Martin Freeman

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For other people named Martin Freeman, see Martin Freeman (disambiguation).
Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman during filming of Sherlock cropped.jpg
Freeman as Dr John Watson during filming of Sherlock in 2010
Born Martin John Christopher Freeman
(1971-09-08) 8 September 1971 (age 43)
Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1997–present
Partner(s) Amanda Abbington (2000–present)
Children 2

Martin John Christopher Freeman[1] (born 8 September 1971)[2] is an English actor. He is perhaps best known for portraying Tim Canterbury in The Office, Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy, and Lester Nygaard in Fargo.

His other notable film roles include Love Actually (2003), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Nativity! (2009), and the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, most prominently in The World's End (2013).[3] Among other accolades, he has won an Emmy Award, BAFTA Award and an Empire Award, with other nominations including two other Emmy Awards, two other BAFTA Awards, and a Saturn Award

Early life

Freeman was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, the youngest of five children. His parents, Philomena (née Norris) and Geoffrey Freeman, a naval officer, separated when Freeman was a child. When Freeman was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack.[4][5] Freeman attended the Salesian School, Chertsey before attending Brooklands College for media studies.[6] His older brother Tim became a musician with the group Frazier Chorus.

Freeman was raised as a Roman Catholic. Although his family was not strict in their religious practices, his religion had a profound influence on him. As a child, he was asthmatic, and had to undergo a hip operation for what he has described as a "dodgy leg".[7][8]


Freeman joined a youth theatre group at 15, but it was not until he was 17 that his confidence in his acting led to the decision to pursue it as a career.[7] He went on to attend the Central School of Speech and Drama.[6] Freeman has appeared in at least 18 TV shows, 14 theatre productions, and several radio productions. He is notable for his role as Tim Canterbury in The Office. He appeared in the sitcom Hardware. He also appeared in several films, including Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Love Actually (2003).[6]

He began to move into more serious dramatic roles on television with his appearance as Lord Shaftesbury in the 2003 BBC historical drama Charles II: The Power and The Passion. He can also be seen making a brief appearance in the first episode of the second series of This Life. Freeman also starred in the BBC television series The Robinsons and had a cameo in episode 1 of Black Books. In 2007, he appeared in The All Together written and directed by Gavin Claxton, as well as the Bill Kenwright theatre production of The Last Laugh. He is featured in the video for Faith No More's cover of "I Started a Joke".[citation needed]

In May 2009 he starred in Boy Meets Girl, a four-part drama that charts the progress of characters Veronica and Danny after an accident which causes them to swap bodies.[9]

He currently plays Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC contemporary adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. He starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, who also went on to perform in The Hobbit films with Freeman. The first episode of Sherlock, "A Study in Pink", was broadcast on 25 July 2010 to critical acclaim. For his performance in the role he won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, 2011 and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.

He plays Bilbo Baggins, the main character, in the three-part Peter Jackson film series The Hobbit.[10][11] Accolades that his performance in the first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, garnered him include Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards[12] and Best Actor at the 18th Empire Awards.[13]

Freeman appeared in all three of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, commencing with a brief non-speaking role in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne's boyfriend, Declan, followed by a brief cameo in Hot Fuzz as a police officer. He is a main cast member in the 2013 finale to the trilogy, The World's End.[citation needed]

On 5 October 2013, he was presented with a fellowship bearing his name by the members of University College Dublin's Literary & Historical Society.

In April 2014, Freeman began playing insurance salesman Lester Nygaard in the dark comedy-crime drama series Fargo.[14]

He is set to play the title role in William Shakespeare’s play Richard III in the summer of 2014 at Trafalgar Studios.[15]

Personal life

Freeman lives in Hertfordshire with his partner, actress Amanda Abbington, whom he met on the set of Channel 4's Men Only in 2000.[16] The couple have two children together: Joe (born 2006) and Grace (born 2008).[7][8][17] They have appeared in other productions together, including Sherlock, Swinging with the Finkels, The Debt, The Robinsons, and The All Together.

In an edition of Who Do You Think You Are? aired on 19 August 2009, Freeman discovered that his grandfather, Leonard Freeman, was a medic who was killed a couple of days before the Dunkirk evacuation at the beginning of World War II. Leonard's father, Richard, was born blind and had been a piano tuner and organist at St Andrew's Church, West Tarring and later a music teacher in Kingston upon Hull.[4]

Freeman is a vegetarian.[18] He has struggled with religion, stating that "my relationship with my belief has never been easy."[19] Despite these struggles, he has said his Catholic faith remains intact.[20] In 2011, Freeman took part in a charity cricket match to raise money for victims of the Christchurch earthquake.[21]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 I Just Want to Kiss You Frank Short film
2000 The Low Down Solomon
2001 Round About Five The Man
2001 Men Only Jamie Television film
2001 Fancy Dress Pirate
2002 Ali G Indahouse Ricky C
2003 Love Actually John
2003 The Debt Terry Ross Television film
2003 Margery and Gladys D.S. Stringer Television film
2004 Blake's Junction 7 Vila Short film
2004 Call Register Kevin
2004 Pride Fleck Television film
2004 Shaun of the Dead Declan Cameo
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Arthur Dent
2006 Confetti Matt
2006 Breaking and Entering Sandy
2007 Dedication Jeremy
2007 The Good Night Gary Shaller
2007 Hot Fuzz Met. Sergeant
2007 Lonely Hearts The Pig Short film
2007 The All Together Chris Ashworth
2007 Rubbish Kevin Short film
2007 Nightwatching Rembrandt
2007 The Old Curiosity Shop Mr. Codlin Television film
2008 Rembrandt's J'Accuse Rembrandt Documentary
2009 Nativity! Paul Maddens
2009 Micro Men Chris Curry Television film
2009 Swinging with the Finkels Alvin Finkel
2010 Wild Target Dixon
2010 The Girl is Mime Clive Buckle Short film[22]
2011 What's Your Number? Simon
2012 The Pirates! Band of Misfits The Pirate with a Scarf Voice
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Bilbo Baggins
2013 The World's End Oliver Chamberlain
2013 Svengali Don
2013 Saving Santa Bernard Voice
2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Bilbo Baggins
2013 The Voorman Problem Dr. Williams Short film
2014 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Bilbo Baggins


