Gerard Butler

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Gerard Butler
Butler in 2016
Gerard James Butler

(1969-11-13) 13 November 1969 (age 54)
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Actor
  • film producer
Years active1992–present
WorksFull list

Gerard James Butler (born 13 November 1969) is a Scottish actor and film producer. After studying law, he turned to acting in the mid-1990s with small roles in productions such as Mrs Brown (1997), the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and Tale of the Mummy (1998). In 2000, he starred as Count Dracula in the gothic horror film Dracula 2000 with Christopher Plummer and Jonny Lee Miller.

He played Attila the Hun in the miniseries Attila (2001), then appeared in the films Reign of Fire with Christian Bale (2002) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life with Angelina Jolie (2003) before playing André Marek in the adaptation of Michael Crichton's science fiction adventure Timeline (2003). He then was cast as Erik, The Phantom in Joel Schumacher's 2004 film adaptation of the musical The Phantom of the Opera, with Emmy Rossum; it earned him a Satellite Award nomination for Best Actor.

Butler gained worldwide recognition for his portrayal of King Leonidas in Zack Snyder's fantasy war film 300. That role earned him nominations for an Empire Award for Best Actor and a Saturn Award for Best Actor and a win for MTV Movie Award for Best Fight. He voiced Stoick the Vast in the critically and commercially successful How to Train Your Dragon franchise (2010–2019). Also in the 2010s, he portrayed Secret Service agent Mike Banning in the action thriller franchise, Has Fallen series, [1] played military leader Tullus Aufidius in the 2011 film Coriolanus, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name, and Sam Childers in the 2011 action biopic Machine Gun Preacher.

Early life

Butler[2] was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire,[3] Scotland, the youngest of three children of Margaret and Edward Butler, a bookmaker.[4][5][6] He is from a Catholic family of Irish descent.[7][8] His family moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada when he was six months old.[9] A year later, when his parents' marriage broke down, his mother left Montreal and returned to Scotland with Gerard, aged 18 months.[10]

Butler was head boy at St Mirin's & St Margaret's High School in Paisley and won a place at University of Glasgow School of Law.[11][12] He also attended Scottish Youth Theatre while a teenager. He did not see his father again until he was 16, when Edward Butler called to meet him at a Glasgow restaurant. After the meeting, Butler cried for hours, and recalled later: "That emotion showed me how much pain can sit in this body of yours; pain and sorrow that you don't know you have until it is unleashed."[10]

As a student, he was the president of the university law society,[13] a position he later said he "kind of blagged my way into".[3] When Butler was 22, his father was diagnosed with cancer and died. He said of this period in his life: "I had gone from a 16-year-old who couldn't wait to grasp life to a 22-year-old who didn't care if he died in his sleep."[14]

Before his final year of law school, Butler took a year off to live in California—mostly in Venice Beach, where he held different jobs, traveled often, and, he says, drank heavily; at one point he was arrested for alcohol-related disorderly conduct. Describing his behaviour during that year, he recalled: "I was out of control, and justifying it with this idea that 'I'm young, this is life. This is me just being boisterous.' " After his time off in America, he returned to Scotland to finish his final year at law school.[3]

He had ear surgery as a child that left him with a mangled ear. He still suffers from tinnitus and has hearing loss in his right ear.[15]


Legal career and early acting career

Upon graduation, he took a position as a trainee lawyer at an Edinburgh law firm. However, he continued to stay out late drinking and frequently missed work. One week before he qualified as a lawyer, he was fired. At the age of 25, and an unqualified lawyer, he moved to London to pursue his dream of becoming famous. He admitted, "When I started out, I'm not sure I was actually in it for the right reasons. I wanted very much to be famous."[10]

Initially unable to win any acting roles, he worked in a variety of jobs including as a waiter, a telemarketer and a toy demonstrator at fairs. In London, he met an old friend from his teenage days in the Scottish Youth Theatre, who was now a London casting director. At that time, he was her boyfriend and her assistant. She took him to an audition for Steven Berkoff's play of Coriolanus.[13] The director said of Butler's audition, "When he read, he had such vigour and enthusiasm—so much that it made the other actors seem limp—that I decided to cast him in the ensemble."[14]

