Tim Roth (1961-) b. London, England.
Born in London, 1961, the son of a journalist and an artist mother, Tim Roth was brought up in the middle-class suburb of West Dulwich, but his life changed dramatically when he failed exams for the grammar schools in his area and moved to a seriously hard comprehensive school in Brixton. He first tried acting at the age of 16, in a school musical version of Dracula.
When an art student, he realised that perhaps he wasn’t destined to become a sculptor, and landed the role of a seething skinhead in Alan Clarke‘s TV-movie Made in Britain (1982), a character which gained him cult status. He finally quit Camberwell Art College and the serious roles started to roll in, Mike Leigh‘s study of estate survival, Meantime (1983), and Stephen Frears existential gangster flick, The Hit (1984), were amongst them – then a period of four undemanding years had Roth seriously questioning his future. He was saved by a small part in Peter Greenaway‘s gothic The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989). In 1990, he was cast as Van Gogh in Robert Altman’s Vincent and Theo, and as Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, both confirmed Roth as one of Britain’s leading young actors.
Roth landed a couple of roles in American independent films, packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles in 1990. He got closer to the top of the pile when Quentin Tarantino befriended him and gave him what turned out to be the show-stopping role of undercover cop, Mr. Orange, dying a slow, bloody death in Reservoir Dogs (1992). In 1992 Roth met his wife, Nikki, a Californian fashion designer, and they married a year later. The success of Tarantino’s debut paved the way for the role of a diner thief in Pulp Fiction (1994).
During the same year he appeared as a hitman in the low-key thriller Little Odessa (1994), and a charming convict seducing dentist Julia Ormond in Captives (1994). This was followed by a unashamedly over the top performance as a 17th century fop in Rob Roy (1995), and the role of an English bellboy in Four Rooms (1995), the ill-fated portmanteau comedy set in a Hollywood hotel and directed by Tarantino, Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell and Robert Rodriguez. Roth turned his hand to directing, and was highly commended for his debut, an adaptation of Alexander Stuart’s novel The War Zone (1998), a film about incest.
A return to big-budget films arrived with Roth’s role as the menacing gorilla leader General Thade in Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001). In 2007, he appeared in Funny Games, a shot-for-shot remake by Michael Haneke of his own German-language film from 1995. Concerning a family terrorised by two assailants, the film deals with screen violence in an excruciating � but ethical � way.