Nighy, Bill Biography
biography of Nighy, BillWilliam Francis Nighy
12 December 1949, Caterham, Surrey, England, UK
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)_ (qv), 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)_ (qv), _Underworld: Evolution (2006)_ (qv) and _Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)_ (qv), did the performance capture and voice for Davy Jones in _Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)_ (qv) and _Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)_ (qv), and made a brief appearance as Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour in _Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)_ (qv). Nighy's recent film credits include roles in _I Capture the Castle (2003)_ (qv), _Shaun of the Dead (2004)_ (qv), _The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)_ (qv), _The Constant Gardener (2005)_ (qv), _Notes on a Scandal (2006)_ (qv), _Hot Fuzz (2007)_ (qv), _Valkyrie (2008)_ (qv) and _The Boat That Rocked (2009)_ (qv). He has also provided voice work for many animated movies in the past few years including _Flushed Away (2006)_ (qv), _Astro Boy (2009)_ (qv), _Rango (2011)_ (qv) and _Arthur Christmas (2011)_ (qv). With supporting turns in _The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)_ (qv), _Wrath of the Titans (2012)_ (qv) and _Total Recall (2012)_ (qv), 2012 was a busy year for Nighy. There are no signs of slowing down either, as he will next been seen in _I, Frankenstein (2013)_ (qv), _Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)_ (qv) and _About Time (2013)_ (qv). Nighy has also had an active career on the small screen, beginning with _"Agony" (1979)_ (qv), and his first widely-recognized role was in 1991 mini-series _"The Men's Room" (1991)_ (qv). He has also made a habit of working on television with Harry Potter director 'David Yates (II)' (qv): projects together include _"State of Play" (2003)_ (qv), _The Young Visiters (2003) (TV)_ (qv), _The Girl in the Café (2005) (TV)_ (qv) and _Page Eight (2011) (TV)_ (qv). Nighy won a Golden Globe for his performance in _Gideon's Daughter (2005) (TV)_ (qv). 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 (I)' (qv).
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' (qv). 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 (I)' (qv) (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' (qv), who is studying at university and contemplating an acting career. She has already began to appear on TV dramas and radio programs.
- 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' (qv) as "Frodo". 'Peter Jackson (I)' (qv) (director of the _The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)_ (qv)) gave this version to those members of his cast who hadn't read the book.
- He is a huge fan of 'The Rolling Stones' (qv) and 'Bob Dylan' (qv).
- 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.
- Daughter, 'Mary Nighy' (qv) (born July 17, 1984) with 'Diana Quick (I)' (qv) who was his long-time partner.
- (1979) Played Samwise Gamgee in the BBC production of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" alongside 'Ian Holm' (qv) and 'Michael Hordern' (qv).
- 2001 - Played Robert in "Blue/ Orange", a new play by 'Joe Penhall' (qv) - National Theatre, London (2000)/ Duchess Theatre, London (2001).
- Played Mr Wisel in the radio production of "Yes, Minister" in the episode "Open Government", with 'Paul Eddington' (qv) and 'Nigel Hawthorne' (qv).
- (November 2006) Played on Broadway with 'Julianne Moore' (qv) in "The Vertical Hour", a new play by 'David Hare (I)' (qv), directed by Oscar-winner 'Sam Mendes (I)' (qv).
- Played in "Occupy!" - Everyman Theatre, Liverpool (1976).
- Played in "Illuminatus!", a nine-hour stage adaptation by 'Ken Campbell (I)' (qv) of the science fiction/fantasy trilogy of novels by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson - Liverpool Theatre of Science Fiction (1975)/ National Theatre, London (1977).
- Played Vernon in "Comings & Goings" by 'Mike Stott' (qv) - Hampstead Theatre Club, London (1978).
- Played in "The Warp" by 'Neil Oram' (qv) & 'Ken Campbell (I)' (qv) - Institute of Contemporary Arts, London/ Everyman Theatre, Liverpool (1979).
- Played Gorman in "Illuminations" by 'Peter Jenkins (I)' (qv) - Lyric Hammersmith, London (1980).
- Played Stephen Andrews in "Map of the World" - National Theatre, London (1983).
