Bill Nighy
Birth Date:
December 12, 1949
Birth Place:
Caterham, Surrey, England, UK
6' 2''
Actor, Soundtrack
Guildford school of Dance and Drama, England
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Pirate Davy Jones


''You come to realize there is this huge disparity between what you think about yourself and your work and what other people think about you and your work, at first you either think they're insane or that it's a conspiracy to make you look stupid. Or maybe, just maybe, they're right, and you're sometimes quite good at what you do.'' Bill Nighy.

Veteran British actor Bill Nighy, who started out in theater and television before hitting the big screen in 1981, is best remembered by American audiences for his turn as burnt-out rock star Billy Mack in Richard Curtis' hit 2003 romantic comedy ''Love Actually.'' He later gained even more recognition for his roles as the nefarious vampire Viktor in the ''Underworld'' films (2003 and 2006), the title role's hated stepfather Phillip in "Shaun of the Dead" (2004), Slartibartfast the planet designer in ''The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy'' (2005), and as the undead pirate Davy Jones in the "Pirates of the Caribbean'' films (2006 and 2007). His notable previous films include "Eye of the Needle" (1981), "Curse of the Pink Panther" (1983), "The Little Drummer Girl" (1984), "The Phantom of the Opera" (1989), "Mack the Knife" (1990), "Still Crazy" (1998), "Blow Dry" (2001), "The Lawless Heart" (2001), "AKA" (2002), "Lucky Break" (2001), and "I Capture the Castle" (2003).

Next, the Golden Globe and BAFTA-award winning English actor will be seen alongside Tom Cruise in the upcoming film "Valkyrie," as Friedrich Olbricht, a German general who serves as one of the main architects of the plot to assassinate Hitler. He will also reprise his "Underworld" role in its third installment, "Underworld 3: The Rise of the Lycans."

Meanwhile, TV viewers could catch him in the BBC serial ''The Men's Room'' (1991), the popular British comedy-drama series ''Auf Wiedersehen, Pet,'' the thriller ''State of Play'' (2003) and costume drama ''He Knew He Was Right'' (2004).

On a more personal note, the 6' 2'' player with gaunt and pale appearance has been involved with actress Diana Quick since 1981. They have one daughter together.

"If they’re looking for somebody to play a man of a certain age who is falling apart, my name does seem to drift through their minds. I should either be flattered or I should change my tailor or something." Bill Nighy.

William Francis

Childhood and Family:

In Caterham, Surrey, England, UK, William Francis Nighy was born on December 12, 1949. His father, Alfred Martin Nighy, managed a car garage in Croydon and worked as a mechanic, and his mother, Catherine Josephine Whittaker, worked as a psychiatric nurse. The youngest of three children, Nighy has two older siblings, Martin and Anna.

Nighy, who enjoyed reading Ernest Hemingway, attended the John Fisher School in Purley and gained 'O'-levels in English Language and English Literature. Despite of this, at age 17, he left school and home to run away to Paris, where he thought he could become a journalist. However, he didn't have the required qualifications and eventually went on to work as a messenger boy for the Field magazine. He stayed in Paris for a while because he wanted to write "the great novel," but ended up only writing the title. When he ran out of money, he was shipped home by the British consul who had been wired £25 by his dad to go back home. A girlfriend later suggested him to become an actor and Nighy went to train at the Guildford School of Acting, formerly known as The Guildford School of Dance and Drama.

"When I ran away, I wrote a letter to my father instructing him not to try and find me. After he died, I found it in his papers, and it was arguably the most pompous, stupid thing I have ever read. It was a great regret to me by then. My father was a very decent man... The British consul shipped me home for 25 quid and I had to pay my father back..." Bill Nighy.

Nighy used to be an alcoholic and drug addict. On May 17, 1992, he stopped taking alcohol and drugs. He even has quit smoking, saying "I don't smoke now, which is marvelous. My only addictions are caffeine and sugar."

Since 1981, Nighy has been together with actress Diana Quick (born November 23, 1946). He asked her to marry him but she said, "Don't ask me again." However, he refers to her as his wife because anything else would be too difficult. They have a daughter, Mary Nighy (born in 1984), who is studying at university and contemplating an acting career. She has already began to appear on TV dramas and radio programmes.

"I first spotted Diana on the front cover of a magazine with the headline, 'Is this the most beautiful woman in the world?' I didn't know whether she was, but I did know that she was extremely beautiful." Bill Nighy.

Nighy is a supporter of Crystal Palace Football Club and is the Patron of the CPFRIS (Crystal Palace F.C. Fast Results & Information Service) Disabled Childrens Club. He lives near the director Richard Curtis in Suffolk.

