- Jonathan Pryce, CBE
June 01, 1947 (age 74)
- Actor, Singer
- Kate Fahy
- Isaac Price, Margaret Ellen Price
Jonathan Pryce, CBE (born 1 June 1947) is a Welsh stage and film actor and singer. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and meeting his longtime partner English actress Kate Fahy in 1974, he began his career as a stage actor in the 1970s. His work in theatre, including an award-winning performance in the title role of the Royal Court Theatre's Hamlet, led to several supporting roles in film and television. He made his breakthrough screen performance in Terry Gilliam's 1985 cult film Brazil.
Critically lauded for his versatility, Pryce has participated in big-budget films such as Evita, Tomorrow Never Dies, Pirates of the Caribbean and The New World, as well as independent films such as Glengarry Glen Ross and Carrington. His career in theatre has also been prolific, and he has won two Tony Awards—the first in 1977 for his Broadway debut in Comedians, the second for his 1991 role as "The Engineer" in the musical Miss Saigon.
Pryce was born John Price, in Carmel, near Holywell, Wales, the son of Margaret Ellen (néeWilliams) and Isaac Price, a former coal miner who, along with his wife, ran a small general grocery shop. He changed the spelling of his last name from Price to Pryce in order to join Equity, the British actors' trade union, because Equity can only have one actor with any particular name on its books. Pryce has two older sisters. He was educated at Holywell Grammar School (today Holywell High School), and, at the age of 16, he went to art college and then started training to be a teacher at Edge Hill College (now Edge Hill University) in Ormskirk. While studying, he took part in a college theatre production. An impressed tutor suggested he became an actor and on Pryce's behalf sent off to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for an application form, and Pryce was awarded a scholarship to RADA. While at RADA Pryce worked as a door-to-door salesman of velvet paintings. Pryce was part of 'new wave’ of actors to emerge from the Academy. Others included Bruce Payne, Juliet Stevenson, Alan Rickman, Anton Lesser, Kenneth Branagh and Fiona Shaw.
Despite finding RADA "straight-laced", and being told by his tutor that he could never aspire to do more than playing villains in Z-Cars, when he graduated he joined the Everyman Theatre Liverpool Company, eventually becoming the theatre's Artistic Director.
While working at the Everyman Theatre in 1972 Pryce met actress Kate Fahy. They based their home in London, where they currently live. They have three children: Patrick (b. 1983), Gabriel (b. 1986) and Phoebe (b. 1990). In order to gain his Equity card to work in Liverpool, he made his first screen appearance in a minor role on a 1972 episode of the British science fiction programme Doomwatch, called Fire & Brimstone. He then starred in two television films, both directed by Stephen Frears, "Daft as a Brush" and 'Playthings" . After the Everyman, Pryce joined the director Sir Richard Eyre at the Nottingham Playhouse and starred in the Trevor Griffiths play Comedians in a role specially written for his talents, Gethin Price. The production then transferred to London's Old Vic Theatre and in 1976 he reprised the role on Broadway, this time directed by Mike Nichols, for which he won the 1977 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play, his first Tony Award. It was around this time that he appeared in his first movie role, playing the character Joseph Manasse in the film drama Voyage of the Damned, starring Faye Dunaway. He did not, however, abandon the stage, appearing from 1978 to 1979 in the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of The Taming of the Shrew as Petruchio, and Antony and Cleopatra as Octavius Caesar.
In 2006, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Liverpool. He is a fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and a Companion of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. He is a patron of the children's charity Friendship Works and of the surgical charity Saving Faces. Pryce was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.