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Ben Daniels (born 10 June 1964) is a Britishmarker actor. A graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Artmarker (LAMDA), he has taken on roles in numerous productions. On television he has appeared in, among other shows, The Lost Language of Cranes (1991), Conspiracy (2001), Cutting It (2002–2005), Ian Fleming: Bondmaker (2005), The Virgin Queen (2005) and The State Within (2006). On the silver screen, Daniels has appeared mostly in supporting roles, including parts in The Bridge (1992), Beautiful Thing (1996), I Want You (1998), Madeline (1998) and Doom (2005). An exception was the 1997 independent film Passion in the Desert, based on a short story by novelist Honoré de Balzac.

Daniels has had most success with theatre work. He was nominated for Best Actor at the Evening Standard Awards for 900 Oneonta (1994), for Best Actor in the M.E.N. Theatre Awards for Martin Yesterday (1998), and for Best Supporting Actor in the 15th Laurence Olivier Awards for Never the Sinner (1991). He eventually won the latter award at the 25th Laurence Olivier Awards, as well as the Best Supporting Actor award at the 2001 Theatregoers' Choice Theatre Awards for his performance in the Arthur Miller play All My Sons. Other theatre credits include Tales From Hollywood (2001), Three Sisters (2003), Iphigenia at Aulis (2004), The God of Hell (2005), The Wild Duck (2005–2006) and Thérèse Raquin (2006). In 2008 Daniels made his Broadwaymarker début with American actress Laura Linney in a revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons), for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.


Early life and education

Ben Daniels was born on 10 June 1964 in Nuneatonmarker in Warwickshiremarker, Englandmarker. His father was an engineer at Rolls-Royce and later a grocer, while his mother owned a children's clothes shop. He has an older and a younger sister. Daniels has recalled: "I was quite a shy child, but quite disruptive as well. I was very sneaky and underhand."

According to Daniels, drama lessons at O-levels gave him a voice, and when he attended sixth form studies at Stratford College in Stratford-upon-Avonmarker between 1980 and 1982, doing A-levels in theatre studies and English literature, he attended Royal Shakespeare Company performances avidly. 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 Artmarker (LAMDA) for three years.

Professional career

One of Daniels' earliest roles was appearing 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 Casualty in the infamous plane crash episode "Cascade", playing the co-pilot of the doomed plane. Since then, he has taken on parts in many UK television dramas, such as Robin in The Lost Language of Cranes (1991), based on David Leavitt's 1986 book; the Biblical character Jonathan in the 1997 Emmy-nominated TV film David; the philandering Finn Bevan in Cutting It (2002–2005); and Nicholas Brocklehurst, the British Counsellor for External Affairs at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., in the BBC television mini-series 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: German State Secretary Dr. Josef Bühler in Conspiracy, 2001 a dramatization of the Wannsee Conferencemarker at which the Final Solution was endorsed; the English author and journalist Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, in Ian Fleming: Bondmaker (2005); Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth I's spymaster, 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 recognizable to American audiences for appearing in the 1996 gay film Beautiful Thing, written by Jonathan Harvey and based on his play of the same name. 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), based on a short story by novelist Honoré de Balzac, Daniels, in one of the few films where he has the lead role, acted as a French soldier named Augustin Robert. His character becomes lost in the desert during Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and develops a strange bond with a leopard he meets. Passion in the Desert, which was nominated for a Golden Seashell award, also featured renowned French actor Michel Piccoli and was filmed in Jordan and in Utah, USA. Other feature films that Daniels has starred in are The Bridge (1992), Michael Winterbottom’s I Want You (1998); Madeline (1998), in which he was cast as the somewhat sinister British tutor Leopold; and Doom (2005), loosely based on the computer game of the same name. He was offered roles in the 2000 releases The Patriot with Oscar-winning actor/director Mel Gibson, and in Vertical Limit, but turned them down, stating: "The money was good, but it wasn't for me".