Love Actually


"I never thought I would be an actor for very long, if at all. I was an average mess as a young man and I didn't really have a thought in my head worth reporting. I was a bit of a dreamer." Bill Nighy.

Initially dreamed of becoming a journalist, Bill Nighy turned to acting and was trained at Guildford School of Dance and Drama. He got his first gig at the Watermill Theatre in Berkshire, where he had six lines in the Tennessee Williams play, ''The Milk Train Does Not Stop Here Anymore.'' The young actor went on to the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, where he raised bloody hell with the likes of Pete Postlethwaite, Julie Walters and Kevin Lloyd. The actors formed a theatre group called Van Load, where they performed at borstals, pubs and even a few prisons.

After spending two seasons at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, Nighy made his London stage debut at the National Theatre in an epic staging of Ken Campbell and Chris Langham's Illuminatus!, which opened the new Cottesloe Theatre on March 4, 1977, and went on to appear in two David Hare premieres, also at the National.

"I'm a lucky boy. I've been in world premieres of plays which I think will be performed a hundred years from now - and this is what I will tell my grandchildren, that I worked with those writers." Bill Nighy.

Nighy played Sam in the 1981 BBC Radio dramatisation of ''The Lord of the Rings'' and also appeared in the 1980s BBC radio versions of ''Yes, Minister'' episodes. Meanwhile, he made his television debut with the British series "Agony," playing Vincent Fish, followed by a film debut in Richard Marquand's next year's "Eye of the Needle," a spy thriller starring Donald Sutherland in which he had a small role as a Squadron Leader. He then played another small role, this time as an ENT Doctor, in Blake Edwards' "Curse of the Pink Panther" (1983), and appeared in the political thriller based on the John Le Carré novel, "The Little Drummer Girl" (1984).

The mid 1980s saw Nighy co-starred with John Shea in the television movie "Hitler's S.S.: Portrait in Evil." In the next years, he returned to stage in William Shakespeare's ''King Lear'' (1986) and Peter Gill's ''Mean Tears'' (1987), both at the National Theatre. He went back to the big screen in 1989 in the film version of "The Phantom of the Opera" in which he starred as Barton.

Nighy subsequently played higher profile roles as Tiger in "Mack the Knife" (1990), co-starring Raul Julia and Richard Harris, as Howard Nash in the independent ''Antonia and Jane'' (1991), and as Prof. Mark Carleton in the sexually-charged british series "The Men's Room." On stage, he could be seen in Harold Pinter's ''Betrayal'' (1991) and Tom Stoppard's ''Arcadia'' (1993).

After supporting Robin Williams in the film "Being Human" (1993), Nighy continued his stage works in Pam Gems' adaptation of Anton Chekhov's ''The Seagull'' (1994), David Hare's ''Skylight'' (1997) and Harold Pinter's ''A Kind of Alaska'' (1998). Meanwhile, he starred in the children’s fantasy ''Fairytale: A True Story'' (1997) and in the Golden Globe-nominated film "Still Crazy" (1998), with Stephen Rea and Billy Connolly. For his comedic performance in the latter film as Ray, the egotistical frontman of an old and disbanded rock band that seeks top relive it’s glory days, Nighy won a Peter Sellers Award for Comedy at the Evening Standard British Film Awards.

In 2001, Nighy co-starred as Ray Roberts, the reigning hairdressing champion, opposite Alan Rickman and Josh Hartnett, in the "Blow Dry," a comedy about an annual British Hairdressing Championship that comes to a small town. He was also nominated Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards for his performance as Dan in the sex romp in "Lawless Heart," which follows three intersecting stories about people whose lives are affected by the death of a gay restaurateur, and was nominated Best Supporting Actor from the London Film Critics Circle for his performance in Peter Cattaneo's "Lucky Break." Meanwhile, he headlined Joe Penhall's play ''Blue/Orange'' at National Theater Cottesloe (2000) and later at Duchess Theatre (2001) and was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance.

"If you're in a play and you have the same jokes to deliver, eight times a week, it's endlessly fascinating, just trying to hit it each time, and maybe a little bit quicker, a little bit later, trying to feel the air in which you're about to place it. To have 400 people laugh at the same time, you would go to your grave trying to get it right. And it's also very glamorous when it's on film, because you're not there. I love it when a producer phones up and says: 'It played very well in France. They were laughing in France.'" Bill Nighy.

