Jul. 6th, 1951
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Geoffrey Rush's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Geoffrey Rush (born July 6, 1951), in Queensland, Australia, but raised in Brisbane after his parents (he an accountant, she a sales clerk) split up, actor Geoffrey Rush attended Everton Park State High School during his formative years. His early interest in the theatre led to his 1971 stage debut at age 20 in Wrong Side of the Moon with the Queensland Theatre Company.
Known for his classical repertory work over the years, he scored an unexpected hit with his Queensland role as Snoopy in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. A few years later he moved to France to study but subsequently returned to his homeland within a short time and continued work as both actor and director with the Queensland company (June and the Paycock, Aladdin, Godspell, Present Laughter, The Rivals). In the 1980s Rush became a vital member of the State Theatre Company of South Australia and showed an equally strong range there in such productions as Revenger's Tragedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mother Courage...and Her Children, Blood Wedding, Pal Joey, Twelfth Night and as The Fool in King Lear.
Rush made an inauspicious debut in films with the feature Hoodwink (1981), having little more than a bit part, and didn't carry off his first major role until playing Sir Andrew Aguecheek in a movie production of Twelfth Night (1987). Yet, he remained a durable presence on stage with acclaimed productions in The Diary of a Madman in 1989 and The Government Inspector in 1991.
Rush suffered a temporary nervous breakdown in 1992 due to overwork and anguish over his lack of career advancement. Resting for a time, he eventually to the stage. Within a few years filmgoers finally began taking notice of Geoffrey after his performance in Children of the Revolution (1996). This led to THE role of a lifetime as the highly dysfunctional piano prodigy David Helfgott in Shine (1996). Rush's astonishing tour-de-force performance won him every conceivable award imaginable, including the Oscar, Golden Globe, British Film Award and Australian Film Institute Award.
"Shine" not only put Rush on the international film map, but atypically on the Hollywood "A" list as well. His rather homely mug was made fascinating by a completely charming, confident and captivating demeanor; better yet, it allowed him to more easily dissolve into a number of transfixing historical portrayals, notably his Walsingham in Elizabeth (1998), Marquis de Sade in Quills (2000), and Leon Trotsky in Frida (2002). He's also allowed himself to have a bit of hammy fun in such box office escapism as Mystery Men (1999), House on Haunted Hill (1999), The Banger Sisters (2002), Finding Nemo (2003) and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). More than validating his early film success, two more Oscar nominations came his way in the same year for Quills (2000) (best actor) and Shakespeare in Love (1998) (support actor) in 2000. Geoffrey's amazing versatility continues to impress, more recently as the manic, volatile comedy genius Peter Sellers in the biopic The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004).
Rush's intermittent returns to the stage have included productions of "Marat-Sade," "Uncle Vanya," "Oleanna," "Hamlet" and "The Small Poppies". In 2009 he made his Broadway debut in "Exit the King" co-starring Susan Sarandon. His marriage (since 1988) to Aussie classical actress Jane Menelaus produced daughter Angelica (1992) and son James (1995). Menelaus, who has also performed with the State Theatre of South Australia, has co-starred on stage with Rush in "The Winter's Tale" (1987), "Troilus and Cressida" (1989) and "The Importance of Being Earnest" (as Gwendolyn to his Jack Worthing). She also had a featured role in his film Quills (2000).
- Actively involved with Melbourne Community Groups in preserving historical landscapes from adverse development; particularly in regard to Camberwell Railway Station where he organized a protest march, attended by 'Barry Humphries' (qv) amongst other luminaries (2004).
- He was named Alumnus of the Year by the University of Queensland (Australia) in 1998.
- He was awarded the 2009 Tony Award for Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the play, "Exit the King" on Broadway in New York City.
- He was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in the 2001 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to the arts especially through a distinguished acting career.
- Awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Queensland, in Australia.
- Is one of eight actors to have won the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award and SAG Award for the same performance. The others in chronological order are Benicio Del Toro for Traffic (2000), Jamie Foxx for Ray (2004), Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote (2005), Forest Whitaker for The Last King in Scotland (2006), Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men (2007), Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood (2007), and Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008).
- He adapted 'Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais' (qv)'s play "The Marriage of Figaro", with 'Neil Armfield' (qv), for the inaugural production in the new Optus Playhouse in the Queensland Performing Arts Complex, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, in September, 1998. He also played the title role of Figaro in the same production.
- He began his acting career with the Queensland Theatre Company in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.