Christopher Catesby Harington
26 December 1986
Acton, London, England
|Alma mater||Royal Central School of Speech and Drama|
Christopher Catesby "Kit" Harington (born 26 December 1986) is an English actor and producer. He studied at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama and made his professional acting debut with the lead role of Albert Narracott in the critically acclaimed West End play War Horse at the National Theatre.
In 2011, Harington rose to prominence for his breakthrough role as Jon Snow in the HBO epic fantasy television series Game of Thrones (2011–2019), which brought him international recognition and several accolades, including a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor – Television Series Drama in 2019 and two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2016 and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2019.
Harington developed, produced and starred in the BBC drama series Gunpowder (2017) based around the leading role of his ancestor Robert Catesby in the Gunpowder plot. His film roles include the historical romance film Pompeii (2014) and the British period drama Testament of Youth (2014). He also provided the voice of Eret in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
Early life and ancestry
Harington was born on 26 December 1986 in Acton, London, to Deborah Jane (Catesby), a former playwright, and Sir David Harington, 15th Baronet, a businessman. His full name is Christopher Catesby Harington; his mother named him after Christopher Marlowe, whose first name was shortened to Kit, a name Harington prefers. He did not learn what his full name was until he was eleven years old. Harington's uncle was Sir Nicholas John Harington, 14th Baronet, and his patrilineal great-grandfather was Sir Richard Harington, 12th Baronet. The Haringtons are an ancient family that once spelled their name Haverington and derived the name from their estate, a lordship in Cumberland. Through his paternal grandmother, Lavender Cecilia Denny, Harington's eighth-great-grandfather was Charles II of England. Also through his father, Harington descends from Scottish politician Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville.
He is related to men who were involved on opposite sides of the Gunpowder Plot. He claims a family connection with the leader of the plot, Robert Catesby, on his mother's side, while through his father's side, he is related to King James I (grandfather of King Charles II), the target of the assassination attempt, and to Lord Harington, who was in the Houses of Parliament that Catesby and his co-conspirators tried to blow up. His son John Harington saw at the age of 13 the displayed head of Catesby after his death and later commented on it.
Harington was a pupil at the Southfield Primary School from 1992 to 1998. When he was 11, his family moved to Worcestershire and he studied at the Chantry High School in Martley until 2003. He became interested in acting after watching a production of Waiting for Godot when he was 14, and he performed in several school productions. He attended Worcester Sixth Form College, where he studied Drama and Theatre (2003–05). When he was 17, he was inspired to attend a drama school after seeing a performance by Ben Whishaw as Hamlet in 2004. Harington moved back to London in 2005 when he was eighteen after graduating from Sixth Form and, later that year, attended the Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating in 2008.
Early work in theatre (2008–2010)
Before acting, Harington originally wanted to become a journalist. While still at drama school, he landed the role of Albert in the National Theatre's adaptation of War Horse. The play won two Olivier Awards and gained Harington a great deal of recognition. He was later cast in his second play Posh, a dark ensemble comedy about upper-class men attending Oxford University.
Breakthrough with Game of Thrones and film roles (2011–present)
After War Horse, Harington auditioned for and landed his first television role as Jon Snow in the series Game of Thrones. The show debuted in 2011 to great critical acclaim and was quickly picked up by the network for a second season. Harington's role is largely filmed in Iceland and Northern Ireland. It concluded with its eighth season in April 2019. Game of Thrones takes place on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos and chronicles the power struggles among noble families as they fight for control of the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Jon Snow is introduced as the illegitimate son of Ned Stark, the honorable lord of Winterfell, an ancient fortress in the North of the fictional continent of Westeros.
Harington has received praise for his performance. In 2012, Harington was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television for the role. In 2016, Harington was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. In 2017, Harington became one of the highest paid actors on television and earned £2 million per episode of Game of Thrones.
Harington made his cinematic debut in 2012 as Vincent in Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. The horror film was based on the survival horror video game Silent Hill 3, and was a sequel to the film Silent Hill. He was honoured with Actor of the Year at the Young Hollywood Awards 2013, which celebrates the best emerging young talent in film, music and television.
Harington's first major lead role in a feature film occurred when he played Milo in the film Pompeii. Production for the film commenced in 2013 and took place in and around Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Some scenes were also shot in the actual city of Pompeii itself. The film was a modest box office success, but received negative reviews from critics. That year, Harington also voiced Eret in How to Train Your Dragon 2, which was a critically acclaimed, box-office success, won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and received an Academy Award nomination.
In 2014, Harington also appeared alongside Jeff Bridges in the film Seventh Son, a poorly received fantasy–adventure film. Harington played Billy Bradley, Bridges' first apprentice killed early in the movie by a character played by Julianne Moore. Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander and Emily Watson also star. The film was released in wide distribution in the UK on 16 January 2015. Its world premiere was in The Centrepiece Gala, supported by the Mayor of London, at the British Film Institute London Film Festival in October 2014.
In December 2014, it was announced that he would feature in Xavier Dolan's upcoming movie The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. On 1 August 2018, it was announced that the film would have its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. The film received negative reviews and was critically panned.
