Jeremy Irons Wikipedia

Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons.jpg
BornJeremy John Irons

(1948-09-19) 19 September 1948 (age 65)

Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Years active1969–present
  • Julie Hallam (m. 1969; div. 1969)
  • Sinéad Cusack (m. 1978)
Children2; including Max Irons
Jeremy John Irons (born 19 September 1948) is an English actor. After receiving classical training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Irons began his acting career on stage in 1969, and has since appeared in many London theatre productions including The Winter's Tale, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Godspell, Richard II and Embers. In 1984, he made his Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and received a Tony Award for Best Actor.

Irons's first major film role came in the 1981 romantic drama The French Lieutenant's Woman, for which he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. After starring in such films as Moonlighting (1982), Betrayal (1983) and The Mission (1986), he gained critical acclaim for portraying twin gynaecologists in David Cronenberg's psychological thriller Dead Ringers (1988). In 1990, Irons played accused murderer Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune, and took home multiple awards including an Academy Award for Best Actor. Other notable films have included Kafka (1991), The House of the Spirits (1993), The Lion King (1994), Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Lolita (1997), The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), The Merchant of Venice (2004), Being Julia (2004), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Eragon (2006), Appaloosa (2008), and Margin Call (2011).

Irons has also made several notable appearances on TV. He earned his first Golden Globe Award nomination for his breakout role in the ITV series Brideshead Revisited (1981). In 2005, Irons starred opposite Helen Mirren in the historical miniseries Elizabeth I, for which he received a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor. From 2011 to 2013 he starred as Pope Alexander VI in the Showtime historical series The Borgias. He is one of the few actors who won the Triple Crown of Acting, winning an Academy Award (for film), an Emmy Award (television) and a Tony Award (for theater). In October 2011, he was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.


          Early life

          Irons was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, the son of Barbara Anne Brereton Brymer (née Sharpe; 1914–1999), a housewife, and Paul Dugan Irons (1913–1983), an accountant. His Dundee-born, paternal great-great-grandfather was one of the first Metropolitan Policemen, and later a Chartist; one of his mother's ancestors had been from County Cork, Ireland, where Irons lives as of at least February 2011. Irons has a brother, Christopher (born 1943), and a sister, Felicity Anne (born 1944).

          Irons was educated at the independent Sherborne School in Dorset, (c. 1962–66). He was the drummer and harmonica player (including renditions of "Stairway to Heaven" and Moon River on harmonica) in a four-man school band called the Four Pillars of Wisdom. They performed, in a classroom normally used as a physics lab, for the entertainment of boys compulsorily exiled from their houses for two hours on Sunday afternoons[clarification needed]. (Explanation: During these two hours, boys were not allowed in their halls of residence—a rule presumably meant to encourage exercise and/or discourage idleness). He was also known within Abbey House as half of a comic duo performing skits on Halloween and at end-of-term house suppers.

          Acting career

          Early work

          Irons trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and later became president of its fundraising appeal. He performed a number of plays, and busked on the streets of Bristol, before appearing on the London stage as John the Baptist and Judas opposite David Essex in Godspell, which opened at the Roundhouse on 17 November 1971 before transferring to Wyndham's Theatre playing a total of 1,128 performances.


          He made several appearances on British television, including the children's television series Play Away and as Franz Liszt in the BBC 1974 series Notorious Woman. More significantly he starred in the 13-part adaptation of H.E. Bates' novel Love for Lydia for London Weekend Television (1977), and attracted attention for his key role as the pipe-smoking German student, a romantic pairing with Judi Dench in Harold Pinter's screenplay adaptation of Aidan Higgins' novel Langrishe, Go Down for BBC television (1978).

          The role which brought him fame was that of Charles Ryder in the television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited (1981). Brideshead reunited him with Anthony Andrews, with whom he had appeared in The Pallisers seven years earlier. In the same year he starred in the film The French Lieutenant's Woman opposite Meryl Streep.

          Almost as a 'lap of honour' after these major successes, in 1982 he played the leading role of an exiled Polish building contractor, working in the Twickenham area of South West London, in Jerzy Skolimowski's independent film Moonlighting, widely seen on television, a performance which extended his acting range.

