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Stuart Townsend

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Stuart Townsend
Townsend at the Beverly Hills special screening of Battle in Seattle on 22 September 2008.
Born (1972-12-15) 15 December 1972 (age 51)
Years active1993–present
PartnerCharlize Theron (2002–2009)
RelativesHugo Townsend (half-brother)

Stuart Townsend (born 15 December 1972) is an Irish actor. He portrayed Lestat de Lioncourt in the film adaptation of Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned (2002), and Dorian Gray in Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). In 2007, he directed the film Battle in Seattle.

Early life and career


Townsend was born in Howth, County Dublin, the son of Lorna Hogan, an Irish model, and Peter Townsend, an English professional golfer.[1][2] His younger brother, Dylan, is also an actor.[3]

Stuart attended the Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin, and made his non-professional stage debut in its 1993 production of Colin Teevan's Tear Up The Black Sail.[4] The following year he made his professional stage debut in True Lines, directed by John Crowley, which opened in Kilkenny, before moving to the Dublin Theatre Festival and on to the Bush Theatre in London. His early film roles were in Irish short films, including Godsuit and Summertime, before landing a role in the feature length film, Trojan Eddie, a 1996 Anglo-Irish co-production. In 1997 he starred in the British film, Shooting Fish.

With his portrayal of a seducer in the title role of About Adam, Townsend gained exposure in the United States. He briefly returned to the London stage in 2000, in the Tennessee Williams play Orpheus Descending, starring as Val Xavier, alongside Helen Mirren as Lady Torrance, before landing roles in several major films. He appeared in Queen of the Damned as the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, and in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as Dorian Gray.[5] Townsend was hired to play the part of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, but was replaced by Viggo Mortensen the day before principal photography began.[6] According to Townsend:

I was there rehearsing and training for two months, then was fired the day before filming began. After that I was told they wouldn't pay me because I was in breach of contract due to not having worked long enough. I had been having a rough time with them, so I was almost relieved to be leaving until they told me I wouldn't be paid. I have no good feelings for those people in charge, I really don't. The director wanted me and then apparently thought better of it because he really wanted someone 20 years older than me and completely different.[6]

In 2005, he starred alongside Gabrielle Union in Night Stalker, the remake of the 1974 ABC TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He portrayed Carl Kolchak, an investigative reporter looking into his wife's murder. Night Stalker was abruptly cancelled by ABC after six episodes due to bad viewing figures, with some critics reportedly saying he was too young compared to Darren McGavin in the original series. The same year, Townsend had a guest starring role on NBC's Will & Grace as Karen Walker's pansexual pastry chef who seduces her, Will Truman, and then her maid, Rosario. He also made an uncredited cameo in Æon Flux (2005). Townsend starred alongside Ryan Reynolds in Chaos Theory (2007). The same year, he made his directorial debut with Battle in Seattle, a portrayal of the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 which was protested by environmentalists, indigenous rights organizations, labor unions and anti-globalisation protesters.[7] The film's cast included Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta and Woody Harrelson, but enjoyed only limited release and no blockbuster support.

Townsend was set to play Fandral in Kenneth Branagh's Thor, but was replaced in January 2010, due to unspecified creative differences.[8] He appeared in the ABC thriller, Betrayal, the second season of Salem, and a 2017 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.[9] In 2021, Townsend starred in the films The Martini Shot and Grace and Grit.[10][11]

Personal life


Townsend's father, Peter, was a golfer, who played in the 1969 and 1971 Ryder Cups.[12] He has a brother, Dylan Townsend, and sister, Chloe Townsend, from his father's first marriage to Lorna Townsend, who died in 1994 of a brain haemorrhage.[13] Townsend has two half-siblings, Hugo and Ella, from his father's second marriage, to Swedish-born Sofia.[14] He dated actress Charlize Theron after meeting her on the set of 2002's Trapped. The couple lived together in Los Angeles and Ireland. They said they considered themselves married without an actual marriage, with Townsend stating, "We didn't have a ceremony. I don't need a certificate or the state or the church to say otherwise. So no, there's no big official story on a wedding, but we are married.... I consider her my wife and she considers me her husband."[15] Theron split from Townsend when they came back on day two of a planned ten-day holiday in Mexico in January 2010.[16][17]

In May 2015, Townsend's brother said that Stuart had settled down in Costa Rica, where he had bought some land and was living with a woman from that country, who was expecting their second child at that time.[18] In 2019, Townsend was living in Santa Monica with his wife and two children, Desmond and Ezra, and was arrested after a domestic dispute.[19]




