Band of Brothers
British actor Damian Lewis was noted in his native England for his stage and TV roles before captivating American audiences with his Best Actor Golden Globe nominated performance as commanding officer Major Richard Winters in the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" (2001). He portrayed Soames Forsyte in the British miniseries "The Forsyte Saga" (2002) and "The Forsyte Saga: To Let" (2003) and currently stars as Detective Charlie Crews in the NBC new series ''Life'' (2007).
On the big screen, the up and coming actor played the lead in such films as ''Dreamcatcher'' (2003), ''Keane'' (2004), ''An Unfinished Life'' (2005) and "Stormbreaker" (2006). He will star in the upcoming films "The Escapist," with Brian Cox and Joseph Fiennes, and "Love and Virtue," alongside John Malkovich, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah and Peter O'Toole.
On a more personal note, the 6' 1" red-haired actor was romantically linked with Katie Razzall (born in 1971; works for Channel Four; began relationship in 2001) before marrying acclaimed British actress Helen McCrory, with whom he has two children.
Childhood and Family:
Son to an insurance broker (his father is Watcyn Lewis and his mother is Charlotte Lewis who died in a car accident in India in 2000), Damian Watcyn Lewis was born on February 11, 1971, in St. John's Wood, London, England. He was raised on the famous Abbey Road alongside his siblings Gareth, William and Amanda. In 1979, he attended Ashdown House boarding school in Sussex, where he was active in sports and in the school's annual Gilbert and Sullivan productions. He then went to Eton College, in Berkshire, England, where he excelled at soccer, cricket and golf while also being actively involved with student drama groups.
Damian formed his own theater company at the age of 16 and worked in South London before traveling around Africa. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama alongside fellow students and future successful actors Daniel Craig and Joseph Fiennes from 1990 to 1993.
In February 2006, Damian became engaged to acclaimed British actress Helen McCrory (born August 17, 1968), who portrayed Cherie Blair, the wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen) in the Helen Mirren's Oscar-winning film ''The Queen'' (2006). They were married on July 4, 2007, and currently live in Tufnell Park and Los Angeles. The couple has two children, a daughter named Manon (born on September 8, 2006) and a son named Gulliver (born on November 2, 2007).
Damian is an active supporter of several humanitarian organizations and became a trade justice ambassador for Christian Aid in February 2006. He also served as a host of the documentary ''Bolvia for Sale,'' which was filmed on location in Bolivia.
The Forsyte Saga
Graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1993, Damian Lewis joined the Birmingham Repertory and acted in "Rope" and "Romeo and Juliet." He made his British TV debut in bit part in "Rik Mayell Presents: Mickey Love" (1993; Granada Television) and undertook the title role in "Hamlet" (1994), which was produced at an open-air theater in Regent's Park. The following year, he appeared in "Hamlet" again, but this time played a smaller role at the Almeida Theatre. The play would later mark Lewis' American theatrical debut as it was imported for a limited run on Broadway.
After playing a guest role as a medical student who becomes a murder suspect in 1995’s ''Hickory Dickory Dock'' episode of the ITV popular detective series "Poirot" and another guest role in ITV's "A Touch of Frost," Lewis made his feature film debut, supporting Pierce Brosnan, in the adaptation of Daniel Defoe's classic novel about the English castaway, "Robinson Crusoe" (1997). He then returned to stage in the Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) production of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's 1894 play "Little Eyolf" and William Shakespeare's classic comedy "Much Ado about Nothing.”
Lewis was injured in a motorcycle accident in 1998 and suffered a concussion in the frontal lobe of his brain. However, he returned to performing three weeks later in "Much Ado about Nothing" and reprised his RSC role of Posthumous in "Cymbeline" at the Kennedy Center (DC). He also gathered good reviews in the dual roles of Cinderella's Prince and the Wolf in the short-lived Donmar production of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical "Into the Woods" (1998-1999).
In 1999, Lewis could be seen alongside Matthew Macfadyen and Ioan Gruffudd in the BBC One serial drama "Warriors" (aired in the USA on BBC America in 2001 under the title "Peacekeepers"). In the show, Lewis portrayed a British soldier named Lt. Neil Loughrey.