          Irons in July 2006
          In 2005, Irons won both an Emmy award and a Golden Globe award for his supporting role in the TV mini-series, Elizabeth I. A year later Irons was one of the participants in the third series of the BBC documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?. In 2008 he played Lord Vetinari in Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, an adaptation for Sky One.

          On 6 November 2008, TV Guide reported he would star as photographer Alfred Stieglitz with Joan Allen as painter Georgia O'Keeffe, in a Lifetime Television biopic, Georgia O'Keeffe (2009). Irons also appeared in the documentary for Irish television channel TG4, Faoi Lan Cheoil in which he learned to play the fiddle.

          On 12 January 2011, Irons was a guest-star in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit called "Mask". He played Dr. Cap Jackson, a sex therapist. He reprised the role on an episode titled "Totem" that ran on 30 March 2011.

          Irons stars in the 2011 U.S. premium cable network Showtime's series The Borgias, a highly fictionalised account of the Renaissance dynasty of that name. Irons portrays patriarch Rodrigo Borgia, better known to history as Pope Alexander VI.


          Irons at 2011 Berlin Film Festival
          Irons made his film debut in Nijinsky in 1980. He appeared sporadically in films during the 1980s, including the Cannes Palme d'Or winner The Mission in 1986, and in the dual role of twin gynecologists in David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers in 1988. Other films include Danny the Champion of the World (1989), Reversal of Fortune (1990), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, Kafka (1991), Damage (1993), M. Butterfly (1993), The House of the Spirits (1993) appearing again with Glenn Close and Meryl Streep, the voice of Scar in The Lion King (1994), Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) co-starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty (1996), the 1997 remake of Lolita, and as the musketeer Aramis opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1998 film version of The Man in the Iron Mask.

          Other roles include the evil wizard Profion in the film Dungeons and Dragons (2000) and Rupert Gould in Longitude (2000). He played the Über-Morlock in the film The Time Machine (2002). In 2004, Irons played Severus Snape in Comic Relief's Harry Potter parody, "Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan".

          In 2005, he appeared in the films Casanova opposite Heath Ledger, and Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. He has co-starred with John Malkovich in two films; The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) and Eragon (2006), though they did not have any scenes together in the latter.

          In 2008, Irons co-starred with Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen in Appaloosa, directed by Harris. In 2011, Irons appeared alongside Kevin Spacey in the thriller Margin Call.

          In 2013, it was announced that Irons would appear in A Magnificent Death From a Shattered Hand. In 2014, Warner Bros. announced that Irons will play Alfred Pennyworth in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.


          Irons has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company three times in 1976, 1986–87 and 2010. In 1984, Irons made his New York debut and won a Tony Award for his Broadway performance opposite Glenn Close in The Real Thing.

          After an absence from the London stage for 18 years, in 2006 he co-starred with Patrick Malahide in Christopher Hampton's stage adaptation of Sándor Márai's novel Embers at the Duke of York's Theatre.

          He made his National Theatre debut playing Harold Macmillan in Never So Good, a new play by Howard Brenton which opened at the Lyttelton on 19 March 2008.

          In 2009, Irons appeared on Broadway opposite Joan Allen in the play Impressionism. The play ran through 10 May 2009 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.

          Other ventures


          Irons read the audio book recording of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, the audio book recording of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (he had also appeared in the 1997 film version of the novel), and the audio book James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.

          One of his best known film roles has turned out to be lending his distinctive voice to Scar in The Lion King (1994) serving as the main antagonist of the film. Irons has since provided voiceovers for three Disney World attractions. He narrated the Spaceship Earth ride, housed in the large geodesic globe at Epcot, from October 1994 to July 2007. He was also the English narrator for the Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic at the Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. He also voiced H.G. Wells in the English version of the former Disney attraction The Timekeeper. He also reprised his role as Scar in Fantasmic.

          He is also one of the readers in the 4x CD boxed set of The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, produced by Marc Sinden and sold in aid of the Royal Theatrical Fund.

          He was originally to star as the Phantom in a 2006 French musical adaptation of Gaston Leroux's novel The Phantom of the Opera, though the project was cancelled.[citation needed] He will be the narrator for Val Kilmer and Bill Pullman's Lewis and Clark film from Revolution Studios.[citation needed]

          He serves as the English language version of the audio guide for Westminster Abbey in London.

