Ioan Gruffudd

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Ioan Gruffudd
Born(1973-10-06) 6 October 1973 (age 40)
Llwydcoed, Aberdare, Cynon Valley, Wales, UK
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Alice Evans (2007–present; 2 children)
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Ioan Gruffudd
Born(1973-10-06) 6 October 1973 (age 40)
Llwydcoed, Aberdare, Cynon Valley, Wales, UK
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Alice Evans (2007–present; 2 children)

Ioan Gruffudd (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈ ˈɡrɪfɪð] ( ); born 6 October 1973) is a Welsh actor.

Having trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he started off in Welsh language film productions, then came to international attention as Fifth Officer Harold Lowe in the film Titanic (1997), and as Lt John Beales in Black Hawk Down (2001). He is also known in the UK for his role as Horatio Hornblower in Hornblower, the British made-for-TV films (1998–2003) based on C. S. Forester's novels. In June 2012, Gruffudd filmed the fantasy adventure movie Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box[1] throughout the south-west of England, playing the role of Charles Mundi. The movie is scheduled for release in 2013.

Gruffudd's other film roles include Lancelot in King Arthur (2004), Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) in Fantastic Four (2005) and the sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), and British anti-slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace (2006). He played Tony Blair in W. (2008). He played the role of Andrew Martin in the US thriller television series Ringer until the show's cancellation in 2012.

Family, early life and education[edit]

Gruffudd was born on 6 October 1973 in Llwydcoed, near Aberdare, Cynon Valley, in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales. Gruffudd's parents, Peter and Gillian (née James) Gruffudd, were both teachers.[2] His father was headmaster at two Welsh comprehensive schools in South Wales, first at Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari then later at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen. He has two siblings: a brother, Alun,[3] who is two years younger, and a sister, Siwan, who is seven years younger than he is.[4] Gruffudd was raised in a Protestant non-conformist household.[5]

The popular Welsh name "Ioan" is an equivalent of "John", and "Gruffudd" corresponds to the anglicised "Griffith". He has been quoted as saying, "I'm determined not to lose my name. It's who I am. It has neither aided my progress nor hampered it. It's just who I am. My character... my make-up. My culture and heritage is a very rich one. So what if it's difficult for people to pronounce? We all learned how to say 'Schwarzenegger'."[6]

During his childhood, his family moved to Cardiff.[4] Gruffudd attended Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Aberdar (Ynyslwyd) (now located in Cwmdare), Ysgol Gymraeg Melin Gruffydd (in Whitchurch, Cardiff) and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf (in Llandaff).

He was an accomplished oboist in his teens,[7] achieving a Grade 8 level in the ABRSM music examinations[8] and playing in the South Glamorgan Youth Orchestra for several years,[9] but gave it up once acting took up most of his time.[10] He won prizes for his high baritone singing while at school, including one at the National Eisteddfod.[8] He has said, "As a Welshman, I grew up in a culture of singing and performing with music, and I think it was through this performing that I got my confidence as an actor."[11]

Gruffudd's parents are committed Christians, and in his early 20s, he was a member of the London Church of Christ, but his mother later came to London to "sort [his] head out".[12] In June 2007, he said that he "wouldn't describe myself as a deeply religious man".[13]


Gruffudd started his acting career at the age of 13 in a Welsh television film called Austin (1986) and then later moved on to the Welsh language soap opera Pobol y Cwm (People of the Valley) from 1987 to 1994. He also played football with the Pobol y Cwm football team Cwmderi FC alongside co-stars Hywel Emrys, Gwyn Elfyn and Ieuan Rhys. During this time, he was also active on stage, in school performances, and in the 1991 Urdd Eisteddfod production of Cwlwm.[citation needed] In 1992, aged 18, he began attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. However, he was only given small parts in the Academy's productions, and feeling isolated and directionless, almost dropped out several times. However, in 1995 in his final year, he was cast in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler as George (Jörgen) Tesman, the husband of Hedda, the lead character. This performance led to him being offered the lead role in the 1996 TV remake of Poldark.[7][14]

After playing Oscar Wilde's lover John Gray in 1997's Wilde he took his first international role as Fifth Officer Harold Lowe in the blockbuster film Titanic. He later landed the role of Horatio Hornblower in Hornblower, the Meridian production of the C. S. Forester novels (1998–2003), shown on ITV1 and A&E. Gruffudd has said: "It was quite something for an unknown actor to get the lead. So I will always be grateful to Hornblower. ... I would love to play this character through every stage of his life. I think it would be unique to have an actor playing him from the very early days as a midshipman, through till he's an Admiral. So, I would love to play this character till he perishes."[11]

Since 20 February 2007, Gruffudd has been making plans to obtain rights to the Horatio Hornblower novels in order to produce a film for the big screen.[15]

His television work includes playing the character Pip in the BBC TV production of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (1999), Lt. John Feeley in BBC One's "Warriors" (1999) and architect Philip Bosinney in ITV's adaptation of The Forsyte Saga (2002). He has starred in the films 102 Dalmatians (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001) and King Arthur (2004).

