Tom Wilkinson (1948-) b. Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.
British character actor Tom Wilkinson was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He moved with his family to Canada for several years when he was young but later returned to the UK, where he graduated from the University of Kent. Wilkinson landed his first professional job as an actor working in Camden one day after graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
He worked on several television series from the mid-’70s, making the occasional film in supporting roles, often portraying emotionally repressed men. By the 1990s Wilkinson was starting to make inroads towards an extensive cinema career. He garnered telling character roles in In the Name of the Father (1993), Priest (1994) and featured as Mr. Dashwood in Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility (1995). He gained international notice as a stripper/choreographer in Peter Cattaneo‘s comedy The Full Monty (1997). That success was followed by a portrayal of the obsessive Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Lord Alfred in the biopic Wilde (1997) and a theatre financier in Shakespeare in Love (1999).
In Hollywood he worked on popular mainstream films such as Rush Hour (1998) and The Patriot (2000). He was nominated for an Academy Award for his understated yet penetrating performance as a grieving father alongside Sissy in In the Bedroom (2001). He portrayed a menacing, licentious patron of the arts in Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003). He effortlessly effected a convincing American accent in Michel Gondry’s inventive Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), with Wilkinson delivering a subtle and nuanced performance as the avuncular Dr. Howard Mierzwiak. He next returned to period drama as a London theatre owner in the bawdy romantic comedy, Stage Beauty (2004). Her followed this with a deft turn as the corrupt Italian mob boss in Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman film franchise, Batman Begins (2005).
His next role was as Father Moore, the priest accused of negligent manslaughter following an attempted exorcism performed on a young girl in Scott Derrickson’s run-of-the-mill Hollywood chiller, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005). In the mesmerising thriller Michael Clayton (2007), he played the top litigator at a corporate law firm in New York who suffers a sudden breakdown; leaving a whiff of corruption in the air despite his conflicted conscience. Wilkinson’s dynamic performance earned him critical praise and an Academy Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.