- Played Eaton Sylvester in "Pravda" - National Theatre, London (1985).
- Played Edgar in Shakespeare's "King Lear" - National Theatre, London (1986).
- Played Julian in "Mean Tears" - National Theatre, London (1987).
- Appeared in "Betrayal" by 'Harold Pinter' (qv) - Almeida Theatre, London (1991).
- Played Bernard Nightingale in "Arcadia", a new play by 'Tom Stoppard' (qv) - National Theatre, London (1993).
- Played Trigorin in Chekhov's "The Seagull" - National Theatre, London (1994).
- Played Andy in "A Kind of Alaska" by 'Harold Pinter' (qv) - Donmar Warehouse, London (1998).
- Played Timmy in "Speak Now" - Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (2004).
- Played Tom in "Skylight" by 'David Hare (I)' (qv) - Vaudeville Theatre, London (1995)/ UK tour (1997).
- (1980) He acted in Peter Jenkins' play, "Illuminations," was performed at Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London, England with Paul Eddington CBE, Nigel Stock, Judy Loe, and directed by Richard Cottrell.
- (1998) He acted in Harold Pinter's "The Collection, The Lover," and "A Kind of Alaska," at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre in London, England with Penelope Wilton OBE, Harold Pinter CBE, Douglas Hodge, Lia Williams, Colin McFarlane, directed by Joe Harmston.
- (2007) Reader of "Eric Clapton: The Autobiography" Audiobook
- (February 1983 to March 1983; July 1983 to September 1983) He acted in the British National Theatre Season Repertoire at the Cottesloe, Lyttelton, and Olivier Theatres in London, England in Frank Leosser's musical, "Guys and Dolls;" John Gay's play, "The Beggar's Opera;" Alan Ayckbourn's play, "Way Upstream;" Bertolt Brecht and Eisler's play, "Schweyk In the Second World War;" Oscar Wilde's play, "The Importance of Being Earnest;" Thomas Kyd's play, "The Spanish Tragedy;" David Hare's play, "A Map Of the World;" George Bernard Shaw's play, "Major Barbara;" Peter Gill's plays, "A Kick for Touch," and "Small Change;" William Shakespeare's play, "A Midsummer's Night Dream;" Harold Pinter's play, "Other Places;" Alfred Du Musset's play, "Lorenzaccio;" Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play, "The Rivals;" Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's play, "You Can't Take It With You;" Jean Giradoux's play, "The Trojan War Will Not Take Place;" John Marston and David A. Blostein's play, "The Fawn;" plays, "One Woman Plays;" Christopher Hampton's play, "Tales from Hollywood;" and David Mamet's play, "Glengarry Glen Ross;" with Clive Arrindell, Norman Beaton, Michael Bryant, Yvonne Bryceland, Kenneth Cranham, Annette Crosbie, Edward De Souza, Judi Dench, J.G. Devlin, Jane Downs, Susan Fleetwood, Barry Foster, Michael Gambon, Brian Glover, Stefan Gryff, Nigel Havers, Patricia Hayes, Tony Haygarth, James Hazeldine, Greg Hicks, Ronald Hines, Michael Hordern, Martin Jarvis, Karl Johnson, Paul Jones, Jane Lapotaire, James Laurenson, Patti Love, Brewster Mason, Anna Massey, Geraldine McEwan, Julia McKenzie, John Normington, Nicola Pagett, Bill Paterson, Trevor Peacock, Edward Petherbridge, Sian Philips, Diana Quick, Ralph Richardson, Paul Rogers, Patrick Ryecart, Paul Scofield, Roshan Seth, Fiona Shaw, Jack Shepherd, Belinda Sinclair, Imelda Staunton, Maggie Steed, Zoe Wanamaker June Watson, Billie Whitelaw, Penelope Wilton, and David Yelland in the cast.
- (1983) He acted in David Hare's play, "A Map of the World," in a British National Theatre production at the Lyttelton Theatre in London, England with Roshan Seth, Diana Quick, Stefan Gryff, and Ronald Hines in the cast. David Hare was also director.
