9/19/1948 (71 years old) Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Dashing and handsome, this stage-trained Brit appeared in myriad theater productions and TV shows in his homeland before making a splash stateside in the imported BBC miniseries Brideshead Revisited. As the narrator of this saga of two very close Oxford friends, Irons showcased his plumy timbre and palpable sex appeal. Hollywood quickly came calling and cast him in another romantic tale, The French Lieutenant's Woman, opposite Meryl Streep. During the '80s, he essayed offbeat roles in a diverse roster of films but took time out to return to the stage, notably opposite Glenn Close in The Real Thing on Broadway, which snagged Tony Awards for both actors in 1984. Six years later, the two reteamed for what would prove to be Irons' true breakthrough, Reversal of Fortune, based on the real-life case of lothario Claus von Bulow, who was accused of murdering his troubled society wife, Sunny. Irons took home a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his chilling yet charming performance. Throughout the '90s, Irons alternated between the stage and the screen, most notably with his villainous vocal turn in the animated blockbuster The Lion King. He continued to shine in art-house films and TV-movies, such as his supporting turn as a royal lover in the 2006 TV biopic Elizabeth I, which earned him Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Awards. Married since 1978 to celebrated Irish actress Sinead Cusack, the couple remains together with their two sons, and have even collaborated on a number of projects.