English character actor Jonathan Cake may be best recognized as Jack Favell in “Rebecca” (1997), Oswald Mosley in “Mosley” (1997), Japheth in the NBC television movie “Noah's Ark” (1999), Alastair Campbell in the ABC miniseries “Empire” ( 2005) and Cole Barker in the Zachary Levi comedy series “Chuck” (2 episodes, 2009). He has also appeared in “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall,” “The Jump,” “The American Embassy,” “Six Degrees,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “Law & Order,” among other TV programs. His film credits include “First Knight” (1994), “True Blue” (1996), “The One and Only” (2002), “Brideshead Revisited” (2008) and “Krews” (2010). Cake has also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and made his Broadway debut in “Medea” (2002). Other stage productions he has appeared in include “The Mill on the Floss,” Tennessee Williams' “Baby Doll,” “Doubt,” “Coriolanus” and “Cymbeline.”
Cake is married to actress Julianne Nicholson. The couple has two children. They divide their time between London, England, and Venice, California. Cake enjoys rugby, basketball and cricket.
Childhood and Family:
The youngest of three sons, Jonathan James Cake was born on August 31, 1967, in Sussex, England. When he was 4 years old, he was invited on stage during a traditional British pantomime for children. This exposure ignited his interest in the performing arts. By age 8, Jonathan had taken drama classes and took part in plays. As a teenager, he toured Britain with London's National Youth Theater. After graduating high school, Jonathan attended the prestigious University of Cambridge as an English major. He became a rugby player in college and graduated in 1989. He attended a two year training program at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and then trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
On September 24, 2004, Jonathan married American actress Julianne Nicholson (born July 1, 1971) in Italy. His wife gave birth to their first child, a son named Ignatius Cake, in September 2007. Their daughter, Phoebe Margaret Cake, was born on April 30, 2009.
In 1992, Jonathan Cake appeared in William Shakespeare's play “As You Like It” in a Royal Shakespeare Company production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. The play was staged by David Thacker. Costars included Peter De Jersey, Samantha Bond, Michael Siberry, Alan Cox, Adrian Lukis, Alfred Burke, Phyllida Hancock, Anthony O'Donnell, Jeffery Dench, David Burt and John Bott. With the same cast and director, he also performed the play at the Barbican Theatre in London in 1993. Also that year, he costarred with Antony Sher, Claire Benedict, Malcolm Storry, Trevor Martin and Jasper Britton in a RSC production of Christopher Marlowe's “Tamburlaine the Great.” He then appeared with RSC in “Wallenstein,” “The Odyssey” and “Beggar's Opera.” In 1995, Cake acted in the Shared Experience Theatre Company production of George Eliot's novel “The Mill on the Floss” at London's Lyric Theatre.
Cake branched out to the screen when he landed a guest spot in the British comedy series “Press Gang” in 1993. He made his first television film appearance alongside Jasper Carrott and Ann Bryson in BBC's “Carrott U Like” in 1994 and broke into the movie business the following year with a small role in the American movie “First Knight,” which starred Sean Connery, Richard Gere and Julia Ormond. Directed by Jerry Zucker, “First Knight” received mixed reviews from critics.
After appearing in episodes of “Frank Stubbs Promotes” and “Goodnight Sweetheart,” Cake was cast as Gareth in the BBC series “Degrees of Error” (1995), opposite Beth Goddard, Julian Glover and Phyllida Law. He then played Ewan in two episodes of the series “Grange Hill” (1996), Nat in two episodes of “Cold Lazarus” (1996), a four part British TV drama written by Dennis Potter, and Hattersley in the TV miniseries adaptation of Anne Bronte's “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” (1996). He was also cast in the TV films “Nightlife” (1996, with Katrin Cartlidge and Jane Horrocks), “The Girl” (1996) and “Wings the Legacy” (1996, with Debra Beaumont and Una Stubbs). 1996 also saw the actor in “True Blue,” a British sports film based on the book “True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny” by Daniel Topolski and Patrick Robinson, and in an episode of “The Thin Blue Line.”