          Irons has served as voice-over in two big cat documentary films by National Geographic: Eye of the Leopard, which was released in 2006, and The Last Lions, which was released on 18 February 2011. He also currently narrates the French-produced documentary series about volcanoes, Life on Fire. The series premiered in the United States on 2 January 2013 on PBS, though the six episodes were previously released in France from 2009 to 2012 with a different, French-speaking narrator.


          This section, except for a single footnote, needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2014)
          In 1985, Irons directed a music video for Carly Simon and her heavily promoted single, "Tired of Being Blonde". In 1994, he had a cameo role in the video for Elastica's hit single "Connection".

          Irons has contributed to other musical performances, recording William Walton's Façade with Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale conducted by the composer, and in 1987 the songs from Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, released on the Decca label. Irons sang segments of "Be Prepared" in the film The Lion King. After his voice gave out during toward the end of that musical number, Jim Cummings (who voiced Ed the Hyena) took over as Scar's singing voice. He sang a selection of Noël Coward at the 1999 Last Night of the Proms in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Coward's birth. In 2003 he played Fredrik Egerman in a New York revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, and two years later appeared as King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe's Camelot at the Hollywood Bowl. He performed the Bob Dylan song "Make You Feel My Love" on the 2006 charity album Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars.

          In 2009, Irons appeared on the Touchstone album Wintercoast, recording a narrative introduction to the album. Recording took place in New York City, New York in February 2009 during rehearsals for his Broadway play Impressionism.

          Personal life

          Kilcoe Castle, built c. 1450 by the Clan Dermod MacCarthy
          Irons married Julie Hallam in 1969 and subsequently divorced. He married Irish actress Sinéad Cusack on 28 March 1978. They have two sons, Sam (b. 1978), who works as a photographer, and Max Irons (b. 1985), also an actor. Both of Irons's sons have appeared in films with their father – Sam as the eponymous hero in Danny, Champion of the World and Max in Being Julia. Irons' wife and children are Catholic; of himself, he has stated, "I don’t go to church much because I don’t like belonging to a club, and I don’t go to confession or anything like that, I don’t believe in it. But I try to be aware of where I fail and I occasionally go to services. I would hate to be a person who didn’t have a spiritual side because there’s nothing to nourish you in life apart from retail therapy."

          Irons owns Kilcoe Castle (which he had painted a rusty pink) in County Cork, Ireland, and has become involved in local politics there. He also has another Irish residence in the Liberties, Dublin. Irons is a patron of the Chiltern Shakespeare Company.

          Irons was bestowed an Honorary-Life Membership by the University College Dublin Law Society in September 2008, in honour of his contribution to television, film, audio, music and theatre. Also in 2008, Irons was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Southampton Solent University.


          Charity work

          At the 1991 Tony Awards, Irons was one of the few celebrities to wear the recently created red ribbon to support the fight against AIDS, and he was the first celebrity to wear it onscreen. He supports a number of other charities, including the Prison Phoenix Trust and Evidence for Development, for both of which he is an active patron.

          In 2010, Irons starred in a promotional video for The 1billionhungry project – a worldwide drive to attract at least one million signatures to a petition calling on international leaders to move hunger to the top of the political agenda. He also provided the narration of the documentary "Sahaya Going Beyond"", about the work of the charity Sahaya International.


          In 1998, Irons and his wife were named in the list of the biggest private financial donors to the Labour Party, a year after their return to government after 18 years in opposition. In 2004, he publicly declared his support for the Countryside Alliance, referring to the hunting ban as an "outrageous assault on civil liberties" and "one of the two most devastating parliamentary votes in the last century".

          In April 2013, Irons was asked by Huffpost Live host Josh Zepps his opinion on the fight for same-sex marriage in the United States. Irons responded, "Could a father not marry his son?" Zepps responded with an argument that laws against incest prevent such a union. Irons argued that "it's not incest between men. Incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don't breed," and wondered whether same-sex marriage might allow fathers to bequeath their estates to their sons to avoid taxation. On the issue of advocates calling for same-sex marriage as opposed to civil unions, he said, "It seems to me that now they're fighting for the name," and, "I worry that it means somehow we debase, or we change, what marriage is. I just worry about that."

          He later clarified his comments, saying he was providing an example of a situation that could cause a "legal quagmire" under the laws that allow same-sex marriage, and that he had been misinterpreted. He added that some gay relationships are "healthier" than their straight counterparts.

