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Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes from "The White Crow" at Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2018 (31747095048).jpg
Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes

(1962-12-22) 22 December 1962 (age 56)
Ipswich, Suffolk, England
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom, Serbia
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
OccupationActor, director, producer
Years active1985–present
Alex Kingston
(m. 1993; div. 1997)
Partner(s)Francesca Annis
Parent(s)Mark Fiennes
Jennifer Lash
RelativesMartha Fiennes (sister)
Magnus Fiennes (brother)
Sophie Fiennes (sister)
Joseph Fiennes (brother)
Hero Fiennes-Tiffin (nephew)

Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (/rffnz/;[2] born 22 December 1962) is an English actor, film producer, and director. A Shakespeare interpreter, he first achieved success onstage at the Royal National Theatre.

Fiennes's portrayal of Nazi war criminal Amon Göth in Schindler's List (1993) earned him nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, and he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. His performance as Count Almásy in The English Patient (1996) garnered him a second Academy Award nomination, for Best Actor, as well as BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.

Since then, Fiennes has been in a number of notable films, including Quiz Show (1994), Strange Days (1995), The End of the Affair (1999), Red Dragon (2002), Maid in Manhattan (2002), The Constant Gardener (2005), In Bruges (2008), The Reader (2008), Clash of the Titans (2010), Great Expectations (2012) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). He voiced Rameses in The Prince of Egypt (1998) and Alfred Pennyworth in The Lego Batman Movie (2017). Fiennes is also known for his roles in major film franchises such as the Harry Potter film series (2005–2011), in which he played Lord Voldemort, and the James Bond series, in which he has played Gareth Mallory / M, starting with the 2012 film Skyfall.

In 2011, Fiennes made his directorial debut with his film adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy Coriolanus, in which he also played the title character. Fiennes won a Tony Award for playing Prince Hamlet on Broadway. Since 1999, Fiennes has served as an ambassador for UNICEF UK. One of the highest profile actors in contemporary British popular culture, Fiennes appeared on Debrett's 2017 list of the most influential people in the UK.[3]

Early life and family

Fiennes was born in Ipswich, on 22 December 1962. He is the eldest child of Mark Fiennes (1933–2004), a farmer and photographer, and Jennifer Lash (1938–1993), a writer.[2] He has English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry.[4] His surname is of Norman origin.[5] His grandfathers were industrialist Sir Maurice Fiennes (1907–1994) and Brigadier Henry Alleyne Lash (1901–1975). His great-great-uncle was Edward Pomeroy Colley, a civil engineer and first class passenger who died in the sinking of RMS Titanic.[6]

Fiennes is an eighth cousin of Charles, Prince of Wales,[7] and a third cousin of adventurer Ranulph Fiennes and author William Fiennes.[8] He is the eldest of six children. His siblings are actor Joseph Fiennes; Martha Fiennes, a director (in her film Onegin, he played the title role); Magnus Fiennes, a composer; Sophie Fiennes, a filmmaker; and Jacob Fiennes, a conservationist. His foster brother, Michael Emery, is an archaeologist. His nephew Hero Fiennes-Tiffin played Tom Riddle, young Lord Voldemort, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.[9]

The Fiennes family moved to Ireland in 1973, living in West Cork and County Kilkenny for some years. Fiennes was educated at St Kieran's College for one year, followed by Newtown School, a Quaker independent school in County Waterford. They moved to Salisbury in England, where Fiennes finished his schooling at Bishop Wordsworth's School. He went on to pursue painting at Chelsea College of Art before deciding that acting was his true passion.[10]


Fiennes trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art between 1983 and 1985. He began his career at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park and also at the National Theatre before achieving prominence at the Royal Shakespeare Company.[5] Fiennes first worked on screen in 1990 and made his film debut in 1992 as Heathcliff in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights opposite Juliette Binoche.

