Ioan Gruffudd

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Ioan Gruffudd
E3 2005 Fantastic Four's Ioan Gruffudd (cropped).jpg
Gruffudd in May 2005
Born (1973-10-06) 6 October 1973 (age 41)
Llwydcoed, Aberdare, Cynon Valley, Wales
Occupation Actor
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Alice Evans (2007–present; 2 children)

Ioan Gruffudd (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈjo.an ˈɡrɪfɪð] ( ); born 6 October 1973) is a Welsh actor.

Having trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he started off in Welsh language film productions, then came to international attention as Fifth Officer Harold Lowe in the film Titanic (1997), and as Lt John Beales in Black Hawk Down (2001). He is also known in the UK for playing the title role in Hornblower (1998–2003). [1]

In June 2012, he filmed Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box[2] throughout the south-west of England, playing the role of "Charles Mundi"; the film is scheduled for release in 2014. Other film roles include Lancelot in King Arthur (2004), Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) in Fantastic Four (2005) and the sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), and British anti-slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace (2006). He played Tony Blair in W. (2008). On television he played Andrew Martin in Ringer. Starting in 2014, he plays Dr. Henry Morgan in Forever.

Family, early life and education[edit]

Gruffudd was born on 6 October 1973 in Llwydcoed, near Aberdare, Cynon Valley, in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales, the eldest of three siblings. Gruffudd's parents, Peter and Gillian (née James) Gruffudd, were both teachers.[3]

His father was headmaster at two Welsh comprehensive schools in South Wales, first at Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari then later at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen. He has a younger brother, Alun,[4] two years younger, and a sister, Siwan, who is seven years his junior.[5]

Gruffudd was raised in a Protestant non-conformist household.[6]

The popular Welsh name "Ioan" is an equivalent of "John", and "Gruffudd" corresponds to the anglicised "Griffith". He has been quoted as saying, "I'm determined not to lose my name. It's who I am. It has neither aided my progress nor hampered it. It's just who I am. My character... my make-up. My culture and heritage is a very rich one. So what if it's difficult for people to pronounce? We all learned how to say 'Schwarzenegger'".[citation needed]

During his childhood, his family moved to Cardiff.[5] Gruffudd attended Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Aberdar (Ynyslwyd; now located in Cwmdare), Ysgol Gymraeg Melin Gruffydd (in Whitchurch, Cardiff), and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf (in Llandaff).

He was an accomplished oboist in his teens,[7] achieving a Grade 8 level in the ABRSM music examinations[8] and playing in the South Glamorgan Youth Orchestra for several years,[9] but gave it up once acting took up most of his time.[1] He won prizes for his high baritone singing while at school, including one at the National Eisteddfod.[8] He has said, "As a Welshman, I grew up in a culture of singing and performing with music, and I think it was through this performing that I got my confidence as an actor."[10]

Gruffudd's parents are committed Christians, and in his early 20s, he was a member of the London Church of Christ, but his mother later came to London to "sort [his] head out".[11] In June 2007, he said that he "wouldn't describe myself as a deeply religious man".[12]

Career[edit]

Gruffudd started his acting career at the age of 13 in a Welsh television film, Austin (1986), and later moved on to the Welsh language soap opera Pobol y Cwm (People of the Valley) from 1987-94. He also played football with the Pobol y Cwm football team Cwmderi FC alongside co-stars Hywel Emrys, Gwyn Elfyn and Ieuan Rhys. During this time, he was also active on stage, in school performances, and in the 1991 Urdd Eisteddfod production of Cwlwm.[citation needed]

In 1992, aged 18, he began attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. However, he was only given small parts in the Academy's productions, and feeling isolated and directionless, almost dropped out several times. However, in 1995 in his final year, he was cast in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler as George (Jörgen) Tesman, the husband of Hedda, the lead character. This performance led to him being offered the lead role in the 1996 TV remake of Poldark.[7][13]

After playing Oscar Wilde's lover John Gray in 1997's Wilde he took his first international role as Fifth Officer Harold Lowe in the blockbuster film Titanic. He later landed the role of Horatio Hornblower in Hornblower, the Meridian production of the C. S. Forester novels (1998–2003), shown on ITV1 and A&E. He has said: "It was quite something for an unknown actor to get the lead. So I will always be grateful to Hornblower. ... I would love to play this character through every stage of his life. I think it would be unique to have an actor playing him from the very early days as a midshipman, through till he's an Admiral. So, I would love to play this character till he perishes."[10]

His television work includes playing the character Pip in the BBC TV production of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (1999), Lt. John Feeley in BBC One's Warriors (1999) and architect Philip Bosinney in ITV's adaptation of The Forsyte Saga (2002). He has starred in the films 102 Dalmatians (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001) and King Arthur (2004).[1]