          Alternative medicine

          He has been criticised in the British Medical Journal for his fundraising activities in support of The College of Medicine, an alternative medicine lobby group in the UK linked to Prince Charles.



          Following training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre school Irons initially stayed with the company:
          1969The Winter's TaleFlorizelBristol Old Vic
          1969Hay FeverSimonBristol Old Vic
          1969What the Butler SawNickBristol Old Vic
          1969Major BarbaraBristol Old Vic
          1969A Servant of Two MastersBristol Old Vic
          1969MacbethBristol Old Vic
          1969The Boy FriendBristol Old Vic
          1970As You Like ItBristol Old Vic
          1970Oh! What a Lovely WarLittle Theatre Bristol
          1970The School for ScandalLittle Theatre Bristol
          1971–1973GodspellJohn/JudasRoundhouse and Wyndham's Theatre
          1973The Diary of a MadmanThe MadmanAct Inn
          1974Much Ado About NothingDon Pedro inYoung Vic
          1974The CaretakerMickYoung Vic
          1975The Taming of the ShrewPetruchioRoundhouse
          1976Wild OatsHarry ThunderAldwych Theatre
          1977Wild OatsHarry ThunderStratford and Piccadilly Theatre
          1978The Rear ColumnJamesonGlobe Theatre
          1984The Real ThingHenryNew York
          1986The Winter's TaleLeontesRoyal Shakespeare Theatre
          1986The RoverWillmoreSwan Theatre and Mermaid Theatre
          1986Richard IIRichard IIRoyal Shakespeare Theatre
          1987Richard IIRichard IIBarbican Theatre
          2003A Little Night MusicFredrik EgermanNew York
          2005CelebrationRussellGate Theatre and Albery Theatre
          2006EmbersHenrikDuke of York's Theatre
          2008Never So GoodHarold MacmillanNational Theatre
          2009ImpressionismThomas BuckleGerald Schoenfeld Theatre
          2013The Mystery PlaysGodGloucester Cathedral and Worcester Cathedral