Then aged 27, Butler had his first professional acting job. Less than a year later, he won a part in a theatre adaptation of Trainspotting at the Edinburgh Festival. At age 30, he decided to move to Los Angeles, where he won parts in Dracula 2000, Tomb Raider 2, Dear Frankie and Phantom of the Opera.[14]

Acting career

Butler at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival

In London, Butler had various odd jobs until being cast by actor and director Steven Berkoff (who later appeared alongside him in Attila (2001)) in a stage production of Coriolanus. He was cast as Ewan McGregor's character Renton in the stage adaptation of Trainspotting, the same play that had inspired him to become an actor.[16] His film debut was as Billy Connolly's character's younger brother in Mrs Brown (1997).[17]

His film career continued with small roles, first in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)[16] and then Russell Mulcahy's Tale of the Mummy (1998). In 2000, Butler was cast in two breakthrough roles, the first being Attila the Hun in the American TV miniseries Attila (2001). The film's producers wanted a known actor to play the part but eventually chose Butler.[18] He was cast as Dracula in Dracula 2000 (2000).[19]

He then appeared in Reign of Fire (2002)[20] as Creedy and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (2003) as Terry Sheridan, alongside Angelina Jolie. In the role of Andre Marek in the big-screen adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel Timeline (2003),[21] Butler played an archaeologist who was sent back in time with a team of students to rescue a colleague. In 2003, director Joel Schumacher was deciding on the principal casting for the film The Phantom of the Opera, a film adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name, and thought of Butler, whom he had seen earlier in the film Dracula 2000, to play the title character. Butler, who had had no musical experience other than singing in a rock band while he was studying to be a lawyer, was surprised at the interest, but immediately began taking singing lessons with a vocal coach.[22] He then did an acting audition with Schumacher, and a singing audition with Lloyd Webber, both of whom were impressed by his performance.[23] The film, and Butler's performance, received mixed reviews, though Butler was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actor.[citation needed]

Other projects that followed include Dear Frankie (2005), The Game of Their Lives (2005) and Beowulf & Grendel (2005).[24]

In 2006, he starred as Spartan King Leonidas in the Warner Bros. production 300, which is often described as his breakthrough role.[25] Butler, who said he "wanted to look really strong" in the film, trained with a high-intensity workout for four months prior to the film's shooting.[26] In 2007, he appeared in Butterfly on a Wheel co-starring Pierce Brosnan and Maria Bello, which aired on network TV under the title Shattered,[27] and in the romantic comedy P.S. I Love You with Hilary Swank.[28] In 2008, he appeared in Nim's Island and RocknRolla. In 2009, he starred in the Neveldine/Taylor film Gamer, The Ugly Truth[29] and Law Abiding Citizen, which he also co-produced.[30] In 2010 he starred in the action/comedy The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston,[31] and did voice acting for the 2010 animated film How to Train Your Dragon as Stoick the Vast.[32]

Butler in 2013

On 15 and 16 October 2010, thanks to the popularity of his role as Spartan King Leonidas and the use of his lines during athletic events at Michigan State University, he was a guest at their Midnight Madness and homecoming American football game.[33]

As of August 2011, Butler, while filming Playing for Keeps, was writing songs and in the process of recording an album.[34] He disavowed gossip reports that Marilyn Manson and Johnny Depp had advised him on the project.[35] On 18 December that year, while filming Chasing Mavericks, Butler was hospitalized after he was pulled under big waves. Subsequently, he was taken to Stanford University Medical Center and later released.[36]

Butler starred as Secret Service agent Mike Banning in the action thriller Olympus Has Fallen (2013), opposite co-stars Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman. He said he broke two bones in his neck while shooting the film, but did not realize this until he had an MRI scan.[37] Butler reprised his voice role as Stoick in How to Train Your Dragon 2 in 2014. Two years later, he reprised his role as Mike Banning in the Olympus Has Fallen sequel London Has Fallen and also portrayed Set in Gods of Egypt. Late in 2018, Butler starred as submarine captain Commander Joe Glass of the USS Arkansas, a Virginia class nuclear submarine, in the film Hunter Killer. He starred as Mike Banning again in the 2019 film Angel Has Fallen and returned as the voice of Stoick in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, which was released the same year. After release delays due to COVID-19, Butler starred in Greenland in 2020. In January 2024, Butler was announced to reprise his role as Stoick in the live-action remake of How to Train Your Dragon, which is set for a 2025 release.[38]

