Ben Daniels

Ben Daniels

Born: June 10, 1964
Age: 60
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, UK
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Ben Daniels (born 10 June 1964) is an English actor. Initially a celebrated stage actor, Daniels was nominated for Best Actor at the Evening Standard Awards for Best Supporting Actor in the Laurence Olivier Awards for Never the Sinner (1991), 900 Oneonta (1994), Best Actor in the M.E.N. Theatre Awards for Martin Yesterday (1998), and won the Olivier award in 2001 for his performance in the Arthur Miller play All My Sons.

In 2008, Daniels made his Broadway début in a revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play. In more recent years, Daniels has appeared on popular television series including Cutting It (2002-05), The Virgin Queen (2005), Law & Order: UK (2009-11), The Paradise (2013) and House of Cards (2013-14).


Early life

Daniels was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. His father was an engineer at Rolls-Royce and later a grocer, while his mother owned a children's clothes shop. He has recalled: "I was quite a shy child, but quite disruptive as well. I was very sneaky and underhanded."


Daniels was educated at Manor Park School, a state comprehensive school in Nuneaton, near Coventry, in the English Midlands (since closed). According to Daniels, drama lessons at O-levels gave him a voice, and when he attended sixth form studies at Stratford College between 1980 and 1982, doing A-levels in theatre studies and English literature, he attended Royal Shakespeare Company performances. A fellow student recalled that Daniels, whom he knew as Dave, "was very serious about his work, and struck me as incredibly intelligent... you got the sense his mind was working; the cogs were ticking over". Daniels subsequently trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) for three years.


One of Daniels' earliest roles was as Justin Hayward, the lead singer of the Moody Blues, as a teenager in two of the band's music videos, "Your Wildest Dreams" (1986) and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" (1988). In 1992, he made an appearance in the infamous plane crash episode "Cascade" of the television show Casualty, playing the co-pilot of the doomed plane. He has taken on parts in many British television dramas, such as Robin in The Lost Language of Cranes (1991), the Biblical character Jonathan in the 1997 Emmy-nominated TV film David, the philandering Finn Bevan in Cutting It (2002-2005), and Nicholas Brocklehurst in the BBC television miniseries The State Within (2006). The latter role was notable for an unexpected same-sex kiss between Daniels' character and another person. In 2008 he appeared in Lark Rise to Candleford, a BBC production based on three semi-autobiographical novels about the English countryside written by Flora Thompson.

Daniel has also played a number of real-life characters, such as German State Secretary Dr. Josef Bühler in Conspiracy, a 2001 dramatisation of the Wannsee Conference at which the Final Solution was endorsed. He also played the English author and journalist Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, in Ian Fleming: Bondmaker (2005), as well as Sir Francis Walsingham in The Virgin Queen (2005) and English writer Saki in Who Killed Mrs De Ropp? (2007). In addition, he has made guest appearances in a number of British TV drama series, including Soldier Soldier (1992), A Touch of Frost (1992), Outside Edge (1994), and Spooks (2005).

Daniels may be most recognisable to American audiences for appearing in the 1996 gay film Beautiful Thing. Daniels portrayed Tony, boyfriend of Sandra, the protagonist Jamie's mother. In an independent film directed by Lavinia Currier titled Passion in the Desert (1997), Daniels played a French soldier named Augustin Robert. The film was nominated for a Golden Seashell award. Other feature films that Daniels has starred in are The Bridge (1992), I Want You (1998), Madeline (1998), and Doom (2005). He was offered roles in the 2000 releases The Patriot and Vertical Limit, but turned them down and stated that "the money was good, but it wasn't for me".

Daniels has said that he loves acting on stage because "it's tough and keeps you on your toes as an actor". He appeared in All's Well That Ends Well and As You Like It (1999-2000), and played Mercutio in a 1994 TV adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Other theatre credits include Waiting for Godot (1994) and 900 Oneonta (1994), which earned him a nomination for Best Actor at the Evening Standard Awards. He also acted in Martin Yesterday (1998), for which he was nominated as Best Actor in the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards, Naked (1998), Tales From Hollywood (2001), Three Sisters (2003), Iphigenia at Aulis (2004), The God of Hell (2005), and The Wild Duck (2005-2006). In 2006, Daniels appeared in Thérèse Raquin as Laurent, for which a reviewer labelled his performance "riveting".

Daniels won the Best Supporting Actor award at the Theatregoers' Choice Theatre Awards and the 25th Laurence Olivier Awards in 2001 for his performance in the Arthur Miller play All My Sons. He was first nominated for the latter award earlier in his career, in 1991, for his performance as murderer Richard Loeb in the play Never the Sinner at the Playhouse Theatre. In 2008, Daniels fulfilled a lifetime ambition when he made his Broadway début, headlining as the Vicomte de Valmont in a revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The show opened on 1 May 2008. Daniels was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his role. Ben Daniels played Alex Harrington in Richard Harris Outside Edge

Personal life

Daniels is openly gay and lives in south London. He remarked: "Out? I've never been in." He lives with actor Ian Gelder. They began seeing each other during a 1993 production of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane. Daniels was already sure of his sexuality in his teens, although he did not discuss the matter with his parents because they did not have a very close emotional relationship. He was "cautious about mentioning it when I left drama school, because AIDS was terrifying everyone and there was a huge homophobic backlash". He decided to come out at the age of 24, while appearing in an all-star benefit performance of Martin Sherman's Bent.

Daniels said in an interview: "Homophobia is still shockingly prevalent in film and TV. I know I've lost work because of being gay, and it is always an issue. Even on a serious BBC Two drama, there will be some suit in some office going, "Hmmm, isn't he a poof?" I don't consider myself politically gay, but whenever I catch a whiff of that now, I'm on it like a ton of bricks." In 2007, Daniels was ranked number 79 in the annual Pink List of 100 influential gay and lesbian people in Britain published by The Independent on Sunday, down from number 47 in 2006.

