"If you want me to describe Geoffrey Rush in a nutshell: He is naughty, wicked, and brilliant. And I know that if he reads that quote, he’ll find it a complete turn-on.” Kate Winslet
One of Australia's most respected actors, Geoffrey Rush received international acclaim when he portrayed the Oscar winning role of classical pianist David Helfgott in Scott Hicks' Shine (1996). A renowned theatre actor in Australia who is especially remembered for his role in Neil Armfield's production of “Diary of a Madman” (1989), Geoffrey Rush was Oscar-nominated for his roles in Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Quills (2000). His notable film works include Misérables, Les (1998), Elizabeth (1998), Mystery Men (1999), House on Haunted Hill (1999), The Tailor of Panama (2001), Frida (2002), The Banger Sisters (2002), Ned Kelly (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003, as Captain Barbossa), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004, won him a Golden Globe) and Munich (2005).
As for his upcoming projects, Rush will reprise his Captain Barbossa role in the upcoming sequels: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and Pirates of the Caribbean 3. He will also reprise his Sir Francis Walsingham role in the upcoming Elizabeth installment, Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Aussie Stage Star
Childhood and Family:
In Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, Geoffrey Rush was born on July 6, 1951, Roy Rush (accountant for the Australian Air Force; born in 1927) and Merle Rush (born in 1927, sales clerk). When Geoffrey was five years old, his parents divorced and his mother took Geoffrey and his older sister to live with their grandparents in the suburbs of Brisbane, Australia. Geoffrey studied English at the University of Queensland in Queensland, Australia (1971), and then enrolled at the Jacques Lecoq School of Mime, Movement, and Theater, in Paris, France (from 1975 until 1977). He also joined the British Theatre Association, in London, England (1975), and was later awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Queensland, in Australia.
In an Australian stage production of "Benefactors" (1986), Geoffrey Rush costarred with actress Jane Menelaus (also acted opposite Rush in Quills, 2000). They married in 1988 and have two kids: son James Rush (born in 1992) and daughter Angelica Rush (born in 1995). Rush resides in Melbourne, Australia.
Aspiring actor Geoffrey Rush signed up with the Queensland Theatre Company in Brisbane, Australia, in 1971, and made his stage debut in a production of "Wrong Side of the Moon." The next year, he scored an unexpected hit with his role as Snoopy in the musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." After crafting his acting skills at the Jacques Lecoq School of Mime, Movement, and Theater in Paris, France (from 1975 until 1977), Rush returned to his homeland Australia and made his stage-directing debut with the Queensland Theatre Company for the play "Clowneroonies" (1978), in which Rush also acted. He also performed alongside then-roommate Mel Gibson in "Waiting for Godot," in 1979.
Director Claude Whatham’s romantic crime Hoodwink (1981) was Geoffrey’s feature film debut, in which he was cast as Detective 1. While working as an ensemble performer with Jim Sharman's Lighthouse troupe, Geoffrey appeared in the Australian drama TV series "Menotti" (1981) and played a Floor Manager in Gillian Armstrong's musical comedy Starstruck (1982). Five years later, Geoffrey got his first major film role as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Neil Armfield's adaptation of William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night (1987).
On stage, Geoffrey earned the Sydney Critics' Circle Award for Most Outstanding Performance, the Variety Club Award for Best Actor and the 1990 Victorian Green Room Award for Best Actor, thanks to the lead performance in Neil Armfield's production of “The Diary of a Madman” (1989). He subsequently toured with the highly applauded production to Moscow and St. Petersburg before enjoying a successful return season at the Adelaide Festival. In 1991, Geoffrey co-translated and starred as the title character in Gogol's “The Government Inspector,” in which he was nominated for Best Actor at the Sydney Critics' Circle Awards. The next year, Geoffrey adapted (with John Clarke) and helmed the Australian stage production of Aristophanes' "The Frogs" and appeared in the Australian documentary directed by Jim Sharman, The Burning Bed. Afterward, he costarred with Cate Blanchett in the Sydney stage production of David Mamet's "Oleanna" (1993) and received rave reviews for his role as Horatio in the Company B Belvoir production of "Hamlet" (1994, starring Richard Roxburgh). That same year, Geoffrey received the prestigious Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award for his work in theatre.
After nearly eight years disappearing from the silver screen, Geoffrey returned with a lead role as Dave Rudd, opposite Leo McKern, in director George Whaley's film version of Steele Rudd's plays, the comedy Dad and Dave: On Our Selection (1995). He then nabbed international praise and won a Best Actor Oscar for portraying the adult version of classical pianist David Helfgott in Scott Hicks' musical biopic Shine (1996, with John Gielgud and Lynn Redgrave).