In the theatre, Daniels is in his element – he has said "I love doing theatre – it's tough and keeps you on your toes as an actor." He has appeared on stage in Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well and As You Like It (1999–2000), and appeared as Mercutio in a 1994 TV production of Romeo and Juliet. Other theatre credits include Beckett's Waiting for Godot (1994); 900 Oneonta (1994), which earned him a nomination for Best Actor at the Evening Standard Awards; Martin Yesterday (1998), for which he was nominated as Best Actor in the M.E.N. Theatre Awards; Naked (1998) alongside Juliette Binoche; Christopher Hampton's Tales From Hollywood (2001); Chekhov's Three Sisters (2003); Iphigenia at Aulis (2004), Sam Shepard's The God of Hell (2005), and Ibsen's The Wild Duck (2005–2006). In 2006 Daniels appeared in Émile Zola's Thérèse Raquin as Laurent, Thérèse's lover; a reviewer pronounced their performances "riveting". He 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 Richard Loeb, a real-life murderer of a 14-year-old boy, in another stage play titled Never the Sinner at the Playhouse Theatre, but lost to David Bradley. In 2008, Daniels fulfilled a lifetime ambition when he made his Broadwaymarker début headlining as the Vicomte de Valmont with American actress Laura Linney in a revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons). Preview performances began on April 11 and the show opened 1 May 2008. Daniels was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his role.

Selected work


of appearance
Film Role Awards and nominations
1987 Wish You Were Here Policeman
1992 The Bridge Rogers
1993 Rwendo (short film) [Unknown]
1995 (UK),
1996 (US)
Beautiful Thing Tony
1998 Passion in the Desert Augustin Robert
1998 I Want You D.J. Bob
1998 Madeline Leopold the Tutor
1999 Fanny and Elvis Andrew
2001 Married/Unmarried Danny
2002 Fogbound Leo
2005 Doom Goat

Some of the information in this table was obtained from .


of appearance
Television programme or series Role Awards and nominations
1988 Wall of Tyranny
(US: Freedom Fighter)
(2 episodes)
The Paradise Club

"Family Favours"
"Unfrocked in Babylon"

D.C. (Detective Constable) Webster
(unknown episodes)
Capital City (1989–1990) Colin
(1 episode)
Drop the Dead Donkey (1990–1998)

"Old Father Time"

Jack Davenport
1991 The Lost Language of Cranes Robin
(1 episode)
Casualty (1986–present)


First Officer Graham Marda
(1 episode)
Soldier Soldier (1991–1997)

"The Last Post"

Capt. Andy Wright
(1 episode)
A Touch of Frost (1992–present)


Roger Massie
(1 episode)
The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries (1990–1994)

"Death at the Bar"

Norman Cubitt
1994 Romeo and Juliet Mercutio
(5 episodes)
Outside Edge (1994–1996) Alex Harrington
1996 Truth or Dare Ben
1997 David Jonathan
(1 episode)
Silent Witness (1996–present)

"Brothers in Arms"

Owen Johnson
1999 Aristocrats Lord Kildare
2000 Britannic Townsend
2001 Conspiracy Dr. Josef Bühler
2002–2005 Cutting It Finn Bevan
2003 Real Men D.I. (Detective Inspector) Matthew Fenton
2004 Marple: 4.50 from Paddington
(US: What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw)
Alfred Crackenthorpe
2005 Ian Fleming: Bondmaker Ian Fleming
(1 episode)
Spooks (2002–present)

"The Russian"

Oleg Korsakov
2005 The Virgin Queen Sir Francis Walsingham
2006 The State Within Nicholas Brocklehurst
2007 Who Killed Mrs De Ropp? Saki
(1 episode)
Lark Rise to Candleford Rushton, the Post Office inspector
2008 The Passion Caiaphas
2009 Law & Order: UK James Steel
[Unknown] The Crossing Adrian
[Unknown] Great Writers: Thomas Mann Hans Castorp
[Unknown] Murky Waters Bracken Burke
[Unknown] One by One Bob

