14 August 1968
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Occupation||Actor, writer, director|
Lester was born in Birmingham, the son of Jamaican immigrants, Monica, a medical secretary, and Reginald, a manager for a contract cleaning company. From the age of nine, 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 Sixth Form College for one year, before completing three years of training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
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 as Robert in the musical Company, for which he won an Olivier Award, and 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 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.
In 2021, Lester appeared in the live-streamed production of Hymn written by his wife Lolita Chakrabarti for the Almeida Theatre. The play co-starred Danny Sapani and was performed with social distancing in place in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.
Lester is known for playing a big-time con artist named Michael "Mickey Bricks" Stone on the BBC television series Hustle between 2004 and 2012. The character was written out of the fourth series and replaced by Ashley Walters, although Lester returned from the fifth series (2009) onwards.
He also played the character Myror on the British television drama Merlin.
Lester played campaign manager Henry Burton in Mike Nichols' film Primary Colors (1998), 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, a musical 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.
Lester filmed scenes for Spider-Man 3 (2007), 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.
In 2010, Lester 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.
Lester recorded Alpha Force: Survival, an audio book written by Chris Ryan.
In 1997 Lester married actress and writer Lolita Chakrabarti, whom he met while they were both students at RADA. They live in south east London with their two daughters, Lila and Jasmine.
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 died soon after the documentary completed filming and never saw the programme aired.
In April 2013, Lester 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.
|1997||Les Soeurs Soleil||Isaac Nelson|
|1997||Up on the Roof||Scott|
|1998||Primary Colors||Henry Burton|
|2000||Love's Labour's Lost||Dumaine|
|2002||The Final Curtain||Jonathan Stitch|
|2004||The Day After Tomorrow||Simon|
|2006||As You Like It||Oliver De Boys|
|2006||Scenes of a Sexual Nature||Peter Brian "Pete" Maxwell|
|2007||Spider-Man 3||Dr. Derek C. Wallace||Scenes deleted|
|2007||Starting Out in the Evening||Casey Davies|
|2013||Jimi: All Is by My Side||Michael X|
|2017||Grey Lady||Julius Johnson|
|2018||Mary Queen of Scots||Lord Randolph|
|1987||A Sort of Innocence||Dave||1 episode|
|1988||Boon||Fast Eddie's Staff Member||Episode: "Beef Encounter"|
|1991||For the Greater Good||Young Gay Man||Episode: "Member"|
|1992||Touch and Die||Lute||TV film|
|The Bill||Dotun Konchella||Episode: "Just Send Some Flowers"|
|1995||The Affair||Ray||TV film|
|1996||Soldier Soldier||Mokete Malange||Episode: "Divided Loyalties"|
|1997||Silent Witness||Danny Thomas||Episode: "Cease Upon the Midnight"|
|2000||Storm Damage||Danny||TV film|
|Jason and the Argonauts||Orpheus||Mini-series|
|2002||The Tragedy of Hamlet||Hamlet||TV film|
|2002–2003||Girlfriends||Ellis Carter||9 episodes|
|2004–2012||Hustle||Mickey Stone||Series regular|
|2005||Afterlife||D.I. Felix George||Episode: "Lower Than Bones"|
|The Ghost Squad||D.I. Gus Philips||Episode: "Colour Blind"|
|2006||Beyond||Morris Fitch||TV film|
|2007||Ballet Shoes||Mr. Sholsky||TV film|
|2008||Being Human||Herrick||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2009||Merlin||Myror||Episode: "The Once and Future Queen"|
|Sleep With Me||Richard||TV film|
|2013||Robot Chicken||Bow/Lego Man||Episode: "Eaten by Cars"|
|2014-2015||Red Band Society||Dr. Naday||4 episodes|
|2015||London Spy||Professor Marcus Shaw||Mini-series|
|2017||Riviera||Robert Carver||10 episodes|
|2019||Curfew||Simon Donahue||2 episodes|
|The Rook||Conrad Grantchester||Series regular|
|2020||Staged||Adrian Lester||Episode: "Ulysses"|
|Life||David Aston||Series regular|
Lester was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours, both for services to drama.
Awards and nominations
|1994||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Supporting Performance in a Musical||Sweeney Todd||Nominated|||
|1995||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actor||As You Like It||Nominated|||
|1996||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Company||Won|||
|1999||Chicago Film Critics Association Award||Most Promising Actor||Primary Colors||Nominated|||
|2000||British Independent Film Award||Best Actor||Love's Labour's Lost||Nominated|||
|2012||Evening Standard Theatre Award||Best Actor||Red Velvet||Nominated|||
|Critics' Circle Theatre Award||Best Actor||Won|||
|2013||Evening Standard Theatre Award||Best Actor||Othello||Won|||
|2016||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actor||Red Velvet||Nominated|||
- "Adrian Lester". Front Row. 25 April 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- "Touch of Colour takes Brum star Adrian to Hollywood". Sunday Mercury. 11 October 1998. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
- 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 10 December 2007.
- Leitch, Luke (16 August 2002). "NATIONAL'S NEW CHIEF CASTS BLACK ACTOR AS HENRY V." The Evening Standard. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
- Lees, Caroline. "Classic recipes for success". Sunday Times. 9 February 1992.
- "Adrian Lester". Warwick University. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
- Donnellan, Declan (12 November 2014). "All you need is love: Adrian Lester and the miraculous all-male As You Like It". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Sondheim Guide / Sweeney Todd".
- Billington, Michael (18 December 2008). "Archive theatre review: Who is Hamlet anyway?". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
- Kennedy, Maev (17 November 2013). "Othello and Iago share best actor prize in London Evening Standard awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Vincentelli, Elisabeth (6 October 2021). "Adrian Lester Finally Arrives on Broadway, via Wall Street". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
- Dickson, E. Jane (3 April 2016). "Adrian Lester on Undercover: "It would be so much more powerful if we did all the press for this show without once mentioning colour"". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 11 August 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- Patterson, Christina (6 January 2009). "Adrian Lester: Back on the Hustle". The Independent. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Machell, Ben (12 March 2016). "Adrian Lester on 29 years of marriage". The Times. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- "Adrian Lester Biography". Tina Price Consultants. Archived from the original on 11 April 2020. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- Group, Diversity. "Adrian Lester | The Diversity Group".
- "My body & soul: Adrian Lester, actor, 40". The Guardian. 4 January 2009. Archived from the original on 14 February 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 12.
- "Birthday Honours 2020: Marcus Rashford and Joe Wicks honoured alongside key workers". BBC News. 10 October 2020. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
- "No. 63135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 2020. p. B10.
- "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.
- "CLASS OF 2019: 'We're all relying on you' graduates told". De Montfort University. 15 July 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
- "Olivier Winners 1994". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- "Olivier Winners 1995". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- "Olivier Winners 1996". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- "Chicago Film Critics Association Awards (1999)". IMDb. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- "Winners Nominations · BIFA · British Independent Film Awards". BIFA · British Independent Film Awards. 24 October 2000. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- "Evening Standard theatre awards shortlist embraces young talent". The Guardian. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- "Danny Boyle And Dame Judi Dench Triumph At Theatre Awards". HuffPost UK. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- "2012 Results | Critics' Circle Theatre Awards". 28 November 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- Reporter, Evening Standard (18 November 2013). "London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2013: the winners and shortlist". www.standard.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- "Olivier Winners 2016". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 4 June 2021.