Ian McShane

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ian McShane
McShane in October 2022
Ian David McShane

(1942-09-29) 29 September 1942 (age 81)
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1962–present
  • (m. 1965; div. 1968)
  • Ruth Post
    (m. 1970; div. 1975)
  • Gwen Humble
    (m. 1980)

Ian David McShane[1] (born 29 September 1942) is a British actor. He is known for his television performances, particularly as the title role in the BBC series Lovejoy (1986–1994),[2] Al Swearengen in Deadwood (2004–2006) and its 2019 film continuation, as well as Mr. Wednesday in American Gods (2017–2021). For the original series of Deadwood, McShane won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama and received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. For the film, he (as producer) was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

His film roles include Harry Brown in The Wild and the Willing (1962), Charlie Cartwright in If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), Wolfe Lissner in Villain (1971), Teddy Bass in Sexy Beast (2000), Frank Powell in Hot Rod (2007), Captain Hook in Shrek the Third (2007), Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Kung Fu Panda 4 (2024), Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), and Winston Scott in the John Wick series (2014–present).

Early life[edit]

A young Ian McShane as Satan in the York Mystery Plays, 1963

McShane was born Ian David McShane in Blackburn, Lancashire, on 29 September 1942, the only child of Irene (née Cowley; 1922–2020) and professional footballer Harry McShane (1920–2012).[3][2][4][5] His father was Scottish, from Holytown, Lanarkshire, and his mother, who was born in England, was of Irish and English descent.[6] McShane grew up in Davyhulme, Manchester, and attended Stretford Grammar School. After being a member of the National Youth Theatre,[7] he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), with Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt. McShane shared a flat with Hurt, whom he called his "oldest friend in the business",[3] and he was still a student at RADA when he appeared (with Hurt) in his first film The Wild and the Willing (1962).[2] He later played Satan in the York Mystery Plays in 1963.


In the United Kingdom, McShane's best known role is antiques dealer Lovejoy in the eponymous series.[3][2][4] Long before Lovejoy, McShane was a pin-up as a result of appearances in television series, such as Wuthering Heights (1967, as Heathcliff), Jesus of Nazareth (1977, as Judas Iscariot), and Disraeli (1978)—as well as films like Sky West and Crooked (1965) and Battle of Britain (1969).[8][9] The actor also enjoyed success in the United States as British film director Don Lockwood in Dallas.

In the United States, he is known for the role of historical figure Al Swearengen in the HBO series Deadwood,[4] for which he won the 2005 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Drama.[2] He was also nominated at the 2005 Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Among science fiction fans, McShane is known for playing the character Robert Bryson in Babylon 5: The River of Souls.[10] In a 2004 interview with The Independent, McShane stated that he wished that he had turned down the role of Bryson as he had struggled with the technical dialogue and found looking at Martin Sheen, who was wearing an eye in the middle of his forehead, to be the most embarrassing experience that he had ever had while acting.[11]

In 1985, McShane appeared as an MC on Grace Jones' Slave to the Rhythm, a concept album which featured his narration interspersed throughout and which sold over a million copies worldwide.[12][13]

In 1992, he recorded and released his own solo studio album, From Both Sides Now, which features McShane singing cover versions of popular songs.[14][15] The album reached number 40 in the UK Albums Chart.[16]

McShane in 2006

His other roles include that of armed robber and gangland boss Jack Last in the Minder episode The Last Video Show.[17] As Captain Hook in Shrek the Third, Ragnar Sturlusson in The Golden Compass,[18] Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda[19] (for which he received an Annie Award nomination), crime boss Teddy Bass in Sexy Beast, and Mr. Bobinsky in Coraline.[20] In live-action, he has performed in Hot Rod,[21] the action/thriller Death Race,[22] and The Seeker.[23] He has appeared in The West Wing as a Russian diplomat.[24] During 2007–08, he starred as Max in the 40th anniversary Broadway revival of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, co-starring Eve Best, Raúl Esparza, and Michael McKean, and directed by Daniel Sullivan, at the Cort Theatre (16 December 2007 – 13 April 2008).[25]

In 2009, he appeared in Kings, which was based on the biblical story of David. His portrayal of King Silas Benjamin, an analogue of King Saul, was highly praised with one critic saying: "Whenever Kings seems to falter, McShane appears to put bite marks all over the scenery."[26]

In 2010, McShane starred in The Pillars of the Earth as Bishop Waleran Bigod.[27] The series was a historical drama set in 12th-century England and adapted from Ken Follett's novel of the same name.[28] That same year, the Walt Disney Company confirmed that McShane would portray Blackbeard in On Stranger Tides.[29]