He has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Actor's Branch since 2011.[39][40]

Personal life

Since October 2011, Butler has divided his time between Los Angeles and Glasgow.[41] In 2011, he was rushed to the Stanford University Medical Center after suffering a surfing incident in Mavericks, California during the filming of Of Men and Mavericks.[42] He was stable and released from the hospital later that week.[43]

Butler has stated in interviews that he no longer drinks alcohol.[44] In February 2012, it was announced that he had completed a course of treatment for substance abuse of painkillers at a rehabilitation facility.[45] He was concerned he had become too reliant on prescribed pain medication, which escalated after his surfing accident.[45]

In 2011, Butler played in a charity match for Celtic F.C., a football club he has supported since childhood.[41] A year later he represented Celtic in a Hollywood film, starring as a "has-been" player in Playing for Keeps.[46] In August 2013, he bought an equity stake in the Jamaica Tallawahs cricket team, part of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL).[47] He has supported the charity Mary's Meals since 2010.[48] He visited the international development charity's programme in Liberia in 2014.[49] In 2018, he attended a fundraiser gala organised by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), which raised $60 million.[50] In November 2018, Butler's home was destroyed in the Woolsey Fire in California.[51]


Awards and nominations

Year Title Award Category Results Ref
2005 The Phantom of the Opera Online Film & Television Association Award Best Music, Adapted Song for "The Music of the Night" Nominated [52]
2005 Satellite Award Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical Nominated
2007 300 Golden Schmoes Award Breakthrough Performance of the Year Nominated
2007 MTV Movie + TV Award Best Male Performance Nominated
Best Fight Won [53]
2007 World Stunt Award Action Movie Star of the Year Won [54][55]
2008 300 Empire Award Best Actor Nominated
2008 Saturn Award Best Actor Nominated
2010 Law Abiding Citizen People's Choice Award Favorite Action Star Nominated
2010 The Ugly Truth Russian National Movie Award Best Foreign Actor Nominated
2010 The Bounty Hunter Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor - Romantic Comedy Nominated
The Ugly Truth
2011 How to Train Your Dragon Annie Award Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Nominated
2011 The Bounty Hunter Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actor Nominated
Worst Screen Couple (shared with Jennifer Aniston) Nominated
2011 Law Abiding Citizen Yoga Award Worst Foreign Actor Won
The Bounty Hunter
2014 Russian National Movie Award Best Foreign Actor of the Decade Nominated
2015 How to Train Your Dragon 2 Behind The Voice Actors Award Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film Nominated
2016 Golden Camera Award Best International Actor Won [56][57]
2017 Gods of Egypt Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actor Nominated
London Has Fallen


