- Daniel Jacob Radcliffe
July 23, 1989 (age 31)
- Marcia Gresham, Alan Radcliffe
Daniel Jacob Radcliffe (born 23 July 1989) is an English actor who rose to prominence as the title character in the Harry Potter film series. He made his acting debut at 10 years of age in BBC One's 1999 television movie David Copperfield, followed by his film debut in 2001's The Tailor of Panama. At age 11, he was cast as Harry Potter in the first Harry Potter film, and starred in the series for 10 years until the release of the eighth and final film in 2011.
Radcliffe began to branch out to stage acting in 2007, starring in the London and New York productions of Equus, and in the 2011 Broadway revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He starred in the 2012 horror film The Woman in Black, and played beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the 2013 independent film Kill Your Darlings. He has contributed to many charities, including Demelza House Children's Hospice and The Trevor Project. He also made public service announcements for the latter. In 2011, he was awarded the Trevor Project's "Hero Award."
Early life and education
Radcliffe was born in West London, England. He is the only child of Alan George Radcliffe, a literary agent, and Marcia Jeannine Gresham (née Marcia Gresham Jacobson), a casting agent who was involved in several films for the BBC, including The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Walk Away and I Stumble. His father is from "a very working-class" Protestant background in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland. His mother is Jewish; she was born in South Africa and raised in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. Her family had originally come from Poland and Russia. Radcliffe's parents had both acted as children.
Radcliffe first expressed a desire to act at the age of five, and in December 1999, aged 10, he made his acting debut in BBC One's televised two-part adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield, portraying the title character as a young boy. He was educated at two independent schools for boys: Sussex House School, a day school in Chelsea's Cadogan Square, and the City of London School, a day school on the North Bank of the River Thames in London's financial district (known as the City of London). Attending school became difficult for Radcliffe after the release of the first Harry Potter film, with some fellow pupils becoming hostile, though he says it was people just trying to "have a crack at the kid that plays Harry Potter" rather than jealousy.
As his acting career began to consume his schedule, Radcliffe continued his education through on-set tutors. He admitted he was not very good at school, considering it useless and finding the work "really difficult." He achieved A grades in the three AS-level exams that he took in 2006, but decided to take a break from education and did not go to college or university. Part of his reasoning was that he already knew he wanted to act and write, and that it would be difficult to have a normal college experience. "The paparazzi, they'd love it," he told Details magazine in 2007. "If there were any parties going on, they'd be tipped off as to where they were."
Radcliffe made his film debut in The Tailor of Panama, an American 2001 film based on John le Carré's 1996 spy novel, and a moderate commercial success. In 2002 he made his stage debut as a celebrity guest in a West End theatre production of The Play What I Wrote, directed by Kenneth Branagh – who also appeared with him in the second Harry Potter film.
In 2000, producer David Heyman asked Radcliffe to audition for the role of Harry Potter for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the best-selling book by British author J. K. Rowling. Rowling had been searching for an unknown British actor to personify the character; however, Radcliffe's parents did not want him to audition for the role, as the contract required shooting all seven films in Los Angeles, California, and so they did not tell him. The movie's director Chris Columbus recalled thinking, "This is what I want. This is Harry Potter", after he saw a video of the young actor in David Copperfield. Eight months later, and after several auditions, Radcliffe was selected to play the part. Rowling also endorsed the selection saying, "I don't think Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry." Radcliffe's parents originally turned down the offer, as they had been told that it would involve six films shot in Los Angeles. Warner Bros. instead offered Radcliffe a two-movie contract with shooting in the UK though, when signing up, Radcliffe was unsure if he would do any more pictures.
The release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (released as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States) took place in 2001. The story follows Harry, a young boy who learns he is a wizard and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to begin his education; gaining the help of friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) along the way. Radcliffe received a seven figure salary for the lead role, but asserted that the fee was "not that important" to him; his parents chose to invest the money for him. The film broke records for opening-day sales and opening-weekend takings, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2001. With a total of US$974 million in ticket sales, Philosopher's Stone stands as the second most commercially successful in the series behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, the final installment.
The adaptation was met with positive reviews and critics took notice of Radcliffe: "Radcliffe is the embodiment of every reader's imagination. It is wonderful to see a young hero who is so scholarly looking and filled with curiosity and who connects with very real emotions, from solemn intelligence and the delight of discovery to deep family longing," wrote Bob Graham of the San Francisco Chronicle.
A year later Radcliffe starred in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second installment of the series. Reviewers were positive about the lead actors' performances but had polarised opinions on the movie as a whole. Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post labelled it "big, dull and empty". Observing that Radcliffe and his peers had matured, Los Angeles Times 's staff writer Kenneth Turan believed the novel's magic could not be successfully duplicated in the film. Nonetheless, it still managed to earn US$878 million, taking the second spot of the highest-grossing 2002 films worldwide behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
The 2004 release Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was the third film in the series. While garnering the highest critical acclaim of the series at that point and grossing US$795.6 million worldwide, the film's performance at the box office ranks the lowest in the series. Radcliffe's performance was panned by New York Times journalist A. O. Scott, who wrote that Watson had to carry him with her performance. Next was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005. The film set records for a Harry Potter opening weekend, as well as for a non-May opening weekend in the US and in the UK. The film eventually grossed US$896 million worldwide, and the film was the second-highest grossing Harry Potter film at that point. In a 2005 interview, Radcliffe singled out the humour as being a reason for the movie's creative success.
