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Jeremy John Irons (born 19 September 1948) is an Englishmarker film, television, and stage actor. He has won the Academy Award, the Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, in addition to many other awards and honors. He is known for his deep bass voice and is also a voice actor, famously as Scar in The Lion King.

Early life

Irons was born in Cowesmarker, Isle of Wightmarker, the son of Barbara Anne Brereton Brymer Sharpe Irons (née Sharpe), a housewife (1914–1999), and Paul Dugan Irons (1913–1983), an accountant. Part of his maternal ancestry is Irish, and his great-grandfather was one of the first Metropolitan Policemen and later a chartist. Irons has a brother, Christopher (born 1943) and a sister, Felicity Anne (born 1944), both older. He was educated at the independent Sherborne Schoolmarker in Dorsetmarker, (c. 1962–1966). He achieved some fame as the drummer and harmonica player (most memorably for his rendition of "Moon River" on harmonica) in a four-man school band called the Four Pillars of Wisdom. They performed, in a classroom normally used as a physics lab, for the entertainment of boys compulsorily exiled from their houses for two hours on Sunday afternoons. He was also known within Abbey House as half of a comic duo performing skits on Halloween and at end-of-term House Suppers.


Irons trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Schoolmarker and is now president of its fundraising appeal. He performed a number of plays and supported himself by busking on the streets of Bristolmarker, before appearing on the London stage as John the Baptist and Judas opposite David Essex in Godspell, which opened at the Round Housemarker on 17 November 1971 before transferring to Wyndham's Theatremarker playing a total of 1,128 performances.

Irons was bestowed an Honorary-Life Membership by the Law Society (University College Dublin) in September 2008, in honour of his contribution to television, film, audio, music and theatre.


He made several appearances on British television, including the children's television series Play Away and as Franz Liszt in the BBC 1974 series Notorious Woman. More significantly he starred in the 13-part adaptation of H.E. Bates' novel Love for Lydia for London Weekend Television (1977), and attracted attention for his key role as the pipe-smoking German student, a romantic pairing with Judi Dench in Harold Pinter's screenplay adaptation of Aidan Higgins' novel Langrishe, Go Down for BBC television (1978).

The role which brought him fame was that of Charles Ryder in the television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited (1981). Brideshead reunited him with Anthony Andrews, with whom he had appeared in The Pallisers seven years earlier. In the same year he starred in the film The French Lieutenant's Woman opposite Meryl Streep.

Almost as a 'lap of honour' after these major successes, in 1982 he played the leading role of an exiled Polish building contractor, working in the Twickenhammarker area of South West London, in Jerzy Skolimowski's independent film Moonlighting, widely seen on television, a performance which extended his acting range.

In 2005, Irons won both an Emmy award and a Golden Globe award for his supporting role in the TV mini-series, Elizabeth I. A year later Irons was one of the participants in the third series of the BBC documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? In 2008 he played Lord Vetinari in Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, an adaptation for Sky One.

On 6 November 2008, TV Guide reported he will star as photographer Alfred Stieglitz with Joan Allen as painter Georgia O'Keeffe, in a Lifetime Television O'Keeffe biopic.Irons also appeared in the documentary for Irish television channel TG4, Faoi Lan Cheoil in which he learned to play the fiddle.


Irons' film debut came with Nijinsky in 1980. He appeared sporadically in films during the 1980s, including the Cannesmarker Palme d'Or winner The Mission in 1986, and in the dual role of twin physicians in David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers in 1988. Over the years, Irons has become known for playing somber, often mentally tortured characters. Other films include Danny the Champion of the World (1989), Reversal of Fortune (1990), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, Kafka (1991), Damage (1993), The House of the Spirits (1993) appearing again with Glenn Close and Meryl Streep, Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995), Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty (1996), the 1997 remake of Lolita and as the musketeer Aramis opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1998 film version of The Man in the Iron Mask (1998). One of his more memorable performances was when he gave his voice to Scar in The Lion King (1994).

Other roles include playing the evil wizard Profion in the film Dungeons and Dragons (2000). He played Rupert Gould in Longitude (2000). He played the Über-Morlock from the movie The Time Machine (2002). In 2004, Irons played Severus Snape in Comic Relief's Harry Potter parody, "Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan". Irons and Alan Rickman (who plays Snape in the Harry Potter film series), played the Gruber brothers, Simon and Hans, respectively, in the Die Hard film series.

In 2005, he appeared in the films Casanova opposite Heath Ledger, and Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. He has co-starred with John Malkovich in two movies; The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) and Eragon (2006), though they did not have any scenes together in Eragon.


Irons read the audio book recording of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, and the audio book recording of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita.

One of his best known film roles has turned out to be the voice of Scar in The Lion King (1994). Irons has since provided voiceovers for two Disney World attractions. He narrated the Spaceship Earthmarker ride, housed in the large geodesic globe at Epcotmarker, from November 1994 to July 2007. He also voiced H.G. Wells in the English version of the former Disney attraction The Timekeeper.

He was originally to star as the Phantom in a 2006 French musical adaptation of Gaston Leroux's novel The Phantom of the Opera, though the project was canceled. He will be the narrator for Val Kilmer and Bill Pullman's brand-new Lewis and Clark movie from Revolution Studios.

He serves as the English-language version of the audio guide for Westminster Abbeymarker in London.


In 1985, Irons directed a music video for Carly Simon and her heavily promoted single, "Tired of Being Blonde". Although the song was not a hit, the video —featuring the fast cutting, parallel narratives and heavy use of stylized visual effects that were a staple of pop videos at the time— received ample attention on MTV and other outlets.

