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Gary Oldman (1958)

Leonard Gary Oldman

Type :  


Gary Leonard Oldman is an English actor, voice actor, filmmaker and musician. He has won two BAFTA Awards and a Saturn Award, and received nominations for Palme d'Or, Emmy-, Screen Actors Guild- and Independent Spirit Awards, among others. He has been described as one of the greatest actors never nominated for an Academy Award.

A member of the 1980s Brit Pack, Oldman came to prominence via his portrayals of Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy and Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears ; on the basis of those performances, film critic Roger Ebert described him as "the best young British actor around". His Hollywood breakthrough came with his portrayals of Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK and the title character of Dracula . Oldman subsequently became well-known to international audiences as the antagonist of a number of popular films, including True Romance , Léon , The Fifth Element , Air Force One and The Contender ; Norman Stansfield, his overstated antagonist in Léon, has been named as one of the best villains of modern cinema. Meanwhile, he portrayed another historical figure, Ludwig van Beethoven, in Immortal Beloved . In recent years he has been known for his portrayals of Sirius Black in the Harry Potter film series, James Gordon in Christopher Nolan's Batman film trilogy, and George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy . In addition to his film career, Oldman has starred in several United States television shows, including Knots Landing, Fallen Angels, Tracey Takes On... and Friends.

Oldman has been cited as an influence by a number of successful actors. Aside from acting, he has served as a producer on several films, and directed, wrote and co-produced Nil By Mouth , a film partially based on his own childhood. Oldman also attracted media attention for his marriage to actress Uma Thurman in the early 1990s. In 2011, he was voted an "Icon of Film" by Empire readers, in recognition of his contributions to cinema.


 early life
Gary Oldman was born in London, the son of Kathleen (née Cheriton; b. 28 November 1919), a housewife, and Leonard Bertram Oldman (21 May 1921 – October 1985), a former sailor who worked as a welder. Oldman has a sister who is also an actress, Laila Morse. Oldman has said that his father was an abusive alcoholic who left his family when Oldman was seven. Oldman was an accomplished singer and pianist as a child, but gave up music to pursue an acting career. His inspiration was Malcolm McDowell's performance in 1970 film The Raging Moon. In a 1995 interview with Charlie Rose, Oldman said: "Something about Malcolm just arrested me, and I connected, and I said 'I wanna do that'." Oldman retained his love for music, however, and can be seen singing and playing piano in the 1988 film Track 29, and tracing over pre-recorded versions of Beethoven's music in Immortal Beloved. Oldman attended the South East London Boys' School on Creek Road in Deptford, leaving school at 16.

 film career
 Early work and foray into American cinema (1978–1990)

After graduating with a BA in Acting from Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, Kent in 1978, Oldman spent almost eight years in theatre, winning a number of awards. During this time he appeared in several films such as Remembrance and Meantime and would have starred in Don Boyd's Gossip if that film had not collapsed. In 1986 he won the role of the Sex Pistols' ill-fated bassist Sid Vicious in the 1986 motion picture Sid and Nancy. The role launched Oldman's career and paved the way for work in Hollywood. Oldman's performance was highly regarded by many, perhaps most notably ex-Sex Pistols vocalist John Lydon, who despite questioning the authenticity of some parts of the film, said of Oldman in his biography: "The chap who played Sid, Gary Oldman, I thought was quite good", and later called him a "bloody good actor". Oldman reportedly lost considerable weight for the role and was briefly hospitalised. His performance was ranked #62 in Premiere magazine's "100 Greatest Performances of All Time" and #8 in Uncut magazine's "10 Best actors in rockin' roles", the latter describing his portrayal as a "hugely sympathetic reading of the punk figurehead as a lost and bewildered manchild." After coming to prominence for his portrayal of Vicious, Oldman increased his profile during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s via starring roles in cult films such as Prick Up Your Ears (in which he played his second real-life portrayal, troubled playwright Joe Orton, and earned a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor), Criminal Law (which marked Oldman's first use of an American accent), The Firm, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and State of Grace, with Janet Maslin referring to his work as "phenomenal" and Roger Ebert calling him "the best young British actor around." In late 1988, he starred opposite long-time hero Alan Bates in We Think the World of You, and alongside Dennis Hopper and Frances McDormand in Chattahoochee . In 1989, Oldman also starred as football hooligan Clive Bissel in British drama The Firm; in 2011, Total Film named Oldman's performance as the best of his career. Oldman moved to the United States in the early 1990s, where he has since lived. Oldman and other young British actors of the 1980s who were becoming established Hollywood film actors, such as Tim Roth, Bruce Payne, Colin Firth and Paul McGann, were dubbed the 'Brit Pack'.

 Villain roles and mainstream success (1991-2001)
In 1991, Oldman starred in what was at that point the most significant role of his career as Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone's JFK. The following year, he starred as Count Dracula in Francis Ford Coppola's romance-horror Dracula. A commercially successful film adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, it was a box office success worldwide. Oldman's performance is regarded by many as a staple of the horror genre, and was recognised by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films as the best male performance of 1992, who awarded Oldman the Best Actor award. Oldman would later become a popular portrayer of villains: he played violent pimp Drexl Spivey in True Romance , a sadistic prison warden in Murder in the First , a futuristic corporate tyrant in The Fifth Element , and Dr. Zachary Smith/Spider Smith in the commercially successful but critically panned Lost in Space . In 1994's Léon, he played corrupt DEA officer Norman Stansfield, which has since been named by multiple publications as one of the best villains of modern cinema. Oldman also displayed a skill for world accents; along with the Transylvanian Count Dracula, Oldman played German-born Viennese composer Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, and Russian terrorist Ivan Korshunov in the 1997 blockbuster Air Force One. He portrayed another historical figure, Pontius Pilate, in Jesus . Oldman also appeared as the Devil in the 1993 promo video to the Guns N' Roses single "Since I Don't Have You", and served as a member of Jury at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. Oldman's visibility as one of the foremost portrayers of villains in Hollywood became apparent when MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch aired a match between Oldman and Christopher Walken to determine the greatest cinematic villain.

