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Jim Broadbent

Last updated 20 April 2015


Jim Broadbent - Image Credit: Getty Images
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James Broadbent

Born: Tue 24th May 1949 (age: 69)

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James "Jim" Broadbent is an English film, television and theatre actor. He is known for his roles in Topsy-Turvy (1999), Iris (2001) for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Moulin Rouge! (2001) for which he received the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Bridget Jones' Diary (2001), Hot Fuzz (2007), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), The Iron Lady (2011), Cloud Atlas (2012) and Le Week-End (2013). He also appeared in Harry Potter films as Horace Slughorn.

On television, Broadbent has starred as penal reformer Lord Longford in the drama Longford (2006), earning the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film.

Broadbent was born in Holton cum Beckering, in Lincolnshire, the second son of Doreen "Dee" Broadbent (née Findlay), a sculptor, and Roy Laverick Broadbent, an artist, sculptor, interior designer and furniture maker who turned a former church into a theatre named after him. Broadbent's parents were both amateur actors who co-founded the Holton Players acting troupe at Holton cum Beckering; the two have been described by the BBC as conscientious objectors who "worked the land" rather than participate in World War II. He had a twin sister who died at birth. Broadbent was educated at Leighton Park School, a Quaker school in Reading, and briefly attended art college before transferring to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art from which he graduated in 1972.

Broadbent's early stagework included a number of productions for The National Theatre of Brent, as the downtrodden assistant Wallace to Patrick Barlow's self-important actor/manager character Desmond Olivier Dingle. Broadbent and Barlow played many male and female character roles in comically less-than-epic tellings of historical and religious stories such as The Complete Guide to Sex, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Revolution!!, and All The World's A Globe. These were hits at the Edinburgh Fringe, in London, and on tour. Later stage work included the original productions of Kafka's Dick (1986) and Our Country's Good (1988) at the Royal Court Theatre and work for the Royal National Theatre including "The Government Inspector". Work on the stage with Mike Leigh includes Goosepimples and Ecstasy.

Broadbent had worked with Stephen Frears in The Hit (1984) and Terry Gilliam in Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985) before establishing himself in Mike Leigh's Life Is Sweet (1990). He proved his ability as a character actor in films including The Crying Game (1992), Enchanted April (1992), Bullets over Broadway (1994), The Borrowers (1997), and Little Voice (1998) before taking a leading role in another Mike Leigh film, Topsy-Turvy (1999), playing dramatist Sir William S. Gilbert. He played "The Shy Doctor" in the 1999 Comic Relief parody Doctor Who sketch, Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death. In 2001, Broadbent starred in three of the year's most successful films: Bridget Jones's Diary; Moulin Rouge!, for which he won a BAFTA; and Iris, for which he won an Oscar for his portrayal of John Bayley.

Broadbent voiced Madame Gasket from the 2005 film Robots. Broadbent also appeared as DCI Roy Slater, an associate character in the enormously popular sitcom Only Fools and Horses. The character appeared in three episodes over an eight-year period. He had originally been offered the lead role of Del Trotter in the series, but he turned it down due to other commitments. He has also played a role in the Inspector Morse series. Other comic roles include the lead role in the sitcom The Peter Principle and occasional guest appearances in Not The Nine O'Clock News, Only Fools and Horses, and Victoria Wood As Seen on TV. He played Don Speekingleesh in The Queen of Spain's Beard in the first series of The Black Adder in 1983. He also played the role of Prince Albert in Blackadder's Christmas Carol, first broadcast in 1988. He joined Rowan Atkinson in his Spider-Man spoof Spider-Plant Man, as a disgruntled Batman, jealous of Spider-Plant Man's success.

Broadbent played the title role in the Channel 4 drama Longford in October 2006, earning a BAFTA TV Award, a Golden Globe, and a 2007 Emmy nomination for his performance as Frank Pakenham (1905–2001), Earl of Longford, which was centred on the late Lord's ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the parole of Myra Hindley from her life imprisonment for the Moors Murders.

Broadbent appeared as Inspector Frank Butterman in Hot Fuzz in 2007.

He appeared in the original radio production of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, playing the character Vroomfondel. He was also a regular in Stephen Fry's radio comedy show Saturday Night Fry, which aired on BBC Radio 4 in 1988.

Broadbent played Dean Charles Stanforth in the fourth film in the Indiana Jones series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; King William IV in The Young Victoria; and Horace Slughorn in the sixth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as well as the final movie in the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. In 2008, he starred as pro-Newtonian physicist Sir Oliver Lodge in the fact-based single drama Einstein and Eddington, for the BBC.

In 2009, he portrayed Sam Longson, chairman of Derby County football club in the 1960s and 1970s, in the film The Damned United; the starring character in the film was football manager Brian Clough, played by Michael Sheen.

In 2010, he provides the voice for the character Major Mouse in a series of radio adverts and one produced for television for energy company; E.ON for their 'eonenergyfit.com' website campaign. He also starred as the older Logan Mountstuart in the TV adaptation of William Boyd's novel Any Human Heart.

He had a lead role in Exile, a BBC One drama, starring John Simm and written by Danny Brocklehurst.

In 2012 he played Denis Thatcher opposite Oscar-winner Meryl Streep as the former Prime Minister in The Iron Lady.

Broadbent is married to painter and former theatre designer Anastasia Lewis. He is an atheist.

Biography from the wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA