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Ewan Gordon McGregor ( ; born 31 March 1971) is a Scottish actor who has had success in mainstream, indie and art house films. He is perhaps best known for his role as Mark Renton in the 1996 film Trainspotting, his portrayal of the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and his role as the romantic penniless writer Christian in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!

In 2009, he appeared in the films I Love You Phillip Morris and Amelia, and portrayed the Camerlengo Patrick McKenna in the film adaption of Angels & Demons. Aside from his film work, McGregor has starred in theatre productions of Guys and Dolls. He also appeared in television series such as The Scarlet and the Black, Lipstick On Your Collar, Tales from the Crypt, and ER. He was ranked No. 36 in Empire magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.

Early life

McGregor was born in the Perthmarker Royal Infirmary, was brought up in the nearby small town of Crieffmarker, and went to the independent fee-paying school Morrison's Academymarker. His mother, Carol Diane (née Lawson), is a teacher and school administrator, and his father, James Charles Stuart McGregor, is a physical education teacher. His mother is the sister of actor Denis Lawson, the sister-in-law of the late actress Sheila Gish, and the step-aunt of the late Lou Gish. McGregor attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1988 to study drama. Six months before graduating, he won a leading role in Dennis Potter's six-part BBC series Lipstick on Your Collar, and has been working steadily ever since.



McGregor made his feature film debut in 1993 in Bill Forsyth's Being Human. The following year, he earned widespread praise and won an Empire Award for his performance in the thriller Shallow Grave, which marked his first collaboration with director Danny Boyle. His major international breakthrough soon followed with the role of heroin addict Mark Renton in Boyle's film version of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting.

McGregor has been featured as the male romantic lead in Hollywoodmarker films such as Moulin Rouge! and Down With Love, and in the British film Little Voice. He received excellent reviews for his performance as an amoral drifter mixed up in murder in the Scottish film Young Adam (2003), which co-starred the acclaimed Scottish actress Tilda Swinton. McGregor was offered the lead role as James Bond in the 2006 reboot Casino Royale but he turned it down because he feared becoming typecast.

McGregor is one of the few major male actors to repeatedly do full-frontal nudity in many of his films, including Trainspotting, Velvet Goldmine, The Pillow Book, and Young Adam. He also played gay and bisexual characters in Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book, Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine, and now recently in the new film with Jim Carrey, I Love You Phillip Morris.

In 2005, McGregor lent his voice to two successful animated features; the robot Rodney Copperbottom in Robots, which also featured the voices of Halle Berry and Robin Williams; and the lead character in Gary Chapman's Valiant, alongside Jim Broadbent, John Cleese and Ricky Gervais. Additionally in 2005, McGregor played two roles (one a clone of the other) opposite Scarlett Johansson in Michael Bay's The Island and then appeared in Marc Forster's Stay, a psychological thriller co-starring Naomi Watts and Ryan Gosling.

McGregor has narrated the STV show JetSet, a Scottish series following the lives of student pilots and navigators at RAF Lossiemouth as they undergo a gruelling six-month course learning to fly the Tornado GR4—the RAF's primary attack aircraft.

McGregor appears opposite Colin Farrell in Cassandra's Dream, and will co-star with Daniel Craig in Dan Harris' upcoming film adaptation of Glen Duncan's novel I, Lucifer. He will also be featured along with Jim Carrey in the 2009 film I Love You Phillip Morris.

Star Wars

In 1999, McGregor starred in the blockbuster Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace as Obi-Wan Kenobi, a role originally made famous by Sir Alec Guinness in the original Star Wars trilogy. He reprised his role for the subsequent prequels Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). McGregor took very special care (especially in Revenge of the Sith) in his portrayal to ensure that Obi-Wan's mannerisms, speech timings, and accents closely resemble Obi-Wan's "Alec Guinness Self". In appearing in the Star Wars films, he was continuing a family tradition of sorts: his uncle, Denis Lawson, had played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy.


McGregor starred alongside Jane Krakowski, Douglas Hodge, and Jenna Russell in the original Donmar Warehousemarker production of Guys and Dolls in London at the Piccadilly Theatremarker. He played the leading role of Sky Masterson, made famous by Marlon Brando in the film, and he received the award for Best Actor in 2005. He was also nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

From December 2007 to February 2008, he starred as Iago in Othello at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello and Kelly Reilly as Desdemona, a role he reprised on BBC Radio 3 in May 2008.

Personal life

On 22 July 1995, in a village in Francemarker, McGregor married Eve Mavrakis, a French production designer, whom he met while filming a guest appearance on the British television series Kavanagh QC. They have two daughters together, Clara Mathilde (born February 1996) and Esther Rose (born 7 November 2001), and McGregor has a Heart and Dagger tattoo of their names on his right arm. In April 2006, McGregor and his wife adopted Jamiyan, a four-year-old girl from Mongoliamarker (born June 2001). McGregor refuses to talk about his family in interviews; "because it's private." During the "fly-on-the-wall" filming of preparation for the Long Way Round and Long Way Down journeys, McGregor went to great lengths to keep his children — and information that could reveal the location of his home — away from the cameras. Unlike travelling companion Charley Boorman, whose daughters often appeared in front of the cameras, McGregor did not have his children present at the send-off or other filmed parts of either adventure, but they were filmed at the end when his family greeted him at the end of the journey. Having lived in Londonmarker for some time, in 2008 the family relocated their main base to their home in Los Angelesmarker, while retaining their home in London.