Despite the success of the previous four movies, the future of the franchise was put into question when all three lead actors were unsure about signing on to continue their roles for the final two episodes; however, by 2 March 2007 Radcliffe had signed for the final films, which put an end to weeks of press "speculation that he would be denied the role due to his involvement in Equus". Radcliffe reprised his role for the fourth time in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), which details Harry's return to Hogwarts after his encounter with Lord Voldemort in the previous film. It opened to positive responses from the press; IGN movie critic Steven Horn found Order of the Phoenix to be one of "those rare films that exceeds the source material" and Colin Bertram of New York's Daily News dubbed it the best movie in the series. Radcliffe stated that director David Yates and actress Imelda Staunton made Order of the Phoenix the "most fun" film in the series to work on. His performance earned several award nominations, and he received the 2008 National Movie Award for "Best Male Performance." As his fame and the series continued, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson left imprints of their hands, feet, and wands in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
In July 2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released, the series' sixth installment. The film did considerably better than the previous movie, breaking the then-record for biggest midnight US showings with US$22.2 million at 3,000 theatres, and was the biggest ever Wednesday-opening in the UK, with US$7.6 million at 1,305 screens. Half-Blood Prince achieved a total of US$933 million ticket sales and was one of the most positively reviewed of the series among film critics, who praised the film's "emotionally satisfying" story, direction, cinematography, visuals and music. Radcliffe received nominations for "Best Male Performance" and "Global Superstar" at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards.
For financial and scripting reasons the last book was divided into two films, shot back to back, which drew criticism from the series' fanbase. Radcliffe defended the split, pointing out that it would have been impossible to properly adapt the final novel into a single film. He added that the last movie was going to be extremely fast-paced with a lot of action, while the first part would be far more sedate, focusing on character development; he added that, had they combined them, those things would not have made it to the final cut. Filming lasted for a year, concluding in June 2010 and on the last day of shooting, like most of the cast and crew, Radcliffe openly wept. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010) was about Harry, Ron and Hermione leaving Hogwarts to track down Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, objects in which Voldemort has left part of his soul. The film was released in November and grossed over US$950 million. Its most lucrative territory was the UK, where it reportedly had the highest-grossing three-day opening in history; while its earnings of US$205 million, in 91 markets, made it the highest ever top-grossing non-US opening for a non-summer picture, and "the fourth-biggest-grossing international opening ever." The movie received mostly favourable reviews in the media.
The final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, was released worldwide starting on 13 July 2011 in Australia. The film concerns the battle against Voldemort's followers in Hogwarts, along with Harry's final climactic duel with Voldemort. Radcliffe, along with the film, was critically acclaimed: Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post asked, "Who could have predicted that Radcliffe, Grint and Watson would turn out to be good actors?"; similarly, Rex Reed said: "Frankly, I’m sorry to see [Radcliffe] go"; while Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers commented on Radcliffe: "Well played, sir." Roger Ebert gave the film a highly positive review, but felt that Radcliffe, Grint and Watson were "upstaged by the supporting [actors]." The film broke several box office records, including biggest midnight release, biggest first-day opening, and biggest opening-weekend. Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is currently the 4th highest-grossing film of all time with more than US$1.3 billion worldwide.
Radcliffe admitted that some people would never be able to separate him from the character, but also said he is "proud to be associated with this film series forever." Despite positive feelings about the movies, he has no interest in doing more Harry Potter films. After Rowling hinted about writing an eighth book, Radcliffe was asked if he would do another film to which he replied: "[It is] very doubtful. I think 10 years is a long time to spend with one character." Despite devoting so much time to the series, Radcliffe has asserted that he did not miss out on a childhood like other child actors: "I’ve been given a much better perspective on life by doing Potter."
In 2008, Radcliffe revealed that he suffers from a mild form of the neurological disorder developmental coordination disorder. The motor skill disorder sometimes gets so bad that he has trouble doing simple activities, such as writing or tying his own shoelaces. "I was having a hard time at school, in terms of being crap at everything, with no discernible talent," Radcliffe commented. In August 2010, he stopped drinking alcohol after finding himself becoming too reliant on it.
Sources disagree about Radcliffe's personal wealth; he was reported to have earned £1 million for the first Harry Potter film and around £15 million for the sixth. Radcliffe appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2006, which estimated his personal fortune to be £14 million, making him one of the richest young people in the UK. In March 2009 he was ranked number one on the Forbes "Most Valuable Young Stars" list, and by April The Daily Telegraph measured his net worth at £30m, making him the 12th richest young person in the UK. Radcliffe was considered to be the richest teenager in England later that year. In February 2010 he was named the sixth highest paid Hollywood male star and placed at number five on Forbes 's December list of Hollywood's highest-grossing actors with a film revenue of US$780 million, mainly due to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows being released that year.
Radcliffe maintains a home in the West Village of Lower Manhattan in New York City. As of October 2012, Radcliffe has been dating Erin Darke, whom he met on the set of Kill Your Darlings.