In 2013, he played King Brahmwell in Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer.[30]

Since 2010, McShane has narrated the opening teases for each round of ESPN's coverage of The Open Championship.[31] In 2012, McShane had a guest role for two episodes as Murder Santa, a sadistic serial killer in the 1960s in the second season of American Horror Story.[32] In 2016, he joined the cast of Game of Thrones in Season 6 as Septon Ray.[33][34]

McShane announced on 20 April 2017 that a script for a two-hour Deadwood film had been submitted by creator David Milch to HBO and that a film was as close as ever to happening. "[A] two-hour movie script has been delivered to HBO. If they don't deliver [a finished product], blame them," McShane said.[35] The film began production in October 2018.[36] Deadwood: The Movie was released on 31 May 2019, concluding the story of the series.[37]

Personal life[edit]

McShane married English actress Suzan Farmer in 1965 and they divorced in 1968. He married his second wife, English model Ruth Post, on 8 June 1968, and they had two children, Kate and Morgan.[2] In 1977, he began a five-year relationship with Sylvia Kristel after meeting her on the set of The Fifth Musketeer;[38] the affair ended his marriage to Post. On 30 August 1980, McShane married his third wife, American actress Gwen Humble. They live in Venice, California, United States. Through his eldest daughter, McShane has three grandchildren.[2]



Film credits
Year Title Role Notes Refs.
1962 The Wild and the Willing Harry Brown
1965 The Pleasure Girls Keith Dexter
1966 Sky West and Crooked Roibin
1969 If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Charlie Cartwright
1969 Battle of Britain Sgt. Pilot Andy Moore
1970 Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You Fred C. Dobbs
1970 Tam-Lin Tom Lynn
1971 Freelance Mitch
1971 Villain Wolfe Lissner
1972 Left Hand of Gemini
1972 Sitting Target Birdy Williams
1973 The Last of Sheila Anthony Wood
1974 Ransom Ray Petrie
1975 Journey into Fear Banat
1979 The Great Riviera Bank Robbery The Brain
1979 The Fifth Musketeer Fouquet
1979 Yesterday's Hero Rod Turner
1981 Cheaper to Keep Her Dr. Alfred Sunshine
1983 Exposed Greg Miller
1985 Ordeal by Innocence Philip Durant
1985 Too Scared to Scream Vincent Hardwick
1985 Torchlight Sidney
2000 Sexy Beast Teddy Bass
2002 Bollywood Queen Frank
2003 Agent Cody Banks Dr. Brinkman
2003 Nemesis Game Jeff Novak
2005 Nine Lives Larry
2006 Scoop Joe Strombel
2006 We Are Marshall Paul Griffen
2007 Shrek the Third Captain Hook Voice[39]
2007 Hot Rod Frank Powell
2007 The Seeker Merriman Lyon
2007 The Golden Compass Ragnar Sturlusson Voice[39]
2008 Kung Fu Panda Tai Lung
2008 Death Race Coach
2009 Coraline Mr. Bobinsky Voice
2009 Case 39 Detective Mike Barron
2009 44 Inch Chest Meredith Also executive producer
2010 The Sorcerer's Apprentice Narrator Uncredited[40]
2011 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Blackbeard
2012 Snow White and the Huntsman Beith
2013 Jack the Giant Slayer King Brahmwell
2014 Cuban Fury Ron Parfitt
2014 Hercules Amphiaraus
2014 John Wick Winston Scott
2014 El Niño El Inglés
2015 Bilal: A New Breed of Hero Umayya Voice[39]
2016 Grimsby MI6 Spy Boss Uncredited
2016 The Hollow Point Sheriff Leland Kilbaught
2017 John Wick: Chapter 2 Winston Scott
2017 Jawbone Joe Padgett
2017 Pottersville Bart
2018 Here Comes the Grump The Grump Voice [41]
2019 Hellboy Trevor Bruttenholm
2019 Bolden Judge Leander Perry
2019 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Winston Scott
2022 My Father's Dragon Saiwa the Gorilla Voice [39]
2023 John Wick: Chapter 4 Winston Scott
2024 American Star Wilson
2024 Kung Fu Panda 4 Tai Lung Voice [42]
2025 John Wick Presents: Ballerina Winston Scott Post-production
Denotes films that have not yet been released