In 2002, Nighy had a memorable turn as a controversial politician named Jeffrey Grainger in the popular British comedy-drama series ''Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.'' Afterwards, he added to his resume with roles as James Mortmain in the romantic film set in 1930s England that centers 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain and the fortunes of her eccentric family, "I Capture the Castle" (2003), which won him a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, and as the nefarious vampire, Viktor, in Len Wiseman's "Underworld" (2003).

Nighy garnered international recognition as Billy Mack, a burned-out former rock star who's career gets rejuvenated by a Christmas hit song in Richard Curtis' romantic comedy film, "Love Actually." For his outstanding performance in the film, Nighy won several awards including London Critics Circle Film's British Supporting Actor of the Year, Evening Standard British Film's Peter Sellers Award for Comedy, and BAFTA's Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

Following his bright performance in "Love Actually," Nighy co-starred in the thriller "Enduring Love" (2004) and played the title role's (played by Simon Pegg) hated stepfather Phillip in Edgar Wright's zombie-themed romantic comedy "Shaun of the Dead" (2004). He also played the role of the planet designer, Slartibartfast, in the long-awaited adaptation of Douglas Adams' popular sci-fi novels, ''The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy'' (2005), and played a greedy British official in Academy Award-nominated director Fernando Meirelles' film adaptation of the best-selling John le Carre thriller novel, "The Constant Gardener" (2005). Additionally, he co-starred as Lawrence, a shy civil servant who meets a mysterious woman (played by Kelly MacDonald) and develops a life-changing relationship with her, in the HBO movie "The Girl in the Cafe" (2005), which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television.

"The director (Gore Verbinski) asked me to do Dutch, and I don't do Dutch. So I decided on Scottish." Bill Nighy (on his Scottish accent for Davy Jones in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest").

In 2006, Nighy was cast as the undead pirate Davy Jones, captain of the fabled ghost ship the Flying Dutchman, in Gore Verbinski's box office hit "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and won a Teen Choice Award for Movies - Choice Sleazebag. In that same year, he reteamed with Kate Beckinsale in Len Wiseman's bloody and over-the-top sequel, "Underworld: Evolution." He also portrayed a public relations guru whose personal life is a mess after losing his wife while facing the prospect of his daughter graduating school and leaving home for good, in BBC America's romantic drama helmed by Stephen Poliakoff, "Gideon's Daughter." His performance received critical acclaim and won him a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television and a Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television. Meanwhile, on stage, he portrayed Oliver, a reclusive doctor hostile to the war in Iraq, opposite Julianne Moore, in David Hare's Broadway play "The Vertical Hour," directed by Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes.

Recently, in 2007, Nighy reprised the role of Davy Jones for "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which won him another Teen Choice Award, this time for Choice Movie: Villain, and co-starred with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Edgar Wright's British police action comedy film "Hot Fuzz." He is currently working on his upcoming film project, "Valkyrie," Bryan Singer's thriller starring Tom Cruise. In the film, based on actual events - a plot to assassinate Hitler is unfurled during the height of WWII, Nighy will portray Friedrich Olbricht, a German general who serves as one of the main architects of the plot to assassinate the German dictator. He will also reprise his ''Underworld'' role in its upcoming third installment, "Underworld 3: The Rise Of The Lycans." Len Wiseman will produce the film but will not write or direct, nor will Kate Beckinsale reprise her lead role of Selene. It will be written by Danny McBride and mark the directorial debut of creature effects designer Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the creature effects for all three ''Underworld'' films.

"You know, there may be periods when you're unemployed. Great. You'll never know what will happen from one minute to the next. Yeah, fabulous. You don't know what money you're going to be making in 25 years' time. Yeah, baby! It's like being a gambler, and when I was 18, that was music." Bill Nighy.


  • Teen Choice: Choice Movie: Villain, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," 2007

  • Golden Globes: Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, ''Gideon's Daughter,'' 2007

  • Satellite: Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television, "Gideon's Daughter," 2006

  • Teen Choice: Movies - Choice Sleazebag, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," 2006

  • Satellite: Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, ''The Lost Prince,'' 2005

  • London Critics Circle Film: British Supporting Actor of the Year, ''Love Actually,'' 2004

  • Evening Standard British Film: Peter Sellers Award for Comedy, ''Love Actually,'' 2004

  • BAFTA: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, ''Love Actually,'' 2004

  • Los Ang les Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, "Love Actually," 2004

  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, ''AKA,'' 2004

  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, "I Capture the Castle," 2004

  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, "Lawless Heart," 2004

  • Broadcasting Press Guild: Best Actor, ''State of Play,'' 2004

  • BAFTA: Best Actor, ''State of Play,'' 2003

  • Evening Standard British Film: Peter Sellers Award for Comedy, ''Still Crazy,'' 1999

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