Martin Freeman

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Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman during filming of Sherlock cropped.jpg
Freeman during filming of Sherlock in 2010
BornMartin John Christopher Freeman[1]
(1971-09-08) 8 September 1971 (age 42)
Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Alma materCentral School of Speech and Drama
Years active1997–present
Partner(s)Amanda Abbington
AwardsBAFTA TV – Best Supporting Actor for Sherlock (2011)
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For other people named Martin Freeman, see Martin Freeman (disambiguation).
Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman during filming of Sherlock cropped.jpg
Freeman during filming of Sherlock in 2010
BornMartin John Christopher Freeman[1]
(1971-09-08) 8 September 1971 (age 42)
Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Alma materCentral School of Speech and Drama
Years active1997–present
Partner(s)Amanda Abbington
AwardsBAFTA TV – Best Supporting Actor for Sherlock (2011)

Martin John Christopher Freeman (born 8 September 1971)[2] is an English actor who has performed on screen since 1997. He is perhaps best known for his portrayals of Tim Canterbury in The Office, Dr. Watson in Sherlock, Lester Nygaard in Fargo, and Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy.

His other notable film roles include Love Actually (2003), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Nativity! (2009), and the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, most prominently in The World's End (2013).[3] Among other accolades, he has won a BAFTA Award (with two further nominations), and received Emmy- and Saturn Award nominations.

Early life

Martin Freeman was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, the youngest of five children. His parents, Philomena (née Norris) and Geoffrey Freeman, a naval officer, separated when Freeman was a child, and when Freeman was ten, Geoffrey died of a heart attack.[4][5] Freeman attended the Salesian School, Chertsey before attending Brooklands College for media studies.[6] His elder brother Tim became a musician with the group Frazier Chorus.

Freeman was raised as a Roman Catholic. Although his family was not strict in their religious practices, his religion had a profound influence on him. As a child, he was asthmatic, and had to undergo a hip operation for what he has described as a "dodgy leg".[7][8]


Freeman joined a youth theatre group at 15, but it was not until he was 17 that his confidence in his acting led to the decision to pursue it as a career.[7] He went on to attend the Central School of Speech and Drama.[6] Freeman has appeared in at least 18 TV shows, 14 theatre productions, and several radio productions. He is notable for his role as Tim Canterbury in The Office. He appeared in the sitcom Hardware. He also appeared in several films, including Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Richard Curtis' Love Actually (2003).[6]

He began to move into more serious dramatic roles on television with his appearance as Lord Shaftesbury in the 2003 BBC historical drama Charles II: The Power and The Passion. He can also be seen making a brief appearance in the first episode of the second series of This Life. Freeman also starred in the BBC television series The Robinsons and had a cameo in episode 1 of Black Books. In 2007, he appeared in The All Together written and directed by Gavin Claxton, as well as the Bill Kenwright theatre production of The Last Laugh. He is featured in the video for Faith No More's cover of "I Started a Joke".[citation needed]

In May 2009 he starred in Boy Meets Girl, a four-part drama that charts the progress of characters Veronica and Danny after an accident which causes them to swap bodies.[9]

He currently plays Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC contemporary adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. He starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, who also went on to perform in The Hobbit films with Freeman. The first episode of Sherlock, "A Study in Pink", was broadcast on 25 July 2010 to critical acclaim. For his performance in the role he won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, 2011 and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. He plays Bilbo Baggins, the main character, in the three-part Peter Jackson film series The Hobbit.[10][11]

Accolades that his performance in the first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, garnered him include Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards[12] and Best Actor at the 18th Empire Awards.[13]

Freeman appeared in all three of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, commencing with a brief non-speaking role in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne's boyfriend, Declan, followed by a brief cameo in Hot Fuzz as a police officer. He is a main cast member in the 2013 finale to the trilogy, The World's End.[citation needed]

On the 5 October 2013, he was presented with a fellowship bearing his name by the members of University College Dublin's Literary & Historical Society.