Entering the new millennium, Lewis played bad guy Kurt Glemser in the low-budgeted British sci-fi thriller series "Life Force." He was also cast as a man whose wife is secretly in love with his brother, in the contemporary BBC seven-part drama "Hearts and Bones."
2001 saw Lewis score his biggest breakthrough when famous director Steven Spielberg handed him the lead role of Major Richard D. Winters in the HBO/BBC Emmy-winning miniseries "Band of Brothers" (2001), based on the book of the same title written by historian and biographer Stephen Ambrose. For his outstanding performance in the critically acclaimed miniseries, the British actor was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television and a Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television. He also won an award at the Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming.
Following his star-making lead in "Band of Brothers," Lewis portrayed Soames Forsyte in the British TV successful 2002 remake of John Galsworthy's novel, "The Forsyte Saga" (2002), alongside Gina McKee, Rupert Graves and Amanda Root. He later reprised the main character in an adaptation of the saga's last book, "The Forsyte Saga: To Let" (2003). About his character in "The Forsyte Saga," Lewis described, "He's fastidious, smug and conceited, but he's also a person capable of love, though unfortunately unable to express it in a satisfactory way, especially to a young woman. He understands life in terms of contracts, property and duty and if any of those things is threatened, he falls apart. He can be cruel and small-minded, but that's often generated by this repressed passion that he's unable to express fully, or successfully, or healthily."
Damian also landed the lead role in the film version of Stephen King's thriller novel, "Dreamcatcher" (2002). He was cast as Gary 'Jonesy' Jones, one of four childhood friends (Timothy Olyphant, Jason Lee and Thomas Jane) in the movie. About his role in the film, Lewis revealed, "I play a soft-spoken college professor, a really sweet guy. He's one of four friends who have known each other since childhood. He gets hit by a car and ends up with telepathic powers. You cut to six months later; they're all in a cabin in the woods on a hunting weekend. Then aliens land and the movie takes a different direction. I get possessed by an alien and I walk around killing people."
In 2004, Lewis was nominated for the Breakthrough Award at the Gotham Awards for his role in the independent, low-budget film executive-produced by Steven Soderbergh, "Keane." The film premiered at the 2004 Telluride Film Festival and was also screened at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. It won both the critics award and the July special prize at the 2005 Deauville American Film Festival before getting a limited New York only theatre release on September 9, 2005.
Meanwhile, Lewis also starred as an American photographer who falls for a mail order bride in the period romantic drama "Nyfes" (2004) and co-starred with Penélope Cruz, Ben Chaplin, Ralph Fiennes, Ian Holm, Rhys Ifans and Kristin Scott Thomas in writer/director Martha Fiennes' "Chromophobia" (2005). He also played the lead in the made-for-TV movies "Colditz" (2005), "Friends & Crocodiles" (2005) and "Much Ado about Nothing" (2005).
Lewis subsequently played Jennifer Lopez's abusive boyfriend in Swedish director Lasse Hallström's "An Unfinished Life" (2005; also starring Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman), and was cast as Yassen Gregorovich, a famed assassin who killed Ewan McGregor's spy character, in Geoffrey Sax's adaptation of the best-selling novel in the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz, "Stormbreaker" (2006; starring newcomer Alex Pettyfer). He was also cast opposite Connie Nielsen in the Iraq war drama, "The Situation" (2006).
More recently, Lewis starred as the title role in writer/director Gareth Lewis' comedy "The Baker" (2007; opposite Michael Gambon) and portrayed Prime Minister Tony Blair in the comedic TV movie "Confessions of a Diary Secretary." He currently plays the main character of Charlie Crews in the American detective television series ''Life,'' which premiered on NBC on September 26, 2007.
Lewis is currently working on his upcoming film projects, "The Escapist," a thriller by director Rupert Wyatt that stars Brian Cox and Joseph Fiennes, and "Love and Virtue," Raoul Ruiz's magical, haunting epic adventure based on the captivating legends of "The Song of Roland" (La Chanson de Roland) and Orlando Innamorato, in which Lewis will co-star with John Malkovich, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah and Peter O'Toole.
Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming: Golden FIPA--TV Series and Serials: Actor, "Band of Brothers," 2002