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Matthew Macfadyen

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Matthew Macfadyen
Macfayden in 2019
David Matthew Macfadyen

(1974-10-17) 17 October 1974 (age 49)
EducationRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art (BA)
Years active1994–present
(m. 2004)

David Matthew Macfadyen (/məkˈfædiən/; born 17 October 1974) is an English actor. Known for his performances on stage and screen, he gained prominence for his role as Mr. Darcy in Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice (2005). He rose to international fame for his role as Tom Wambsgans in the HBO drama series Succession (2018–2023), for which he received two consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards, two BAFTA Television Award, and a Golden Globe Award.

Macfadyen is also known for his roles in films such as Death at a Funeral (2007), Frost/Nixon (2008), Anna Karenina (2012), The Assistant (2019), and Operation Mincemeat (2021). He made his television debut in 1998 as Hareton Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights. He portrayed Tom Quinn in the BBC One spy series Spooks (2002–04, 2011), and Inspector Edmund Reid in the BBC mystery series Ripper Street (2012–2016). For his role in Criminal Justice (2009), he received the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also starred in various miniseries playing roles such as Henry Wilcox in Howards End (2017), Charles Ingram in Quiz (2020), and John Stonehouse in Stonehouse (2023).

Early life and education[edit]

Macfadyen was born on 17 October 1974[1][2] in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, the son of Meinir (née Owen), a drama teacher and former actress, and Martin Macfadyen, an oil engineer.[3][4][5] His paternal grandparents were Scottish and his maternal grandparents were Welsh.[3][6] Macfadyen was brought up in a number of places, including Jakarta, Indonesia, as a result of his father's occupation.[3]

He attended schools in England, including in Louth, Lincolnshire, as well as in Scotland and Indonesia. He went to Oakham School in Rutland before being accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) at 17. As a student, he was inspired by Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander, which he thought was "[a]n example to follow – an example of people acting with each other...", and "[f]eatured just the most extraordinary acting I'd ever seen".[7] He studied at RADA from 1992 to 1995.[citation needed]


After leaving RADA, Macfadyen became known in British theatre primarily for his work with the stage company Cheek by Jowl, for which he played Antonio in The Duchess of Malfi, Charles Surface in The School for Scandal, and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. His Benedick was played as an officer-class buffoon with a moustache and a braying laugh. In 2005, he played Prince Hal in Henry IV, Parts One and Two at the Royal National Theatre, with Michael Gambon in the role of Falstaff. In 2007, he returned to the stage, portraying an American, Clay, a stay-at-home father with a liberal attitude in the play The Pain and the Itch.[citation needed] A TV breakthrough came when he appeared as Hareton Earnshaw in an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, screened on the ITV network in 1998. Further television drama work followed, including starring roles in the dramas Warriors (1999) and The Way We Live Now (2001), both for the BBC. Also in 2001, he earned acclaim for his starring role in the BBC Two drama serial Perfect Strangers, which was written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff. In 2002, he starred in The Project, a BBC drama charting New Labour's rise to power.[citation needed]

A bust of Mr. Darcy played by Matthew Macfadyen in Pride & Prejudice

He starred in Spooks, which became a success when screened on BBC One. A longer second season was screened in 2003, and a third season was broadcast in autumn 2004, with him leaving the series in the second episode. The series was aired as MI-5 on the A&E Network. In 2007 he appeared in the one-off Channel 4 drama Secret Life, which dealt with paedophilia.[8] Macfadyen won the Best Actor award at the Royal Television Society 2007 Awards for this part, and was nominated for a BAFTA. He also appeared in a short sketch for Comic Relief as the bridegroom in Mr. Bean's Wedding, alongside Rowan Atkinson and Michelle Ryan.[citation needed] Macfadyen appeared in films including Enigma (released in 2001), and In My Father's Den, for which he received the New Zealand Screen Award for Best Actor.[9] He starred as the romantic lead Fitzwilliam Darcy in an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, released in the UK in September 2005.[citation needed]

Macfadyen starred in Frank Oz's Death at a Funeral and the film Incendiary, based on Chris Cleave's novel alongside Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor. He also appeared in Ron Howard's film Frost/Nixon, in which he played John Birt. In 2008, he played the male lead Arthur Clennam in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit. In 2009 Macfadyen appeared alongside Academy Award-nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter in the BBC Four movie Enid, based on the life of Enid Blyton, as Hugh Pollock, Blyton's publisher and first husband.[citation needed] In 2010, he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood. He starred as Prior Philip in the TV serial The Pillars of the Earth, and was the middle-aged Logan Mountstuart in Any Human Heart. In June 2010, Macfadyen won a British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Criminal Justice.[citation needed] In 2011, Macfadyen made a final cameo in Spooks, and in 2012, he played Oblonsky in Joe Wright's film Anna Karenina. In December 2012 he began portraying Detective Inspector Edmund Reid in BBC One's Ripper Street.[citation needed]

In 2013–14, he played Jeeves in the production of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End of London. The play won the 2014 Olivier award for Best New Comedy.[10][11][12] In 2015, Amazon Prime picked up Ripper Street and, after good reviews, it was recommissioned for fourth and fifth seasons. Macfadyen said he was "delighted to be embarking on another dose of Ripper Street – blood and guts, pocket watches and Victorian headgear, wonderfully dark, moving and mysterious story lines from Mr Richard Wardlow".[13] The series also aired in the U.S. on BBC America. Also in 2015, he guest starred in the pilot episode of The Last Kingdom.[citation needed]

From 2018 to 2023, he starred as Tom Wambsgans in the HBO series Succession, for which he received Primetime Emmy Awards in 2022 and 2023 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, a Primetime Emmy Award nomination in 2020,[14] and a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role on Television in 2024.[15] In 2020, he appeared in the role of Major Charles Ingram in a three-part ITV drama, Quiz, based on the controversial coughing cheat scandal on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in 2001.[16] In 2023, Macfadyen was cast in Deadpool & Wolverine.[17]

Personal life[edit]

In 2002, Macfadyen began a relationship with his Spooks co-star Keeley Hawes. They were married in November 2004.[18] The couple has two children.[18][19] Macfadyen is stepfather to Hawes's son from her previous marriage.[20] Macfadyen and Hawes are patrons of the Lace Market Theatre in Nottingham.[21] In March 2024, it was reported that Macfadyen is a member of the Garrick Club.[22]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Maybe Baby Nigel
2001 Enigma Lt. Cave
2002 The Project Paul Tibbenham
2004 The Reckoning King's Justice
In My Father's Den Paul Prior
2005 Pride & Prejudice Fitzwilliam Darcy
2007 Grindhouse Eye Gouging Victim Segment: Don't
Death at a Funeral Daniel Howells
2008 Incendiary Terence Butcher
Frost/Nixon John Birt
2010 Robin Hood Sheriff of Nottingham
2011 The Three Musketeers Athos
2012 Anna Karenina Oblonsky
2014 Lost in Karastan Emil Forester
2015 The von Trapp Family: A Life of Music Georg von Trapp
2016 Revolution: New Art for a New World Vladimir Lenin (voice) Documentary
2017 The Current War J. P. Morgan
2018 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Benjamin Stahlbaum
2019 The Assistant Wilcock
2021 Operation Mincemeat Charles Cholmondeley
2024 Deadpool & Wolverine Paradox Post-production[23]
TBA Holland, Michigan TBA Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Wuthering Heights Hareton Earnshaw Television film
1999 Warriors Alan James
2000 Murder Rooms: Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes Brian Waller Episode: "The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes: Part 1"
2001 Perfect Strangers Daniel Symon 3 episodes
The Way We Live Now Sir Felix Carbury 4 episodes
2002–2004, 2011 Spooks Tom Quinn 19 episodes
2007 Mr. Bean's Wedding The Groom Short video
Secret Life Charlie Television film
2008 Ashes to Ashes Gil Hollis Episode #1.7
Little Dorrit Arthur Clennam 8 episodes
Agatha Christie's Marple Inspector Neele Episode: "A Pocket Full of Rye"
2009 Enid Hugh Pollock Television film
Criminal Justice Joe Miller 3 episodes
2010 The Pillars of the Earth Prior Philip 8 episodes
Any Human Heart Logan Mountstuart 4 episodes
2012–2016 Ripper Street Det. Insp. Edmund Reid 36 episodes
2013 Ambassadors Prince of Darkness 3 episodes
2015 The Enfield Haunting Guy Playfair
The Last Kingdom Lord Uhtred Episode #1.1
2016 Churchill's Secret Randolph Churchill Television film
2017 Howards End Henry Wilcox 4 episodes
2018–2023 Succession Tom Wambsgans Main role
2020 Quiz Maj. Charles Ingram 3 episodes
2023 Stonehouse John Stonehouse Main role[24]


