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Broadbent, Jim Biography




biography of Broadbent, Jim

James Broadbent
24 May 1949, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, UK
6' 2"
One of England's most versatile character actors, Jim Broadbent was born on May 24, 1949, in Lincolnshire, the youngest son of furniture maker Roy Broadbent and sculptress Dee Broadbent. Jim attended a Quaker boarding school in Reading before successfully applying for a place at an art school. His heart was in acting, though, and he would later transfer to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Following his 1972 graduation, he began his professional career on the stage, performing with the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and as part of the National Theatre of Brent, a two-man troupe which he co-founded. In addition to his theatrical work, Broadbent did steady work on television, working for such directors as 'Mike Newell (I)' (qv) and 'Stephen Frears' (qv). Broadbent made his film debut in 1978 with a small part in 'Jerzy Skolimowski' (qv)'s _The Shout (1978)_ (qv). He went on to work with Frears again in _The Hit (1984)_ (qv) and with 'Terry Gilliam' (qv) in _Time Bandits (1981)_ (qv) and _Brazil (1985)_ (qv), but it was through his collaboration with 'Mike Leigh (I)' (qv) that Broadbent first became known to an international film audience. In 1990 he starred in Leigh's _Life Is Sweet (1990)_ (qv), a domestic comedy that cast him as a good-natured cook who dreams of running his own business. Broadbent gained further visibility the following year with substantial roles in 'Neil Jordan (I)' (qv)'s _The Crying Game (1992)_ (qv) and 'Mike Newell (I)' (qv)'s _Enchanted April (1991)_ (qv), and he could subsequently be seen in such diverse fare as 'Woody Allen' (qv)'s _Bullets Over Broadway (1994)_ (qv), _Widows' Peak (1994)_ (qv), 'Richard Loncraine' (qv)'s highly acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare's _Richard III (1995)_ (qv) and _Little Voice (1998)_ (qv), the last of which cast him as a seedy nightclub owner. Appearing primarily as a character actor in these films, Broadbent took center stage for Leigh's _Topsy-Turvy (1999)_ (qv), imbuing the mercurial W.S. Gilbert with emotional complexity and comic poignancy. Jim's breakthrough year was 2001, as he starred in three critically and commercially successful films. Many would consider him the definitive supporting actor of that year. First he starred as Bridget's dad (Colin Jones) in _Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)_ (qv), which propelled 'Renée Zellweger' (qv) to an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Next came the multiple Oscar-nominated film (including Best Picture) _Moulin Rouge! (2001)_ (qv), for which he won a Best Supporting Actor BAFTA award for his scene-stealing performance as Harold Zidler. Lastly, came the small biopic _Iris (2001/I)_ (qv), for which he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as devoted husband John Bayley to 'Judi Dench' (qv)'s Iris Murdoch, the British novelist who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. The film hit home with Jim, since his own mother had passed away from Alzheimer's in 1995.
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-   'Anastasia Lewis' (1987 - present)


-   Graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in 1972.

-   He is the son of Roy Broadbent, who was involved in converting a Methodist Church into a theater. It was later renamed the Broadbent Theater after his death in 1971.

-   Honorary President of the Lindsey Rural Players

-   Voice of Vroomfondel in the BBC radio series version of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

-   Shortly after winning his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in _Iris (2001/I)_ (qv), he was interviewed by 'Joan Rivers' (qv), who apparently didn't even know what nationality he was. On live TV, Rivers said, "Here we have Jim Broadbent, all the way from Australia. You're Australian aren't you?" But there were to be no tantrums from the star - the mild-mannered actor replied, "No, I'm British."

-   At The Orange British Academy Film Awards on Monday January 28th 2002, he was nominated for the best Performance by an Actor in a leading role Award for his role in the film Iris.

-   His mother, who died in 1995, suffered from Alzheimer's Disease.

-   Nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for Winnie-the-Pooh.

-   In 2001, appeared in _Moulin Rouge! (2001)_ (qv) with 'Nicole Kidman' (qv), _Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)_ (qv) with 'Renée Zellweger' (qv) and _Iris (2001/I)_ (qv) with 'Judi Dench' (qv). All three of these women were nominated for Best Actress for their roles.

-   Is the only Oscar-winning actor in the Superman films who has only won a single Oscar. Marlon Brando won for On the Waterfront and The Godfather; Gene Hackman for The French Connection and Unforgiven; and Kevin Spacey for The Usual Suspects and American Beauty. Broadbent only won for Iris.

-   Was offered the part of Del Boy in BBC's Sitcom "Only Fools and Horses", but declined the role. But he did guest-star in three episodes of the show.

-   He allegedly declined the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to drama in 2002.

