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Ralph Fiennes

22 Dec 1962 (Age 56)

Ralph Fiennes Biography

Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes is an English actor. He has appeared in films such as Schindler's List, Quiz Show, The English Patient, Oscar and Lucinda, Red Dragon, The Constant Gardener, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the Harry Potter films, and In Bruges.
Two time Academy Award nominated, he is the only actor ever to have won a Tony Award for playing Hamlet on Broadway. In 2001, Fiennes received the William Shakespeare Award from the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C..

Fiennes is also a UNICEF UK ambassador.

Early Life

Fiennes was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, the son of Mark Fiennes (1933-2004), a farmer and photographer (and son of industrialist Sir Maurice Fiennes), and Jennifer Lash (1938-1993), a writer. His surname is of the Norman origin. He is a third cousin of the adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

The eldest of seven children, his siblings are actor Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love, Luther), Martha Fiennes, a director (in her film Onegin, he acted the title role), Magnus Fiennes, a composer, Sophie Fiennes, a filmmaker, Jacob Fiennes, a conservationist, and his foster brother Michael Emery, an archaeologist.

The Fiennes family moved to Ireland in 1973, living in West Cork and County Kilkenny for some years, where Fiennes attended St Kieran's College for one year. He also attended Newtown, a Quaker school in Waterford. They moved to Salisbury in England, where Fiennes finished his schooling at Bishop Wordsworth's School before attending Chelsea College of Art.


Fiennes trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He began his career at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park and, also during the late 1980s, the National Theatre before becoming a star in the Royal Shakespeare Company. Fiennes first worked on screen in 1990 and then made his film debut in 1992 as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights opposite Juliette Binoche, for which he received substantial acclaim and praise throughout Europe.

1993 was his "breakout year". He had a major role in the very controversial Peter Greenaway film The Baby of Mâcon with Julia Ormond. Though the film was poorly received, Fiennes's career suffered no lasting consequences, and later that year he became known internationally for portraying the amoral Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Goeth in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List.

For this, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He did not win the Oscar, but did win the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA Award for the role. His portrayal as Göth also earned him a spot on the American Film Institute's list of the top 50 movie villains.

In 1994, he portrayed American academic Charles Van Doren in Quiz Show, and in 1996, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the World War II epic romance The English Patient. Fiennes' work has ranged from thrillers (Red Dragon) to animated Biblical epic (The Prince of Egypt) to campy nostalgia (The Avengers) to romantic comedy (Maid in Manhattan) and offbeat dramedy (Oscar and Lucinda).

Fiennes was cast as Lord Voldemort in the 2005 fantasy film Harry Potter. Lord Voldemort does not appear in the book of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and so Fiennes did not appear in the film. However, as Voldemort appears as an 11-year-old, Ralph's nephew, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin played the character.

The Constant Gardener was released in 2005 with Fiennes as the title role. The film was set in the slums of Kibera and Loiyangalani, Kenya. The situation affected the crew to the extent that they set up the Constant Gardener Trust in order to provide basic education around these villages. Fiennes is a patron of the charity. His 2007 performance in the play Faith Healer gained him a nomination for the 2006 Tony Award.

In 2008, he re-teamed with frequent collaborator director Jonathan Kent to play the title role in Sophocles' Oedipus. He also appeared in a 2010 West End revival of Uncle Vanya. Also, he played the Duke of Devonshire in The Duchess (2008).

Personal Life

Fiennes met actress Alex Kingston while both were students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. After dating for ten years, they married in 1993. However, they divorced in 1997. In 1995, Fiennes started dating Francesca Annis, an actress 17 years his senior, who played his mother in Hamlet.

In February 2006, the couple separated after tabloid reports revealed that Fiennes had an affair with Romanian singer Cornelia Crisan. In late 2006, sources reported that Fiennes was dating American actress Ellen Barkin.
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