Year Title Author Notes Ref.
2000 The Voyage of the Beagle Charles Darwin BBC Radio 4 [25]
2001 Trampoline Meredith Oakes BBC Radio 4 [26]
2004 The Coma Alex Garland audio book [27]
Getting Away From It: The Island Tim Pears BBC Radio 4 [28]
2005 Stories We Could Tell Tony Parsons audio book [29]
2007 The Making of Music BBC Radio 4 [30]


Year Title Notes Ref.
2003 Essential Poems (To Fall in Love With) BBC Two [31]
2004 The Hungerford Massacre BBC One [32]
2006 The 9/11 Liars Channel 4 [33]
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial BBC Two [34]
2007 The Blair Years BBC One [35]
Last Party at the Palace Channel 4 [36]
2008 Dangerous Jobs for Girls Channel 4 [37]
Words of War ITV1 [38]
2009 Wine BBC Four [39]
Inside MI5 ITV1
2014 Horse Power Sky Atlantic


Year Title Role Playwright Venue Ref.
1994 The Crimson Island Dymogatsky Mikhail Bulgakov Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts [40]
Lorca's Death Rafael/Intellect Ben Benison [41]
The Feigned Inconstancy Chevalier Marivaux [42]
The Beggar's Opera Macheath John Gay [43]
1995 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Chief Bromden Dale Wasserman [44]
The Libertine John Wilmot Stephen Jeffreys [45]
My Funny Valentine Solo Performer
The Duchess of Malfi Antonio Bologna John Webster Cheek by Jowl [46]
1996 A Midsummer Night's Dream Demetrius William Shakespeare Royal Shakespeare Company [47]
1998 Much Ado About Nothing Benedick Cheek by Jowl [48]
The School for Scandal Charles Surface Richard Brinsley Sheridan Royal Shakespeare Company [49]
1999 Battle Royal Mr. Brougham Nick Stafford Royal National Theatre [50]
2005 Henry IV Prince Hal William Shakespeare [51]
2006 Total Eclipse Paul Verlaine Christopher Hampton reading at Royal Court Theatre [52]
2007 The Pain and the Itch Clay Bruce Norris Royal Court Theatre [53]
2010 Private Lives Elyot Chase Noël Coward Vaudeville Theatre [54]
2013 Perfect Nonsense Jeeves David and Robert Goodale Duke of York's Theatre

Awards and nominations[edit]

Macfadyen at the 2024 Emmy Awards
Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2008 British Academy Television Awards Best Actor Secret Life Nominated
2010 Best Supporting Actor Criminal Justice Won
2022 Best Supporting Actor Succession Won [55]
2024 Best Supporting Actor Won [56]
2005 British Independent Film Awards Best Actor In My Father's Den Nominated [57]
2018 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Succession (season two) Nominated [58]
2021 Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Succession (season three) Nominated [59]
2023 Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Succession (season four) Nominated [60]
2024 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Succession Won [61]
2006 London Critics Circle Film Awards Best Newcomer Pride & Prejudice Nominated [62]
2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Succession (episode: "This Is Not for Tears") Nominated [63]
2022 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Succession (episode: "All the Bells Say") Won [64]
2024 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Succession (episode: "Tailgate Party") Won [65]
2008 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Frost/Nixon Nominated [66]
2021 Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series Succession (season three) Won [67]
2023 Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Succession (season four) Nominated [68]
Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series Won


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External links[edit]