- (1985) He acted in Howard Brenton and David Hare's play, "Pravda," in a British National Theatre production at the Olivier Theatre in London, England with Anthony Hopkins and Kate Buffery in the cast. David Hare was also director.
- (December 1985-January 1986) He acted in the British National Theatre Repertoire Season at the Cottesloe, Lyttelton, and Olivier Theatre in London, England in Peter Shaffer's play, "Yonadab;" Tom Stoppard's play, "The Real Inspector Hound;" Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play, "The Critic;" Alan Ayckbourn's play, "A Chorus of Disapproval;" Howard Brenton and David Hare's play, "Pravda;" William Congreve's play, "Love for Love;" George Bernard Shaw's play, "Mrs. Warren's Profession;" Richard Peaslee's play, "Animal Farm;" John Webster's play, "The Duchess of Malfi;" Anton Chekhov's play, "The Cherry Orchard;" Athol Fugard's play, "The Road to Mecca;" and William Shakespeare's play, "Hamlet;" with Robin Bailey, Ian Bartholomew, Alan Bates, Eleanor Bron, Michael Bryant, Yvonne Bryceland, Selina Cadell, Charlotte Cornwell, Gemma Craven, Michael Gambon, Sheila Hancock, Greg Hicks, Anthony Hopkins, Kelly Hunter, Jonathan Hyde, Sara Kestelman, Roy Kinnear, Leigh Lawson, Nigel Le Vaillant, Hugh Lloyd, Tim McInnery, Ian McKellen, Stephen Moore, Claire Moore, Wendy Morgan, Bob Peck, Edward Petherbridge, Joan Plowright, Amanda Redman, Moira Redmond, Imelda Staunton, and Jane Wenham in the cast.
- Starred as Richard in BCC Radio Four 2003 The Midwtich Cuckooos
- (January-February 1986, June 1986, October-December 1986) He acted in the British National Theatre Repertoire Season at the Cottesloe Theatre, Lyttelton Theatre, and Olivier Theatre in London, England in Peter Shaffer's play, "Yonadab;" Tom Stoppard's plays, "The Real Inspector Hound," and "Dalliance;" Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play, "The Critic;" Alan Ayckbourn's plays, "A Chorus of Disapproval," and "Tons of Money;" Howard Brenton's play, "Pravda;" Neil Simon's play, "Brighton Beach Memoirs;" William Congreve's play, "Love for Love;" George Bernard Shaw's play, "Mrs Warren's Profession;" John Webster's play, "The Duchess of Malfi,;" Charlotte Chandler's play, "Not About Heroes;" William Shakespeare's plays, "Hamlet," and "King Lear;" Athol Fugard's play, "The Road to Mecca;" Anton Chekhov's play, "The Cherry Orchard;" Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's play, "The Threepenny Opera;" Sarah Daniels's play, "Neaptide;" play, "Futurists;" David Wood's play, "The Pied Piper;" Richard Peaslee's play, "Animal Farm;" Franz Werfel's play, "Jacobowsky and The Colonel;" Arthur Wing Pinero's play, "The Magistrate;" David Hare's play, "The Bay At Nice;" Arthur Miller's play, "The American Clock;" Stephen Poliakoff's play, "Coming In To Land;" and Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz's play, "The Mother;" with Robin Bailey, Desmond Barrit, Alan Bates, Suzanne Bertish, Brenda Blethyn, Eleanor Bron, Michael Bryant, Yvonne Bryceland, Selina Cadell, Simon Cadell, David Calder, Charlotte Cornwell, Gemma Craven, Tim Curry, Daniel Day Lewis, Frances De La Tour, Sally Dexter, Russell Dixon, Simon Dutton, Julian Fellowes, Alison Fiske, Michael Gambon, Robert Glenister, Sheila Hancock, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Head, Greg Hicks, Clare Higgins, Anthony Hopkins, Kelly Hunter, Geoffrey Hutchings, Jonathan Hyde, Barry Ingham, Sara Kestelman, Roy Kinnear, Leigh Lawson, Nicholas Le Prevost, Nigel Le Vaillant, Hugh Lloyd, Stephen Mackintosh, Anna Massey, Tim McInnery, Ian McKellen, Claire Moore, Stephen Moore, Wendy Morgan, Bob Peck, Edward Petherbridge, Joan Plowright, Amanda Redman, Moira Redmond, Jack Shepherd, Michael Simkins, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Patrick Stewart, Ken Stott, Zoe Wanamaker, Marcia Warren, Jane Wenham, and Irene Worth in the cast.
