Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Jonathan Rhys Meyers (born Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keeffe; 27 July 1977) is an Irish actor, model and musician. He is known for his roles in the films Michael Collins (1996), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Alexander (2004), Match Point (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006) and his television roles as Elvis Presley in the biographical miniseries Elvis (2005), for which he won a Golden Globe Award and earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, as King Henry VIII in the historical drama The Tudors (2007–10), which earned him two Golden Globe Award nominations, and in the NBC drama series Dracula (2013–14) as the title character. He also starred as Bishop Heahmund in the History Channel television series Vikings.
Meyers has continued to star in other films, such as Albert Nobbs in 2011. In 2013, Meyers appeared as the villain Valentine Morgenstern in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, based on Cassandra Clare's novel, City of Bones, he appeared in the 2015 film Stonewall, directed by Roland Emmerich, in 2017, he starred in The 12th Man, and in 2018 he won the Best Actor award at the Manchester Film Festival for his starring role in Damascus Cover. In 2020, he was listed as number 44 on The Irish Times list of Ireland's greatest film actors.
Meyers has been the face of several Hugo Boss advertising campaigns. He has also been involved in several charitable causes, including the Hope Foundation, and the children's charity, Barretstown. Meyers is married to Mara Lane, and they have one son together.
Meyers was born on 27 July 1977 in Dublin, Ireland, to Geraldine (née Myers; 1957–2007) and folk musician John O'Keeffe, and brought up in County Cork. His family is Roman Catholic. His three brothers are professional musicians. He attended North Monastery Christian Brothers School.
After being expelled from North Monastery for truancy, he spent much of his time working and socializing in pool halls. Casting agents looking for Irish boys to appear in War of the Buttons spotted him at a Cork pool hall, the Victoria Sporting Club, and invited him to audition. Although passed over for War of the Buttons, the casting agents encouraged him to pursue a career in acting.
Early work (1994–2004)
Taking on the name Rhys Meyers, his first acting role came in the film, A Man of No Importance (1994). In 1996, he appeared in Michael Collins, as the title character's ambusher. He played a David Bowie-inspired glam rock star in Velvet Goldmine (1998), In 1999, he appeared in Ride with the Devil as psychopathic guerrilla fighter Pitt Mackeson. He starred as Steerpike in the BBC's Gormenghast (2000), he played a dedicated girls' football coach in Bend It Like Beckham (2002), in Vanity Fair (2004) opposite Reese Witherspoon, and co-starred in 2004 in Oliver Stone's epic Alexander where he plays Cassander.
Breakthrough with Match Point and The Tudors (2005–2010)
The following year he starred in Woody Allen's drama Match Point (2005), for which he received a Chopard Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival, and in the CBS 4-hour mini-series Elvis (2005) as Elvis Presley alongside Randy Quaid as Colonel Tom Parker, but did not sing for his role in the miniseries. The latter earned him an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe win. In 2006, he appeared in Mission: Impossible III.
Independent films and varied roles (2011–present)
In 2011, he starred as Solal in Belle du Seigneur, an English language film adaptation of Albert Cohen's novel Belle du Seigneur. The film was released in Russia on 29 November 2012 and in France on 19 June 2013 after premiering at the Champs Elysees Film Festival.
In 2013, Meyers was cast as Dracula in NBC's television series Dracula alongside Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Jessica De Gouw. It was also announced in May 2013 that Jonathan was to participate in the recording of his brothers' album entitled Blossom, which was released on 21 April 2014.
Meyers portrays Patrick Pearse, a political activist and one of the leaders of the bloody 1916 Irish Easter Rising, in the centennial commemoration biopic film The Rising, written and produced by Kevin McCann.
In 2019, it was announced that Meyers would star in Rajah, a biopic of the British explorer Sir James Brooke. He was also revealed to have joined the cast of American Night. A neo-noir thriller co-starring Emile Hirsch, Paz Vega, and Jeremy Piven.
A self-taught singer and guitarist, he has appeared in a number of musical roles. His first such role was as "Brian Slade" in Velvet Goldmine; two of the songs he sang ("Baby's on Fire" and "Tumbling Down") are on the film's soundtrack. He sang briefly in the TV miniseries version of The Magnificent Ambersons, performed in studio scenes of the miniseries Elvis and played the flute in Gormenghast.
In the 2007 music drama August Rush, he performed on-screen as singer-songwriter Louis Connelly and is credited for four songs on the soundtrack – "Break", "Moondance", "Something Inside" and "This Time". Of the four, "This Time" and "Break" were considered in the Best Original Song category of the 80th Academy Awards. "This Time" was not released as a single but peaked at number 84 in the Canadian Hot 100.
Besides acting, Rhys Meyers has also modeled for several clothing companies. He modeled for Club Monaco in 2001 and was chosen as the face for the Versace men's collection of Autumn/Winter 2006 and Spring 2007, and he was the face of the Hugo Boss men's fragrance range from 2006 until he was replaced with Jared Leto in 2011. He is signed to Independent Models in London.
In 2007, Meyers' representative, Meredith O'Sullivan, confirmed that, "After a non-stop succession of filming, Jonathan Rhys Meyers has entered an alcohol-treatment programme." His representative confirmed Meyers was again receiving treatment in 2010. In November 2011, Meyers was ordered by a French court to pay a restitution of €1,000 and was given a judgment of a suspended sentence for public intoxication 24 months earlier.
In 2009, Rhys Meyers was detained in Paris by French police because he allegedly assaulted an airport lounge employee while drunk.
