Gary Oldman, born March 21, 1958, in London, UK.

A tremendous actor who, as other noders have noted, has a keen grasp of accents and an ability to assume a role that goes far beyond traditional Hollywood standards. Screen debut was as a working class English skinhead (alongside a young Tim Roth) in the sharp British television drama Meantime. Other key roles include his role as the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy, his turn as queer playwright Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears, and a white, dreadlocked American pimp in True Romance. Even though his roles are sometimes limited, and he has begun to get typecast in clever, idiosyncratic villian roles, he is always a pleasure to watch.

Let me fill in a bit of biographical background to flesh out who Gary Oldman is when he isn't acting, which is covered quite well above.

He was born Gary Leonard Oldman in south-east London in 1958 in a solidly working class family. His father was a welder and an alcoholic who left the family when Gary was only seven; his mother raised the boy and his two sisters alone after that. Gary never got to know his father well. If you want to get a feel for Gary's childhood, watch the movie Nil By Mouth, which he wrote and directed; the similarities between his life and that portrayed in the movie suggest that it was based on his own experiences.

Gary dropped out of school at sixteen and worked at a sports equipment store; around this time he seems to have discovered his keen intelligence. He started to read and taught himself piano; he is an accomplished pianist and actually played many of the passages in Immortal Beloved. He initially considered a career in music, but soon became interested in acting, and won a scholarship to the Rose Bruford Drama College, from where he received a B.A. in Theatre Arts in 1979. Thereafter he worked in the theatre for a number of years, appearing in plays with the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He won a number of awards for his performances.

In the late 1980s he married Lesley Manville; the two have a son, Alfie, but the marriage only lasted two years. In 1990 he married actor Uma Thurman; this union dissolved after two years. During filming of Immortal Beloved he became involved with co-star Isabella Rosselini, but the two soon broke up.

Part of what made his private life so turbulent was his alcoholism; eventually he took the path of many creative types and went into rehab; there he met American photographer Donya Fiorentino; the two married in 1997 and now have two sons.

In spite of the dark roles he plays, he is said to be a charming and fun guy, and a consummate professional, particularly since he has kicked his drinking habit. A great actor.

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