♦ English actor
Born in Snaiton, near Scarborough, Yorkshire, he was originally a laboratory research assistant, but after joining an amateur dramatic group, he turned professional in 1964. He made his London stage debut in A Smashing Day (1966) then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1967, gaining acclaim for his role as Demetrius in Peter Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1971) and the title role in Hamlet (1975-76). After working with South African dramatist and director Athol Fugard on several plays at the Royal Court, London, he appeared on stage in Bertolt Brecht's Baal (1979), David Edgar's adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby (1979) and Edmund Kean (1981 and 1983), a one-man tour de force. His television work includes Coronation Street (1966) and The Love School (1974). He had made one previous film appearance in Fear is the Key (1972) prior to starring in Gandhi (1982), which earned him a Best Actor Academy Award and which established his international reputation. Subsequent films include Betrayal (1983), Turtle Diary (1985), Bugsy (1991, Academy Award nomination), Schindler's List (1993), Death and the Maiden (1994), Sexy Beast (2000, Academy Award nomination), The House of Sand and Fog (2003, Academy Award nomination), Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist (2005) and Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island (2010). He was knighted in 2001.