- Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams
November 10, 1963 (age 57)
- Lucinda Evans (m. 1998)
Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams (born 10 November 1963), known professionally as Hugh Bonneville, is an English actor. He is best known for playing Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in the ITV historical drama series Downton Abbey. His performance on the show earned him a nomination at the Golden Globes and two consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
Early life and education
Bonneville was born in Paddington, London, to a mother who was a nurse and a father who was a urological surgeon. He was educated at Dulwich College Preparatory School and at Sherborne School, an independent school in Dorset.
Following secondary education, Bonneville read theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and studied acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He left Cambridge with a 2:2 in theology and has since said that he tended to do more acting than academic work.
Bonneville is also an alumnus of the National Youth Theatre.
Bonneville's first professional stage appearance was at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. In 1987, he joined the National Theatre where he appeared in several plays, then the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1991, where he played Laertes to Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1992–1993). He played Valentine in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Bergetto in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Kastril and later Surly in The Alchemist.
In 1991, Bonneville made his television debut, billed as Richard Bonneville. His debut film was 1994's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with Robert De Niro and Kenneth Branagh. His early roles were usually good-natured bumbling characters like Bernie in Notting Hill (1999) and Mr Rushworth in Mansfield Park (1999). In the BBC television series, Take A Girl Like You (2000) and Armadillo (2001), he played more villainous characters, leading up to the domineering Henleigh Grandcourt in Daniel Deronda (2002) and the psychopathic killer James Lampton in The Commander (2003) series. In Love Again, he played the poet Philip Larkin.
In Iris (2001), he played the young John Bayley opposite Kate Winslet, with his performance lauded by critics and receiving a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2004, Bonneville played Sir Christopher Wren in the docudrama Wren – The Man Who Built Britain. Bonneville also works extensively in radio. He played the role of Jerry Westerby in the BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the John le Carré novel The Honourable Schoolboy, first broadcast in January 2010. Earlier, he appeared in the surreal parallel universe comedy Married.
From 2010 until 2015, he appeared in the ITV period drama Downton Abbey, as Robert, Earl of Grantham.
In early 2010, he appeared in the comedy film Burke and Hare. In 2011 and 2012, he starred as Ian Fletcher in the award-winning BBC comedy series Twenty Twelve, and reprised the role in the 2014 BBC comedy series W1A. In December 2012, he appeared on BBC Two with co-star Jessica Hynes in World's Most Dangerous Roads, travelling through Georgia. He also appeared in the much-delayed film Hippie Hippie Shake with Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller.
From 2011 until 2014, Bonneville was the narrator of the Channel 4 show The Hotel.
Bonneville played Mr. Brown in the 2014 film Paddington and its 2017 sequel Paddington 2. He has appeared in the singing comedic role of The Pirate King in the ABC fairy tale-themed musical comedy extravaganza series Galavant during its 2015 and 2016 seasons. He also narrated the ITV series The Cruise.
In 2017, Bonneville portrayed Lord Louis Mountbatten in director Gurinder Chadha's film Viceroy's House, which depicted the tumult and violence surrounding the Partition of India during the final days of British rule. Also in 2017, it was announced that Bonneville would play Roald Dahl in an upcoming biopic about the author.
In 2018, Bonneville began yearly appearances as the host and narrator of the annual "From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration" episode of Great Performances, broadcast on New Year's Day on PBS in the United States. He succeeded Julie Andrews.
Bonneville married Lucinda "Lulu" Evans in 1998. The couple have a son, Felix.
In 2009, Bonneville was the voice of Justice Fosse in Joseph Crilly's British premiere of Kitty and Damnation for the Giant Olive Theatre Company at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town. Shortly thereafter he became Giant Olive's first patron. Bonneville is also a patron of the London children's charity Scene & Heard and an ambassador for WaterAid.