A Biography of the Talented Gary Oldman

Photo Credit: Various
July 10th, 2014

Most viewers know Gary Oldman when they see him. Whether they are watching one of the first "Harry Potter" movies or enjoying a thriller from the newest "Batman" trilogy, Oldman is easy to spot. His talent has incredible range. With roles in well over 40 films, Oldman has appeared in many movies, television films and video games.

Born on March 21, 1958, Gary Oldman began his acting career in Britain. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in acting in 1979 and made his professional debut in "Dick Whittington and His Cat" on the York's Theatre Royal stage. After performing in Glasgow, Oldman became a favorite with audiences for his work ethic and intensity on stage. From there, Oldman performed in other plays such as "Saved," "The Pope's Wedding" and "Pravda."

Oldman's first film was Colin Gregg's "Remembrance" in 1982, which later landed him a starring role in "Meantime" by Mike Leigh in 1983. Oldman also played Sid Vicious in the 1986 "Sid and Nancy" film. However, due to his lack of interest in the punk movement of the time, Oldman had rejected the role twice before finally changing his mind. His performance in "Sid and Nancy," both as an actor and a singer on the soundtrack, would later be widely acclaimed and paved his way to Hollywood. In 1989, Oldman starred as a football player in "The Firm," a British drama that Total Film claimed was the best acting role of Oldman's career.

His first prominent U.S. film was "State of Greece" in 1990, and he acted opposite Sean Penn and Ed Harris. Shortly afterwards, Oldman moved to the United States in order to continue working in Hollywood.

In 1991, Oldman took up the most significant role of his career at the time: Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone's "JFK" film. He accepted the role as Count Dracula in "Bram Stoker's Dracula" the following year and became a staple in the horror genre. He was recognized as the best male performer in 1992 by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror films and won Best Actor. This, along with his role in "Romeo is Bleeding," would make him one of the most popular villain actors in the Hollywood scene.

Oldman's career remained steady until his Emmy Award-nominated appearance on "Friends" in 2001. Oldman only starred in independent films until 2004, where he resurged onto the film scene with his role as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series. The next year, he played the role of James Gordon in Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins," a role that he reprised throughout the trilogy. Many critics claimed that the best performance throughout the Batman series was Gary Oldman's role as Gordon.

Oldman received his first Academy award for his role in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," a 2011 film for which he received many critical awards for best performance. He also starred in the 2014 remake of "Robocop" as Norton, Robocop's scientist creator.

However, Oldman is not only a phenomenal and varied actor. He is also credited with producing and directing. He wrote, directed and produced the award-winning "Nil by Mouth," a film partially based on his childhood. The film won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film and the BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay. It also won the Channel 4 Director's Award and the Empire Award. "Nil by Mouth" is widely considered as one of the best British films of the 20th century and one of the top British films ever created.

Oldman's career also spans into the video game realm; he participated in the creation of "The Legend of Spyro" series and voice-acted in the "Call of Duty" franchise. He also voiced narrator Sergeant Jack Barnes in "Medal of Honor: Allied Assault."

Despite his prominent Hollywood presence, Oldman is extremely private when it comes to his personal life. Oldman has been through four marriages: one with Lesley Manville, from 1987 to1989, during which Oldman's son Alfie was born; one with Uma Thurman, from 1990 to 1992; one with Donya Fiorentino from 1997 to 2001 in which they had three sons; and finally, as of 2014, he is married to Alexandra Edenborough. He lives with his family in Los Angeles, Calif.

Oldman also struggled with alcoholism in the earlier 1990s. He checked himself into Marworth treatment facility in Pennsylvania for alcoholism in 1993. In a 2001 interview with Charlie Rose, Oldman called himself a recovering alcoholic and attributed his success to his regular attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He is a public advocate for the organization.

Despite the hardships of alcoholism and failed relationships, Gary Oldman is an extremely well-known British actor who has starred in multiple films spanning across numerous genres. He is widely acclaimed as one of the most talented actors of the 20th century, if not the most varied and multifaceted.