          1971The Rivals of Sherlock HolmesNephew GeorgeTV series (1 episode: "The Case of the Mirror of Portugal")
          1974The PallisersFrank TregearTV series (6 episodes)
          1974Notorious WomanFranz LisztTV mini-series
          1975The Liberty TreeTV film
          1975Churchill's PeopleSamuel RossTV series (1 episode: "Liberty Tree")
          1977Love for LydiaAlex SandersonTV series (6 episodes)
          1978BBC2 Play of the WeekOtto BeckTV series (1 episode: "Langrishe Go Down")
          1979BBC Play of the MonthEdward VoyseyTV series (1 episode: "The Voysey Inheritance")
          1980NijinskyMikhail Fokine
          1981French Lieutenant's Woman, TheThe French Lieutenant's WomanCharles Henry Smithson/Mike
          1981Brideshead RevisitedCharles RyderTV mini-series (11 episodes)
          1982Spaceship Earth3rd Edition NarratorShort
          1983The Captain's DollCaptain Alex HepworthTV film
          1984Wild Duck, TheThe Wild DuckHarold
          1984Swann in LoveCharles Swann
          1985Rabbit Ears: The Steadfast Tin SoldierStorytellerShort
          1986Mission, TheThe MissionFather Gabriel
          1988Dead RingersBeverly Mantle/Elliot Mantle
          1989Chorus of Disapproval, AA Chorus of DisapprovalGuy Jones
          1989AustraliaEdouard Pierson
          1989Danny, the Champion of the WorldWilliam Smith
          1989The DreamTV film
          1990The Civil WarVariousTV mini-series (9 episodes)
          1990Reversal of FortuneClaus von Bülow
          1991Beggar's Opera, TheThe Beggar's OperaPrisoner
          1991Saturday Night LiveHostTV series (1 episode: "Jeremy Irons/Fishbone")
          1992Timekeeper, TheThe TimekeeperH.G. WellsShort
          1992WaterlandTom Crick
          1992PerformanceOdon Von HorvathTV series (1 episode: "Tales from Hollywood")
          1992DamageDr. Stephen Fleming
          1993M. ButterflyRené Gallimard
          1993House of the Spirits, TheThe House of the SpiritsEsteban Trueba
          1994Spaceship EarthNarrator
          1994Lion King, TheThe Lion KingScar (voice)
          1995Die Hard with a VengeanceSimon Gruber
          1996The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th CenturySiegfried SassoonTV series (3 episodes)
          1996Stealing BeautyAlex
          1997Chinese BoxJohn
          1997LolitaHumbert Humbert
          1998Man in the Iron Mask, TheThe Man in the Iron MaskAramis
          1999FaeriesThe Shapeshifter (voice)
          1999Islands of Adventure: Poseidon's Fury: Escape from the Lost CityPoseidon (voice)Short
          2000Dungeons & DragonsProfion
          2000LongitudeRupert GouldTV series (4 episodes)
          2000Ohio ImpromptuReader/ListenerShort
          2001The Short Life of Anne FrankNarratorDutch TV documentary
          2001Fourth Angel, TheThe Fourth AngelJack Elgin
          2002Callas ForeverLarry Kelly
          2002Last CallF. Scott FitzgeraldTV film
          2002Time Machine, TheThe Time MachineÜber-Morlock
          2002And Now... Ladies and GentlemenValentin Valentin
          2003Freedom: A History of UsKing James I/Lord Grey/Thomas PaineTV series (3 episodes)
          2003Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair DoSnapeTV film
          2004MathildeCol. De Petris
          2004Merchant of Venice, TheThe Merchant of VeniceAntonio
          2004Being JuliaMichael Gosselyn
          2005Kingdom of HeavenTiberias
          2005Elizabeth IRobert Dudley, 1st Earl of LeicesterTV mini-series
          2005Once Upon a HalloweenCauldron (voice)Video
          2006Inland EmpireKingsley Stewart
          2008Colour of Magic, TheThe Colour of MagicHavelock VetinariTV film
          2008AppaloosaRandall Bragg
          2009The Magic 7Thraxx (voice)TV film
          2009Pink Panther 2, TheThe Pink Panther 2Alonso Avellaneda
          2009Georgia O'KeeffeAlfred StieglitzTV film
          2011Margin CallJohn Tuld
          2011The Last LionsNarrator
          2011Law & Order: Special Victims UnitDr. Cap JacksonTV series (2 episodes)
          2011–2013Borgias, TheThe BorgiasRodrigo BorgiaTV series (29 episodes)
          2012The WordsThe Old Man
          2012The SimpsonsBar Rag (voice)TV series (1 episode: "Moe Goes from Rags to Riches")
          2012Henry IV Part I and Part IIHenry IV
          2013Life on FireNarratorTV documentary series (6 episodes)
          2013Night Train to LisbonRaimund Gregorius
          2013Beautiful CreaturesMacon Ravenwood
          2015High RiseAnthony Royal
          2016Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeAlfred PennyworthFilming

          Awards and nominations

          1981BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading RoleThe French Lieutenant's WomanNominated
          1981British Academy Television Award for Best ActorBrideshead RevisitedNominated
          1981Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a MovieBrideshead RevisitedNominated
          1981Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television FilmBrideshead RevisitedNominated
          1986Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture DramaThe MissionNominated
          1988Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best ActorDead RingersWon
          1988Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleDead RingersWon
          1988New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best ActorDead RingersWon
          1988Saturn Award for Best ActorDead RingersNominated
          1990Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading RoleReversal of FortuneWon
          1990Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best ActorReversal of FortuneWon
          1990Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best ActorReversal of FortuneWon
          1990David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign ActorReversal of FortuneWon
          1990Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture DramaReversal of FortuneWon
          1990Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best ActorReversal of FortuneWon
          1990National Society of Film Critics Award for Best ActorReversal of FortuneWon
          1994Annie Award for Best Achievement for Voice ActingThe Lion KingWon
          1994MTV Movie Award for Best VillainThe Lion KingNominated
          1996Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion PictureStealing BeautyNominated
          1997Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over PerformanceThe Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century: War Without EndWon
          2004Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion PictureBeing JuliaNominated
          2005Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for TelevisionElizabeth IWon
          2005Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television MovieElizabeth IWon
          2006Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieElizabeth IWon
          2009Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television FilmGeorgia O'KeeffeNominated
          2011Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series DramaThe BorgiasNominated

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