Olly Alexander

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Olly Alexander
Tauron Nowa Muzyka 2014 - Years & Years (13).jpg
Alexander with Years & Years at Tauron Nowa Muzyka 2014 in Katowice, Poland
Born Oliver Alexander Thornton
(1990-07-15) 15 July 1990 (age 24)
Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
  • Actor
  • writer
  • musician
Years active 2008–present

Oliver Alexander Thornton (born 15 July 1990), known as Olly Alexander, is an English actor, scriptwriter and lead singer of the band Years & Years. The band released their debut single "Traps" via Kitsuné in September 2013.

Life and career[edit]

Alexander's acting career began in theatre plays and films such as Summerhill and Bright Star, which was nominated for an Academy Award in the United States (for Best Achievement in Costume Design). He has also starred in films such as Tormented starring Alex Pettyfer, Enter the Void, and his most applauded performance was in the film Great Expectations as Herbert Pocket which starred Jeremy Irvine and Holliday Grainger. Alexander contributed to the script and music for the indie film The Dish & the Spoon which was released in early 2011.

Alexander was born in England. His mother, Vicki Thornton, was one of the founders of the Coleford Music Festival.[1] In a YouTube video uploaded from NylonMagazineTV Olly Alexander said he dropped out of school.[2] From March to June 2013 Olly starred as Peter Pan in the West End play Peter and Alice acting alongside Ben Whishaw and Judi Dench. Olly also had a supporting role in the final series of Skins playing Cassie Ainsworth's stalker in the two-part episode "Skins Pure", which aired in July 2013.

Alexander plays one of the main characters in the 2014 musical feature film God Help the Girl, where he also sings and plays guitar. The film was written and directed by Stuart Murdoch, the lead singer of the group Belle and Sebastian, as part of the God Help the Girl project.

His band, Years & Years formed in 2010 with Olly joining the band as lead vocalist after guitarist Mikey heard him singing in the shower and reckoned he had "a good voice". Olly's voice has been commented on by journalists for its unique tone with their music being described as "Nina Simone...crooning a melodic lullaby to the folktronic lovechild of Beach House and Terry Riley".

Their debut single proper "Traps" achieved support from Radio 1 and Radio 6, as well as many online publications such as The Guardian and The Fader. "Traps" also features on Kitsuné Maison's 15th compilation.

The band released their second single "Real" on Kitsuné and iTunes in February 2014 and the music video featured an appearance from Olly's Peter and Alice co-star, Ben Whishaw, and former Misfits actor, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. They are playing a few select shows in the UK as well as festival Les Inrocks in Paris, supporting Swim Deep.

Alexander also appeared in The Riot Club, the film adaptation of Laura Wade's stage play Posh alongside British actors Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Douglas Booth. Alexander portrayed since 2014 the recurring role of the vampire Fenton, in the British-American horror series Penny Dreadful.[3]

Years & Years most recent single, "King" headed straight to number one in March 2015, achieving the band national recognition.

Olly Alexander is openly gay and is in a relationship with Clean Bandit's violinist Neil Milan Amin-Smith.[4][5]



Year Film Role Notes
2008 Summerhill Ned
2009 Bright Star Tom Keats
2009 Tormented Jason Banks
2009 Enter the Void Victor
2009 Dust Elias
2010 The Fades Himself
2010 Gulliver's Travels Prince August
2010 The Dish & the Spoon Boy
2012 Great Expectations Herbert Pocket
2012 Cheerful Weather for the Wedding Tom
2013 Le Week-End Michael
2014 God Help the Girl James
2014 The Riot Club Toby Maitland
2015 Funny Bunny Titty


Year Title Role Episodes
2009 Lewis Hayden Wishart "Allegory of Love"
2013 Skins Jakob "Skins Pure" (series 7)
2014 Penny Dreadful Fenton "Resurrection" and "Demimonde"


Year Title Theatre Also starring
September–October 2010 The Aliens[6] Bush Theatre London Ralf Little and Mackenzie Crook
March–April 2012 Mercury Fur Old Red Lion Theatre
March–June 2013 Peter and Alice Noël Coward Theatre Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw


External links[edit]