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James Purefoy

James Purefoy

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Also Known As: James Brian Mark Purefoy Died:
Born: June 3, 1964 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Taunton, Somerset, GB Profession: actor, hospital porter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A dashingly handsome, dark-haired actor hailing from Somerset, England, James Purefoy did extensive stage and television work in his native country beginning in the mid-1980s before breaking out with significant film roles at the close of the 90s. The performer made his professional acting debut as Alan Strang in a 1986 stage production of "Equus" and subsequently joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he was featured in productions including "The Tempest" and "Macbeth." Looking to make the move to screen work, but finding little in the way of film roles, Purefoy began a successful television run with a co-starring role on the Granada-CV series "Coasting," chronicling a theme park owned by two brothers in Blackpool. In 1991, he made his debut on American television when PBS broadcast "The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes" as a presentation of "Mystery!" His supporting role in the British miniseries "The Cloning of Joanna May" landed him back on the small screens of USA when it was aired on A&E in 1992, and the following year he was featured in the three-part miniseries "Calling the Shots" on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre." Purefoy made his feature acting debut in "Feast of July," a period drama produced...

A dashingly handsome, dark-haired actor hailing from Somerset, England, James Purefoy did extensive stage and television work in his native country beginning in the mid-1980s before breaking out with significant film roles at the close of the 90s. The performer made his professional acting debut as Alan Strang in a 1986 stage production of "Equus" and subsequently joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he was featured in productions including "The Tempest" and "Macbeth." Looking to make the move to screen work, but finding little in the way of film roles, Purefoy began a successful television run with a co-starring role on the Granada-CV series "Coasting," chronicling a theme park owned by two brothers in Blackpool. In 1991, he made his debut on American television when PBS broadcast "The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes" as a presentation of "Mystery!" His supporting role in the British miniseries "The Cloning of Joanna May" landed him back on the small screens of USA when it was aired on A&E in 1992, and the following year he was featured in the three-part miniseries "Calling the Shots" on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre." Purefoy made his feature acting debut in "Feast of July," a period drama produced by Merchant Ivory. This debut didn't immediately jump-start a film career, and Purefoy instead spent his time performing with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and acting in television productions including the popular British period action series "Sharpe" and the British TV adaptation of "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" (1996). He returned to the Royal Shakespeare Company to act in Simon Callow's 1996 staging of "Les Enfants du Paradis." The following year, he reappeared on British small screens with a co-starring role in the critically lauded miniseries "A Dance to the Music of Time." 1998 saw the actor return to features with a pivotal supporting role as an appealingly rugged but sensitive heterosexual upon whom a gay acquaintance (Kevin McKidd) develops a crush in Rose Troche's winning and fresh "Bedrooms & Hallways." Becoming something of a crush object himself thanks to the charming role, Purefoy went against type and bulked up to play the downwardly spiraling drunk Tom Bertram in Patricia Rozema's somewhat revisionist take on Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park" (1999). The actor returned to the stage with "Four Knights in Knaresboro," a dark comedy produced at Kilburn's Tricycle Theatre the same year he was featured in the independents "The Lighthouse" and "Women Talking Dirty" (all 1999). Purefoy kicked off 2000 with an appearance in the British miniseries "Metropolis" and made the most of a supporting turn as a seductive actor who strikes the fancy of the hormonal Joely Richardson in Ben Elton's feature directorial debut "Maybe Baby." He again appeared on American television, portraying Carrasco in the TNT original "Don Quixote," while his delightfully sincere supporting turn as the Black Prince of Wales suitably impressed with the skills of the lowly squire (Heath Ledger) in "A Knight's Tale" (2001) introduced him to an even larger USA audience. A co-starring role in the eagerly-awaited action thriller "Resident Evil" (2002) would prove the actor's breakthrough with the American audience. Later that year, he starred in the small