Some of the information in this table was obtained from the following sources: ; .


of appearance
Performance Role Awards and nominations
1991 Never the Sinner
by John Logan
Playhouse Theatremarker, Londonmarker
Richard Loeb
1994 Waiting for Godot (1948–1949)
by Samuel Beckett
Lyric Theatre, Hammersmithmarker, Londonmarker
1994 900 Oneonta
by David Beaird
Old Vicmarker and Ambassadors Theatremarker, Londonmarker
1998 Martin Yesterday

Royal Exchange Theatremarker, Manchestermarker

  • Best Actor, M.E.N. Theatre Awards (nominated) (1998)
1998 NakedAlmeida Theatremarker and Playhouse Theatremarker, Londonmarker Franco
1999–2000 As You Like It (1599 or 1600)
by William Shakespeare
Crucible Theatremarker, Sheffieldmarker; and Lyric Theatre, Hammersmithmarker, Londonmarker
2001 All My Sons (1947)
by Arthur Miller
Cottesloe and Lyttelton Theatres, Royal National Theatremarker, Londonmarker
Chris Keller
  • Best Supporting Actor, 25th Laurence Olivier Awards (2001)
  • Best Supporting Actor, Theatregoers' Choice Theatre Awards (2001)
2001 Tales from Hollywood (1984)
by Christopher Hampton
Donmar Warehousemarker, Londonmarker
Ödön von Horváth
2003 Three Sisters (1900)
by Anton Chekhov
Lyttelton Theatre, Royal National Theatremarker, Londonmarker
Lt. Col. Aleksandr Ignatyevich Vershinin
2004 Iphigenia at Aulis (410 BC)
by Euripides, translated by Don Taylor (1990)
Lyttelton Theatre, Royal National Theatremarker, Londonmarker
2005 The God of Hell (?2004)
by Sam Shepard
Donmar Warehousemarker, Londonmarker
2005–2006 The Wild Duck (1884)
by Henrik Ibsen
Donmar Warehousemarker, Londonmarker
Gregers Werle
2006 Thérèse Raquin (1873)
by Émile Zola, adapted by Nicholas Wright
Lyttelton Theatre, Royal National Theatremarker, Londonmarker
2008 Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) (first produced 1985)
by Christopher Hampton
American Airlines Theatremarker, New York Citymarker
Vicomte de Valmont
[Unknown] All's Well That Ends Well (1601–1608)
by William Shakespeare
[Unknown] The Brontës of Haworth
by ?Alan Ayckbourn
Scarborough, North Yorkshiremarker
James Feather
[Unknown] CracksThe King's Head Theatremarker, Londonmarker Gideon
[Unknown] Electra (probably after 413 BC)
by Euripides
[Unknown] Entertaining Mr Sloane (1964)
by Joe Orton
Greenwich Theatremarker, Londonmarker
[Unknown] Family Circles (1970)
by Alan Ayckbourn
Scarborough, North Yorkshiremarker
[Unknown] The HypochondriacLeicestermarker Cleante
[Unknown] Pride and Prejudice
based on Jane Austen's 1813 book
Royal Exchange Theatremarker, Manchestermarker
George Wickham
[Unknown] The Tutor (1774)
by Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz
Old Vicmarker, Londonmarker

Some of the information in this table was obtained from the following sources: ; .

Personal life

Daniels is openly gay – he has remarked "Out? I've never been in" – and lives with stage actor Ian Gelder. They began seeing each other during a 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 be open about being gay at the age of 24 years, while appearing in an all-star benefit performance of Martin Sherman's Bent. Daniels has said:

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 Ashtanga yoga devotee.


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  30. A 2004 article about Daniels states that Ian Gelder was aged 55 years and that they had been partners for more than a decade: .
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  • . Retrieved on 28 December 2007.

Further reading

External links

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