Four Weddings and a Funeral
“I’ve always enjoyed sex scenes, though you’re not really supposed to. The classic answer is, ‘Oh, it’s not sexy at all because there are so many technicians standing around.’ But I’ve always found them extremely arousing.” Hugh Grant
One of the most successful British actors, Hugh Grant accelerated into stardom with an acclaimed performance as the charming Charles, who falls for American Andie MacDowell, in the highly successful Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), in which he nabbed a BAFTA award, a Golden Globe award, a London Critics Circle Film and a Chicago Film Critics Association award (combined with his brilliant performance in 1994’s Sirens), as well as earned a MTV Movie nomination. First garnering attention for portraying sexually confused Clive Durham in the Merchant-Ivory production Maurice (1987), where he won a Venice Film Festival award with costar James Wilby, the English actor, who tends to play the American stereotype of an Englishman, re-achieved his star status when he was cast opposite Julia Roberts in the blockbuster hit Notting Hill (1999), playing failed bookshop owner William Thacker. Due to his impressive performance, Grant nabbed a 2000 Golden Slate Award. In more recent films, Grant won an Evening Standard
British Film award for his bravura supporting turn as the seedy, but tempting, boss Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), and in About a Boy (2002), his virtuoso portrayal of an affluent, child-free, reckless Englishman won him such awards as a Golden Camera award and an Empire Film award. Recently appearing in Paul Weitz’s American Dreamz (2006), Grant will soon star opposite Drew Barrymore in the forthcoming Music and Lyrics By (2006).
Off screen, handsome and charming with abundant chestnut hair and a somewhat stiff manner softened by his open and warm smile, Grant was named one of Empire magazine’s “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” in 1995. In February, 2006, the Long-time loyal fan of Fulham Football Club reportedly struck a photographer with a manila folder on the streets of New York City. Former Daily News spokesman Ken Frydman, who allegedly witnessed the incident, said, “Hugh Grant had his head down, looking at his cell phone, when this young guy started flashing his camera.” Grant reportedly responded by taking photographs of the snapper with his camera phone, saying, “How do you like it, mate?” before calling the paparazzo a “choice” name and slapped the manila folder he was carrying across the man’s head.
As for his romantic life, the Londoner, who became the godfather of Damian Hurley, son of his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley, was known as the long-term lover of model/actress Elizabeth Hurley (together 1986-2000). After the break-up, he began a relationship with UN worker Kasia Komorowicz before dating British heiress Jemima Khan, an ex-wife of famous Indian cricket player Imran Khan, in 2004. The relationship later ended in separation.
“I just don’t believe in love at first sight any more, even though I’ve based my whole career on the concept. In my experience, power, money and influence always attract the opposite sex. It’s something that I’ve always exploited - with good results.” Huge Grant
Childhood and Family:
On September 9, 1960, Hugh John Mungo Grant was born in London, England, UK, to an artist and carpet salesman father, James, and a school teacher mother, Fynvola. He is younger brother to James, a banker who now resides in Manhattan, New York City.
Growing up in a comfortable suburb, young Hugh developed an enthusiasm for acting and became involved in school plays. He was educated at Latymer Upper School for boys and went to Oxford’s New College on a scholarship. While working toward an English degree in college, Hugh continued to try his hand in student drama and even stared in “Hamlet.” Credited as Hughie Grant, the future film star also made his film acting debut with Oxford-financed Privileged (1982), directed by Michael Hoffmann.
About a Boy
A graduate with a degree in English from Oxford’s New College, Hugh Grant got his first film exposure in Michael Hoffmann’s Privileged (1982), produced by Oxford Film Foundation, while still a student in the college. Purposeless upon graduation, he took a job as a tutor before joining a comedy troupe called The Jockeys of Norfolk. It was a hit at an Edinburgh festival and was signed for a TV pilot, but the group soon broke up following the unsuccessful televised show. In the meantime, Grant earned extra money by writing TV comedy sketches and radio ads, and doing some literary reviews.
By the mid 1980s, Grant had begun establishing a steady acting career by taking on small roles in TV programs like “The Last Place on Earth” (1985), “The Detective” (1985), Jenny’s War (1985) and Honour, Profit & Pleasure (1985). He landed a few more forgettable roles until 1987 when James Ivory cast Grant opposite James Wilby in the award-winning Maurice. Delivering an attractive turn as the sexually ambiguous Clive Durham, Grant netted a Venice Film Festival for Best Actor.