screen remake of Thomas Hardy's novel "The Mayor of Casterbridge" (A&E, 2003). Purefoy next appeared in the European films "Photo Finish" (2003), "George and the Dragon" (2004) and "Blessed" (2004) before garnering much attention from Hollywood in his next role, playing Reese Witherspoon's high-born lover Rawdon Crawley in director Mira Nair's stylish 2004 adaptation of the classic William Thackery novel "Vanity Fair." Purefoy was then cast as a regular in his first television series, portraying Marc Antony in HBO's sprawling historical epic, "Rome" (2005-07). Alongside supporting roles in the notorious flop "John Carter" (2012), action thriller "Wicked Blood" (2013) and J.G. Ballard adaptation "High-Rise" (2015), Purefoy focused largely on TV for the next several years, playing charismatic serial killer Joe Carroll in thriller "The Following" (Fox 2013-15), starring opposite Michael Kenneth Williams in the crime drama "Hap and Leonard" (Sundance 2016- ), and co-starring in the acclaimed reboot of "Roots" (History 2016).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Resident Evil 6 (2017)
2.
 Churchill (2017)
3.
 Equity (2016)
4.
 High Rise (2016)
5.
 Momentum (2015)
7.
 Solomon Kane (2012)
8.
 John Carter (2012)
9.
 Ironclad (2011)
10.
 Goose on the Loose! (2009) Cast
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1997:
Co-starred in acclaimed British miniseries "A Dance to the Music of Time" (Channel 4)
2002:
Featured alongside Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, and Eric Mabius in "Resident Evil"
1993:
Featured in three-part "Masterpiece Theatre" presentation "Calling the Shots" (PBS)
1995:
Performed with Birmingham Repertory Theatre
1996:
Returned to Royal Shakespeare Company in "Les Enfants du Paradis"
2002:
Starred in "The Mayor of Casterbridge" (A&E)
1999:
Starred in thriller "The Lighthouse"
2004:
Starred opposite Reese Witherspoon in Mira Nair's "Vanity Fair," based on the William Thackeray novel
2000:
Delivered a fine turn as a debonair actor in "Maybe Baby"
1996:
Starred in British TV adaptation of "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall"
1996:
Acted on episodes of popular British TV show "Sharpe"
1993:
Appeared opposite Jemma Redgrave in short "One Night Stand"
1990:
Co-starred on British TV series "Coasting"
1998:
Played a heterosexual on whom a gay acquaintance develops a crush in comedy "Bedrooms & Hallways"
2001:
Portrayed the Black Prince in "A Knight's Tale"
1999:
Returned to the stage as one of the "Four Knights in Knaresboro"
2000:
Featured in British miniseries "Metropolis"
1999:
Appeared in Coky Giedroyc's "Women Talking Dirty"
1999:
Cast as Tom Bertram in "Mansfield Park"
1991:
Had supporting role in British miniseries "The Cloning of Joanna May" (aired on A&E in the U.S.)
2000:
Played Carrasco in TNT original movie "Don Quixote"
2011:
Was cast in West End production of Terrence Rattigan's 1942 drama "Flare Path"
2009:
Starred as Teddy Rist on action drama series "The Philanthropist" (NBC)
2012:
Reprised role opposite Milla Jovovich in action horror sequel "Resident Evil: Retribution," written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
2013:
Played an escaped serial killer opposite Kevin Bacon in Kevin Williamson's crime drama "The Following" (Fox)
2016:
Played John Waller on the mini-series "Roots"
1995:
Made his feature acting debut in Merchant Ivory's "Feast of July"
1988:
Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company
2005:
Was cast as Mark Antony on HBO historical drama series "Rome"
1986:
Made his professional acting debut as Alan Strang in a stage production of "Equus"
1991:
Made U.S. television debut when PBS aired "The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes" as a presentation of "Mystery!"
2012:
Co-starred with Taylor Kitsch in underrated sci-fi Western "John Carter"
2016:
Starred in the Wall Street drama "Equity"
2016:
Nabbed the lead part of Hap Collins on the crime series "Hap and Leonard"
2018:
Played Laurens Bancroft, a man seeking help solving his own murder, on Netflix sci-fi series "Altered Carbon"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Sherborne School: Sherborne, Dorset -
Central School of Speech and Drama: London, England -

Notes

"I remember saying the words and feeling at home. I couldn't really imagine doing anything else afterwards. I found the whole idea utterly intoxicating, the thought of being someone and behaving in a way that you would never get away with in real life."---James Purefoy on his first role, cast as Romeo in a college production to the London Times, November 1, 1999.

"For a long time I was frightened about film. I don't think I got in front of the camera for the first nine years of my career."---James Purefoy quoted in Interview, September 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Holly Aird. Actor.
companion:
Gwyneth Paltrow. Actor. Dating as of July 2002.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Joseph Purefoy. Born in 1997; mother, Holly Aird.

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