Television credits
Year Title Role Notes Refs.
1963–1966 Play of the Week Mick / Frank Barnes / Arthur 4 episodes
1964 Redcap Sapper Russell Episode: "Epitaph for a Sweat"
1964 The Sullavan Brothers David Hemming 1 episode
1966 You Can't Win Joe Lunn 7 episodes
1967 Wuthering Heights Heathcliff 4 episodes
1972 Whose Life Is It Anyway? Ken Harrison Television play
1975 Space: 1999 Anton Zoref Episode: "Force of Life"
1975 The Lives of Jenny Dolan Saunders Television film
1976 The Fantastic Journey Sir James Camden Episode: "The Fantastic Journey"
1977 Roots Sir Eric Russell Episode: "Part Nine"
1977 Jesus of Nazareth Judas Iscariot 2 episodes
1977 Code Name: Diamond Head Sean Donovan Television film
1978 Will Shakespeare Christopher Marlowe Episode: "Dead Shepherd"
1978 Disraeli Benjamin Disraeli 4 episodes
1978 The Pirate Rashid Television film
1980 Armchair Thriller - High Tide Curtis 4 episodes
1981, 1982 Magnum, P.I. David Norman / Edwin Clutterbuck 2 episodes
1982 The Letter Geoff Television film
1982 Marco Polo Ali Ben Yussouf 2 episodes
1983 Bare Essence Niko Theophilus 11 episodes
1983 Grace Kelly Prince Rainier of Monaco Television film
1985 Evergreen Paul Lerner 3 episodes
1985 A.D. Sejanus 5 episodes
1985 Braker Alan Roswell Television film
1986 American Playhouse Willy Wax Episode: "Rocket to the Moon"
1986–1994 Lovejoy Lovejoy Main role
1987 Grand Larceny Flanagan Television film
1987, 1989 Miami Vice Esteban Montoya 2 episodes
1988 The Dirty Dozen Lindberger 1 episode
1988 War and Remembrance Philip Rule 4 episodes
1988 Chain Letter The Messenger of Death Television film
1989 Dallas Don Lockwood 13 episodes
1989 Wonderworks: Young Charlie Chaplin Charles Chaplin Sr. 6 episodes
1989 Minder Jack Last Episode: "The Last Video Show"
1989 Miami Vice Gen. Manuel Borbon Episode: "Freefall"
1989 Dick Francis Mysteries: Blood Sport David Cleveland Television film
1989 Dick Francis Mysteries: In The Frame
1989 Dick Francis Mysteries: Twice Shy
1990 Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception Andre Marchand
1990 Columbo Leland St. John Episode: "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo"
1990 Mistress of Suspense Steven Castle Episode: "Sauce for the Goose"
1994 White Goods Ian Deegan Television film
1995 Soul Survivors Otis Cooke 2 episodes
1996 Madson John Madson 6 episodes
1997 The Naked Truth Leland Banks 2 episodes
1998 Babylon 5: The River of Souls Robert Bryson, PhD Television film
1999 D.R.E.A.M. Team Oliver Maxwell
2001 Britain's Most Terrifying Ghost Stories Narrator Episode: "All"
2001 Thieves Jack Episode: "Jack's Back"
2002 The West Wing Nikolai Ivanovich Episode: "Enemies Foreign and Domestic"
2002 In Deep Jamie Lamb 2 episodes
2002 Man and Boy Marty Mann Television film
2003 Trust Alan Cooper-Fozzard 6 episodes
2003 The Twilight Zone Dr. Chandler Episode: "Cold Fusion"
2004–2006 Deadwood Al Swearengen 36 episodes
2008 SpongeBob SquarePants Gordon Episode: "Dear Vikings"; voice
2009 Kings King Silas Benjamin 12 episodes
2010 The Pillars of the Earth Waleran Bigod 8 episodes
2012 American Horror Story: Asylum Leigh Emerson 2 episodes
2015 Ray Donovan Andrew Finney 9 episodes [43]
2016 Doctor Thorne Sir Roger Scatcherd 3 episodes [44]
2016 Game of Thrones Brother Ray Episode: "The Broken Man"
2017–2021 American Gods Mr. Wednesday Main cast [45]
2019 Deadwood: The Movie Al Swearengen Television film; also executive producer
2019 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sir Tobias Moore Episode: "I'm Going To Make You a Star"
2021 The Simpsons Artemis Voice, episode: "The Last Barfighter" [46]
2023 One Piece Narrator Episode: "Romance Dawn"

Video games[edit]

Video game credits
Year Title Voice role Refs.
2019 John Wick Hex Winston [39]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2004 Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Drama Deadwood Won
2005 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Won
2005 Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Nine Lives Nominated
2005 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Deadwood Nominated
2005 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
2005 Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Drama Nominated
2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2009 Annie Awards Best Voice Acting in an Animated Featured Production Kung Fu Panda Nominated
2010 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Ensemble Performance 44 Inch Chest Won
2010 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film The Pillars of the Earth Nominated
2011 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
2011 Golden Nymph Awards Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries Nominated
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Villain Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Nominated
2018 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Drama Series American Gods Nominated
2019 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Television Movie (as executive producer) Deadwood: The Movie Nominated