Cake next worked with Pam Ferris, James Fleet and Patrick Barlow in “Cows” (1997), a television comedy written by Eddie Izzard and Nick Whitby, offered a memorable portrayal of Jack Favell in the 1997 German/British miniseries “Rebecca,” which was based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, and portrayed Peter Templer in a TV miniseries adaptation of Anthony Powell's “A Dance to the Music of Time” (1997), which starred James Purefoy, Simon Russell Beale and Paul Rhys. He also guest starred in “Jonathan Creek” (1997). The next year, he starred in “Mosley,” which was based on the life of British fascist Oswald Mosley. The series was directed by Robert Knights from a screenplay by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. He also portrayed Regan Montana in the TV film “Diamond Girl” and costarred with Adrian Dunbar and Susan Vidler in the TV series “The Jump” (both 1998). The actor closed the decade portraying Japheth in the NBC TV film “Noah's Ark” (1999), which was directed by John Irvin and starred John Voight and Mary Steenburgen. He also worked with Maria Aitken and Leslie Grantham in the British TV film “The Bench” (1999).
In 2000, Cake played Andrew Pryce-Stevens in “Honest,” an unsuccessful comedy directed by Dave Stewart, a former member of the British rock duo Eurythmics. He revisited the stage with work in “Baby Doll” (2000), an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' film of the same name, and was handed the prestigious Barclays Best Actor Award for his performance. The play performed first at the Royal National Theatre and then in London's West End.
Cake next appeared as Randolph Cleveland in an episode of “Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible” (2001), costarred with Lara Belmont and Teresa Churcher in the television thriller “The Swap” (2002), starred as Jack Wellington in the short lived Fox series “The American Embassy” (2002), opposite Arija Bareikis, Eric Dane, Reiko Aylesworth and David Cubitt, and was cast as Andrea in the British film “The One and Only” (2002), opposite Richard Roxburgh, Justine Waddell and Sharon Scurfield. Still in 2002, Cake made his Broadway debut in the leading role of Jason in “Medea,” a play by Euripides.
Next up for Cake, the actor appeared in the Canadian television movie “Riverworld” (2003, starred Brad Johnson, Karen Holness and Emily Lloyd), portrayed Dr. Mengele in the Showtime TV film “Out of the Ashes” (2003, alongside Christine Lahti, Beau Bridges and Richard Crenna), and portrayed John Christow in the 2004 episode “The Hallow” of “Agatha Christie's Poirot.” He then starred as Jason Shepherd in the film “Fallen” (2004), appeared as Dr. Malcolm Bowers in an episode of NBC's “Inconceivable” called “Sex, Lies and Sonograms” (2005) and portrayed Alastair Campbell in the TV film “The Government Inspector” (2005). He was also cast as a gladiator named Tyrannus in the ABC historical TV series “Empire,” which ran from June 28, 2005, to July 26, 2005. Costars of the series included Santiago Cabrera, Vincent Regan, Emily Blunt and James Frain. Cake then had the recurring role of Roy in the ABC short lived drama series “Six Degrees” (2006-2007), starring Jay Hernandez, Erika Christensen, Hope Davis, Dorian Missick, Bridget Moynahan and Campbell Scott. He also appeared in an episode of 'Extras” called “Sir Ian McKellen” (2006) and in the TV film “The Mastersons of Manhattan” (2007, as Marshall Crawford). Meanwhile on stage, Cake played Father Flynn in John Patrick Shanley's play “Doubt” (2005) at the Pasadena Playhouse. He then performed in “Coriolanus” (2006) at London's Shakespeare Globe Theatre, and was cast in “Cymbeline” (2007) at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York City.
In 2008, Cake played Rex Mottram in “Brideshead Revisited,” a film directed by Julian Jarrold that starred Matthew Goode, Patrick Malahide and Hayley Atwell. He also had a two episode role in “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” The next year, he appeared as Bishop in the ABC TV film “Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas,” starring Jodelle Ferland, Charlie McDermott and Hal Holbrook, as Cole Barker in two episodes of the NBC series “Chuck” called “Chuck Versus the Beefcake” and “Chuck Versus the Lethal Weapon,” and as Marcus Woll in the episodes “Boy Gone Astray” and “For the Defense” of “Law & Order.”
In 2010, Cake teamed up with Colter Allison, China Anderson and Pedro Miguel Arce in the American film “Krews,” by Hilbert Hakim. The same year, he also played Mark Easterbrook in the TV film “Marple: The Pale Horse,” starring Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple.
Barclays Best Actor Award