PAUL BETTANY Biography - Other artists & entretainers


Biography » other artists entretainers » paul bettany


Birth Name : Paul bettany
Date of birth : 27 May 1971
Location : London, England, UK


A former Westminster Bridge busker who shot to fame in such stateside efforts as “A Knight’s Tale” and “A Beautiful Mind” (both 2001), actor Paul Bettany’s willingness to challenge himself by jumping genres has given him rare exposure on both sides of the Atlantic. Born in London, Bettany was raised in Harelsdent, Hertfordshire from age nine. Introduced to acting by his father (a teacher and ex-actor who gave up the stage
for the classroom) and fueled by a love of cinema ("Casablanca” [1942] and “Brief Encounter” [1945] provided Bettany with early inspiration), the aspiring actor would subsequently pursue studies at London’s Drama Center.


Though the popular misconception that he was raised in a “theater family” continues to shadow the actor, Bettany has publicly stated that, by the time he was around, his father was working as a teacher and his mother’s days as a singer were long behind her. Bettany dropped out of school at age 16 and spent the next two years as a street performer in and around London. After a year working at a home for the elderly, he decided to enroll in drama school and following graduation quickly gained employment. In addition to appearing in over a dozen theatrical productions in four years, Bettany was also seen on the small screen in the British series “Sharpe’s Waterloo” (1997) and as Steerforth in “David Copperfield” (TNT, 2000).


While American moviegoers got their first eyeful of Paul Bettany as the frequently naked Geoffrey Chaucer in the cheeky “A Knight’s Tale” (2001), British theatergoers were already aware of the tall, handsome blond from his year-long stint at the Royal Shakespeare Company and his work in such West End fare as Stephen Daldry’s acclaimed 1992 revival of “An Inspector Calls". Following his stage debut in the West End production of “An Inspector Calls", it wasn’t long before Bettany made his television debut in the U.K. mystery series “Wycliffe” in 1994; and his feature debut in the small role of a Nazi officer in 1997’s harrowing feature adaptation of war drama “Bent” showed much promise.


Alternating between film and television work with such efforts as “The Land Girls” (1997) and “Coming Home” (1998) in the following years, Bettany continued to climb the credits until his breakthrough performance in 2000’s “Gangster No. 1″. Bettany’s chilling portrayal of a ruthless gangster who will stop at nothing to get to the top proved so potent that American distributors were hesitant to provide the film with a proper stateside release. Though it would eventually make its U.S. premiere via home video, Bettany’s unforgettable performance nevertheless made a lasting impression on industry insiders, who clamored to cast the intense young actor in whatever roles they could find for him. Though Bettany would return to the role of supporting player for “Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang)” (2000), that same year’s depraved black comedy “Dead Babies” adapted from Martin Amis’ novel once again found him taking the lead.