In April 2014, Freeman began playing insurance salesman Lester Nygaard in the dark comedy-crime drama series Fargo.[14]

He is set to play the title role of William Shakespeare’s plays Richard III in the summer of 2014 at Trafalgar Studios.[15]

Personal life

Freeman lives in Hertfordshire with his partner, actress Amanda Abbington, whom he met on the set of Channel 4’s Men Only in 2000.[16] The couple have two children together, Joe (born 2006) and Grace (born 2008),[7][8][17] and have since appeared in other productions together, including Sherlock, Swinging with the Finkels, The Debt, The Robinsons, and The All Together.

In an edition of Who Do You Think You Are? aired on 19 August 2009, he discovered that his grandfather, Leonard Freeman, was a medic who was killed a couple of days before the Dunkirk evacuation at the beginning of World War II. Leonard's father Richard was born blind and had been a piano tuner and organist at St Andrew's Church, West Tarring and later a music teacher in Kingston upon Hull.[4]

Freeman is a vegetarian.[18] He has struggled with religion, stating "My relationship with my belief has never been easy."[19] Despite these struggles, Freeman has said his Catholic faith remains intact.[20]

Freeman in 2011 took part in a charity cricket match to raise money for victims of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.[21]



1998I Just Want to Kiss YouFrankShort film
2000The Low DownSolomon
2001Round About FiveThe Man
2001Fancy DressPirate
2002Ali G IndahouseRicky C
2003Love ActuallyJohn
2004Blake's Junction 7VilaShort film
2004Call RegisterKevin
2004Shaun of the DeadDeclanCameo
2005The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyArthur Dent
2006Breaking and EnteringSandy
2007The Good NightGary Shaller
2007Hot FuzzMet. Sergeant
2007Lonely HeartsThe pigShort film
2007The All TogetherChris Ashworth
2007RubbishKevinShort film
2008Rembrandt's J'AccuseRembrandtDocumentary
2009Nativity!Paul Maddens
2009Swinging with the FinkelsAlvin Finkel
2010Wild TargetDixon
2010The Girl is Mime[22]Clive BuckleShort film
2011What's Your Number?Simon
2012The Pirates! Band of MisfitsThe Pirate with a Scarf (voice)
2012The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyBilbo Baggins
2013The World's EndOliver Chamberlain
2013Saving SantaBernard (voice)
2013The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugBilbo Baggins
2013The Voorman ProblemDr. WilliamsShort film
2014The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesBilbo BagginsPost-production


1997The BillCraig ParnellEpisode: "Mantrap"
1997This LifeStuartEpisode: "Last Tango in Southwark"
1998CasualtyRicky BeckEpisode: "She Loved the Rain"
1998Picking up the PiecesBrendanEpisode: "1.7"
1999ExhaustThe Car OwnerTV Special
2000BruiserVarious characters6 episodes
2000Lock, Stock...Jaap2 episodes
2000Black BooksDoctorEpisode: "Cooking the Books"
2001Men OnlyJamieTV film
2001World of PubVarious characters5 episodes
2001–2003The OfficeTim Canterbury14 episodes
2002Helen WestDC Stone3 episodes
2002Linda GreenMattEpisode: "Easy Come, Easy Go"
2003The DebtTerry RossTV film
2003Margery and GladysD.S. StringerTV film
2003Charles II: The Power and The PassionLord ShaftesburyTV miniseries
2003–2004HardwareMike12 episodes
2004PrideFleckTV film
2005The RobinsonsEd Robinson6 episodes
2007Comedy ShowcaseGreg WilsonEpisode: Other People
2007The Old Curiosity ShopMr. CodlinTV film
2008When Were We Funniest?Himself4 episodes
2009Boy Meets GirlDanny ReedTV miniseries
2009Micro MenChris CurryTV film
2010–presentSherlockDr. John Watson9 episodes
2014FargoLester Nygaard10 episodes