In 2007, he starred in the historical drama Amazing Grace as William Wilberforce, the British abolitionist, receiving critical acclaim for the role. Gruffudd has also portrayed characters of both Marvel Comics and DC Comics, having appeared as Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) in Marvel's Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), and provided the voice of Mister Miracle in DC's Justice League Unlimited (2004–06).

In 2008, he appeared in the Julia Roberts-Ryan Reynolds film, Fireflies in the Garden. In 2008, he also appeared in The Secret of Moonacre. In 2009, he starred alongside Josh Brolin in W., a biopic about the life of U.S. President George W Bush, in which Gruffudd played Tony Blair. In 2011, he played the financier of a cave dive in Sanctum.

Apart from television and film work, he starred in the music video of Westlife's version of "Uptown Girl" (2001) alongside Claudia Schiffer,[6][9] and on 7 July 2007 he was a presenter at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London.[16]

Gruffudd is a native Welsh speaker. He was inducted into the Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain (the Bardic Order of Great Britain) at the highest rank of druid in the National Eisteddfod at Meifod, mid-Wales, on 4 August 2003, with the bardic name "Ioan".[2][17]

In July 2008 he featured in a promotional trailer in Welsh for BBC Wales, alongside fellow Welshmen Matthew Rhys and Gethin Jones, publicising BBC coverage of the 2008 National Eisteddfod of Wales in Cardiff.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Gruffudd lives with his wife, actress Alice Evans, in Los Angeles, California. The couple met during the production of 102 Dalmatians, and married on 14 September 2007 in Mexico.[19] One of Gruffudd's best men and speechmakers at the wedding was fellow Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, his long-time friend and former flatmate of eight years.[3] On 20 April 2009, Gruffudd and his wife announced they were expecting their first child together.[20] Later that year, the couple welcomed daughter Ella Betsi Janet. On 13 September 2013, they welcomed their second daughter, Elsie Marigold.[21][22]

Gruffudd enjoys being in Los Angeles because "it's the easiest place in the world to drive, and it's a real pleasure to do that in my black Jag XK8. I've gone all out."[7] According to Gruffudd:

There's a physicality and confidence to Americans; they're very present. That's something I enjoy being around because it rubs off on you. Although an actor friend of mine visited recently and said, 'It's no wonder they write such terrible scripts these days, there's no pain! Everything's so nice you can't be bothered.'[23]

Gruffudd also holds a Dual citizenship for the UK and the United States.

Selected work[edit]


Wilde1997John Gray
Titanic1997Harold Godfrey Lowe, Fifth Officer of the RMS Titanic
Solomon & Gaenor1999Solomon Levinsky
102 Dalmatians2000Kevin Shepherd
Another Life2001Freddy Bywaters
Very Annie Mary2001Hob
Happy Now2001Sgt. Max Bracchi
Black Hawk Down2001Lt. John Beales
Shooters2002Freddy Guns
Gathering, TheThe Gathering2002Dan Blakeley
This Girl's Life2003Daniel
King Arthur2004Lancelot
Fantastic Four2005Reed Richards/Mr. FantasticNominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (with Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis)
TV Set, TheThe TV Set2006Richard McAllister
Amazing Grace2006William Wilberforce
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer2007Reed Richards/Mr. FantasticNominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Dance
Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (with Jessica Alba)
Stories USA2007Simon
Agent Crush2008Agent CrushVoice role
The Meant to Be's2008The Man
Fireflies in the Garden2008Addison
Secret of Moonacre, TheThe Secret of Moonacre2008Sir Benjamin
W.2008Tony Blair
The Kid2010teacher
Horrible Bosses2011Wetwork ExpertCameo
Sanctum2011Carl Hurley
Foster2011AlecAlso titled as Angel In The House
Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box2013Charles Mundi