- (1987) He acted in William Shakespeare's play, "King Lear," in a British National Theatre production at the Olivier Theatre in London, England with Anthony Hopkins, Michael Bryant, Douglas Hodge, and Anna Massey in the cast. Michael Rudman was director.
- (June 1987-July 1987; August 1987-December 1987) He acted in the British National Theatre Repertoire Season at the Cottesloe Theatre, Lyttelton Theatre, and Olivier Theatre in London, England in Alan Ayckbourn's plays, "A Small Family Business," and "Tons of Money;" William Shakespeare's play, "Antony and Cleopatra," and "King Lear;" Luigi Pirandello's play, "Six Characters In Search of An Author;" August Strindberg's play, "Miss Julie;" Ivan Turgenev and Brian Friel's play, "Fathers and Sons;" Moliere's play, "School for Wives;" Arthur Wing Pinero's play, "The Magistrate;" Henrik Ibsen's play, "Rosmersholm;" Frederico Garcia Lorca's play, "Yerma;" Arthur Miller's play, "A View from a Bridge;" John Cecil Holm and George Abbott's play, "Three Men on a Horse;" Thurston E. Temple's play, "The Wandering Jew;" Nick Darke's play, "Ting Tang Mine;" Peter Gill's play, "Mean Tears;" David Wood's play, "The Pied Piper;" A.R. Gurney's play, "Entertaining Strangers;" play, "Countrymania;" Samuel Beckett's play, "Waiting for Godot;" play, "Down Cemetery Road;" William Shakespeare's play, "Hamlet," by the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Stockholm, Sweden; William Shakespeare's play, "Macbeth," and Euripedes's play, "Medea," by the Ninagawa Company of Japan; and the play, "Tomorrow Was War," by the Mayakovsky Theatre Company of Russia with Robin Bailey, Desmond Barrit, Alan Bennett, Suzanne Bertish, Richard Bonneville, Michael Bryant, Simon Cadell, Garry Cooper, Gemma Craven, Julian Curry, Judi Dench, Sally Dexter, Paola Dionisotti, Russell Dixon, Robert Eddison, Ralph Fiennes, Julia Ford, Michael Gambon, Patrick Garland, Nigel Hawthorne, Barbara Hicks, Douglas Hodge, Anthony Hopkins, Celia Imrie, Barbara Jefford, Karl Johnson, Nicholas Le Prevost, Philip Locke, Anna Massey, Alec McCowen, Sylvester McCoy, Richard Pasco, Tim Pigott-Smith, Mark Rylance, Leslie Sands, Michael Simkins, Juliet Stevenson, Sian Thomas, Philip Voss, and Marcia Warren in the cast.
- (1980) He acted in Peter Jenkins's play, "Illuminations," at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London, England with Paul Eddington, Nigel Stock, and Judy Loe in the cast. Richard Cottrell was director.
- (2012) He played Dr Frank Bryant, opposite 'Laura Dos Santos' (qv) as Rita White, in the BBC Radio 4 version of 'Willy Russell' (qv)'s play _Educating Rita (1983)_ (qv).
- 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.
- "The Independent" (UK), 15 October 2007, Iss. 6551, pg. 21, by: Alice-Azania Jarvis, "The 5-Minute Interview: 'Women think my handshake is some sort of vulgar proposition'"
- "Hotdog" (UK), August 2006, Iss. 78, pg. 150-151, by: Catherine Bray, "Little Bill: The legendary Bill Nighy is once more acting as spokesperson for the forthcoming Rushes Soho Shorts Festival. We asked him why short films matter"
- "Radio Times" (UK), 13 August 1994, pg. 19, "My Choice"
Watch Online Related Videos
Nighy, Bill Videos