In 1994 Jeremy Irons had a cameo role in the video for Elastica's hit single 'Connection'. Irons was one of the many naked men sitting down around Elastica as they performed the song. Irons has since claimed that this 3 minute slice of nudity was his most enjoyable work to date.

Irons has contributed to other musical performances, recording William Walton's Façade with Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and in 1997 the songs from Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, released on the Decca label.

He sang a selection of sophisticated Noël Coward songs at the 1999 Last Night of the Proms in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Coward's birth.

In 2003 he played Fredrik Egerman in a New York revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, and two years later appeared as King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe's Camelot at the Hollywood Bowlmarker.

Jeremy Irons also has a full song named "Be Prepared" that takes part in the movie The Lion King. However he only actually sang a section of the song after having vocal problems, Jim Cummings finished the last few lines of the song. This song can be found in the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of the movie.

In 2009 Irons appeared on the Touchstone album Wintercoast, recording a narrative introduction to the album. Recording took place in New York Citymarker in February 2009 during rehearsals for his Broadwaymarker play Impressionism.


Irons has twice worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1976 and 1986–87. In 1984, Irons made his New York debut and won a Tony Award for his Broadway performance opposite Glenn Close in The Real Thing.

After an absence from the London stage for 18 years, in 2006 he co-starred with Patrick Malahide in Christopher Hampton's stage adaptation of Sándor Márai's novel Embers at the Duke of York's Theatremarker.

He made his National Theatremarker debut playing Harold Macmillan in Never So Good, a new play by Howard Brenton which opened at the Lyttelton on 19 March 2008.

In 2009 Irons appeared on Broadwaymarker opposite Joan Allen in the play Impressionism. The play ran through 10 May 2009 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.

Personal life

Irons is married to Irishmarker actress Sinéad Cusack and is the father of two sons, Samuel James Brefni Irons (16 September 1978), who works as a photographer, and Maximilian Paul Diarmuid Irons (17 October 1985), also an actor who appeared in the 2006 Burberry fashion campaign. Both of Irons' sons have appeared in films with their father, Sam in Danny, Champion of the World and Max in Being Julia. Irons now lives in the small town of Watlingtonmarker in Oxfordshire.

He is also the patron since 2002 of the Thomley Activity Centre, an Oxfordshire non-profit activity centre for disabled children. Irons owns Kilcoe Castle (which he had painted a rusty pink) in County Cork, Ireland, and has become involved in local politics there. He also has another Irish residence in The Liberties, Dublinmarker. Irons is a patron of the Chiltern Shakespeare Company. He is a fan of English football club Portsmouth.

At the 1991 Tony Awards, Irons was one of the few celebrities to wear the recently created red ribbon to support the fight against AIDS, and he was the first celebrity to wear it onscreen. He supports a number of other charities, including The Prison Phoenix Trust of which he is an active patron.


In 1998 Irons was named, along with his wife Sinéad Cusack, in a list of the biggest private financial donors to the Labour Party. However, in 2004 he publicly declared his support for the Countryside Alliance.



Following training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre school Irons initially stayed with the company:


Year Film Role Notes
1980 Nijinsky Mikhail Fokine
1981 The French Lieutenant's Woman Charles Henry Smithson/Mike Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Brideshead Revisited Charles Ryder Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film

1982 Moonlighting Nowak
Betrayal Jerry
1983 The Wild Duck Harold
1984 Swann in Love Charles Swann
1986 The Mission Father Gabriel Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
1988 A Chorus of Disapproval Guy Jones
Dead Ringers Beverly Mantle / Elliot Mantle Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor

1989 Australia Edouard Pierson
Danny, the Champion of the World William Smith
1990 Reversal of Fortune Claus von Bülow Academy Award for Best Actor
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor

1991 The Beggar's Opera Prisoner
Kafka Kafka
1992 The Timekeeper H.G. Wells
Waterland Tom Crick
Damage Dr. Stephen Fleming
1993 M. Butterfly René Gallimard
The House of the Spirits Esteban Trueba
1994 Spaceship Earthmarker Narrator
The Lion King Scar voice actor
Annie Award for Best Achievement for Voice Acting
1995 Die Hard: With a Vengeance Simon Gruber
1996 Stealing Beauty Alex Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1997 Chinese Box John
Lolita Humbert Humbert
1998 The Man in the Iron Mask Aramis
1999 Poseidon's Fury: Escape from the Lost Citymarker Poseidon voice actor
2000 Dungeons & Dragons Profion
Longitude Rupert Gould TV series (4 episodes)
2001 The Fourth Angel Jack Elgin
2002 Callas Forever Larry Kelly
Last Call F. Scott Fitzgerald
2003 The Time Machine Über-Morlock
And Now... Ladies and Gentlemen... Valentin Valentin
Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There Himself
Hittites Narrator
2004 Mathilde Pukovnik Unprofora
The Merchant of Venice Antonio
Being Julia Michael Gosselyn Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
2005 Gallipoli Gallipoli
Kingdom of Heaven Tiberias
Casanova Pucci
2006 Inland Empire Kingsley Stewart
Eragon Brom
Elizabeth I Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester television miniseries
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Movie

2008 The Colour of Magic Havelock Vetinari television miniseries
Appaloosa Randall Bragg
2009 The Pink Panther 2 Alonso Avellaneda
Georgia O'Keeffe Alfred Steiglitz Post-production
Scheduled premiere September 19, 2009.

Sony Pictures Television for Lifetime


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