Gruffudd in 2007

In 2007, he starred in the historical drama Amazing Grace as William Wilberforce, the British abolitionist, receiving critical acclaim for the role. Gruffudd has also portrayed characters of both Marvel Comics and DC Comics, having appeared as Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) in Marvel's Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), and provided the voice of Mister Miracle in DC's Justice League Unlimited (2004–06).[1]

In 2008, he appeared in the Julia Roberts-Ryan Reynolds film, Fireflies in the Garden. In 2008, he also appeared in The Secret of Moonacre. In 2009, he starred alongside Josh Brolin in W., a biopic about the life of U.S. President George W Bush, in which Gruffudd played Tony Blair. In 2011, he played the financier of a cave dive in Sanctum.[1]

Apart from television and film work, he starred in the music video of Westlife's version of "Uptown Girl" (2001) alongside Claudia Schiffer. On 7 July 2007 he was a presenter at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London.[14]

Gruffudd is a native Welsh speaker. He was inducted into the Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain (the Bardic Order of Great Britain) at the highest rank of druid in the National Eisteddfod at Meifod, mid-Wales, on 4 August 2003, with the bardic name "Ioan".[3][15]

In July 2008 he featured in a promotional trailer in Welsh for BBC Wales, alongside fellow Welshmen Matthew Rhys and Gethin Jones, publicising BBC coverage of the 2008 National Eisteddfod of Wales in Cardiff.[16] In early 2014, Gruffudd was among the stars of Wales in a short film from the BBC to mark the centenary of the birth of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Gruffudd lives with his wife, actress Alice Evans, in Los Angeles, California. The couple met during the production of 102 Dalmatians, and married on 14 September 2007 in Mexico.[17] One of Gruffudd's best men and speechmakers at the wedding was fellow Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, his long-time friend and former flatmate of eight years.[4] Both are patrons of Trust PA, a UK spinal injuries charity.[18]

On 20 April 2009, Gruffudd and his wife, Alice, announced they were expecting their first child together.[19] The couple have two daughters.[20][21]

Gruffudd enjoys being in Los Angeles because "it's the easiest place in the world to drive, and it's a real pleasure to do that in my black Jag XK8. I've gone all out."[7] According to Gruffudd:

There's a physicality and confidence to Americans; they're very present. That's something I enjoy being around because it rubs off on you. Although an actor friend of mine visited recently and said, 'It's no wonder they write such terrible scripts these days, there's no pain! Everything's so nice you can't be bothered.'[22]

Selected work[edit]

Films[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
Wilde 1997 John Gray
Titanic 1997 Harold Godfrey Lowe, Fifth Officer of the RMS Titanic
Solomon & Gaenor 1999 Solomon Levinsky
102 Dalmatians 2000 Kevin Shepherd
Another Life 2001 Freddy Bywaters
Very Annie Mary 2001 Hob
Happy Now 2001 Sgt. Max Bracchi
Black Hawk Down 2001 Lt. John Beales
Shooters 2002 Freddy Guns
Gathering, TheThe Gathering 2002 Dan Blakeley
This Girl's Life 2003 Daniel
King Arthur 2004 Lancelot
Fantastic Four 2005 Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (with Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis)
TV Set, TheThe TV Set 2006 Richard McAllister
Amazing Grace 2006 William Wilberforce
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer 2007 Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Dance
Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (with Jessica Alba)
Stories USA 2007 Simon
Agent Crush 2008 Agent Crush Voice role
The Meant to Be's 2008 The Man
Fireflies in the Garden 2008 Addison
Secret of Moonacre, TheThe Secret of Moonacre 2008 Sir Benjamin
W. 2008 Tony Blair
The Kid 2010 Teacher
Horrible Bosses 2011 Wetwork Expert Cameo
Sanctum 2011 Carl Hurley
Foster 2011 Alec Also titled as Angel in the House
Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box 2013 Charles Mundi
Eddie 2013 The Killer Short
Playing It Cool 2014 Stuffy
San Andreas 2015 Daniel Reddick

Television[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
Austin 1986 Dafydd
Pobol y Cwm 1987–94 Gareth Wyn Harries
Poldark 1996 Jeremy Poldark
Hornblower: The Even Chance 1998 Midshipman Horatio Hornblower
Hornblower: The Examination For Lieutenant 1998 Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Warriors 1999 Lt. John Feeley
Hornblower: The Duchess and the Devil 1999 Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Hornblower: The Frogs and the Lobsters 1999 Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Great Expectations 1999 Pip
Hornblower: Mutiny 2001 3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Hornblower: Retribution 2001 3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower
Man and Boy 2002 Harry Silver TV Movie
Forsyte Saga, TheThe Forsyte Saga 2002 Phillip Bosinney
Hornblower: Loyalty 2003 Commander Horatio Hornblower
Hornblower: Duty 2003 Commander Horatio Hornblower
Century City 2004 Lukas Gold
Justice League Unlimited 2005 Mister Miracle Voice Role
Ben 10: Alien Force 2010 Devin Levin Voice Role
Batman: The Brave and the Bold 2010 Armor/Red Ryan Voice Role
Ringer 2011–2012 Andrew Martin
Night of the Hurricane 2011 Narrator
The British 2012 Narrator
Monday Mornings 2013 Dr. Stewart Delaney Guest Role
Castle 2013 Erik Vaughn Season 5, Episode 22: "The Squab and the Quail"
Necessary Roughness 2013 Nolan Powers Guest Role
Glee 2013 Paolo San Pablo Guest Role
Under Milk Wood 2014 Mog Edwards TV Movie
Forever 2014– Henry Morgan Lead