1993 was his "breakout year". He had a major role in Peter Greenaway's film The Baby of Mâcon with Julia Ormond, which provoked controversy and was poorly received. Later that year he became known internationally for portraying the amoral Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Göth in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. For this he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.[5] He did not win the Oscar, but did win the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA Award for the role. His portrayal of Göth also earned him a spot on the American Film Institute's list of Top 50 Film Villains. Fiennes gained weight to represent Göth, but shed it afterwards.[11]

Fiennes later stated that playing the role had a profoundly disturbing effect on him.[12] In a subsequent interview, Fiennes recalled,

Evil is cumulative. It happens. People believe that they've got to do a job, they've got to take on an ideology, that they've got a life to lead; they've got to survive, a job to do, it's every day inch by inch, little compromises, little ways of telling yourself this is how you should lead your life and suddenly then these things can happen. I mean, I could make a judgment myself privately, this is a terrible, evil, horrific man. But the job was to portray the man, the human being. There’s a sort of banality, that everydayness, that I think was important. And it was in the screenplay. In fact, one of the first scenes with Oskar Schindler, with Liam Neeson, was a scene where I'm saying, "You don't understand how hard it is, I have to order so many-so many meters of barbed wire and so many fencing posts and I have to get so many people from A to B." And, you know, he's sort of letting off steam about the difficulties of the job.[13]

Ralph Fiennes with Eddie and Gloria Minghella at the 2011 Minghella Film Festival
Ralph Fiennes with Eddie and Gloria Minghella at the 2011 Minghella Film Festival

In 1994, he portrayed American academic Charles Van Doren in Quiz Show. In 1996 he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the epic World War II romance The English Patient, in which he starred with Kristin Scott-Thomas.[5] Fiennes' film work has encompassed a variety of genres, including thrillers (Spider), an animated Biblical epic (The Prince of Egypt), camp nostalgia (The Avengers), romantic comedy (Maid in Manhattan), and historical drama (Sunshine).

In 1999, Fiennes had the title role in Onegin, a film which he also helped produce. His sister Martha Fiennes directed, and brother Magnus composed the score. Fiennes portrayed Francis Dolarhyde in the 2002 film, Red Dragon, a prequel to 'Silence Of The Lambs' and 'Hannibal'. The film received very positive reviews and Ralph's performance as a sympathetic serial killer with a romantic relationship with a blind girl, played by Emily Watson, was lauded as one of the best aspects of the film.

The Constant Gardener was released in 2005, with Fiennes in the central role.[5] The film is set in Kenya. It was filmed in part with the actual residents of the slums of Kibera and Loiyangalani. The situation affected the cast and crew to such an extent that they set up the Constant Gardener Trust to provide basic education for children of these villages. Fiennes is a patron of the charity.[14] He is also a patron of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children across the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres.[15]

Fiennes portrayed Lord Voldemort in the 2005 fantasy film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He returned to the role for other films of the series: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2.

Fiennes' 2006 performance in the play Faith Healer gained him a nomination for a 2007 Tony Award. In 2008, Fiennes worked with frequent collaborator director Jonathan Kent, playing the title role in Oedipus the King by Sophocles, at the National Theatre in London. In 2008, he played the Duke of Devonshire in the film The Duchess; he also played the protagonist in The Reader, adapted from the novel of the same name.

Fiennes meets young journalists in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in 2003 during his visit as a UNICEF UK ambassador.
Fiennes meets young journalists in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in 2003 during his visit as a UNICEF UK ambassador.

In February 2009, Fiennes was the special guest of the Belgrade's Film Festival FEST. He filmed his version of Shakespeare's Coriolanus in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.

