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Guy Edward Pearce (born 5 October 1967) is an English-born Australian Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated actor and musician, perhaps best known for his critically acclaimed portrayal of anterograde amnesia victim Leonard Shelby in Christopher Nolan's Memento, his performance as Lieutenant Ed Exley in the film L.A. Confidential, and for his role as Mike Young in the popular Australian television series Neighbours.

Early life

Pearce was born in Elymarker, Cambridgeshire, the son of Anne Cocking (née Pickering), a County Durham-born schoolteacher specialising in needlework and home economics, and Stuart Pearce, a New Zealandmarker-born air force test pilot who died when Pearce was nine. When he was three years old, Pearce moved to Geelongmarker, Australia, where his mother ran a deer farm. He attended The Geelong Collegemarker and was a member of the GSODA Junior Players. Pearce lived in Fithie Street Blackburn North, Victoriamarker in the late 1980s while working on the Australian drama series Neighbours. From ages 16 to 22, he was a competitive amateur bodybuilder, culminating in a Mr. Natural Victoriamarker title.


Pearce starred in several theatre productions when he was young, and graduated to television when he was cast in the Australian soap opera Neighbours in 1985, playing the role of Mike Young for several years. Pearce also found roles in other television series such as Home and Away (1988) and Snowy River: The McGregor Saga (1993).

The director/producer/writer Frank Howson cast Pearce in his first three movies, and paid for him to go to the Cannes Film Festivalmarker in 1991 for the premiere of the Howson-directed Hunting. The accompanying Howson-funded publicity campaign brought Pearce to the attention of the international film industry. He made his first major film breakthrough shortly after, with his role as a drag queen in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in 1994. Since then, he has appeared in several U.S. productions including L.A. Confidential, Ravenous, Rules of Engagement, Memento, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Time Machine. Pearce recently portrayed pop artist Andy Warhol in Factory Girl and Harry Houdini in Death Defying Acts. He also appeared in The Road and Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler.

Pearce continues to perform in Australian theatre productions as well as Australian films, such as The Hard Word (2002) and the critically lauded The Proposition (2005). In January 2009, Pearce returned to the stage after a seven year absence. He performed in the Melbourne Theatre Company's production of Poor Boy, a play with music, co-written by Matt Cameron and Tim Finn.

Pearce appeared in Australian band Silverchair's music video for "Across the Night" and in Razorlight's video for "Before I Fall to Pieces". He recorded the soundtrack for A Slipping Down Life, singing and playing guitar on cover versions of songs by Ron Sexsmith, Vic Chesnutt, and Robyn Hitchcock.

Personal life

He has been married to Kate Mestitz, a psychologist, since March 1997. He is a long-time supporter of the Geelong Football Club in the Australian Football League. Pearce is an atheist.


Year Film Role Notes
1986-1989 Neighbours Mike Young (105 episodes)
1990 Heaven Tonight Paul Dysart
Friday on My Mind
1991 Hunting Sharp
1991-1992 Home and Away David Croft (unknown episodes)
1994-1996 The Man from Snowy River the McGregor Saga Rob McGregor (65 episodes)
Nominated — Logie Award for Most Popular Actor (1996)
1994 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Adam/Felicia
1996 Dating the Enemy (1996) Brett
1997 Flynn Errol Flynn
L.A. Confidential Ed Exley Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1998 Woundings Jimmy Compton New York International Independent Film Award for Best Actor
1999 A Slipping-Down Life Drumstrings Casey
Ravenous Capt. John Boyd
2000 Memento Leonard Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor

Rules of Engagement Maj. Mark Biggs
2002 Till Human Voices Wake Us Dr. Sam Franks
The Hard Word Dale Nominated — Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor
The Time Machine Alexander Hartdegen
The Count of Monte Cristo Fernand Mondego
2004 Two Brothers Aidan McRory
2005 The Proposition Charlie Burns Nominated — Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Inside Film Award for Best Actor

2006 Factory Girl Andy Warhol
First Snow Jimmy Starks
2007 Death Defying Acts Harry Houdini Nominated — Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
2008 Winged Creatures Dr. Bruce Laraby
Traitor Roy Clayton
The Hurt Locker Sgt. Matt Thompson Nominated — Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Bedtime Stories Kendall
2009 In Her Skin Mr. Barber
The Road Veteran
Animal Kingdom Leckie (post-production)
2011 Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (post production)


  1. Interview: Guy Pearce | Interviews | Film
  2. Guy Pearce biography
  3. Guy Pearce Biography (1967-)
  4. It’s Bedtime for Keri Russell
  5. The Adventures of Guy Pearce. MovieMaker Magazine.
  6. Geelong Football Club
  7. "I've got a T-shirt that says, 'Jesus saves,' and the 's' in 'Jesus' is a big dollar sign," he says. "I've worn it here [in America] and had people come up on the street and go, 'You can't wear that.' People in Australia think it's funny. I'm fascinated by religion. I don't believe in God, but the thing I do believe in is that we're all connected.

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