Theatre[edit]

Title Year Location Role
Hedda Gabler 1995 London (RADA) George (Jörgen) Tesman
Trouble Sleeping[23]

[24]

1995 National Theatre Studio, London Unknown
The Decameron[25] 1995 Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, London Unknown
The Play Wot I Wrote 2001 Wyndham's Theatre, London Mystery Guest

Sources[edit]

Some information in this table was obtained from "Ioan Gruffudd CV". Hamilton Hodell Talent Management. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Ioan Gruffudd at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Adam Dawtrey (11 April 2012). http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118052510. Variety Article; retrieved 30 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Ioan received into the Gorsedd" (in Welsh). BBC Wales. 4 August 2003. Retrieved 2 August 2008.  "Biography for Ioan Gruffudd". IMDb.com. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Karen Price (18 September 2007). "Ioan's wedding pictures published". Western Mail (reproduced on icWales.co.uk). 
  5. ^ a b "Ioan Gruffudd biography". BBC Wales. Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
  6. ^ Moring, Mark (20 February 2007). "A Fantastic Role". Christianity Today. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c Liz Hoggard (2 July 2005). "Ioan Gruffudd: Enter the dragon". The Independent (London, UK). 
  8. ^ a b "Ioan Gruffudd CV". Hamilton Hodell Talent Management. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  9. ^ "The Gruffudd saga". GMTV. 16 January 2004. 
  10. ^ a b "Ioan Gruffudd trivia". Filmspot.com. Retrieved 12 June 2007. 
  11. ^ In a July 2005 newspaper interview, Gruffudd said: "I hadn't been going to chapel. A guy stopped me in the street and asked if I would like to go to church. I thought it was a sign... I knew it wasn't right but I didn't feel that it was so wrong, so other-worldly – that's how convincing the whole thing was. In the end, my mum had to come up to London to sort my head out."Liz Hoggard (2 July 2005). "Ioan Gruffudd: Enter the dragon". The Independent (London). 
  12. ^ James Collard (2 June 2007). "Famed for standout roles in period dramas, actor Ioan Gruffudd has a similar taste for timeless classics in his own wardrobe department". The Times (London, UK). 
  13. ^ Gina Petonito (1999–2007). "Biography". Ioancentral [fan site]. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  14. ^ "London Live Earth line-up revealed". NME. 5 July 2007. 
  15. ^ "Gruffudd made honorary druid". BBC News. 20 June 2003. 
  16. ^ "Eisteddfod hapus!". MediaMonkey, Mediaguardian.co.uk (London). 30 July 2008. 
  17. ^ Mary Margaret (15 September 2007). "Fantastic Four Star Ioan Gruffudd gets married". People. 
  18. ^ "Welsh actors help spinal charity". bbc.co.uk. 26 October 2002. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  19. ^ Alexis Chiu (20 April 2009). "Fantastic Four's Ioan Gruffudd and wife are expecting". People. 
  20. ^ "Fantastic! Ioan Gruffudd and Alice Evans's joy at birth of 'unbelievably beautiful' daughter". Daily Mail (London). 10 September 2009. 
  21. ^ "'Fantastic Four' actor Ioan Gruffudd and Alice become parents to 'beautiful' Ella". Hello!. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  22. ^ Liz Hoggard (2 July 2005). "Ioan Gruffudd: Enter the dragon". The Independent (London, UK). 
  23. ^ According to the Hamilton Hodell Talent Management website, Gruffudd was involved in an "untitled Nick Ward play" written and directed by Nick Ward and performed at the Royal National Studios (see "Ioan Gruffudd CV". Hamilton Hodell Talent Management. Retrieved 15 May 2008. ) The website Doollee.com indicates that Nick Ward developed his play Trouble Sleeping at the National Theatre Studio in London, and that it was staged in 1995 in Croydons' Warehouse Theatre
  24. ^ "Nick Ward". Doollee.com. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  25. ^ Ian Shuttleworth (July 1996). "The Decameron. Gate Theatre, London. Opened 23 July 1996". Financial Times (reproduced on Ian Shuttleworth's homepage).  "Nick Ward". Doollee.com. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]