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|Born||Jeremy John Irons|
19 September 1948
Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
|Children||2; including Max Irons|
|Born||Jeremy John Irons|
19 September 1948
Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
|Children||2; 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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. He will be the narrator for Val Kilmer and Bill Pullman's Lewis and Clark film from Revolution Studios.
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. (May 2014)|
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.
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.
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.
Following training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre school Irons initially stayed with the company:
|1969||The Winter's Tale||Florizel||Bristol Old Vic|
|1969||Hay Fever||Simon||Bristol Old Vic|
|1969||What the Butler Saw||Nick||Bristol Old Vic|
|1969||Major Barbara||Bristol Old Vic|
|1969||A Servant of Two Masters||Bristol Old Vic|
|1969||Macbeth||Bristol Old Vic|
|1969||The Boy Friend||Bristol Old Vic|
|1970||As You Like It||Bristol Old Vic|
|1970||Oh! What a Lovely War||Little Theatre Bristol|
|1970||The School for Scandal||Little Theatre Bristol|
|1971–1973||Godspell||John/Judas||Roundhouse and Wyndham's Theatre|
|1973||The Diary of a Madman||The Madman||Act Inn|
|1974||Much Ado About Nothing||Don Pedro in||Young Vic|
|1974||The Caretaker||Mick||Young Vic|
|1975||The Taming of the Shrew||Petruchio||Roundhouse|
|1976||Wild Oats||Harry Thunder||Aldwych Theatre|
|1977||Wild Oats||Harry Thunder||Stratford and Piccadilly Theatre|
|1978||The Rear Column||Jameson||Globe Theatre|
|1984||The Real Thing||Henry||New York|
|1986||The Winter's Tale||Leontes||Royal Shakespeare Theatre|
|1986||The Rover||Willmore||Swan Theatre and Mermaid Theatre|
|1986||Richard II||Richard II||Royal Shakespeare Theatre|
|1987||Richard II||Richard II||Barbican Theatre|
|2003||A Little Night Music||Fredrik Egerman||New York|
|2005||Celebration||Russell||Gate Theatre and Albery Theatre|
|2006||Embers||Henrik||Duke of York's Theatre|
|2008||Never So Good||Harold Macmillan||National Theatre|
|2009||Impressionism||Thomas Buckle||Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre|
|2013||The Mystery Plays||God||Gloucester Cathedral and Worcester Cathedral|
|1971||The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes||Nephew George||TV series (1 episode: "The Case of the Mirror of Portugal")|
|1974||The Pallisers||Frank Tregear||TV series (6 episodes)|
|1974||Notorious Woman||Franz Liszt||TV mini-series|
|1975||The Liberty Tree||TV film|
|1975||Churchill's People||Samuel Ross||TV series (1 episode: "Liberty Tree")|
|1977||Love for Lydia||Alex Sanderson||TV series (6 episodes)|
|1978||BBC2 Play of the Week||Otto Beck||TV series (1 episode: "Langrishe Go Down")|
|1979||BBC Play of the Month||Edward Voysey||TV series (1 episode: "The Voysey Inheritance")|
|1981||French Lieutenant's Woman, TheThe French Lieutenant's Woman||Charles Henry Smithson/Mike|
|1981||Brideshead Revisited||Charles Ryder||TV mini-series (11 episodes)|
|1982||Spaceship Earth||3rd Edition Narrator||Short|
|1983||The Captain's Doll||Captain Alex Hepworth||TV film|
|1984||Wild Duck, TheThe Wild Duck||Harold|
|1984||Swann in Love||Charles Swann|
|1985||Rabbit Ears: The Steadfast Tin Soldier||Storyteller||Short|
|1986||Mission, TheThe Mission||Father Gabriel|
|1988||Dead Ringers||Beverly Mantle/Elliot Mantle|
|1989||Chorus of Disapproval, AA Chorus of Disapproval||Guy Jones|
|1989||Danny, the Champion of the World||William Smith|
|1989||The Dream||TV film|
|1990||The Civil War||Various||TV mini-series (9 episodes)|
|1990||Reversal of Fortune||Claus von Bülow|
|1991||Beggar's Opera, TheThe Beggar's Opera||Prisoner|
|1991||Saturday Night Live||Host||TV series (1 episode: "Jeremy Irons/Fishbone")|
|1992||Timekeeper, TheThe Timekeeper||H.G. Wells||Short|
|1992||Performance||Odon Von Horvath||TV series (1 episode: "Tales from Hollywood")|
|1992||Damage||Dr. Stephen Fleming|
|1993||M. Butterfly||René Gallimard|
|1993||House of the Spirits, TheThe House of the Spirits||Esteban Trueba|
|1994||Lion King, TheThe Lion King||Scar (voice)|
|1995||Die Hard with a Vengeance||Simon Gruber|
|1996||The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century||Siegfried Sassoon||TV series (3 episodes)|
