Elizabeth I (2005), for
director Tom Hopper and scripted by screenwriter-novelist Nigel Williams.

Recently providing the voice of Thraxx in the animated telefilm The Magic 7
(2006), the 58-year-old actor will soon be seen acting in David Lynch’s Inland
Empire (2006) and the family film Eragon (2006), opposite Edward Speleers and
Djimon Hounsou. He is also scheduled to play roles in the forthcoming films: the
drama Poslednji krug u Monci 2 (2006), the musical Fantôme de l'opéra (2006, TV)
and the Predrag Antonijevic-helmed The Night of the Iguana (2006).


Awards:

César: Honorary Award, 2002
European Film: Special Achievement Award, 1998
Emmy: Best Voice Over Performance, The Great War and the Shaping of the
20th Century, 1997
San Sebastián International Film Festival: Donostia Lifetime Achievement
Award, 1997
Sant Jordi: Best Foreign Actor, Damage, 1994
Chicago Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Reversal of Fortune, 1991
Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Actor, Reversal of Fortune, 1991
Oscar: Best Actor, Reversal of Fortune, 1991
New York Critics: Best Actor, Dead Ringers, 1988
Tony: Best Actor, The Real Thing, 1984
An acting assistant stage manager in a theater in Canterbury, a rep theater. A small wage but just enough to get by on, and I made props and I walked on, and I changed scenery, and I realized that I just loved it.More Jeremy Irons quotes [08/10/2011 05:08:43]
I certainly play people on the edge quite a lot. I am interested in what makes people odd and what makes them different. In life I try to play the edges. I have a horror of the herd. There are many, many different sorts of people. A lot of people are fairly uninteresting. I want to play the interesting ones. The villains are always more interesting to portray. Shakespeare knew that.More Jeremy Irons quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Now in my theater training I showed no aptitude at all.More Jeremy Irons quotes [08/10/2011 05:08:57]
I constantly experience failure in that my work is never as good as I want it to be. So I live with failure.More Jeremy Irons quotes [08/10/2011 05:08:31]
I had done a fair bit of traveling during the holidays in my school days with my guitar and discovered that I could live on it. Admittedly, I traveled with a sleeping bag but I could always find somewhere to lay my head.More Jeremy Irons quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]

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