January 2, 2017


Gary Oldman (1958-) b. London, England.

Gary Oldman

Born in New Cross, South London, 1958. Oldman was raised by his mother and two sisters after his father, an alcoholic welder, left them when Gary was aged seven. Gary would later develop an alcohol problem akin to his fathers, and meet a future wife in rehabilitation. After working with the Greenwich Young People’s Theatre under the tutelage of Roger Williams, he attempted to join London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) but was rejected. He later won a scholarship to attend the Rose Bruford Drama College. Oldman made his film debut in Remembrance (1982). This was rapidly followed by a brief appearance as an explosive skinhead in Mike Leigh‘s Meantime (1983). Oldman first gained international recognition when cast as Sid Vicious in Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy (1986), an uncompromising account of the punk icon’s tragic relationship with Nancy Spungen. The following year, he turned in an equally superb portrayal of doomed playwright Joe Orton in Stephen Frears‘ biopic Prick up Your Ears (1987). Oldman married Lesley Manville, with whom he had a son, Alfie. Two years later they divorced and in 1990, Oldman married actress Uma Thurman, but they divorced consequently in 1992. After 1987, he moved out to the U.S to launch a successful career in Hollywood. Oldman’s first major role in a Hollywood film was that of alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone’s JFK (1991). He then gave an eerie performance in the title role of Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). Similarly impressive was his brief yet notable appearance in True Romance (1993) as a white Rastafarian pimp. Subsequently he became stereotyped in Hollywood blockbusters as the archetypal charismatic villain or bad guy; an inhumane warden in the prison drama Murder in the First (1995), a terrorist in Wolfgang Petersen’s Air Force One (1997), and Dr. Zachary Smith in the film version of 60s sci-fi series Lost In Space (1998). In 1997, Oldman wrote, directed and produced his directorial debut Nil by Mouth, an unflinching, semi-autobiographical examination of a dysfunctional working-class family. The film proved to be a hit. He subsequently returned to acting in Luc Besson’s futuristic The Fifth Element (1997), chiefly in return for Besson’s support in producing Nil By Mouth. In 1997, he also married photographer Donya Fiorentino; they later divorced in 2001. Oldman was cast. albeit grudgingly credited, as the convincingly calculating and mean recluse Mason Verger in the Silence of the Lambs sequel Hannibal (2001). Ridley Scott’s film is keenly directed and boasts sufficient bloodthirsty thrills, but understandably lacked the resonance of the first film. Oldman’s burning ambition remains to further his career as a director. He has since landed the role of Potter’s godfather Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and reprised the role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). Oldman has also climbed aboard another successful franchise by taking the role of Gotham City Police Lieutenant Jim Gordon in Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008).

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