PROFILE
Name:
Jonathan Pryce
Birth Date:
June 1, 1947
Birth Place:
Holywell, Wales, UK
Height:
6' 2" (1.88 m)
Nationality:
British
Famous for:
His role in 'Brazil' (1985)
BIOGRAPHY
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Background:

“I'm not a star, I'm an actor. There's a difference!” Jonathan Pryce

A Welsh intense performer who has successfully tackled film, television and the stage, Jonathan Pryce first received attention as a stage actor thanks to his Tony Award-winning turn as Gethin Price in his 1976 Broadway debut, “Comedians,” from which he also picked up a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk nomination. Following other strong portrayals in such productions as “The Taming of the Shrew” (1978) and “Hamlet” (1980, won a Laurence Olivier Award), the alumni of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art took home his second Tony Award for his bravura performance as “The Engineer,” a half-Vietnamese/half French pimp in the Broadway musical “Miss Saigon” (1990). Kicking off his film career in 1976, the slender, sad-eyed actor rose to fame as the hushed protagonist Sam Lowry in the Academy Award darling “Brazil” (1985), directed by Terry Gilliam, with whom he also collaborated in the latter films “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen“ (1989) and “The Brothers Grimm” (2005). After nabbing a Valladolid International Film Festival Award in “Glengarry Glen Ross” (1992), in which he played the client James Lingk, he scored victory with his breakthrough starring turn as British writer Lytton Strachey in “Carrington” (1995). Due to his outstanding acting, he was handed a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Evening Standard British Film Award and a BAFTA nomination. More recently, Pryce is remembered for playing roles in such blockbuster films as “Evita” (1996, as Juan Peron), “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997, as the nemesis to James Bond), “Ronin” (1998), “Stigmata” (1999), “The New World” (2005) and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies (2003, 2006 and 2007, as Keira Knightley's father). Having made a handful of TV-movies since 1980, Pryce received an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for his supporting role in the made-for-TV film “Barbarians at the Gate” (1993).

Currently playing Shelly Levene in the West End production of David Mamet's “Glengarry Glen Ross” (September 2007-January 2008), Pryce is scheduled to appear in two upcoming movies, Anthony Page's “My Zinc Bed” (2008), with Uma Thurman, and the George Clooney-helmed “Leatherheads” (2008), starring Clooney, Renée Zellweger and others.

As for his personal life, Pryce has been married to actress Kate Fahy since 1974. They have three children, Patrick, Gabriel and Phoebe.


Father of 3

Childhood and Family:

Jonathan Pryce was born John Price on June 1, 1947, in Holywell, Flintshire, Wales. His mother, Margaret Ellen (Williams), was a shopkeeper and retail cashier, and his father, Isaac Price, was a coal miner who also managed a small general grocery shop. His father died in 1976. John has two older sisters. He attended Holywell Grammar School and then trained to be a teacher at Edge Hill College in Ormskirk. After taking acting classes, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Together since 1972, John married Irish actress Kate Fahy in 1974. Nine years later, in 1983, the couple welcomed their first child, son Patrick Pryce, and their second son, Gabriel Pryce, was born in 1986. His wife gave birth to their third child and first daughter, Phoebe Pryce, in 1990. The family currently resides in England.


Miss Saigon

Career:

After graduating from RADA, Jonathan Pryce joined the Everyman Theatre Liverpool Company, in which in addition to acting, he also served as an artistic director, before breaking into the London stage in the mid-1970s. Gaining his first major London stage role in “Heroes” (1975) at the Royal Court Theater, Pryce received his big breakthrough when he was cast in a role written by playwright Trevor Griffiths especially for him, Gethin Price, in “Comedians” (1975) at the Old Vic Theatre in London. When the play moved to Broadway in 1976, he picked up a Tony for Best Actor. Pryce also won a Theatre World and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Actor. He continued to act with the Royal Shakespeare Company in such productions as “Measure for Measure,” “Antony and Cleopatra” and “The Taming of the Shrew” (all 1978). For his impressive starring turn in “Hamlet” (1980) at the Royal Court Theatre, the actor was hailed by some critics as the definitive Hamlet of his generation.

Apart from his extensive stage experience, Pryce also attempted to branch out to television and film. In 1976, the same year he debuted on Broadway in “Comedians,” he also made his feature acting debut with a small part in “Voyage of the Damned,” starring Faye Dunaway and Oskar Werner. He resurfaced four years later with a bigger part in 1980's “Breaking Glass,” and then found himself acting alongside Albert Finney and Martin Sheen in “Loophole” (1981). He delivered fine performances in Peter Greenaway's “The Ploughman's Lunch” (1983), starring as a manipulative journalist named James Penfield, and Ray Bradbury's “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (also 1983), in which he played a bizarre artful Mr. Dark. But, it was his portrayal of Sam Lowry in the Terry Gilliam-directed “Brazil” (1985) that really shot the talented artist to prominence. The film netted three Los Angeles Film Critics Associations (1985) for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, and two Academy Awards (1986) for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. The year also saw Pryce give an impressive performance in the historical thriller “The Doctor and the Devils.”

