Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville

Birth name: Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams
Born: November 10, 1963
Age: 60
Birthplace: Blackheath, South East London, England
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Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams (born 10 November 1963), known professionally as Hugh Bonneville, is an English actor. He is best known for playing Robert Grantham in the ITV period drama series Downton Abbey from 2010 until 2015.


Early life and education

Bonneville was born in Blackheath, south-east London, to a mother who was a nurse and a urological surgeon father. He was educated at Dulwich College Preparatory School and at Sherborne School, an independent school in Dorset.

Following secondary education, Bonneville read theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and studied acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He left Cambridge with a 2:2 in theology and has since said that he tended to do more acting than academic work.

Bonneville is also an alumnus of the National Youth Theatre.


Bonneville's first professional stage appearance was at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. In 1987, he joined the National Theatre where he appeared in several plays, then the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1991, where he played Laertes to Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1992-1993). He played Valentine in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Bergetto in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Kastril and later Surly in The Alchemist.

In 1991, Bonneville made his television debut, billed as Richard Bonneville. His early roles were usually good-natured bumbling characters like Bernie in Notting Hill (1999) and Mr Rushworth in Mansfield Park (1999). In the BBC television series, Take A Girl Like You (2000) and Armadillo (2001), he played more villainous characters, leading up to the domineering Henleigh Grandcourt in Daniel Deronda (2002) and the psychopathic killer James Lampton in The Commander (2003) series. In Love Again, he played the poet Philip Larkin.

In Iris (2001), he played the young John Bayley opposite Kate Winslet, with his performance lauded by critics and receiving a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2004, Bonneville played Sir Christopher Wren in the docudrama Wren - The Man Who Built Britain. Bonneville also works extensively in radio. He played the role of Jerry Westerby in the BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the John le Carré novel The Honourable Schoolboy, first broadcast in January 2010. Earlier, he appeared in the surreal parallel universe comedy Married.

From 2010 until 2015, he appeared in the ITV period drama Downton Abbey, as Robert, Earl of Grantham.

In early 2010, he appeared in the comedy film Burke and Hare. In 2011 and 2012, he starred as Ian Fletcher in the award-winning BBC comedy series Twenty Twelve, and reprised the role in the 2014 BBC comedy series W1A. In December 2012, he appeared on BBC Two with co-star Jessica Hynes in World's Most Dangerous Roads, travelling through Georgia. He will also appear in the much-delayed film Hippie Hippie Shake with Cillian Murphy and Sienna Miller.

Since 2011, Bonneville has been the narrator of the Channel 4 show The Hotel.

In 2014, Bonneville played Mr. Brown in the film Paddington. He has also appeared in the singing comedic role of The Pirate King in the ABC fairy tale-themed musical comedy extravaganza series Galavant during its 2015 and 2016 seasons. In 2016, he narrated the ITV series The Cruise.

Personal life

Bonneville married Lulu Evans in 1998. The couple have a son.

In 2009, Bonneville was the voice of Justice Fosse in Joseph Crilly's British premiere of Kitty and Damnation for the Giant Olive Theatre Company at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town. Shortly thereafter he became Giant Olive's first patron. Bonneville is also a patron of the London children's charity Scene & Heard and ambassador for WaterAid .



Year Film Role Notes
1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Schiller
1997 Tomorrow Never Dies Air Warfare Officer - HMS Bedford
1999 Notting Hill Bernie
1999 Mansfield Park Mr. Rushworth
2001 Blow Dry Louis
2001 High Heels and Low Lifes Farmer
2001 The Emperor's New Clothes Bertrand
2001 Iris Young John Bayley Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—European Film Award for Best Actor
2003 Conspiracy of Silence Fr. Jack Dowling
2004 Piccadilly Jim Lord Wisbeach
2004 Stage Beauty Samuel Pepys
2005 The Commander: Virus James Lampton Uncredited
2005 The Commander: Blackout James Lampton Uncredited
2005 Man to Man Fraser McBride
2005 Asylum Max Raphael
2005 Underclassman Headmaster Felix Powers
2006 Scenes of a Sexual Nature Gerry
2007 Four Last Songs Sebastian Burrows
2007 Hola to the World Painter Short film
2008 One of Those Days Mr. Burrell Short film
2008 French Film Jed
2009 Knife Edge Charles Pollock
2009 Glorious 39 Gilbert
2009 From Time to Time Captain Oldknow
2010 Critical Eye Brian
2010 Shanghai Ben Sanger
2010 Third Star Beachcomber
2010 Burke & Hare Lord Harrington
2010 As Time Goes By N/A
2010 Hippie Hippie Shake John Mortimer Unreleased
2011 Third Star Beachcomber
2014 The Monuments Men Lieutenant Donald Jeffries
2014 Muppets Most Wanted Irish Journalist
2014 Paddington Mr. Henry Brown
2016 Viceroy's House Lord Mountbatten Filming