“My career has been in theatre for 23 years, with spits and coughs in bits and pieces of films. Scott (Hicks) very nicely said my entire career had been my audition.” Geoffrey Rush (on his role in Shine)
Following his big screen breakthrough, Geoffrey starred as crusty newspaper editor Bill Wyatt in the Australian TV production "Mercury" (1996) and appeared in writer-director Peter Duncan's drama comedy Children of the Revolution (1996; released in the USA in 1997; starring Judy Davis and Sam Neill). He costarred as Soldier Administrator David Collins in the historical Australian miniseries "Frontier" (1997), narrated Gillian Armstrong's take on Peter Carey's novel, Oscar and Lucinda (1997, starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett) and costarred with Heather Mitchell and Frances O'Connor in writer-director Peter Duncan's comedy A Little Bit of Soul (1998; released theatrically in 1999). Director Bille August then cast Geoffrey to costar as police officer Javert, alongside Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman, in the dramatic adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel, Les Misérables, before director Shekhar Kapur handed him a costarring role as the mysterious Sir Francis Walsingham, the Master of Spies and royal court enforcer of Queen Elizabeth I, in the biographical drama Elizabeth (starring Cate Blanchett, both in 1998).
A second Oscar nomination (as Best Supporting Actor) arrived in 1998 after Geoffrey portrayed scruffy little theatrical producer Philip Henslowe in Shakespeare in Love (1998, starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow). He then appeared as the villainous Cassanova Frankenstein in Kinka Usher's movie inspired by Bob Burden's comic book series by Dark Horse, Mystery Men (1999, starring Hank Azaria) and starred in William Malone's suspense horror House on Haunted Hill (1999).
Another Best Actor Oscar nomination arrived after Geoffrey starred as the inmate and irrepressible Marquis de Sade in Philip Kaufman's adaptation of Doug Wright's play, Quills (2000, costarring Kate Winslet). He then lent his voice for the Australian animated film helmed by Karl Zwicky, The Magic Pudding (2000), went back to the Sydney stage in "Small Poppies" and played the title role in the John Boorman-directed adaptation of John le Carré's spy thriller novel, The Tailor of Panama (2001, alongside Pierce Brosnan). Geoffrey also appeared in Ray Lawrence's adaptation on Andrew Bovell's play, the critically hailed Austrian Indie Lantana (2001) and portrayed Leon Trotsky in Julie Taymor's biopic based on Hayden Herrera's book, Frida (2002, starring Salma Hayek). Additionally, he costarred as Goldie Hawn's nervous love interest, Harry Plummer, in writer-director Bob Dolman's drama comedy The Banger Sisters (2002, also starring Susan Sarandon) and starred as the overbearing, alcoholic father of Australian champion swimmer Tony Fingleton (played by Jesse Spencer) in Russell Mulcahy's true story-based Swimming Upstream (2003, also with Judy Davis).
Recent years saw Geoffrey costar with Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, Naomi Watts and Rachel Griffiths in Gregor Jordan's biopic about Australian bushranger and icon Ned Kelly (2003, based on Robert Drewe's novel "Our Sunshine"), provide his voice for the character Nigel in the animated film Finding Nemo (2003) and play the wily Captain Barbossa in Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003, opposite Johnny Depp; Geoffrey was nominated for Best Villain at the MTV Movie Awards). He then costarred with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Joel Coen's biting romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty (2003) before he starred in Stephen Hopkins' biopic, based on Roger Lewis' book, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004). In the film, which premiered at the Cannes film festival, Geoffrey portrayed the title role of the late comic actor and won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie.
In 2005, Geoffrey was cast to play Ephraim, opposite Eric Bana and Daniel Craig, in Steven Spielberg's true, story-based film about the aftermath of a massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, titled Munich. Soon, Geoffrey will reprise his Captain Barbossa role in the upcoming sequels: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and Pirates of the Caribbean 3. He will also reprise his Sir Francis Walsingham role in the upcoming Elizabeth installment, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (alongside Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen).
- Golden Globe: Best Actor in Miniseries or TV Movie, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, 2005
- Australian Film Institute: Global Achievement Award, 2003
- Hollywood Film Festival: Supporting Actor of the Year, 2003
- Florida Film Critics Circle: Best Actor, Quills, 2001
- Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Sierra Award - Best Actor, Quills, 2000
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Cast, Shakespeare in Love, 1999
- Australian Film Institute: Best Actor, Shine, 1996
- New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actor, Shine, 1996
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Shine, 1996
- Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Actor, Shine, 1996
- Society of Texas Film Critics: Best Actor, Shine, 1996
- Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Shine, 1996
- Golden Satellite: Best Motion Picture Actor (Drama), Shine, 1996
- Golden Globe: Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama), Shine, 1996
- Film Critics Circle of Australia: Best Actor, Shine, 1996
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Male Actor in a Leading Role, Shine
- Academy Award: Best Actor, Shine, 1996
- BAFTA: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Elizabeth, 1999
- Sydney Myer Performing Arts Award, 1994
- Victorian Green Room: Best Actor, The Diary of a Madman, 1990
- Sydney Critics Circle: Most Outstanding Performance, The Diary of a Madman, 1989
- Variety Club: Best Actor, The Diary of a Madman, 1989