-   Plays former President 'Richard Nixon' (qv) in _Dirty Tricks (2000) (TV)_ (qv). Nixon was previously played by 'Anthony Hopkins (I)' (qv) in _Nixon (1995)_ (qv). Hopkins also appeared in _Shadowlands (1993)_ (qv) as 'C.S. Lewis' (qv), author of _The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)_ (qv), in which Broadbent appeared.

-   He won an Oscar for playing John Bayley in _Iris (2001/I)_ (qv), making him one of 12 actors to win the Award for playing a real person who was still alive at the evening of the Award ceremony (as of 2007). The other ten actors and their respective performances are: 'Spencer Tracy (I)' (qv) for playing Father Edward Flanagan in _Boys Town (1938)_ (qv), 'Gary Cooper (I)' (qv) for playing Alvin C. York in _Sergeant York (1941)_ (qv), 'Patty Duke' (qv) for playing Helen Keller in _The Miracle Worker (1962)_ (qv), 'Jason Robards' (qv) for playing Benjamin Bradlee in _All the President's Men (1976)_ (qv), 'Robert De Niro' (qv) for playing Jake La Motta in _Raging Bull (1980)_ (qv), 'Sissy Spacek' (qv) for playing Loretta Lynn in _Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)_ (qv), 'Jeremy Irons' for playing Claus Von Bullow in _Reversal of Fortune_ (1990), 'Susan Sarandon' (qv) for playing Sister Helen Prejean in _Dead Man Walking (1995)_ (qv), 'Geoffrey Rush' (qv) for playing David Helfgott in _Shine (1996)_ (qv), 'Julia Roberts (I)' (qv) for playing Erin Brockovich in _Erin Brockovich (2000)_ (qv), 'Helen Mirren' (qv) for playing Queen Elizabeth II in _The Queen (2006)_ (qv) and most recently 'Sandra Bullock' for playing Leigh Anne Tuohy in _The Blind Side (2009)_ (qv).

-   Considered for the role of Wilbur Turnblad in _Hairspray (2007)_ (qv).

-   Has played the husband of 'Iris Murdoch' (qv) and 'Margaret Thatcher (I)' (qv). Two notable figures who - as portrayed in each film - eventually succumbed to Alzheimer's disease.

-   He is the only actor to star in both a Harry Potter and Superman film.


-   Supplies the voice of Percy in the children's animated series "Percy The Park Keeper".

-   Appeared on the album version of _"The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" (1981)_ (qv)

-   (July 2005): Plays Edward Lionheart in "Theatre of Blood" play by Lee Simpson and Phelim McDermott, based on the MGM-Sam Jaffe-Harbor Prods. film (idea by Stanley Mann and John Kohn, screenplay by Anthony Greville-Bell) (National Theatre, London, England, UK).

-   Appears in the music video "Come What May" by Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman

-   TV commercial for Sky television.

-   Alongside Patrick Barlow's Desmond Olivier Dingle, he was the entire acting company of the National Theatre of Brent. His character Wallis was the longest serving of any of the NTOBs acting company.

-   (1979) He acted and directed Mike Leigh's play, "Ecstasy," at the Hampstead Theatre in Hampstead, London, England with Julie Walters, Ron Cook, and Stephen Rea in the cast.

-   (1989) He acted in Georges Feydeau's play, "A Flea in Her Ear," at the Old Vic Theatre in London, England with Roger Lloyd-Pack, David Ross, Linda Marlowe, Rosalind Knight, and Steven Beard in the cast. Richard Jones was director.

-   (1982) He acted in Tom Stoppard's play, "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour," at the Barbican Theatre in London, England with Ian McKellen, Jeremy Dimmick, Patrick Stewart, David Suchet, and Thelma Whiteley in the cast. Trevor Nunn was director. Andre Previn conducted the London Symphony Orchestra.

-   (1985) He acted in Nikolai Gogol's play, "The Government Inspector," in a British National Theatre production at the Olivier Theatre in London, England with Rik Mayall, Ian Bartholomew, Ron Pember, Tim McInnery, and Nigel Le Vaillant in the cast. Richard Eyre was director.

