14 August 1968 |
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Spouse(s)||Lolita Chakrabarti (present; 2 children)|
Early life, education and personal life
Lester was born in Birmingham, West Midlands, the son of Jamaican immigrants Monica, a medical secretary, and Reginald, a manager for a contract cleaning company. From the age of 9 Lester sang as a boy treble in the choir of St. Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham. At 14 he began acting with the Birmingham Youth Theatre. After leaving Archbishop Masterson RC School he attended Joseph Chamberlain VI Form College for one year before completing 3 years training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Lester currently holds a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do. He is married to actress Lolita Chakrabarti. They live in South East London with their two daughters, Lila and Jasmine.
Lester received an Ian Charleson Award commendation and a Time Out Award for his 1991 performance as Rosalind in Cheek by Jowl's all-male production of As You Like It. In 1993, he played Anthony Hope in the National Theatre's production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He has also appeared on stage in the musical Company, for which he won an Olivier Award, in the title role of Hamlet (Carlton TV Theatre Award). In 2003, Lester played the title role in Henry V at the National Theatre.
Lester is known for playing a big-time con artist named Michael "Mickey Bricks" Stone in the BBC TV series Hustle between 2004 and 2012. The character was written out of the fourth series and replaced by Ashley Walters, although he returned from the fifth series onwards. In the United States, he played campaign manager Henry Burton in Mike Nichols's 1998 film Primary Colors, based on the novel by Anonymous (Joe Klein). His character is believed to represent George Stephanopoulos. This part earned him a Chicago Film Critics Association award nomination for "Most Promising Actor".
Lester appeared in Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost, an adaptation of the William Shakespeare play, set in the 1930s. The film itself was poorly received, but Lester received a British Independent Film Awards nomination for his performance.
Also, in The Day After Tomorrow, Lester had a minor role as Simon, one of the three researchers who drink a toast of "twelve-year-old Scotch" shortly before freezing to death. Lester also appeared as Ellis in the hit sitcom Girlfriends from 2002 to 2003, playing a film star who dated Tracee Ellis Ross's character, Joan.
In late 2005, Lester had a major guest starring role in Channel 4's hard-hitting police drama The Ghost Squad. Lester also filmed scenes for 2007's Spider-Man 3, as a research scientist who is sought after by the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) to find a cure for his ailing daughter. He was seen in one teaser trailer for the film; however, his scenes were cut from the final theatrical version.
Also in 2007, Lester took part in Empire's Children, a Channel 4 documentary exploring the journey taken by the "Windrush Generation" to the United Kingdom. Lester's grandfather, Kenneth Nathaniel Lester, was to be included in the documentary, but was unwell during filming in Jamaica and could not be interviewed. Kenneth Lester died soon after the documentary completed filming and never saw the programme aired.
In 2008, Adrian Lester starred in the BBC drama Bonekickers, a programme focusing on a team of archaeologists. 2009 saw him return as Mickey Bricks in Hustle. He also played the character Myror in the British television drama Merlin. He recorded, Alpha Force: Survival, an audio book written by Chris Ryan.
In 2010, he played the part of Brick in Tennessee Williams' play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello Theatre in London. He also appeared in the documentary When Romeo Met Juliet together with his wife Lolita Chakrabarti as acting mentors to the pupils of two Coventry schools involved in a production of Romeo and Juliet. In 2012 he appeared in Chakrabarti's play Red Velvet as Ira Aldridge. In April 2013, he appeared on the Cultural Exchange feature of Front Row on Radio Four (a feature of the programme where people had to choose a piece of art that meant a great deal to them). He chose Redemption Song by Bob Marley.
Adrian Lester played the part of Othello in the Shakespeare play of the same name in 2013 alongside Rory Kinnear as Iago at the National Theatre. Both actors won the Best Actor award in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for their roles; the award is traditionally given to only one actor, but the judges were unable to choose between the pair.
Lester was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to drama. In July 2013 he also received an honorary degree from the University of Warwick.
- Les Soeurs Soleil (1997)
- Up on the Roof (1997)... Scott
- Primary Colors (1998)... Henry Burton
- Love's Labour's Lost (2000)... Dumaine
- Maybe Baby (2000)... George
- Best (2000)... Rocky
- Born Romantic (2000)... Jimmy
- Dust (2001)... Edge
- The Final Curtain (2002)... Jonathan Stitch
- The Day After Tomorrow (2004)... Simon
- As You Like It (2006)... Oliver De Boys
- Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006)... Pete
- Starting Out in the Evening (2007)... Casey Davies
- Doomsday (2008)... Sgt. Norton
- Case 39 (2009)... Wayne
- Touch and Die (1991): Lute
- The Affair (1995): Ray
- Company (1996): Bobby
- Storm Damage (1999): Danny
- Jason and the Argonauts (2000): Orpheus
- The Tragedy of Hamlet (2002): Hamlet
- Girlfriends (2002): Ellis
- Hustle (2004–06, 2009–12, 42 Episodes): Mickey
- The Ghost Squad (2005, 1 Episode): DI Gus Philips
- Ballet Shoes (2007): Mr. Sholsky
- Bonekickers (2008, 6 Episodes): Ben Ergha
- Merlin (2009, 1 Episode): Myror
- Sleep With Me (2009): Richard
- When Romeo Met Juliet (2010): As Himself
- "Adrian Lester". Front Row. 25 April 2013. BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s0qnh. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Touch of Colour takes Brum star Adrian to Hollywood.". Sunday Mercury. 11 October 1998. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- MacDonald, Marianne (3 February 2006). "The player; Not only is Adrian Lester the National Theatre's Henry V, he's also the chief con man in Hustle. It's a sparkling career forged on a penniless childhood with an absent father and a struggling mother. Marianne Macdonald meets a man driven to succeed.". The Evening Standard. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- Leitch, Luke (16 August 2002). "NATIONAL'S NEW CHIEF CASTS BLACK ACTOR AS HENRY V.". The Evening Standard. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- Lees, Caroline. "Classic recipes for success". Sunday Times. 9 February 1992.
- Kennedy, Maev (17 November 2013). "Othello and Iago share best actor prize in London Evening Standard awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 29 December 2012.
- "Warwick honorary degrees for stars of Gavin & Stacey & Hustle, RSC & Royal Court Artistic Directors, scientists, historians, philanthropist & a US government adviser". University of Warwick. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.