He starred in the 2015 HBO comedy 7 Days in Hell, a short film about a seven-day tennis match. In June 2015, it was confirmed that Harington would star in Martin Koolhoven's upcoming western thriller film Brimstone, replacing Robert Pattinson.
In 2016, Harington starred as Salen Kotch, the main villain in the first-person shooter video game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. That same year he starred in a West End production of Doctor Faustus. The production, as well as his performance received unfavourable critical reviews.
In February 2017, it was reported that he would write, star in and executive produce Gunpowder, a three-part historical drama for BBC based on the real story of the Gunpowder Plot. Harington played the role of his ancestor Robert Catesby alongside actors Mark Gatiss, Liv Tyler and Peter Mullan.
In June 2018, it was announced that Harington would star in the West End upcoming stage play True West, written by Sam Shepard and directed by Matthew Dunster. The play premiered in November 2018 at the Vaudeville Theatre in London and closed in February 2019.
In 2020, he took part in a virtual performance of an extract from the play Burn by playwright Chris Thompson.
In August 2019, Harington joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an unnamed role. The role was later revealed to be Dane Whitman in Eternals. The film is set for release by Marvel on 5 November 2021.
On 23 June 2018, the couple married at Rayne Parish Church in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In September 2020, Leslie posed for a magazine photo shoot visibly pregnant. They had a son, first spotted in February 2021.
In 2015, Harington joined a cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Nicole Kidman, James McAvoy and Christopher Eccleston in a charity production of The Children's Monologues, conceived by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle. The performance took place at the Royal Court Theatre in London, on 25 October. Proceeds went to Boyle's creative arts charity Dramatic Need, which helps vulnerable children in South Africa and Rwanda to build hope and self-belief in the face of conflict, trauma and hardship.
Since April 2016, Harington has been an ambassador for The Royal Mencap Society; a leading organisation in the United Kingdom helping people with learning difficulties that also provides support for their families and caregivers. On 16 April 2016, he was appointed as a patron of Longlands Care Farm, a charity located on a working livestock farm in Worcestershire, in which they care for, mentor and support disadvantaged and vulnerable young people aged 14 – 19 who are not succeeding in mainstream education. On 12 September 2016, Harington, as well as Cate Blanchett, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Peter Capaldi, Douglas Booth, Neil Gaiman, Keira Knightley, Juliet Stevenson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Stanley Tucci, featured in a video from the United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR to help raise awareness of the global refugee crisis. The video, titled "What They Took With Them", has the actors reading a poem, written by Jenifer Toksvig and inspired by primary accounts of refugees, and is part of UNHCR's #WithRefugees campaign, which also includes a petition to governments to expand asylum to provide further shelter, integrating job opportunities, and education.
In August 2017, with a video backing Mencap #StopSleepInCrisis, Harington called on the government to fund six years' back pay for overnight carers. In a personal message of support, Harington said: "The learning disability sector in the UK is on the brink of crisis. It is faced with a back-pay bill of £400 million which it cannot pay. Many of the providers of this essential, 'sleep-in' service, face bankruptcy. And some of the most vulnerable people in our society will be left, without care, without hope and without an independent future. Stand with Mencap and stand with the incredible people our colleagues support and care for every day."
In 2018, he joined Tom Hiddleston, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jeremy Irons and Indira Varma among others for a one-off charity gala celebrating the life and work of Harold Pinter, directed by Jamie Lloyd. The event Happy Birthday, Harold took place at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London, on 10 October and comprised a varied programme of Pinter's work. Proceeds went to Amnesty International and Chance to Shine – two of Pinter's favoured charities.
|2012||Silent Hill: Revelation||Vincent Smith|||
|How to Train Your Dragon 2||Eret||Voice|||
|Testament of Youth||Roland Leighton|||
|Seventh Son||Billy Bradley|||
|2015||Spooks: The Greater Good||Will Holloway|||
|2018||The Death & Life of John F. Donovan||John F. Donovan|||
|2019||How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World||Eret||Voice|||
|2011–2019||Game of Thrones||Jon Snow||62 episodes|||
|2015||7 Days in Hell||Charles Poole||Television film|||
|2017||Gunpowder||Robert Catesby||Miniseries; also creator and executive producer|||
|2018||Zog||Sir Gadabout||Voice; Television film|||
|2019||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Host; Episode: "Kit Harington/Sara Bareilles"|||
|2020||Criminal: UK||Alex||Episode: "Alex"|||
|2021||Friends: The Reunion||Himself||Television special|||
|2019||Chivalry||Sir Galaad||BBC Radio 4|||
|2015||Game of Thrones||Jon Snow||Based on the TV series|||
|2016||Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare||Salen Kotch||Also motion capture and likeness|||
|2008–2009||War Horse||Albert Narracott||Royal National Theatre and New London Theatre|||
|2010||Posh||Ed Montgomery||Royal Court Theatre|||
|2015||The Children's Monologues||Reader||Royal Court Theatre|||
|2015||The Vote||Colin Henderson||Donmar Warehouse|||
|2016||Doctor Faustus||Faustus||Duke of York's Theatre|||
|2018–2019||True West||Austin||Vaudeville Theatre|||
Awards and nominations
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