Awards and nominations

YearNominated ForAwardCategoryResult
2002The OfficeBritish Comedy AwardsBest Comedy ActorNominated
2004The Office (for "The Office Christmas Specials")BAFTAsBest Comedy PerformanceNominated
British Comedy AwardsBest TV Comedy ActorNominated
Love ActuallyPhoenix Film Critics SocietyBest CastNominated
Love ActuallyWashington DC Area Film Critics Association AwardBest Ensemble CastWon
Love ActuallyCritics' Choice Movie AwardsBest Acting EnsembleNominated
HardwareRose d'OrBest Male Comedy PerformanceWon
2011SherlockBAFTAsBest Supporting ActorWon
Sherlock (for "A Scandal in Belgravia")Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
Gold Derby TV AwardsTV Movie/Miniseries Supporting ActorWon
SherlockCrime Thriller AwardsBest Supporting ActorWon
PAAFTJ AwardsBest Cast in a Miniseries or TV MovieWon
PAAFTJ AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV MovieNominated
Tumblr TV AwardsHottest Male Character in a TV ShowNominated
Tumblr TV AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama SeriesWon
Tumblr TV AwardsBest Male Character in a TV SeriesNominated
Tumblr TV AwardsBest Cast in a TV ShowWon
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyTotal Film Hotlist AwardsHottest ActorNominated
2013The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyEmpire AwardsBest ActorWon[13][23]
Saturn AwardBest ActorNominated
MTV Movie AwardsBest Scared-as-S**t PerformanceNominated[24]
MTV Movie AwardsBest HeroWon[12]
SFX AwardsBest ActorNominated
Shorts AwardsVisionary ActorWon
New Zealand Movie AwardsHero of the YearNominated
Constellation AwardsBest Male Performance In A 2012 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-SeriesNominated
Tumblr Movie AwardsBest Leading ActorNominated
Tumblr Movie AwardsBest ShipNominated
Stella AwardsBest Actor in a Leading RoleWon
The World's EndAlternative End of Year Film AwardsBest Ensemble CastWon
2014The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugEmpire AwardsBest ActorNominated
MTV Movie AwardsBest HeroNominated
Constellation AwardsBest Male Performance In A 2013 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-SeriesPending
Comic Vine Movie AwardsBest HeroNominated
YouReviewers AwardsBest HeroNominated
Stella AwardsBest Actor in a Leading RoleWon
FargoCritics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actor in a Movie or Mini-SeriesPending
SherlockCritics' Choice Television AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-SeriesPending


  1. ^ "Martin Freeman (April 2012)". Slow Boat Records. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  2. ^ Larman, Alexander. "Freeman, Martin (b. 1971)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  3. ^ Braun, J.W. (2010). The Lord of the Films. ECW Press. 
  4. ^ a b "Martin Freeman". Who Do You Think You Are?. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Interview: Martin Freeman, Actor". The Scotsman. 27 November 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c "Martin Freeman: No ordinary Bilbo Baggins". The Independent. 30 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:'The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Paton, Maureen (17 July 2010). "In a taxi with...Martin Freeman". Daily Mail (London). 
  9. ^ Boy Meets Girl Interview: Martin Freeman profile, (30 April 2009); retrieved 27 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Martin Freeman to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit". BBC News. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Child, Ben (22 October 2010). "Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, a match made in Hobbit heaven". Guardian (London). Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Calautti, Katie (April 15, 2013). "Bilbo Baggins Beats Snow White For Best Hero At MTV Movie Awards". MTV Movie Awards.
  13. ^ a b Szalai, Georg (25 March 2013). Sam Mendes Win Empire Awards in U.K. for 'Skyfall', The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. ^ "Martin Freeman interview: 'I had no interest in Fargo just being a TV version of the film'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Star of The Hobbit Martin Freeman to play Richard III accessed 22 April 2014
  16. ^ Power, Vicki."How Tim from The Office found real love: Amanda Abbington on life with Martin Freeman". Daily Mail. 17 July 2011.
  17. ^ McLean, Craig (26 May 2013). "Amanda Abbington: Sherlock's Martin and Benedict have a fantastic chemistry". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Lily Allen and Friends: Martin Freeman". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  19. ^ Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:' The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail.
  20. ^ "Martin Freeman: No ordinary Bilbo Baggins". The Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "The 48 Hour Film Project: Behind the Scenes". Pixiq. February 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  23. ^ "Best Actor – Martin Freeman". Empire. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "Best Scared-As-S**t Performance". MTV Movie Awards. Retrieved May 29, 2013.

External links