Fiennes reunited with Kathryn Bigelow for her Iraq War film The Hurt Locker, released in 2009, appearing as an English Private Military Contractor. They had previously worked together on Strange Days (1995). In April 2010, he played Hades in Clash of the Titans, a remake of the 1981 film of the same name. In 2012, he starred in the twenty-third James Bond film, Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes. He will replace Dame Judi Dench as M in future Bond films.[16] Dench had also starred alongside Fiennes' brother, Joseph, in Shakespeare in Love in 1998. In 2013 Fiennes was both the director and the leading actor (in the role of Charles Dickens) in the well-received film The Invisible Woman (2013).[17]

Though he is not noted as a comic actor, in 2014 Fiennes made an impression for his farcical turn as concierge Monsieur Gustave in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Fiennes used his time as a young porter at London’s Brown's Hotel to help construct the character.[18] A film critic stated, "In the end it's Fiennes who makes the biggest impression. His stylized, rapid-fire delivery, dry wit and cheerful profanity keep the film bubbling along."[19] For his performance, Fiennes was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. Film magazine Empire ranked Fiennes' portrayal as Gustave the 17th Greatest Movie Character of All Time.[18]

In 2015, Fiennes starred in Luca Guadagnino's thriller A Bigger Splash. In 2016, Fiennes starred in the animated film Kubo and the Two Strings where he voiced Raiden the Moon King, Kubo's grandfather.[20]

Personal life

Fiennes is a UNICEF UK ambassador and has done work in India, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, and Romania.[21] Fiennes is also a member of the Canadian charity Artists Against Racism.[22]

Fiennes met English actress Alex Kingston while they were both students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After dating for ten years, they married in 1993 and divorced in 1997 following his affair with Francesca Annis.[23] Annis and Fiennes announced their separation on 7 February 2006, after 11 years together,[24][25][26] in a parting described as "acrimonious", following rumours that he had an affair with the Romanian singer Cornelia Crisan.[24]

On 7 September 2017, Fiennes was granted Serbian citizenship. The decision was signed by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić.[27]


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights Heathcliff
1993 The Baby of Mâcon The Bishop's son
Schindler's List Amon Göth BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actor of the Year
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
1994 Quiz Show Charles Van Doren
1995 Strange Days Lenny Nero Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
1996 The English Patient Count László de Almássy Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
1997 Oscar and Lucinda Oscar Hopkins
1998 The Avengers John Steed Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Combo (shared with Uma Thurman)
The Prince of Egypt Ramesses II (voice) Nominated—Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production
1999 Sunshine Ignatz Sonnenschein/Adam Sors/Ivan Sors European Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Onegin Evgeny Onegin Also executive producer
The End of the Affair Maurice Bendrix Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Seasons of Giving Narrator (voice) Direct-to-video
2000 The Miracle Maker Jesus Christ (voice)
2002 Spider Dennis "Spider" Cleg
The Good Thief Tony Angel Uncredited
Red Dragon Francis Dolarhyde Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Maid in Manhattan Christopher Marshall Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Film – Liplock
2005 The Chumscrubber Mayor Michael Ebbs
Chromophobia Stephen Tulloch
The Constant Gardener Justin Quayle BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Lord Victor Quartermaine (voice) Nominated—Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production
The White Countess Todd Jackson
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Lord Voldemort Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
2006 Land of the Blind Joe
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Lord Voldemort
2008 In Bruges Harry Waters Nominated—BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Duchess William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire Nominated—BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actor of the Year
The Reader Older Michael Berg
2009 The Hurt Locker Contractor Team Leader Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Performance
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Lord Voldemort Cameo
2010 Cemetery Junction Mr. Kendrick
Clash of the Titans Hades
Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang Lord Gray
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Lord Voldemort
The Wildest Dream George Mallory
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Lord Voldemort Scream Award for Best Villain
Teen Choice Award for Choice Film Fight
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Fight
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Coriolanus Coriolanus Also director and producer
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
2012 Wrath of the Titans Hades
Skyfall Gareth Mallory / M
Great Expectations Magwitch
2013 The Invisible Woman Charles Dickens Also director
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel Monsieur Gustave H. Denver Film Critics Society for Best Actor
Detroit Film Critics Society for Best Ensemble
Indiana Film Journalists Association For Best Actor
Indiewire 2014 Year-End Critics Poll for Best Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor in a Comedy
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by an Ensemble
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated—Awards Circuit Community Award for Best Actor
Two Women M.A. Rakitin
2015 A Bigger Splash Harry Hawkes Nominated—Evening Standard British Film Awards for Best Actor
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Nominated—San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Spectre Gareth Mallory / M
2016 Hail, Caesar! Laurence Laurentz
Kubo and the Two Strings Moon King / Raiden Voice
2017 The Lego Batman Movie Alfred Pennyworth Voice
Sea Sorrow Prospero
2018 The White Crow Pushkin Also director;
Holmes & Watson Professor Moriarty
2019 Official Secrets Ben Emmerson Post-production
2020 The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle Barry (voice) Post-production
Year Title Role Notes
1990 A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia T. E. Lawrence
1991 Prime Suspect Michael
2008 Bernard and Doris Bernard Lafferty Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2011 Page Eight Alec Beasley Television film
2011–2014 Rev. Bishop of London 2 episodes
2014 Turks & Caicos Alec Beasley Television film
Salting the Battlefield Alec Beasley Television film
Video games
Year Title Role Notes
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Lord Voldemort Voice
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Lord Voldemort Voice