Pobol y Cwm1987–94Gareth Wyn Harries
Poldark1996Jeremy Poldark
Hornblower: The Even Chance1998Midshipman Horatio Hornblower
Hornblower: The Examination For Lieutenant1998Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Warriors1999Lt. John Feeley
Hornblower: The Duchess and the Devil1999Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Hornblower: The Frogs and the Lobsters1999Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Great Expectations1999Pip
Hornblower: Mutiny20013rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Hornblower: Retribution20013rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Man and Boy2002Harry Silver
Forsyte Saga, TheThe Forsyte Saga2002Phillip Bosinney
Hornblower: Loyalty2003Commander Horatio Hornblower
Hornblower: Duty2003Commander Horatio Hornblower
Century City2004Lukas Gold
Justice League Unlimited2005Mister MiracleVoice Role
Ben 10: Alien Force2010Devin LevinVoice Role
Batman: The Brave and the Bold2010Armor/Red RyanVoice Role
Ringer2011-2012Andrew Martin
Night of the Hurricane2011Narrator
The British2012Narrator
Monday Mornings2013Dr. Stewart DelaneyGuest Role
Castle2013Erik VaughnSeason 5, Episode 21 - The Squab and the Quail
Necessary Roughness2013Nolan PowersGuest Role
Glee2013Paolo San PabloGuest Role


Hedda Gabler1995George (Jörgen) Tesman
Trouble Sleeping[24]1995National Theatre Studio, LondonUnknown
The Decameron[25]1995Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, LondonUnknown
The Play Wot I Wrote2001Wyndham's Theatre, LondonMystery Guest

Some information in this table was obtained from "Ioan Gruffudd CV". Hamilton Hodell Talent Management. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 


  1. ^ Adam Dawtrey (11 April 2012). Variety Article. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Derbyn Ioan i'r Orsedd [Ioan received into the Gorsedd]" (in Welsh). BBC Wales. 4 August 2003. Retrieved 2 August 2008.  "Biography for Ioan Gruffudd". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Karen Price (18 September 2007). "Ioan's wedding pictures published". Western Mail (reproduced on 
  4. ^ a b "Ioan Gruffudd biography". BBC Wales. Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
  5. ^ Moring, Mark (20 February 2007). "A Fantastic Role". Christianity Today. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Eloise Parker (12 March 2007). "Ioan's a celluloid superhero!". 
  7. ^ a b c Liz Hoggard (2 July 2005). "Ioan Gruffudd: Enter the dragon". The Independent (London). 
  8. ^ a b "Ioan Gruffudd CV". Hamilton Hodell Talent Management. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  9. ^ a b "The Gruffudd saga". GMTV. 16 January 2004. 
  10. ^ Ioan Gruffudd at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 14 May 2008.
  11. ^ a b "Ioan Gruffudd trivia". Retrieved 12 June 2007. 
  12. ^ In a July 2005 newspaper interview, Gruffudd said: "I hadn't been going to chapel. A guy stopped me in the street and asked if I would like to go to church. I thought it was a sign... I knew it wasn't right but I didn't feel that it was so wrong, so other-worldly – that's how convincing the whole thing was. In the end, my mum had to come up to London to sort my head out."Liz Hoggard (2 July 2005). "Ioan Gruffudd: Enter the dragon". The Independent (London). 
  13. ^ James Collard (2 June 2007). "Prince of Wales: Famed for standout roles in period dramas, actor Ioan Gruffudd has a similar taste for timeless classics in his own wardrobe department". The Times (London). 
  14. ^ Gina Petonito (1999–2007). "Biography". Ioancentral [fan site]. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  15. ^ "Ioan Gruffudd – Gruffudd plans Hornblower movie". 20 February 2007. 
  16. ^ "London Live Earth line-up revealed". NME. 5 July 2007. 
  17. ^ "Gruffudd made honorary druid". BBC News. 20 June 2003. 
  18. ^ "Eisteddfod hapus!". MediaMonkey, (London). 30 July 2008. 
  19. ^ Mary Margaret (2007-09-15). "Fantastic Four Star Ioan Gruffudd gets married". People. 
  20. ^ Alexis Chiu (20 April 2009). "Fantastic Four's Ioan Gruffudd and wife are expecting". People. 
  21. ^ "Fantastic! Ioan Gruffudd and Alice Evans's joy at birth of 'unbelievably beautiful' daughter". Daily Mail (London). 2009-09-10. 
  22. ^ "'Fantastic Four' actor Ioan Gruffudd and Alice become parents to 'beautiful' Ella". Hello!. September 10, 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  23. ^ Liz Hoggard (2005-07-02). "Ioan Gruffudd: Enter the dragon". The Independent (London). 
  24. ^ According to the Hamilton Hodell Talent Management website, Gruffudd was involved in an "untitled Nick Ward play" written and directed by Nick Ward and performed at the Royal National Studios: see "Ioan Gruffudd CV". Hamilton Hodell Talent Management. Retrieved 2008-05-15.  The website indicates that Nick Ward developed his play Trouble Sleeping at the National Theatre Studio in London, and that it was staged in 1995 in the Warehouse Theatre in Croydon: see "Nick Ward". Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  25. ^ Ian Shuttleworth (July 1996). "The Decameron. Gate Theatre, London. Opened 23 July 1996". Financial Times (reproduced on Ian Shuttleworth's homepage).  "Nick Ward". Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 


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