Year Film Role Notes
1990 Chancer Jas 2 episodes
1991 Dodgem Rick Bayne 5 episodes
1993 Paul Merton: The Series Captain Episode: #2.6"
1993 Stalag Luft Barton Television movie
1994 The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Victor Savage Episode: "The Dying Detective (credited as Richard Bonneville)"
1994 Peak Practice Dominic Kent Episode: "Perfect Love"
1994 Cadfael Daniel Aurifaber Episode: "The Sanctuary Sparrow"
1994 Between the Lines Henry Oakes Episode: "Close Protection"
1995 The Vet Alan Sinclair 6 episodes
1995 EastEnders Headmaster Episode: "14 December 1995"
1996 Married for Life Steve Hollingsworth 7 episodes
1996 Bugs Nathan Pym Episode: "Bugged Wheat"
1997 Breakout Peter Schneider Television movie
1997 See You Friday Daniel Episode: "#1.1"
1997 The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous Ferdinand Fitzgerald Episode: #1.1"
1997 Get Well Soon Norman Tucker 4 episodes
1998 Heat of the Sun Edward Herbert Episode: "Hide in Plain Sight"
1998 Mosley Bob Boothby 4 episodes
1998 Holding the Baby Gordon Muir Unknown episodes
1998 The Scold's Bridle Tim Duggan Television movie
1999 Murder Most Horrid Inspector Dawson Episode: "Confessions of a Murderer"
2000 Take a Girl Like You Julian Ormerod 3 episodes
2000 Thursday the 12th Brin Hopper Television movie
2000 Madame Bovary Charles Bovary Television movie
2001 Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairytale Publisher Television movie
2001 The Cazalets Hugh Cazalet 6 episodes
2001 Armadillo Torquil Helvoir Jayne TV film
2002 Midsomer Murders Hugh Barton Episode: "Ring Out Your Dead"
2002 Tipping the Velvet Ralph Banner Episode: "#1.3"
2002 Daniel Deronda Henleigh Grandcourt 3 episodes
2002 Impact Phil Epson Television movie
2002 The Gathering Storm Ivo Pettifer Television movie
2002 Right Under My Eyes James Television movie
2002 The Biographer Eric Television movie
2002 Doctor Zhivago Andrey Zhivago Television movie
2003 The Commander James Lampton Television movie
2003 Love Again Philip Larkin Television movie
2003 Hear the Silence Dr. Andrew Wakefield Television movie
2004 Wren: The Man Who Built Britain Christopher Wren TV documentary
2005 The Rotter's Club Voice of Adult Ben 2 episodes
2005 The Robinsons George Robinson 6 episodes
2006 Courting Alex Julian/Charles Carter 10 episodes
2006 Beau Brummell: This Charming Man Prince Regent Television movie
2006 Tsunami: The Aftermath Tony Whittaker Television movie
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries
2007 The Vicar of Dibley Jeremy Ogilvy Episode: "The Vicar in White"
2007 Five Days DSI Iain Barclay 4 episodes
2007 The Replacements Voice Episode: "London Calling"
2007 The Diary of a Nobody Pooter Television movie
2007 Miss Austen Regrets Rev. Brook Bridges Television movie
2007-2008 Freezing Matt 3 episodes
2008 Bonekickers Gregory Parton 6 episodes
2008 Lost in Austen Mr. Bennet 4 episodes
2008 Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story Sir Hugh Carleton Greene Television movie
2008-2011 Country House Rescue Narrator 24 episodes
2009 Hunter DSI Iain Barclay 2 episodes
2009 Ruth Watson's Hotel Rescue Narrator 6 episodes
2010 Legally Mad Gordon Hamm Television movie
2010-2015 Downton Abbey Robert Crawley,
Earl of Grantham
52 episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
2010 Ben Hur Pontius Pilate 2 episodes
2010 Agatha Christie's Poirot Edward Masterman Episode: "Murder on the Orient Express"
2010 The Silence Chris 4 episodes
2010-2014 Rev. Roland Wise 3 episodes
2011 Doctor Who Captain Avery 2 episodes
2011 Marple: The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side Inspector Hewitt Television movie
2011-2012 Twenty Twelve Ian Fletcher 13 episodes
Nominated—BAFTA TV Award for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme
Nominated—British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Actor
2011-2014 The Hotel Narrator 33 episodes
2012 Turn Back Time: The Family Narrator 5 episodes
2012 Getting On Philip Moore Episode: "#3.6"
2012 World's Most Dangerous Roads N/A Episode: "#3.2"
2012 Mr Stink Mr Stink Television movie
2013 Da Vinci's Demons Duke of Milan Episode: "The Hanged Man"
2014 Top Gear Himself Episode: "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car"
2014 W1A Ian Fletcher 8 episodes
Nominated - British Academy Television Award for Best Male Comedy Performance
2015 Galavant Peter the Pillager Episode: "Comedy Gold"
2016 The Cruise Narrator ITV series

Further reading

  • Trowbridge, Simon. The Company: A Biographical Dictionary of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Oxford: Editions Albert Creed, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9559830-2-3.

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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