Jim Broadbent

Jim with wife Anastasia Lewis at 2002's Oscars

One of England's most versatile character actors, Jim Broadbent has been giving reliably excellent performances on the stage and screen for years. Particularly known for his numerous collaborations with director Mike Leigh, Broadbent was shown to superlative effect in Leigh's Topsy-Turvy, winning the Venice Film Festival's Volpi Cup for his portrayal of opera composer W.S. Gilbert.

Born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1949, Broadbent trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. 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 he co-founded that performed reduced histories. In addition to his theatrical work, Broadbent did steady work on television, acting for such directors as Mike Newell and Stephen Frears.

Broadbent made his film debut in 1978 with a small part in Jerzy Skolimowski's The Shout. He went on to work with such directors as Stephen Frears (The Hit, 1984) and Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, 1981, Brazil, 1985), but it was through his collaboration with Leigh that Broadbent first became known to an international film audience. In 1991, he starred in Leigh's Life Is Sweet, 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's The Crying Game and Newell's Enchanted April, and he could subsequently be seen in such diverse fare as Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway (1994), Widows' Peak (1994), Richard Loncraine's highly acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard III (1996), and Little Voice (1998), 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), imbuing the mercurial W.S. Gilbert with emotional complexity and comic poignancy. With roles in Bridget Jones's Diary, Moulin Rogue and Iris making 2001 quite a marquee year for Broadbent, as the actor earned both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his affecting turn in Iris. Rebecca Flint

This biography is available at All Movie Guide. The picture is from Yahoo! News.

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