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Daniel Day-Lewis Biography

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Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis
London, England
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Daniel Day-Lewis Biography

Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis was born in London, England, the second child of Cecil Day-Lewis (Poet Laureate of England) and his second wife, Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfather was Sir Michael Balcon, an important figure in the history of British cinema, head of the famous Ealing Studios. His older sister, Tamasin Day-Lewis, is a documentary filmmaker. Daniel was educated at Sevenoaks School in Kent, which he despised, and the more progressive Bedales in Petersfield, which he adored. He studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic School. Daniel made his film debut in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), but then acted on stage with the Bristol Old Vic and Royal Shakespeare Companies and did not appear on screen again until 1982, when he landed his first adult role, a bit part in Gandhi (1982). He also appeared on British TV that year in _Frost in May (1982) (TV)_ and How Many Miles to Babylon? (1982) (TV). Notable theatrical performances include "Another, Country" (1982-83), "Dracula" (1984), and the "Futurists" (1986).

His first major supporting role in a feature film was in The Bounty (1984), quickly followed by My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and A Room with a View (1985). The latter two films opened in New York on the same day, offering audiences and critics evidence of his remarkable range and establishing him as a major talent. The New York Film Critics named him the "Best Supporting Actor" for those performances. In 1986 he appeared on stage in Richard Eyre's "Futurists" and on television in Eyre's production of The Insurance Man (1986) (TV). He also had a small role in a British/French film, Nanou (1986). In 1987 he assumed leading-man status in Philip Kaufman's The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), followed by a comedic role in the unsuccessful Stars and Bars (1988). His brilliant performance as Christy Brown in Jim Sheridan's _My Left Foot (1989)_ won him numerous awards, including The Academy Award for best actor.

He returned to the stage to work again with Eyre, as Hamlet at the National Theater, but was forced to leave the production close to the end of its run because of exhaustion, and has not appeared on stage since. He took a hiatus from film as well until 1992, when he starred in The Last of the Mohicans (1992), a film that met with mixed reviews but was a great success at the box office. He worked with American director Martin Scorsese in The Age of Innocence (1993) in 1994. Subsequently, he teamed again with Jim Sheridan to star in In the Name of the Father (1993), a critically acclaimed performance that earned him another Academy Award nomination. His next project was in the role of John Proctor in Arthur Miller's play The Crucible (1996), directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Daniel Day-Lewis Trivia

Son, with Miller, born 14 June 1998.

Ranked #25 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Assumed Irish citizenship. Moved to County Wicklow, Ireland in 1993.

Relationship with French Actress Isabelle Adjani (1989-1994). Father of her son Gabriel-Kane, born 9 April 1995.

Brother of Tamasin Day-Lewis.

Chosen by People magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in the world. [1990]

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the "100 Sexiest Stars" in film history (#11). [1995]

Several times offered and turned down the role of Aragorn (Strider) in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy.

Son-in-law of playwright Arthur Miller.

According to Harvey Weinstein, Day-Lewis was taking time off to work as a cobbler in Florence, Italy when Weinstein, director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio lured him into coming back to New York "on false pretenses" so they could persuade him to accept lead role in Gangs of New York (2002).

Describes himself as "a lifelong study of evasion."

According to Gangs of New York (2002) co-star John C. Reilly, Day- Lewis got sick during shooting in Italy, refusing to trade his character's threadbare coat for a warmer coat because the warmer coat did not exist in the 19th century; doctors finally forced him to take antibiotics.

Announced that he will star in "Rose and the Snake," co-written and to be directed by his wife, Rebecca Miller. (25 February 2003)

Has three sons: Gabriel-Kane Adjani (b. 9 April 1995), Ronan Cal Day-Lewis (b. 14 June 1998), and Cashel Blake Day-Lewis (b. May 2002).

Chosen by People magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful" people in the world [2003].

Is a skilled woodworker in addition to being able to make his living as a cobbler.

He listened to Eminem to get into an angry, self-righteous frame of mind as Bill the Butcher while shooting Gangs of New York (2002).

Not only does he and Michelle Pfeiffer share a birthday, but they were married on the same day, albeit three years apart.

He was Jonathan Demme's first choice for the part of Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia (1993). He turned the part down to work on In the Name of the Father (1993) and Tom Hanks was cast in "Philadelphia" instead. Day-Lewis earned an Oscar nomination for best actor in "In the Name of the Father", but Hanks won the best actor Oscar for "Philadelphia", the part Day-Lewis turned down.

Always quiet and introverted, he said that he was not popular in school and was mocked as an outsider while growing up in England, partially because he was of half- Jewish/half-Irish stock. The upside was that, instead of socializing, he developed a rich fantasy life that later helped him to delve so deeply into his characters.

He was the first of three consecutive British actors to win the Oscar for Best Actor in a leading role, Jeremy Irons being next and Anthony Hopkins the third. Each of them coincidentally won at their first nomination in the Academy Awards.

In The Crucible (1996) Joan Allen plays his wife. In The Boxer (1997) Emily Watson plays his wife. Both have played Reba McLain. Allen played the part in Manhunter (1986), Watson played the part in the remake, Red Dragon (2002).

Was considered for the role of Jesus Christ in _Passion of the Christ, The (2004)_ , but director Mel Gibson thought he looked too "European" and the part went to James Caviezel.

He lived apart from his wife Rebecca Miller while she was directing him in The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005). This is in keeping with his habit of being isolated while in character and shooting a film, which is in part the reason he is hesitant to take more film work.

Frequently called the "English Robert De Niro" early in his career, Day-Lewis recently referred to De Niro as his "champion".

Shares his birthday with Uma Thurman and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

Considered doing an adaptation of "Rose and the Snake" in the early 1990s, but the project fell through. After meeting and marrying Rebecca Miller, she convinced him to take the lead part and directed him in the adaptation The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005).

After Michael Madsen was found to be unavailable for the part, Day-Lewis tried to get the role of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction (1994), one of the few times he actively pursued a part. However, by that point in the casting, Quentin Tarantino had John Travolta in mind for the part.

Hated being at Sevenoaks School so much that he ran away.

While filming Gangs of New York (2002) he rarely got out of character and would talk with a New York accent the whole day and would be sharpening his knives at lunch.

His performance as Christy Brown in _My Left Foot (1989)_ is ranked #11 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

His performance as Bill "The Butcher" Cutting in Gangs of New York (2002) is ranked #53 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

Grandson of Michael Balcon.

His performance as Bill "The Butcher" Cutting in Gangs of New York (2002) is ranked #83 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

His role in the National Theatre Production of "Hamlet" ended after he walked out mid-performance due to nervous exhaustion.

Father is Cecil Day-Lewis, Poet Laureate of London. Mother is actress Jill Bacon.

Appears in the novel "That Must Be Yoshino".

Turned down leading role of Steven Soderbergh film "Solaris" (2002). Job went to George Clooney.

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