In his spare time, he is an amateur painter and a practitioner of Ashtanga yoga.



Year Title Role Notes
1987 Wish You Were Here Policeman
1991 The Lost Language of Cranes Robin
1992 The Bridge Rogers
1993 Rwendo Unknown Short film
1995 Beautiful Thing Tony
1998 Passion in the Desert Augustin Robert
I Want You DJ Bob
Madeline Leopold
1999 Fanny and Elvis Andrew
2001 Married / Unmarried Danny
Conspiracy Dr. Josef Bühler
2002 Fogbound Leo
2005 Doom Eric "Goat" Fantom
2013 Jack the Giant Slayer Fumm
2014 Locke Gareth
2016 The Kaiser's Last Kiss Colonel Sigurd von Ilsemann


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Wall of Tyranny Streimer
1989 The Paradise Club DC Webster Episodes: "Family Favours" and "Unfrocked in Babylon"
1989-1990 Capital City Colin
1990 Drop the Dead Donkey Jack Davenport Episode: "Old Father Time"
1992 Casualty First Officer Graham Marda Episode: "Cascade"
Soldier Soldier Capt. Andy Wright Episode: "The Last Post"
A Touch of Frost Roger Massie Episode: "Conclusions"
1993 The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries Norman Cubitt Episode: "Death at the Bar"
1994 Romeo and Juliet Mercutio
Outside Edge Alex Harrington 5 episodes
1996 Truth or Dare Ben
1997 David Jonathan
1998 Silent Witness Owen Johnson Episode: "Brothers in Arms"
1999 Aristocrats Lord Kildare
2000 Britannic Townsend
2002-2005 Cutting It Finn Bevan
2003 Real Men DI Matthew Fenton
2004 Agatha Christie's Marple Alfred Crackenthorpe
2005 Ian Fleming: Bondmaker Ian Fleming
Spooks Oleg Korsakov Episode: "The Russian"
The Virgin Queen Francis Walsingham
2006 The State Within Nicholas Brocklehurst
2007 Who Killed Mrs De Ropp? Saki
2008 Lark Rise to Candleford Rushton 1 episode
The Passion Caiaphas
2009-2011 Law & Order: UK James Steel
2011 Women in Love Will Brangwen
Merlin Tristan 2 episodes
2013-2014 House of Cards Adam Galloway 7 episodes
2013 The Paradise Tom Weston 8 episodes
2014 Jamaica Inn Francis Davey
2015 Casanova Francois-Joachim de Bernis TV Pilot
Flesh and Bone Paul Grayson 8 episodes
2016 The Hollow Crown Duke of Buckingham Episodes: "Henry VI, Part Two" & "Richard III"
The Exorcist Father Marcus Lang



of appearance
Performance Role Awards and nominations
1991 Never the Sinner
by John Logan

Playhouse Theatre, London

Richard Loeb
  • Best Supporting Actor, 15th Laurence Olivier Awards (nominated) (1991)
1993 Entertaining Mr Sloane (1964)
by Joe Orton

Greenwich Theatre, London

1994 Waiting for Godot (1948-1949)
by Samuel Beckett

Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London

900 Oneonta
by David Beaird

Old Vic and Ambassadors Theatre, London

  • Best Actor, Evening Standard Awards (nominated) (1994)
1998 Martin Yesterday

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
  • Best Actor, M.E.N. Theatre Awards (nominated) (1998)

Almeida Theatre and Playhouse Theatre, London

1999-2000 As You Like It (1599 or 1600)
by William Shakespeare

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield; and Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London

2001 All My Sons (1947)
by Arthur Miller

Cottesloe and Lyttelton Theatres, Royal National Theatre, London

Chris Keller
  • Best Supporting Actor, 25th Laurence Olivier Awards (2001)
  • Best Supporting Actor, Theatregoers' Choice Theatre Awards (2001)
Tales from Hollywood (1984)
by Christopher Hampton

Donmar Warehouse, London

Ödön von Horváth
2003 Three Sisters (1900)
by Anton Chekhov

Lyttelton Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London

Lt. Col. Aleksandr Ignatyevich Vershinin
2004 Iphigenia at Aulis (410 BC)
by Euripides, translated by Don Taylor (1990)

Lyttelton Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London

2005 The God of Hell (2004?)
by Sam Shepard

Donmar Warehouse, London

2005-2006 The Wild Duck (1884)
by Henrik Ibsen

Donmar Warehouse, London

Gregers Werle
2006 Thérèse Raquin (1873)
by Émile Zola, adapted by Nicholas Wright

Lyttelton Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London

2008 Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) (first produced 1985)
by Christopher Hampton

American Airlines Theatre, New York City

Vicomte de Valmont
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, Tony Awards (nominated) (2008).
2011 Luise Miller
by Friedrich Schiller

Donmar Warehouse

The Chancellor
2012 Don't Dress For Dinner (1987)
by Marc Camoletti

American Airlines Theatre, New York City

Unknown All's Well That Ends Well (1601-1608)
by William Shakespeare


The Brontës of Haworth
by ?Alan Ayckbourn

Scarborough, North Yorkshire

James Feather

The King's Head Theatre, London

Electra (probably after 413 BC)
by Euripides


Family Circles (1970)
by Alan Ayckbourn

Scarborough, North Yorkshire

The Hypochondriac


Pride and Prejudice
based on Jane Austen's 1813 book

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

George Wickham
The Tutor (1774)
by Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz

Old Vic, London


[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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