Oldman appeared opposite Jeff Bridges as zealous Republican congressman Sheldon Runyon in The Contender , in which he was also credited as a producer. He received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his performance. In 2001, he starred opposite Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal, as Mason Verger, the only surviving victim of Hannibal Lecter. Oldman reportedly spent six hours per day in the make-up room to achieve the character's hideously disfigured appearance. It marked the second time Oldman had appeared opposite Hopkins, a personal friend who was part of the supporting cast of Dracula. Oldman is uncredited in the film, reportedly over a dispute regarding top billing, which was going to co-star Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore. Oldman received an Emmy Award nomination for two guest appearances in Friends in May 2001, appearing in the two-part episode "The One With Chandler and Monica's Wedding" as Richard Crosby, a pedantic actor who insists that "real" actors spit on one another when they enunciate, leading to the famous spitting scene between Joey Tribbiani and himself. Oldman agreed to appear in the series after meeting LeBlanc on the set of Lost in Space in 1998.

 Career slump and mainstream resurgence (2001-present)

Following his Friends appearance, Oldman did not appear in any significant roles until 2004. He starred in the generally well-received Interstate 60 , and Tiptoes and Sin , both of which were received poorly by critics. Although the film failed to impress critics, Oldman did garner critical acclaim for his portrayal of a man afflicted with dwarfism in Tiptoes: Variety described his work in the film as an "astonishingly fine" performance. Oldman starred as the Devil in the BMW short film, Beat The Devil , and contributed voice acting to several video games.

In 2004, Oldman returned to prominence when he landed a significant role in the Harry Potter film series, playing Harry Potter's godfather Sirius Black. Oldman and star Daniel Radcliffe reportedly became very close during the filming of the series. The following year, Oldman starred as James Gordon in Christopher Nolan's commercially and critically acclaimed Batman Begins, a role he reprised in the even more successful sequel The Dark Knight and will reprise again in the upcoming installment The Dark Knight Rises . Oldman co-starred with Jim Carrey in the 2009 version of A Christmas Carol in which Oldman played three roles. He had a starring role in David Goyer's supernatural thriller The Unborn, released in 2009. In 2010, Oldman co-starred with Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli. He also played a lead role in Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood. Oldman voiced the role of villain Lord Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2.

Oldman starred as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy , a re-adaptation of the John le Carré novel, directed by Tomas Alfredson, also starring Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Tom Hardy.

He has also participated in the creation of The Legend of Spyro games produced by Sierra Entertainment, providing the voice to the Fire Guardian, Ignitus. He also voices Sergeant Reznov in the award-winning video games Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty: Black Ops, the latter of which he also voiced a British scientist by the name of Daniel Clarke.

 personal life
Oldman was born and brought up in London, England, but moved to the United States in the early 1990s. Despite numerous lead and supporting roles in major Hollywood productions, Oldman is intensely private with his personal life and is known for his stance on celebrity and the ideals of Hollywood, once stating that "being famous, that's a whole other career. And I haven't got any energy for it." His disenchantment with celebrity culture was reinforced when news reports of an altercation with Robert De Niro circulated in the 1990s; Oldman claims that he had never met De Niro at the time.

 Marriages and family
Oldman married his first wife Lesley Manville in 1987 but left her in 1989 three months after their son, Alfie, was born. He met American actress Uma Thurman on the set of State of Grace, and they were married in 1990, but it ended two years later. Oldman then settled into a relationship with actress and model Isabella Rossellini, who was six years his senior. The couple were rumored to be engaged as of July, 1994 but separated two years later . Oldman was married to Donya Fiorentino from 1997 to 2001 and has sons Gulliver Flynn and Charlie John with her.

On 31 December 2008, Oldman married singer Alexandra Edenborough in Santa Barbara, California in a private, formal ceremony.

His sister, Laila Morse, is also an actress, best known as Mo Harris in the BBC's long-running series EastEnders; she also had a role in Oldman's directorial debut, Nil by Mouth. Oldman supports South East London football team Millwall.

Oldman currently lives in Los Angeles with his young family.

 Alcohol and legal problems
His problems with alcohol were well known during the early 1990s. After a string of alcohol-fuelled debacles he checked himself into Marworth treatment facility in Waverly Township, Pennsylvania, for alcoholism treatment in 1993. In subsequent interviews Oldman acknowledged his problems with alcohol, and called himself a recovering alcoholic on a 2001 interview with Charlie Rose. In 2001, former wife Donya Fiorentino claimed that Oldman had a drug habit and abused her, a claim which was investigated by the family courts, child custody evaluator, the police, and Los Angeles city attorney. Oldman was awarded legal custody of their children; Fiorentino was granted short court-monitored visits. Today, Oldman lives a teetotal lifestyle and attributes his success in beating his addiction to Alcoholics Anonymous, and has since publicly praised the organization.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Gary Oldman", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.