Year Title Role Notes
1993 Godsuit John Slattery
1996 Trojan Eddie Dermot
1997 Shooting Fish Jez
Under the Skin Tom
1998 Resurrection Man Victor Kelly
1999 Simon Magus Dovid Bendel
Wonderland Tim
The Venice Project Lark/Gippo the Fool
The Escort Tom
2000 About Adam Adam
2002 Queen of the Damned Lestat de Lioncourt
Trapped William Jennings
2003 Shade Vernon
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Dorian Gray
2004 Head in the Clouds Guy Malyon
2005 The Best Man Olly Pickering
2005 Æon Flux Monican Rebel
2007 Chaos Theory Buddy Endrow
2008 Battle in Seattle Writer and director only
2009 Maggie Hill Terrence James
2013 A Stranger in Paradise Paul
2021 Grace and Grit Ken Wilber
2021 Christmas at Castle Hart Earl Aidan Hart
2021 Apache Junction Jericho Ford
2023 The Martini Shot Philip Completed
Denotes films that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Summertime Andrew Main role
2005 Will & Grace Edward the pastry Chef 1 episode
2005 Night Stalker Carl Kolchak Main role
2005–2009 Robot Chicken Announcer, Lucky Charms Leprechaun, Ron Weasley 4 episodes
2011–2012 XIII: The Series XIII Main role
2013 Betrayal Jack McAllister Series regular
2015 Elementary Del Gruner 2 episodes
2015 Salem Dr. Samuel Wainwright 7 episodes
2017 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Declan Trask Guest

Awards and nominations

Year Group Award Result Notes
1998 Fantafestival Best Actor Won Resurrection Man
2003 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a Film Nominated People's Choice Award
2008 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Script for Film Nominated Battle in Seattle
2013 WorldFest Best Actor Won XIII: The Series


  1. ^ Wills, Dominic. "Stuart Townsend – Biography". TalkTalk Group. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  2. ^ Murray, Rebecca (27 August 2004). "Interview with Stuart Townsend". About.com. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Dylan Townsend | Writer, Producer, Actor". IMDb. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  4. ^ "Gaiety School of Acting — News And Events". Gaiety School of Acting. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  5. ^ Staff writers (5 February 2015). "Stuart Townsend | Biography and Filmography | 1972". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b Bonin, Liane (22 February 2002). "Meet Aaliyah's last leading man". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 12 December 2005. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  7. ^ Vidal, John (5 December 1999). "Real battle for Seattle". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  8. ^ Wigler, Josh (11 January 2010). "Stuart Townsend Leaves 'Thor,' Joshua Dallas Will Play Fandral". Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  9. ^ Moore, Debi (14 January 2015). "Lestat and Xena Heading to Salem! Stuart Townsend, Lucy Lawless, and More Sign Up for Season 2!". Dread Central. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  10. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (15 November 2018). "Mena Suvari & Frances Fisher To Star In 'Grace and Grit' Indie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Castleconnell gets a Shot of Hollywood!". Love Castleconnell. 12 October 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  12. ^ Wills, Dominic. "Stuart Townsend Biography". Film biographies. Tiscali. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  13. ^ McQuaile, Jenny (29 July 2004). "Stuart's my big brother and my hero.. He raised us when our mum died; IRISH MODEL DYLAN TOWNSEND ON LIFE WITH HOLLYWOOD COUPLE". The Mirror (London, England). Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  14. ^ Egan, Barry (14 February 2010). "Stuart finds his life goes on after Theron". Irish Independent. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  15. ^ Chi, Paul. "Stuart Townsend Calls Charlize Theron His Wife". People. Archived from the original on 4 December 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  16. ^ Johnston, Max. "Theron ends relationship? Charlize Theron has reportedly split from her partner of nine years". The Province — Division of Canwest Publishing Inc. Archived from the original on 28 August 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  17. ^ Egan, Barry (14 February 2010). "Stuart finds his life goes on after Theron". IndependentWoman.ie. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  18. ^ Staff writers (28 May 2015). "Irish actor Stuart Townsend living in Costa Rica and expecting second child, says his brother Dylan". Irish Independent. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  19. ^ Quann, Jack. "Irish actor Stuart Townsend arrested in US". Newstalk. Retrieved 26 August 2021.