Dec. 12th, 1948
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, UK.
Guest TV Roles
Sir Robert Vansittart
Sir Charles Russell
A popular British character actor, Tom Wilkinson was born on December 12, 1948, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England in a long line of urban farmers. Economic hardships had forced his family to move to Canada for a few years when Tom was a child. After he had returned to England, Tom attended and graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury with a degree in English and American Literature. Tom first became active in film and television in the mid-1970s, specializing in playing men suffering from some sort of emotional repression and/or pretensions of societal grandeur. In 1989 his daughter Alice was born, and in 1992 his daughter Molly was born, both with actress-wife Diana Hardcastle.
He first became familiar to an international audience in 1997 with his role as one of six unemployed workers who strip for cash in 'Peter Catteneo''s enormously successful and multiple Oscar-nominated comedy (including Best Picture) The Full Monty (1997). That same year, he was featured in Gillian Armstrong's Oscar and Lucinda (1997), and as the rabidly unpleasant father of Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar Wilde's young lover in Wilde (1997). Wilkinson was also shown to memorable effect as a theatre financier with acting aspirations in the multiple Oscar-winning (including Best Picture) Shakespeare in Love (1998); also in 1998, he acted in one of his few leading roles in The Governess (1998), portraying a 19th century photographer with an eye for the film's title character (Minnie Driver). Over the next few years, Tom would become more popular, especially with American audiences, with such roles as General Cornwallis alongside Mel Gibson (I) in the blockbuster The Patriot (2000) and as the grief-stricken father, Matt Fowler, in the critically acclaimed and multiple Oscar-nominated (including Best Picture) In the Bedroom (2001). One of those nominations was Best Actor in a Leading Role for Tom (his first Oscar nomination).
- Graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury with a degree in English and American Literature. Was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University in 2001.
- Has played both a villain and hero of the American Revolution; Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis in the Patriot and Ben Franklin in John Adams.
- Was offered a role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but didn't like the prospect of a year long production keeping him away from his family.
- Has two children: Alice, born in 1989 and Molly, born in 1992.
- Became an Associate Member of RADA.
- He was awarded the 1986 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Ghosts.
- He was awarded the 1988 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Actor for his performance in An Enemy of the People.
- He was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the order of the British Empire) in the 2005 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to Drama.