  1. ^ McNary, Dave (9 November 2020). "Millennium's Jeffrey Greenstein Unveils a Fourth 'Has Fallen' as AFM Launches". Variety. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  2. ^ "Gerard Butler Biography (1969-)". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "300 Things We Didn't Know About Gerard Butler". 13 June 2009. Archived from the original on 30 March 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  4. ^ Fox, Chloe (20 July 2009). "Gerard Butler interview for The Ugly Truth". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Gerard Butler in Wrath Of Gods". 15 March 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Drawn Together: Gerard Butler & Craig Ferguson". Cineplex Movie Blog. 15 March 2010. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Gerard Butler Apologises for Irish Accent". YouTube. 26 January 2009. Archived from the original on 28 October 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Gerard Butler: 'Why I am still single'". Now Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  9. ^ Daily News. "Gerard Butler breaks the mold Archived 4 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine"
  10. ^ a b c Fox, Chloe (20 July 2009). "Gerard Butler interview for The Ugly Truth". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010.
  11. ^ Stewart, Stephen (28 March 2010). "Gerard Butler's school pal on how Hollywood star phoned to grovel after branding her a flirt on TV". Daily Record. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  12. ^ Hedegaard, Erik (April 2010). "Gerry the Sinner, Gerry the Saint". Men's Journal. Archived from the original on 20 July 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Gerard Butler | Paisley Scotland". 13 August 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Stars and Stories (20 July 2009). "Gerard Butler interview for The Ugly Truth". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Actor Gerard Butler and His Hearing Loss". 11 March 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Gerard Butler Biography". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Mrs Brown". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Attila: hot babes, baths and, erm, birth control". The Guardian. 28 January 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  19. ^ "The Graph Of Manliness: Gerard Butle". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  20. ^ "Reign of Fire". Digital Spy. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  21. ^ "Timeline". Movie 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  22. ^ Gerard Butler phantom of the opera Stella Papamichael, 2004
  23. ^ Gerard Butler – Phantom of the Opera interview, Paul Fischer,, 2004
  24. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Gerard Butler Talks About The Phantom and "Beowulf and Grendel"". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  25. ^ Law Abiding Citizen Trailer: Gerard Butler Is Still in Search of an Identity, Mark Graham, New York Magazine Vulture blog, 14 August 2009
  26. ^ Spartan Workout Secrets from the Star of 300, Men's Health
  27. ^ "Lionsgate Picks Up "Butterfly on a Wheel"". Archived from the original on 5 April 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  28. ^ "Gerard Butler Interview – P.S. I LOVE YOU". 18 December 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Gerard Butler interview for The Ugly Truth". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  30. ^ "Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler Seek Justice With 'Law Abiding Citizen'". mtv. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  31. ^ "Gerard Butler says his 'Bounty Hunter' co-star Jennifer Aniston is like family". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  32. ^ "Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson Talk HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, the Evolution of the Film, LONDON HAS FALLEN, and More". 14 June 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  33. ^ "Gerard Butler at MSU Midnight Madness". Youtube. Archived from the original on 28 October 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  34. ^ "Marilyn Manson advises Gerard Butler on becoming a rock star". NME. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  35. ^ "Gerard Butler on Singing, Fame, and the Secret Service". 24 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  36. ^ Melvin, Joshua (19 December 2011). "Actor Gerard Butler OK after getting held underwater by waves at Mavericks". The Mercury News. San Jose, California: Bay Area News Group. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  37. ^ "Gerard Butler broke neck bones". 27 March 2013.
  38. ^ Kroll, Justin (5 January 2024). "Gerard Butler Reprising His Role In Universal's Live-Action Adaptation Of 'How To Train Your Dragon'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  39. ^ "Movie Academy Invites 178 To Membership". Deadline. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  40. ^ "Academy Class of 2011". The Hollywood Reporter. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  41. ^ a b "I miss going to see Celtic play, admits Hollywood hunk Gerard Butler". Daily Record. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  42. ^ "Gerard Butler Rescued While Filming Surf Movie At Mavericks". 20 December 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  43. ^ Orzeck, Kurt (20 December 2011). "Gerard Butler Hospitalized After On-Set Surfing Accident". Reuters. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  44. ^ Johnson, Zach (19 October 2012). "Gerard Butler Finally Opens Up About Rehab: "I Haven't Had a Drink in 15 Years"". Us Weekly. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  45. ^ a b "Gerard Butler Completes Stint in Rehab" Archived 17 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine People. Retrieved 25 February 2012
  46. ^ "Gerard Butler turned me into a Celtic fan". Daily Record. Retrieved 26 June 2015
  47. ^ "Cricket-Caribbean venues packed again thanks to CPL Twenty20". Reuters UK. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  48. ^ Meadows, Sophie (24 March 2014). "Gerard Butler Shows How Mary's Meals is Changing Lives in Liberia". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  49. ^ Mary's Meals (20 December 2013). "Gerard Butler in Liberia with Mary's Meals". Archived from the original on 28 October 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2017 – via YouTube.
  50. ^ Sippell, Margeaux (2 November 2018). "Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Gala Raises Record $60 Million for Soldiers".
  51. ^ "Actor Gerard Butler's home destroyed by California wildfire". 12 November 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  52. ^ "9th Annual Film Awards (2004) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  53. ^ Prouser, Fred (2007). "Actor Gerard Butler accepts the best fight award he won for his role in the film '300' at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles". Adobe Stock. Adobe Inc. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  54. ^ "7th AnnualTaurus World Stunt Awards - Arrivals". Livingly Media, Inc. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  55. ^ Memminger, Claudia (24 April 2007). "Taurus World Stunt Awards 2007: Hollywood ehrt seine Ausnahme-Athleten". Presse Portal (in German). Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  56. ^ Getty Images
  57. ^ Goldene Kamera

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