-   (January 1988 to June 1988; August 1988 to December 1988) She acted in the British National Theatre Repertoire Season at the Cottesloe Theatre, Lyttelton Theatre, and Olivier Theatre in London, England in John Ford's play, "'Tis A Pity She's A Whore;" Alan Ayckbourn's play, "A Small Family Business;" Athol Fugard's play, "A Place with the Pigs;" William Shakespeare's plays, "Antony and Cleopatra," "Cymbeline," "The Tempest," and "The Winter's Tale;" Ben Jonson's play, "Bartholomew Fair;" Tennessee Williams's play, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof;" play, "Countrymania;" A.R. Gurney's play, "Entertaining Strangers;" David Hare's plays, "Fanshen," and "Secret Rapture;" Brian Friel's plays, "Fathers and Sons," and "Making History;" Lope De Vega's play, "Fuente Ovejuna;" Adrian Mitchell's play, "Love Songs of World War III;" Harold Pinter's play, "Mountain Language;" Nicholas Wright's play, "Mrs Klein;" Arnold Wesker's play, "Roots;" Caroline Chapmans' play, "Russell of the Times;" Alan Bennett's play, "Single Spies;" Thomas Middleton's play, "The Changeling;" August Strindberg and John Osborne's play, "The Father;" the play, "The Magic Olypmical Games;" David Wood's play, "The Pied Piper;" the play, "The Shaughraum;" Nick Ward's play, "The Strangeness of Others;" Nick Darke's play, "Ting Tang Mine;" and Samuel Beckett's play, "Waiting for Godot;" with Polly Adams, John Alderton, Francesca Annis, Eileen Atkins, Robin Bailey, Jill Baker, David Bamber, Jim Barclay, Gillian Barge, Alan Bennett, Richard Bonneville, Michael Bryant, David Burke, Simon Callow, Ian Charleson, Garry Cooper, Jonathan Cullen, Judi Dench, Sally Dexter, Paola Dionisotti, Russell Dixon, Lindsay Duncan, Nick Dunning, Robert Eddison, Ralph Fiennes, Susan Fleetwood, Mick Ford, Clive Francis, Michael Gambon, Henry Goodman, Rupert Graves, George Harris, Tony Haygarth, Guy Henry, Anthony Hopkins, Colin Jeavons, Barbara Jefford, Paul Jesson, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Mark Lockyer, Steven Mackintosh, Maggie McCarthy, Alec McCowen, Sylvester McCoy, Sarah Miles, Stephen Moore, Richard Pasco, Tim Pigott-Smith, Eric Porter, Stephen Rea, Paul Shelley, Kate Spiro, Alison Steadman, Ken Stott, Sian Thomas, Niall Tobin, Bridget Turner, Philip Voss, Julian Wadham, Zoe Wanamaker, John Wells, Penelope Wilton and Peter Woodward in the cast.

-   (1988) He acted in Athol Fugard's play, "A Place with the Pigs," in a British National Theatre production at the Cottesloe Theatre in London, England with Linda Bassett in the cast. Athol Fugard was also director.

-   (1981) He acted in Mike Leigh's play, "Goose-Pimples," at the Garrick Theatre in London, England with Marion Bailey, Jill Baker, Paul Jesson, and Antony Sher in the cast.

-   (1984) He acted in the play, "The Complete Guide to Sex," at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London, England with Patrick Barlow and Andrea Durant in the cast. Jude Kelly was director.

-   (1987) He acted in the play, "The Greatest Story Ever Told," in a National Theatre of Brent production at the Tricycle Theatre in London, England with Patrick Barlow in the cast. Martin Duncan was director.

-   (1989) He acted in Georges Feydeau's play, "A Flea in Her Ear," at the Old Vic Theatre in London, England with Linda Marlowe and David Ross in the cast. Richard Jones was director.


-   I love French films, and European films. They're not any bigger, but there's just a sort of definition, and a confidence, and strength to them. I'd always, given the option, go and see a French drama. Obviously, we probably get the better ones. But they're just sophisticated on many levels, and grown up, and quite profound - and we don't make films like that.

-   I always think you should be totally frivolous as much as you can, and then take the work seriously when it has to be taken seriously. As long as you can keep that balance going, it's good fun. If it's only frivolous it's not fun - it would drive me potty. On Iris, I'd never worked with Judi Dench before, but it was wonderful to realize that we worked in exactly the same way. Foolish for most of the time, then focusing on the work, clicking into it very quickly and naturally. There were a lot of laughs. Otherwise it could have been torture. Two months of being grueled.


-   "Radio Times" (UK), 15 April 2006, Vol. 329, Iss. 4280, pg. 40-41, by: Zoe Williams, "Broad appeal"

-   "The Advocate" (USA), 5 February 2002, pg. 53, by: Lawrence Ferber, "Oscar, Madonna and Jim"


-   "Entertainment Weekly" (USA), 5 April 2002, Vol. -, Iss. 647, pg. 39, by: Setve Daly, "Jim Dandy"

-   "Entertainment Weekly" (USA), 5 April 2002, Iss. 647, pg. 39, "Jim Dandy"

-   "Premiere" (USA), March 2002, Vol. 15, Iss. 7, pg. 32, by: Robert Abele, "Scene Stealer: Jim Broadbent"

-   "Entertainment Weekly" (USA), 22 February 2002, Vol. -, Iss. 640/641, pg. 62, by: Troy Patterson, "Best Supporting Actor: Jim Broadbent"

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