More film roles came pouring in following the notable performance. Grant played Allan in Bengali Night (1988), was featured opposite Anthony Hopkins in The Dawning (1988), starred with Amanda Donohue in the horror The Lair of the White Worm (1988) and portrayed Lord Byron in Rowing With the Wind (1988), opposite longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley. He was also seen on the small screen, playing the title role in the syndicated TV movie Champagne Charlie (1989), and an aristocrat compelled into a life of crime in CBS’ film The Lady and the Highwayman (1989). The actor concentrated more on film in the 1990s though he still managed his presence on television, giving a moving performance as Julie Andrews’ homosexual son in the ABC movie Our Son (1991) and starring in the BBC adaptation The Changeling (1994). Grant starred as the legendary composer Frederic Chopin, opposite Judy Davis, in James Lapine’s Impromptu (1991), played Kristen Scott Thomas’ husband in Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon (1992) and was featured in his first major film, the Merchant-Ivory’s The Remains of the Day (1993), opposite Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.
Grant’s big breakthrough, however, arrived in 1994 when director Mike Newell tapped the actor into the starring role of Charles, the clumsy Englishman who falls in love with American Andie MacDowell, in the romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral. His wonderful performance in the film was hailed by critics and audience alike. As a result, Grant was garnered such awards as a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for Best Actor, as well as a Special Achievement award from London Critics Circle Film, and was nominated for Best Breakthrough Performance at the MTV Movie Awards. As for the film, it became the highest-grossing British film at the time of its release, grossing over $320 million. The massive victory became Grant’s Hollywood calling card. The same year, Grant also offered a remarkable starring turn as a self-conscious clergyman in 1920s Australia in the droll period comedy Sirens, written and directed by John Duigan. For his efforts in Sirens, combined with his high-profile performance in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Grant was handed a 1994 Chicago Film Critics Association for Most Promising Actor.
He followed the triumphant by undertaking the menacing role of artistic director Meredith Potter in Newell’s An Awfully Big Adventure (1995) and doing his comedy duty as map surveyor Reginald Anson in The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (1995). The same year, Grant made headlines when he was arrested by L.A. police for soliciting a prostitute in a parked car near the famed Sunset Strip. A public apology on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” helped win back public support and even helped the moderately crude and uneven Nine Months (1995, Grant’s lead debut in a US film) when it reached the box office. He rounded out the busy year with supporting turns in Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility and the Michael Hoffmann-directed Restoration. Starting a production company called Simian Film, with Elizabeth Hurley, in 1995, Grant was soon seen starring opposite Gene Hackman in the company’s first feature film Extreme Measures (1996). Unfortunately, the thriller was a box office failure.
The actor vanished from the screen for a few years, but returned with the charming romantic comedy Notting Hill (1999), starring as an unsuccessful bookshop owner named William Thacker who enters a relationship with world-famed film star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts). The film was a well-reviewed, early summer hit and Grant was an immediate hit once again. He won positive reviews and a Golden Slate for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance, convincing critics and audiences alike that he was back in the saddle again. Next up for Grant, he starred in Simian Films’ sophomore effort, the Mafia-themed comedy Mickey Blue Eyes (1999), opposite James Caan and Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Re-achieving his celebrity status, Grant made his debut performance in the new millennium with a small role in the Woody Allen vehicle Small Time Crooks (2000) before scoring success with a change of pace turn as the title character’s smarmy boss Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). For his bright acting, Grant was garnered a Peter Sellers award with the Evening Standard British Film society. He continued the victory by picking up a Golden Camera (Germany) for Best International Actor and an Empire Film for British Actor for his exceptional comedic turn as rich, child-free, irresponsible Londoner Will in About a Boy (2002). Grant also received a Golden Globe nomination for his fine acting in the film. Still in 2002, the English performer further showed off his crackerjack comedic timing, this time opposite Sandra Bullock, in Two Weeks Notice (2002).
2003 saw Grant rejoin Four Weddings, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones screenwriter Richard Curtis when Curtis made his directorial debut with the ensemble piece Love Actually. Grant was featured as the Prime Minister, and then reprised his role as Daniel Cleaver for the Bridget Jones sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004). After a small part in the French-language film Travaux, on sait quand ça commence... (2005), Grant found himself acting opposite Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore and Marcia Gay Harden in writer/director Paul Weitz’s American Dreamz (2006). He is also set to star with Hollywood high hitter Drew Barrymore in the upcoming romantic comedy Music and Lyrics By (2006).