  1. ^ "Ian McShane, Esq's Biography". Debrett's. 2009. Archived from the original on 3 January 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Gilbey, Ryan (16 March 2013). "Ian McShane: rogue trader". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Bertodano, Helena de (3 June 2017). "Ian McShane: 'Believe me, the hell-raising years were a lot of fun'". The Times. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 385. ISBN 978-1-84854-195-5.
  5. ^ "Ian McShane biography". Film Reference. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Start building your family tree today". Thegenealogist.co.uk. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  7. ^ NIGHT, DAY & (7 March 2016). "Ian McShane: Working-class actors must get more help". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Ian McShane". TV Guide. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Filmography for Ian McShane". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Babylon 5: The River of Souls". scifimusings.blogspot.ca. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Ian McShane: You Ask the Questions". The Independent. 15 September 2004. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  12. ^ Billboard – Google Livros. 22 November 1986. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  13. ^ Billboard – Google Livros. 13 December 1986. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  14. ^ "Ian McShane - From Both Sides Now Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic" – via www.allmusic.com.
  15. ^ "Ian McShane - From Both Sides Now". 21 July 1992 – via www.discogs.com.
  16. ^ "IAN MCSHANE | Official Charts". Official Charts. 21 November 1992.
  17. ^ "#7.4 the Last Video Show".
  18. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Golden Compass Movie Review (2007) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Kung Fu Panda - Ian McShane Interview". movieweb.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Coraline - Ian McShane Interview". movieweb.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  21. ^ "Ian McShane Joins The Cast of Hot Rod". movieweb.com. 18 June 2006. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  22. ^ Hewitt, Chris (8 August 2007). "Ian McShane Enters The Death Race". Empire. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Interview: Ian McShane, Star of 'The Seeker: The Dark is Rising'". AOL Moviefone. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  24. ^ "35 People You Might Not Realize Appeared on 'The West Wing'". mentalfloss.com. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  25. ^ "The Homecoming @ Cort Theatre | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  26. ^ Gordon Haber, David, My David: Israel's Most Charismatic King Comes to TV, forward.com, 25 March 2009.
  27. ^ Hale, Mike (22 July 2010). "Ian McShane in Starz Mini-Series of Ken Follett Book". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  28. ^ MacInnes, Paul (16 October 2010). "The Pillars of the Earth: episode one". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  29. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: 'Pirates 4' Producer Jerry Bruckheimer Confirms Geoffrey Rush Return, Penelope Cruz As Blackbeard's Daughter » MTV Movies Blog". Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  30. ^ Kit, Borys (21 March 2011). "Ian McShane Joins Bryan Singer's 'Jack the Giant Killer'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 23 March 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  31. ^ 2010 BRITISH OPEN THURSDAY on YouTube
  32. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (10 October 2012). "Horror Story Taps Deadwood's Ian McShane to 'Tussle' With Jessica Lange". TVLine. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  33. ^ "Ian McShane cast in Game of Thrones season 6". Watchers on the Wall. 1 August 2015.
  34. ^ "Ian McShane Has No Regrets About Spoiling Game of Thrones". Vulture.com. 24 July 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  35. ^ Gunderman, Dan (20 April 2017). "Actor Ian McShane says 'Deadwood' creator submitted revival movie script to HBO". Collider. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  36. ^ "'Deadwood' Movie Starts Filming with Majority of Cast Returning". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  37. ^ HBO PR (21 March 2019). "HBO Films' DEADWOOD Debuts May 31". Medium. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  38. ^ Ross, Deborah (30 June 2007). "Interview: Sylvia Kristel, the world's most famous porn star". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  39. ^ a b c d e "Ian McShane (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved 10 March 2024. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.
  40. ^ Maher, Kevin. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice".
  41. ^ Grater, Tom (5 October 2017). "Lily Collins, Ian McShane, Toby Kebbell to voice 'Here Comes The Grump' (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  42. ^ Sachdeva, Maanya (29 December 2024). "Kung Fu Panda fans praise 'legendary' new villain as trailer for fourth film released". The Independent. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  43. ^ "'Deadwood' Star Ian McShane Joins Showtime's 'Ray Donovan'". thewrap.com. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  44. ^ Heritage, Stuart (7 March 2016). "Ian McShane: why he'll always be an antiques dealer with a mullet". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  45. ^ "Ian McShane to Star in 'American Gods' for Starz". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  46. ^ "Episode Title: (SI-3215) "The Last Barfighter"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 4 May 2021.

External links[edit]