Born on December 12, 1949 in Caterham, Surrey, England, Bill Nighy is an award-winning British character actor. After trying his hand at a number of jobs, including journalism, Nighy wound up training at Guildford School of Dance and Drama in London, and has since then worked consistently in film, television, and on stage.
Nighy is perhaps best-known to international audiences for his memorable performance as washed-up pop singer Billy Mack in Love Actually (2003), which won him a BAFTA for best supporting actor. He has also made appearances in major franchises: he played vampire leader Viktor in Underworld (2003), Underworld: Evolution (2006) and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009), did the performance capture and voice for Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007), and made a brief appearance as Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010).
Nighy's recent film credits include roles in I Capture the Castle (2003), Shaun of the Dead (2004), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), The Constant Gardener (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006), Hot Fuzz (2007), Valkyrie (2008) and Pirate Radio (2009). He has also provided voice work for many animated movies in the past few years including Flushed Away (2006), Astro Boy (2009), Rango (2011) and Arthur Christmas (2011).
With supporting turns in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), Wrath of the Titans (2012) and Total Recall (2012), 2012 was a busy year for Nighy. There are no signs of slowing down either, as he will next been seen in I, Frankenstein (2014), Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) and About Time (2013).
Nighy has also had an active career on the small screen, beginning with "Agony" (1979), and his first widely-recognized role was in 1991 mini-series "The Men's Room" (1991). He has also made a habit of working on television with Harry Potter director David Yates: projects together include "State of Play" (2003), The Young Visiters (2003) (TV), The Girl in the Café (2005) (TV) and Page Eight (2011) (TV). Nighy won a Golden Globe for his performance in Gideon's Daughter (2005) (TV).
Nighy actually began his career on the stage, and has earned acclaim for his work in numerous plays including "The Vertical Hour," "Pravda" and "A Map of the World." He received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance in 2001 play "Blue/Orange."
Nighy has one daughter with long-time partner Diana Quick.
Bill Nighy was born on December 12th 1949 in Caterham, Surrey. His father managed a garage in Croydon and his mother worked as a psychiatric nurse. At school he gained 'O'-levels in English Language and English Literature and enjoyed reading, particularly Ernest Hemingway. On leaving school he wanted to become a journalist but didn't have the required qualifications. He eventually went on to work as a messenger boy for the Field magazine. He stayed in Paris for a while because he wanted to write "the great novel", but he only managed to write the title. When he ran out of money, the British consul shipped him home. A girlfriend suggested that he should become an actor, so he trained at Guildford School of Dance and Drama. Since then he has found continuous work as an actor, on stage, screen and radio. His stage work includes National Theatre roles in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia in 1993, David Hare's Skylight and Blue Orange. Bill's partner was actress Diana Quick (he asked her to marry him but she said: "don't ask me again", he called her his wife because anything else would have been too difficult). They have a daughter, Mary Nighy, who is studying at university and contemplating an acting career. She has already began to appear on TV dramas and radio programs.IMDb Mini Biography By: Dianne Martin
His gaunt, pale appearance
Played the part of "Sam Gamgee" in the original BBC radio production of The Lord of the Rings alongside Ian Holm as "Frodo". Peter Jackson (director of the The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)) gave this version to those members of his cast who hadn't read the book.
He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 (2000 season) for Best Actor in his performance of Blue/Orange at the Royal National Theatre, Cottesloe Stage.
Was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in June 2004.
Has Dupuytren's Contracture, a hereditary condition which causes the ring and little fingers of each hand to be permanently bent inwards towards the palm.
He has played three different undead characters. He was a zombie in Shaun of the Dead. He was a vampire in Underworld and Underworld: Evolution. He plays Davy Jones in the two Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.
Has worked with three actors who have played Bilbo Baggins. In the BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo was played by John Le Mesurier, while Frodo was played by Ian Holm, who played Bilbo in Peter Jackson's films. Holm was later succeeded by Martin Freeman, whom Nighy has worked with several times: Love Actually (2003), Shaun of the Dead (2004), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and Hot Fuzz (2007).
I got briefly mistaken for someone who might be good in bed, which was very, very good.
