- May 27, 1971 (age 50)
- Actor, Voice Actor, Guitarist
- Jennifer Connelly
- Thane Bettany, Anne Kettle
Paul Bettany (born 27 May 1971) is an English actor. He first came to the attention of mainstream audiences when he appeared in the British film Gangster No. 1(2000), and director Brian Helgeland's film A Knight's Tale (2001). He has gone on to appear in a wide variety of films, including A Beautiful Mind (2001),Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Dogville (2003), and the adaptation of the novel The Da Vinci Code (2006). He is also known for his voice role as JARVIS in Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), and Iron Man 3 (2013). He will portray the Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
He has been nominated for various awards, including BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Bettany is married to American actress Jennifer Connelly, with whom he has three children.
His most commercially successful films have been The Da Vinci Code which grossed US$758 million, "The Avengers" which grossed over US$1.5 billion, and "Iron Man 3" which grossed over US$1.2 billion.
Bettany was born in Shepherd's Bush, London, the son of Anne (née Kettle), a stage singer, theatre teacher, and stage manager, and Thane Bettany, a dancer, actor, and drama teacher. Initially, Bettany was raised Roman Catholic, although his church attendance drifted after his confirmation. Later he attended Methodist and Church of England congregations with his father as the latter experimented with different Christian branches. Bettany later became an atheist. While his father taught at the all-girls boarding school Queenswood School near Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the family lived on the campus. When Bettany was 16, his brother Matthew died at age 8 after falling onto concrete from a tennis pavilion roof at Queenswood. Soon after, Bettany dropped out of school, left home, and went to live on his own as a street performer in London. There, he lived in a small flat and earned money by playing his guitar in the streets as a busker. His parents later divorced. After two years, he found a new job in a home for the elderly. After working there for a year, Bettany enrolled at the Drama Centre in London.
In 1990 at the age of 19, Bettany began a three-year course at the Drama Centre London in Chalk Farm. He made his stage debut in Stephen Daldry's acclaimed West End revival of An Inspector Calls at the Aldwych Theatre, playing the part of Eric Birling. He also appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar (for which he received a Charleson Award nomination). When Bettany was 21 he appeared in a BBC production of Oliver Twist, playing Bill Sikes.
After appearing in the finale of Sean Bean's series Sharpe as HRH The Prince of Orange at the Battle of Waterloo, he made his film debut with a small part in Bent, a Holocaust drama which also featured Clive Owen, Jude Law, and Ian McKellen. He continued doing work in stage and television, these included Joe Penhall's Love and Understanding, which played at London's Bush Theatre and then ran in Connecticut. He had roles in the television productions Killer Net and Coming Home, during which he met and dated Emily Mortimer. He last stage work was in One More Wasted Year and Stranger's House at the Royal Court Theatre. He filmed several more movies, including his first leading role in Gangster No. 1. The British Independent Film Awards nominated him for Best Actor, and the London Film Critics' Circle nominated him for British Newcomer of the Year.
Back in Hollywood, writer/director Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) was planning a new film called The Sin Eater (also known as The Order). He was impressed by Bettany's audition tape, though Helgeland eventually decided to film A Knight's Tale instead. The studio executives were not impressed, but Helgeland was determined to cast him, even writing the part of Chaucer for him. A Knight's Tale would be Bettany's first big Hollywood production. He received critical acclaim for A Knight's Tale, including winning the London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Supporting Actor. After the movie wrapped, Helgeland, determined that Hollywood should recognize Bettany's talent, showed the audition tape to many of his peers, including Ron Howard, who promptly cast Bettany in A Beautiful Mind. After A Beautiful Mind, Bettany was offered the role of serial killer Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon, opposite Edward Norton and Anthony Hopkins. He turned down the role in favour of accepting a part with Stellan Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman in Lars von Trier's Dogville.
On 1 January 2003, Bettany married American actress Jennifer Connelly in Scotland whom he met when they starred together in A Beautiful Mind. He moved to Brooklyn, New York with Connelly and her son Kai. The couple also have two children of their own.