Stage credits

Selected other projects, contributions

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Ralph Fiennes


  1. ^ "Ralph Fiennes". Front Row. 20 November 2011. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b "It's Raiph actually". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2008
  3. ^ "Debrett's 500 List: Stage & Screen". The Telegraph. 28 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Ralph Fiennes Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e James Lipton interview with Ralph Fiennes on Inside the Actors Studio
  6. ^ "Edward Pomeroy Colley : Titanic Victims".
  7. ^ "Ralph Fiennes: His incarnations of evil – from sadistic Nazi officer to Voldemort – have made him one of Britain's most celebrated film actors". The Financial Times. 31 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Ranulph Fiennes: the chilling and thrilling truth about my family". The Telegraph. 17 October 2009.
  9. ^ Coggan, Devan (November 14, 2016). "Eddie Redmayne Auditioned to Play Tom Riddle in 'Harry Potter'". Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  10. ^ Ralph Fiennes on[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Cagle, Jess (4 March 1994). "It's Pronounced 'Rafe Fines'". Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  12. ^ – 09:45 (31 October 1999). "Desert Island Discs – Castaway: Ralph Fiennes". BBC. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Voices on Antisemitism | Transcript". Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Constant Gardener Trust – Patrons". UNICEF. Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  15. ^ [1] Archived 16 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Skyfall, James Bond, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 October 2012
  17. ^ Shoard, Catherine (10 August 2011). "Ralph Fiennes to direct story of Charles Dickens affair". The Guardian. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  18. ^ a b "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters/ 17. / Empire /". Empire. Bauer Consumer Media. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  19. ^ Noveck, Jocelyn (5 March 2014). "Review: Fiennes shows comic chops in Anderson film". Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  20. ^ "First still of "A Bigger Splash": Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Ralph Fiennes". 27 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Ralph Fiennes, UNICEF UK Ambassador". UNICEF. Archived from the original on 14 February 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Ellen, Barbara (7 July 2002). "Intensive care". The Observer. UK. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  24. ^ a b "Francesca Annis interview". Telegraph. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  25. ^ Hoggard, Liz (12 February 2006). "Francesca Annis: Pretty woman – Profiles – People". The Independent. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  26. ^ Hoggard, Liz (12 February 2006). "Francesca Annis: Pretty woman – Profiles – People – The Independent". Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  27. ^ Rudić, Filip (11 September 2017). "Actor Ralph Fiennes Receives Serbian Citizenship :: Balkan Insight". (in Serbian). Balkan Insight. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  28. ^ "Man and Superman". National Theatre. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014.
  29. ^ Thompson, Jessie (19 November 2018). "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018 - The Winners". Standard. Retrieved 19 November 2018.

External links

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