By the mid-1980s, Pryce had also collected several TV credits, including the CBS film “The Day Christ Died” (1980), the 1982 series “Roger Doesn't Live Here Anymore,” starring as Roger Flower, the British drama “Praying Mantis” (1982, shown on PBS in 1985) and the BBC biopic “Martin Luther, Heretic” (1983). Returning to film, he first teamed up with director/actor Gene Wilder for the horror “Haunted Honeymoon” (1986), then appeared with Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Collins and John Wood in Penny Marshall's “Jumpin' Jack Flash” (1986) and supported Scott Glenn in the French/Italian production “Man of Fire” (1987). He also costarred with Tyler Butterworth in the comedy “Consuming Passions” (1988), rejoined director Terry Gilliam for “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” (1988) and worked with English actors such as Dexter Fletcher and Ione Skye in the British drama/romance “The Rachel Papers” (1989).

In August 1990, Pryce emerged as a subject of controversy when he was chosen to reprise his role in the Broadway version of the hit musical “Miss Saigon.” The American Actors' Equity banned him from taking about the role, saying the role should have gone to an Asian actor since the character is part Asian. After the producers considered cancelling the production, Pryce was finally allowed to open on Broadway and picked up a 1991 Tony for Best Actor (Musical). The role also brought him a 1990 Laurence Olivier Theatre award for Best Actor in a Musical. He followed the much-talked-about performance with work in “Nine,” in a 1992 London concert performance, and the Broadway musical “Oliver” (1994).

Pryce went on to build a good reputation on the big screen through his memorable performances in such movies as the dramatic ensemble piece “Glengarry Glen Ross” (1992), Martin Scorsese's “The Age of Innocence” (1993) and Christopher Hampton's “Carrington” (1995). The first film won Pryce a Valladolid International Film Festival for Best Actor while the letter brought him Best Actor awards from the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and the 1996 Evening Standard British Film, in addition to BAFTA and Chlotrudis nominations. Meanwhile, on the small screen, he starred in television films like “The Man from the Pru” (1990), “Thicker Than Water” (1993) and “Barbarians at the Gate” (1993), from which he was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his scene-stealing role of Henry Kravis. It was during 1993/1994 that Pryce became famous among American audiences as a spokesperson in a series of American TV commercials for Infiniti.

Thanks to his bright performance in “Carrington,” Pryce won the role of Argentinian President and Dictator Juan Peron in Madonna's successful vehicle “Evita” (1996). Based on the life of Evita Duarte, the long anticipated movie was adapted from the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical with Alan Parker directing at the helm. He was handed a British Independent Film nomination for Best Performance by a British Actor in an Independent Film and a Genie nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role after starring as Captain William Rivers in the war movie “Regeneration” (1997), directed by Gillies MacKinnon, before being cast in the key villain role of Elliot Carver in the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” (also 1997). Pryce was then seen in “Ronin” (1998) and “Stigmata” (1999, earned a Blockbuster Entertainment nomination for Favorite Supporting Actor – Horror).

Next up for Pryce, he acted in several British productions and foreign movies as well as television projects and did not return to the wide screen until 2001 when he portrayed Cardinal Louis de Rohan in the period drama “The Affair of the Necklace,” alongside Hilary Swank. He was well-received as Alistair Payne in the US/Brit teen comedy “What a Girl Wants” (2003), which starred Amanda Bynes, and enjoyed a huge box office success with Gore Verbinski's “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003), in which he portrayed the aristocrat father of Keira Knightley. After supporting Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd in “De-lovely” (2004), about the legendary composer Cole Porter, he and Terry Gilliam once again collaborated for the director's fictionalized fantasy “The Brothers Grimm” (2005), opposite Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. Still in 2005, he starred as Henry Couling in the British drama/music “Brothers of the Head” and revisited the box office realm with “The New World,” starring Colin Farrell and directed and written by Terrence Malick. He scored even more commercial success with the sequels “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” in 2006 and ““Pirates of the Caribbean 3” in 2007. Both films found Pryce reprising his role of Governor Weatherby Swann. 2006-2007 also saw the praised performer resurface on stage in the musical version of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (2006), replacing John Lithgow as Lawrence Jameson, and in a new West End production of David Mamet's “Glengarry Glen Ross” (2007) at London's Apollo Theatre.

The 60-year-old actor will be cast alongside Uma Thurman in an Anthony Page new film called “My Zinc Bed.” Based on a play by David Hare, it is set to be released in England in 2008. In addition, he will play CC in the upcoming comedy “Leatherheads” (2008), directed by and starring George Clooney. The film also stars John Krasinski, Renée Zellweger, Stephen Root and Wayne Duvall.


Awards:

  • BAFTA (Wales): Special Award, 2002

  • Evening Standard British Film: Best Actor, “Carrington,” 1996

  • Cannes Film Festival: Best Actor, “Carrington,” 1995

  • Valladolid International Film Festival: Best Actor, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” 1992

  • Tony: Best Actor (Musical), “Miss Saigon,” 1991

  • Laurence Olivier Theatre: Best Actor in a Musical, “Miss Saigon,” 1990

  • Evening Standard British Film: Most Promising Newcomer – Actor, 1981

  • Laurence Olivier: “Hamlet,” 1980

  • Tony: Best Actor (Featured Role – Play), “Comedians,” 1977

  • Theatre World: “Comedians,” 1977

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