I wanted to be a journalist, I thought it was glamorous and that I'd meet beautiful women in the rain.
I've always slightly worried about the kids who play football around my house. They know I'm an actor, but felt sorry for me because they'd never seen anything I've done.
"The British consul shipped me home for 25 quid and I had to pay my father back, he was a wee bit cross." (about being in Paris)
You come to realise there is this huge disparity between what you think about yourself and your work and what other people think about you and your work, at first you either think they're insane or that it's a conspiracy to make you look stupid. Or maybe, just maybe, they're right, and you're sometimes quite good at what you do.
There's a bit in Performance, one of my favourite films - with James Fox giving one of my favourite performances - and there's a scene where he's getting ready, and there's a bit where he arranges his Playboy lighter, and the magazines, and the ashtray, perfectly symmetrically aligned on the coffee table, the funky coffee table. And then he gets his tie and his shirt absolutely fabulous, and the hair is right - and I love it with all my heart, and I love the whole movie, and I love him in it... And then, he looks in the mirror and says: 'I am a bullet.' And my heart goes boom.
I don't smoke now, which is marvellous. My only addictions are caffeine and sugar.
I even wear a suit for improvisation workshops, rolling around. Well, acting's a white-collar job, you know? You wear a suit.
I hate design which has nothing to do with function. When I first went to work and had digs, I would arrange that there was nothing in my room, just a bed and a chair. It was like a cell. And I once saw this thing on the telly where there were these two guys who lived in a minimalist house. Absolutely nothing in it, but they had a deal that if they left their shoes on the stairs in an interesting shape, and they both agreed, they could leave them there. I understand that.
There was a time when you were supposed to question everything the director said, to create some kind of conflict, out of which creativity would be born. But I love it when they tell you what to do, you know: "Start there, walk over there, say the line and I'll shout: Cut!" I think it's groovy. When we were filming with Steven Poliakoff, his first note to me - he prefaced it with: "That was marvellous", which is always a good start - anyway, his note was: "Don't wiggle your eyes about so much," and you know, my heart leapt. Because I know that. I know how to not make my eyes wiggle about.
You know, there may be periods when you're unemployed. Great. You'll never know what will happen from one minute to the next. Yeah, fabulous. You don't know what money you're going to be making in 25 years' time. Yeah, baby! It's like being a gambler, and when I was 18, that was music.
If you're in a play and you have the same jokes to deliver, eight times a week, it's endlessly fascinating, just trying to hit it each time, and maybe a little bit quicker, a little bit later, trying to feel the air in which you're about to place it. To have 400 people laugh at the same time, you would go to your grave trying to get it right. And it's also very glamorous when it's on film, because you're not there. I love it when a producer phones up and says: "It played very well in France. They were laughing." In France.
I am a world-class procrastinator. I'm only an actor because I've been putting off being a writer for 35 years.
I speculate to be sociable, but it's a very big deal for me that any work I do should be well received. As for how people generally perceive me, I don't know.
The director (Gore Verbinski) asked me to do Dutch, and I don't do Dutch. So I decided on Scottish. - on his Scottish accent for Davy Jones in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
I used to think that prizes were demeaning and divisive, until I got one, and now they seem sort of meaningful and real. (On winning a Golden Globe in 2007)
[on the National Public Radio program "Fresh Air," after having been asked about having "developed" a drinking problem during the 1970s and '80s] I don't want to talk about this at length. But I will say a couple of things, and if you'll forgive me, I won't say anything further. One is that I didn't develop a drinking problem. I am one of those people who is built in such a way that I have, from the very beginning, an unfortunate relationship with alcohol. So there was never a good time for me to have a drink. Then there's one further thing I will say, but I'd rather not say anything further, just for reasons that we don't have to go into it. Not because I have any shame in this area; I'm a sober alcoholic, it's a perfectly respectable thing to be and I've made arrangements about it. But I will say that I used to drink and it was absolutely terrible, and now I don't drink and it's absolutely marvelous. And that's as much as I'd like to say. Thanks.
(September 2008) Filming Wild Target with Emily Blunt and Rupert Grint.
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