A keen motorcyclist since his youth, McGregor undertook a marathon motorcycle trip with his friend Charley Boorman and cameraman Claudio von Planta in 2004. From mid-April to the end of July, they travelled from London to New York via central Europe, Ukrainemarker, Russia (including Siberiamarker), Kazakhstanmarker, Mongoliamarker, and Canada on BMW R1150GS Adventure motorcycles, for a cumulative distance of 22,345 miles (35,960 km). The trip formed the basis of a television series and a best-selling book, both called Long Way Round. En route the Long Way Round team took time out to see some of UNICEF's work in Ukrainemarker, Kazakhstanmarker, and Mongoliamarker. The Long Way Round team reunited in 2007 for another motorcycle trip from John o' Groatsmarker in Scotland to Cape Townmarker in South Africa. The journey, entitled Long Way Down lasted from 12 May until 5 August 2007.

McGregor's brother, Colin, is a Tornado GR4 pilot in the Royal Air Force. Colin joined the motorcycle team during the early stages of the Long Way Down journey. His father Jim McGregor also rode on sections of both Long Way Round and Long Way Down, while his mother Carol surprised him in the latter stages of his African journey, serving him a can of Coca-Cola at a lodge in Malawimarker.

In an episode of Parkinson in 2007, McGregor said that he has given up alcohol after a period where he was arguably a functioning alcoholic, and that he has not had a drink in seven years. In 2008, he had a cancerous mole removed from underneath his right eye.


Feature films

Year Film Role Notes
1993 Being Human Alvarez
1994 Shallow Grave Alex Law Empire Award for Best British Actor
1995 Blue Juice Dean Raymond
1996 Trainspotting Mark Renton BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Empire Award for Best British Actor
London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actor of the Year
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance

The Pillow Book Jerome
Emma Frank Churchill
Brassed Off Andy
1997 Nightwatch Martin Bells
The Serpent's Kiss Meneer Chrome
A Life Less Ordinary Robert Lewis Empire Award for Best British Actor
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Dance Sequence (shared with Cameron Diaz)
1998 Desserts Stroller
Velvet Goldmine Curt Wild
Little Voice Billy Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1999 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Obi-Wan Kenobi Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor
Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Action/Science Fiction
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (shared with Liam Neeson and Ray Park)
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor

Rogue Trader Nick Leeson
Eye of the Beholder Stephen Wilson
2000 Nora James Joyce Nominated – Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor
2001 Moulin Rouge! Christian Empire Award for Best British Actor
London Critics Circle Film Award for British Actor of the Year
MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Sequence (shared with Nicole Kidman)
Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated – Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated – IF Award for Best Actor
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Nicole Kidman)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Black Hawk Down SPC John Grimes Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2002 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Obi-Wan Kenobi
Solid Geometry Phil
2003 Down with Love Catcher Block
Young Adam Joe Taylor BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor In A Leading Role
Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actor

Faster Narrator voice
Big Fish young Edward Bloom
2005 Robots Rodney Copperbottom voice
Valiant Valiant voice
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan Kenobi Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (shared with Hayden Christensen)
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Hero
The Island Lincoln Six Echo/Tom Lincoln
Stay Sam Foster
2006 Scenes of a Sexual Nature Billy
Miss Potter Norman Warne
Stormbreaker Ian Rider
2007 Cassandra's Dream Ian
2008 Deception Jonathan McQuarry
Incendiary Jasper Black
2009 I Love You Phillip Morris Phillip Morris
Angels & Demons Camerlengo Patrick McKenna
The Men Who Stare At Goats Bob Wilton
Amelia Gene Vidal
2010 The Ghost The Ghostwriter post-production
The Last Word David McKenzie filming
Jackboots on Whitehall Chris voice filming


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Lipstick on Your Collar PVT Mick Hooper Six episodes, main character
The Scarlet and the Black Julien Sorel Mini-series
1995 Kavanagh QC David Robert Armstrong "Nothing But the Truth"
1996 Karaoke young man "Tuesday"
Tales from the Crypt Ford "Cold War"
1997 ER Duncan Stewart "The Long Way Around"
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Drama Series
2004 Long Way Round Himself Documentary series
2007 Long Way Down Himself Documentary series


  • "Choose Life" by PF Project (from the Trainspotting soundtrack), 1996
  • "Gimme Danger" single (Soundtrack for movie Velvet Goldmine Cover version of original song by The Stooges - 1998)
  • "TV Eye" single (Soundtrack for movie Velvet Goldmine Cover version of original song by The Stooges - 1998)
  • "Come What May" Single (Duet with Nicole Kidman - October 2001) UK #27
  • "Your Song" single
  • "Elephant Love Medley" single (Duet with Nicole Kidman - October 2001)
  • "Here's To Love" (Duet with Renee Zellweger - Soundtrack for movie Down With Love - 2003)
  • "The Sweetest Gift" (Single recording from "Unexpected Dreams: Songs From the Stars" - 2006)



Further reading

  • Adams, Billy. Ewan McGregor: The Unauthorized Biography. Overlooks Press, 1999. ISBN 0879517042
  • Bassom, David. Ewan McGregor: An Illustrated Story. Hamlyn, 1999. ISBN 0600596532
  • Jones, Veda Boyd. Ewan McGregor. Facts On File Inc., 1999. ISBN 0791055019
  • Nickson, Chris. Ewan McGregor: An Unauthorized Biography. Macmillan, 1999. ISBN 0312969104
  • Pendreigh, Brian. Ewan McGregor. Thunder's Mouth Press, 1999. ISBN 1560252391
  • Robb, Brian J. Ewan McGregor: From Junkie to Jedi. Plexus, 1999. ISBN 0859652769

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