Bill Nighy


12/12/1949 (72 years old) Caterham, Surrey, England

When Nighy became a star with his wickedly funny turn as a boozy and blunt rock star in 2003's Love Actually, he was an overnight success 30 years in the making. Although he had consistently turned in stellar work on stage and screen in his homeland, few folks stateside knew his name. Initially harboring ambitions to become a writer, a teenage Nighy twice ran away from his native England, only to end up penniless in France. At the suggestion of a girlfriend, he turned to performing in the '70s and immediately found his calling, working as a member of Liverpool's Everyman Theatre Company and the traveling troupe Van Load. In the '80s, he forged a fruitful relationship with playwright David Hare, earning raves for his performances in Pravda, Skylight and 1982's A Map of the World, which introduced Nighy to longtime companion Diana Quick, with whom he later had a daughter, Mary. Although his star rose on stage, on screen he was only landing bit parts, mostly on British TV. Nighy's breakthrough came with the 1998 rock-and-roll comedy Still Crazy. While Nighy was just shy of 50, his turn as a washed-up rocker trying to make a comeback struck a chord and turned him into something of an unlikely sex symbol, with his lank frame clad in skin-tight black duds. Five years later, he expanded on this archetype in the ensemble romantic comedy Love Actually, effortlessly stealing every scene he was in and winning a BAFTA award for his work. That same year, Nighy appeared as a veteran vampire in Underworld, and while it wasn't a critical favorite, it did introduce his distinctive, pale mug to the youth set. A plethora of parts followed, in projects both prestigious (the TV-movie Gideon's Daughter, which won him a Golden Globe award) and popular (his villainous turn in the Pirates of the Caribbean flicks), but Nighy continued to approach all his roles with the same dedication and skill.

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