Year Title Role Notes
1997 The Bill Craig Parnell Episode: "Mantrap"
1997 This Life Stuart Episode: "Last Tango in Southwark"
1998 Casualty Ricky Beck Episode: "She Loved the Rain"
1998 Picking up the Pieces Brendan Episode: "1.7"
1999 Exhaust The Car Owner
2000 Bruiser Various Characters 6 episodes
2000 Lock, Stock... Jaap 2 episodes
2000 Black Books Doctor Episode: "Cooking the Books"
2001 World of Pub Various Characters 5 episodes
2001–2003 The Office Tim Canterbury 14 episodes
2002 Helen West DC Stone 3 episodes
2002 Linda Green Matt Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go"
2003 Charles II: The Power and The Passion Lord Shaftesbury Miniseries
2003–2004 Hardware Mike 12 episodes
2005 The Robinsons Ed Robinson 6 episodes
2007 Comedy Showcase Greg Wilson Episode: "Other People"
2008 When Were We Funniest? Himself 4 episodes
2009 Boy Meets Girl Danny Reed Miniseries
2010–present Sherlock Dr. John Watson 9 episodes
2014 Fargo Lester Nygaard 10 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Work Award Category Result
2002 The Office British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Actor Nominated
2004 The Office (for "The Office Christmas Specials") BAFTAs Best Comedy Performance Nominated
British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actor Nominated
Love Actually Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Cast Nominated
Love Actually Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award Best Ensemble Cast Won
Love Actually Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
Hardware Rose d'Or Best Male Comedy Performance Won
2011 Sherlock BAFTAs Best Supporting Actor Won
2012 Nominated
Sherlock (for "A Scandal in Belgravia") Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
Gold Derby TV Awards TV Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actor Won
Sherlock Crime Thriller Awards Best Supporting Actor Won
PAAFTJ Awards Best Cast in a Miniseries or TV Movie Won
PAAFTJ Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie Nominated
Tumblr TV Awards Hottest Male Character in a TV Show Nominated
Tumblr TV Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Won
Tumblr TV Awards Best Male Character in a TV Series Nominated
Tumblr TV Awards Best Cast in a TV Show Won
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Total Film Hotlist Awards Hottest Actor Nominated
2013 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Empire Awards Best Actor Won[13][23]
Saturn Award Best Actor Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Scared-as-S**t Performance Nominated[24]
MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Won[12]
SFX Awards Best Actor Nominated
Shorts Awards Visionary Actor Won
New Zealand Movie Awards Hero of the Year Nominated
Constellation Awards Best Male Performance In A 2012 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-Series Nominated
Tumblr Movie Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
Tumblr Movie Awards Best Ship Nominated
Stella Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Won
The World's End Alternative End of Year Film Awards Best Ensemble Cast Won
2014 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Empire Awards Best Actor Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Nominated
Constellation Awards Best Male Performance In A 2013 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-Series 2nd Place
YouReviewers Awards Best Hero Nominated
Stella Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Won
Online Film Critics' Awards Most Cinematic Moment Nominated
CinEuphoria Awards Best Ensemble Nominated
Fargo Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
Crime Thriller Awards Best Actor Pending
Sherlock Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Won


  1. ^ "Martin Freeman (April 2012)". Slow Boat Records. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  2. ^ Larman, Alexander. "Freeman, Martin (b. 1971)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  3. ^ Braun, J.W. (2010). The Lord of the Films. ECW Press. 
  4. ^ a b "Martin Freeman". Who Do You Think You Are?. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Interview: Martin Freeman, Actor". The Scotsman. 27 November 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c "Martin Freeman: No ordinary Bilbo Baggins". The Independent. 30 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:'The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Paton, Maureen (17 July 2010). "In a taxi with...Martin Freeman". Daily Mail (London). 
  9. ^ Boy Meets Girl Interview: Martin Freeman profile, (30 April 2009); retrieved 27 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Martin Freeman to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit". BBC News. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Child, Ben (22 October 2010). "Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, a match made in Hobbit heaven". Guardian (London). Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Calautti, Katie (April 15, 2013). "Bilbo Baggins Beats Snow White For Best Hero At MTV Movie Awards". MTV Movie Awards.
  13. ^ a b Szalai, Georg (25 March 2013). Sam Mendes Win Empire Awards in U.K. for 'Skyfall', The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. ^ "Martin Freeman interview: 'I had no interest in Fargo just being a TV version of the film'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Star of The Hobbit Martin Freeman to play Richard III accessed 22 April 2014
  16. ^ Power, Vicki."How Tim from The Office found real love: Amanda Abbington on life with Martin Freeman". Daily Mail. 17 July 2011.
  17. ^ McLean, Craig (26 May 2013). "Amanda Abbington: Sherlock's Martin and Benedict have a fantastic chemistry". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Lily Allen and Friends: Martin Freeman". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  19. ^ Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:' The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail.
  20. ^ "Martin Freeman: No ordinary Bilbo Baggins". The Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "The 48 Hour Film Project: Behind the Scenes". Pixiq. February 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  23. ^ "Best Actor – Martin Freeman". Empire. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "Best Scared-As-S**t Performance". MTV Movie Awards. Retrieved May 29, 2013.

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