In 2010, Rhys Meyers again made headlines when at John F. Kennedy International Airport he abused the staff and an official, who had refused him access to the boarding area, by calling them the 'N' word. Allegedly, he had gotten drunk on vodka while waiting in the first-class lounge about 7 am.
In a 2018 interview with Larry King, Meyers addressed his drinking, stating it doesn’t suit him. He also stated that before an incident the same year, he’d been sober for a long time. He insisted that he’d learned his lesson and was now sober again.
On 20 November 2007, his mother, Mary Geraldine "Geri" O'Keeffe, died at Mercy University Hospital, Cork, aged 51, following a short, undisclosed illness. 
In 2019 Meyers credited his family, and fatherhood in particular, with making him the happiest he’s ever been. He stated “Once you have your first child, you become the past. We’re all busy giving out to ourselves and driving ourselves forward. A child gives you a new perspective on life”.
In 2014, Rhys Meyers was honoured at the Irish Post Awards and was presented with the Legend Award for his contributions to the film and entertainment industry.
In February 2008, Rhys Meyers was named the ambassador for the Hope Foundation. A charity formed in his native Cork. The charity provides shelter, medical care, and support to the street children of Calcutta.
Rhys Meyers is also an ambassador for the children’s charity, Barretstown. Barretstown’s mission is to rebuild the lives of children affected by serious illness and their families, through life-changing therapeutic recreational programmes in a safe, fun and supportive environment. In 2019, he and fellow actor Aidan Gillen helped launch Barretstown’s new press play campaign. It aims to raise additional funds over the next five years to ensure that the charity can expand its programmes to serve more children who suffer from serious illness and their families.
|1994||A Man of No Importance||First Young Man|
|1996||The Killer Tongue||Rudolph|
|1996||The Disappearance of Finbar||Finbar Flynn|
|1996||Michael Collins||Collins's ambusher|
|1997||The Maker||Josh Minnell|
|1997||Telling Lies in America||Kevin Boyle|
|1998||Velvet Goldmine||Brian Slade||Nominated—London Critics Circle Film Award for British Newcomer of the Year|
|1998||The Governess||Henry Cavendish|
|1999||The Loss of Sexual Innocence||Young Nic|
|1999||Ride with the Devil||Pitt Mackeson|
|2001||Happy Now||Mark Wraith|
|2002||Bend It Like Beckham||Joe|
|2003||I'll Sleep When I'm Dead||Davey Graham|
|2003||The Emperor's Wife||Chamberlain|
|2004||Vanity Fair||Captain George Osborne|
|2005||Match Point||Chris Wilton|
|2006||Mission: Impossible III||Declan Gormley|
|2007||August Rush||Louis Connelly|
|2008||The Children of Huang Shi||George Hogg|
|2008||A Film with Me in It||Pierce 2||Cameo|
|2010||Shelter||Reverend Christian Moore/Adam Sabre/David Bernberg/Wesley Crite||Re-released in 2013 under the title 6 Souls|
|2010||From Paris with Love||James Reese|
|2011||Albert Nobbs||Viscount Yarrell|
|2012||Belle du Seigneur||Solal|
|2013||The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones||Valentine Morgenstern|
|2014||Another Me||John Moffatt|
|2016||The Rising||Padraig Pearse|
|2016||London Town||Joe Strummer|
|2017||The Shadow Effect||Reese|
|2017||Damascus Cover||Ari Ben-Sion/Hans Hoffmann||Winner of the Best Actor, Best English Language Film Award, Best Production Design and the Best Editing awards at the Manchester Film Festival|
|2017||The 12th Man||Kurt Stage|
|2018||The Aspern Papers||Morton Vint|
|1998||Velvet Goldmine||Tumbling Down|||
|Baby's on Fire|
Awards and nominations
|1999||London Critics Circle Film Awards||British Newcomer of the Year||Nominated||Velvet Goldmine|
|2002||Venice Film Festival||Canal Grande Award for the Best Young Promising Actor||Won||The Magnificent Ambersons|
|2005||Satellite Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television||Won||Elvis|
|2005||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Nominated||Elvis|
|2005||Cannes Film Festival||Outstanding Newcomer||Won||Match Point|
|2006||GQ UK||Men of the Year Awards / Lab Series Man of the Year||Won|
|2006||Golden Globes Awards||Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television||Won||Elvis|
|2008||Monte-Carlo Television Festival||Outstanding Actor – Drama Series||Won||The Tudors|
|2008||Irish Film and Television Awards||Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television||Won||The Tudors|
|2008||Golden Globe Awards||Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama||Nominated||The Tudors|
|2009||Monte-Carlo Television Festival||Outstanding Actor – Drama Series||Nominated||The Tudors|
|2009||Irish Film and Television Awards||Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television||Nominated||The Tudors|
|2009||Golden Globe Awards||Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama||Nominated||The Tudors|
|2010||Irish Film and Television Awards||Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television||Nominated||The Tudors|
|2010||Monte-Carlo Television Festival||Outstanding Actor – Drama Series||Nominated||The Tudors|
|2011||Monte-Carlo Television Festival||Outstanding Actor – Drama Series||Nominated||The Tudors|
|2011||Irish Film and Television Awards||Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television||Nominated||The Tudors|
|2014||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Actor in a New TV Series||Nominated||Dracula|
|2018||Manchester Film Festival||Best Actor||Won||Damascus Cover|
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Grew up in Cork, Ireland
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[Born] July 27, 1977 in Dublin, Ireland; raised in County Cork, Ireland;
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J and I lost our second child, who was baking in the oven.
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