|1998||Man in the Iron Mask, TheThe Man in the Iron Mask||Aramis|
|1999||Faeries||The Shapeshifter (voice)|
|1999||Islands of Adventure: Poseidon's Fury: Escape from the Lost City||Poseidon (voice)||Short|
|2000||Dungeons & Dragons||Profion|
|2000||Longitude||Rupert Gould||TV series (4 episodes)|
|2001||The Short Life of Anne Frank||Narrator||Dutch TV documentary|
|2001||Fourth Angel, TheThe Fourth Angel||Jack Elgin|
|2002||Callas Forever||Larry Kelly|
|2002||Last Call||F. Scott Fitzgerald||TV film|
|2002||Time Machine, TheThe Time Machine||Über-Morlock|
|2002||And Now... Ladies and Gentlemen||Valentin Valentin|
|2003||Freedom: A History of Us||King James I/Lord Grey/Thomas Paine||TV series (3 episodes)|
|2003||Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do||Snape||TV film|
|2004||Mathilde||Col. De Petris|
|2004||Merchant of Venice, TheThe Merchant of Venice||Antonio|
|2004||Being Julia||Michael Gosselyn|
|2005||Kingdom of Heaven||Tiberias|
|2005||Elizabeth I||Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester||TV mini-series|
|2005||Once Upon a Halloween||Cauldron (voice)||Video|
|2006||Inland Empire||Kingsley Stewart|
|2008||Colour of Magic, TheThe Colour of Magic||Havelock Vetinari||TV film|
|2009||The Magic 7||Thraxx (voice)||TV film|
|2009||Pink Panther 2, TheThe Pink Panther 2||Alonso Avellaneda|
|2009||Georgia O'Keeffe||Alfred Stieglitz||TV film|
|2011||Margin Call||John Tuld|
|2011||The Last Lions||Narrator|
|2011||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Dr. Cap Jackson||TV series (2 episodes)|
|2011–2013||Borgias, TheThe Borgias||Rodrigo Borgia||TV series (29 episodes)|
|2012||The Words||The Old Man|
|2012||The Simpsons||Bar Rag (voice)||TV series (1 episode: "Moe Goes from Rags to Riches")|
|2012||Henry IV Part I and Part II||Henry IV|
|2013||Life on Fire||Narrator||TV documentary series (6 episodes)|
|2013||Night Train to Lisbon||Raimund Gregorius|
|2013||Beautiful Creatures||Macon Ravenwood|
|2015||High Rise||Anthony Royal|
|2016||Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice||Alfred Pennyworth||Filming|
|1981||BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role||The French Lieutenant's Woman||Nominated|
|1981||British Academy Television Award for Best Actor||Brideshead Revisited||Nominated|
|1981||Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie||Brideshead Revisited||Nominated|
|1981||Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film||Brideshead Revisited||Nominated|
|1986||Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama||The Mission||Nominated|
|1988||Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor||Dead Ringers||Won|
|1988||Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role||Dead Ringers||Won|
|1988||New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor||Dead Ringers||Won|
|1988||Saturn Award for Best Actor||Dead Ringers||Nominated|
|1990||Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role||Reversal of Fortune||Won|
|1990||Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor||Reversal of Fortune||Won|
|1990||Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor||Reversal of Fortune||Won|
|1990||David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actor||Reversal of Fortune||Won|
|1990||Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama||Reversal of Fortune||Won|
|1990||Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor||Reversal of Fortune||Won|
|1990||National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor||Reversal of Fortune||Won|
|1994||Annie Award for Best Achievement for Voice Acting||The Lion King||Won|
|1994||MTV Movie Award for Best Villain||The Lion King||Nominated|
|1996||Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Stealing Beauty||Nominated|
|1997||Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance||The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century: War Without End||Won|
|2004||Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Being Julia||Nominated|
|2005||Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television||Elizabeth I||Won|
|2005||Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Movie||Elizabeth I||Won|
|2006||Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Elizabeth I||Won|
|2009||Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film||Georgia O'Keeffe||Nominated|
|2011||Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama||The Borgias||Nominated|
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