Nighy at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in Canada
William Francis Nighy
12 December 1949
Caterham, Surrey, England, UK
|Partner(s)||Diana Quick (1980–2008)|
William Francis "Bill" Nighy (pronounced ; born 12 December 1949) is an English actor. He worked in theatre and television before his first cinema role in 1981, and made his name in television with The Men's Room in 1991, in which he played the womaniser Prof. Mark Carleton, whose extramarital affairs kept him "vital".
Nighy became known for his performance in Love Actually. Other notable roles in cinema include his portrayal of Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, as well as Viktor in the Underworld film series.
He is also known for his roles in the films Lawless Heart, I Capture the Castle, Shaun of the Dead, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Notes on a Scandal, Hot Fuzz, Valkyrie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Rango and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. His performances were also acclaimed in the State of Play series and in the TV films The Girl in the Café, Gideon's Daughter and Page Eight, for which he earned Golden Globe nominations, winning one for Gideon's Daughter.
- Early life and education 1
- Career 2
- Personal life 3
- Films 4.1
- Television 4.2
- Video games 4.3
- Awards and nominations 5
Selected performances 6
- Theatre 6.1
- Radio 6.2
- References 7
- External links 8
Early life and education
Nighy was born on 12 December 1949 in Caterham, Surrey. His mother, Catherine Josephine Nighy (née Whittaker), was a psychiatric nurse who was born in Glasgow, and his English-born father, Alfred Martin Nighy, managed a car garage after working in the family chimney sweeping business. Also of part Irish descent, Nighy was brought up as a Roman Catholic, serving as an altar boy.
He has two elder siblings, Martin and Anna. Nighy attended the John Fisher School, a Roman Catholic grammar school in Purley, where he was a member of the school theatre group. He left the school with two O-levels and then took a job with The Croydon Advertiser as a messenger boy. He went on to train at the Guildford School of Acting.
After two seasons at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, Nighy made his London stage debut at the National Theatre in an epic staging of Ken Campbell and Chris Langham's Illuminatus!, which opened the new Cottesloe Theatre on 4 March 1977, and went on to appear in two David Hare premieres, also at the National. During the 1980s, he appeared in several television productions, among them Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil, alongside John Shea and Tony Randall.
He has starred in many radio and television dramas, notably the BBC serial The Men's Room (1991). He claimed that the serial, an Ann Oakley novel adapted by Laura Lamson, was the job which launched his career. More recently he has featured in the thriller State of Play (2003) and costume drama He Knew He Was Right (2004). He played Samwise Gamgee in the 1981 BBC Radio dramatisation of The Lord of the Rings (where he was credited as William Nighy), and appeared in the 1980s BBC Radio versions of Yes Minister episodes. He starred alongside Stephen Moore and Lesley Sharp in the acclaimed short radio drama Kerton's Story, first aired in 1996. He had a starring role in the 2002 return of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, portraying crooked politician Jeffrey Grainger. He has also made a guest appearance in the BBC Radio 4 series Baldi.
Two of Nighy's most acclaimed stage performances were in National Theatre productions. Taking the role of Bernard Nightingale, an unscrupulous university don, in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia (1993), he engaged in witty exchanges with Felicity Kendal, playing the role of Hannah Jarvis, an author; and he played a consultant psychiatrist in Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange (2000), for which he won an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor, and which transferred to the West End at the Duchess Theatre the following year.
Nighy received some recognition by American audiences for his acclaimed portrayal of overaged rock star Ray Simms in the 1998 film Still Crazy. In 1999 he gained further prominence in the UK with the starring role in "The Photographer", an episode of the award-winning BBC-TV mockumentary comedy series People Like Us, playing Will Rushmore, a middle aged man who has abandoned his career and family in the deluded belief that he can achieve success as a commercial photographer.
In 2003, Nighy played the role of the Vampire Elder Viktor in the American production Underworld and returned in the same role for the sequel Underworld: Evolution in 2006 and again in the prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans in 2009. In February 2004, he was awarded the BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as shameless, washed-up rocker Billy Mack in Love Actually (a role foreshadowed by his Still Crazy character) and followed this up at the BAFTA Television Awards in April with the Best Actor award for State of Play. He also appeared in the comedy Shaun of the Dead.
In early 2004, The Sunday Times reported that Nighy was on the shortlist for the role of the Ninth Doctor in the 2005 revival of the BBC television series Doctor Who. Christopher Eccleston ultimately filled the role.
In 2005, he appeared as Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Mini-series or TV Film in January 2007. Also in 2006, Nighy made his Broadway debut at the Music Box Theatre alongside Julianne Moore in The Vertical Hour, directed by Sam Mendes.
In 2006, Nighy featured in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, where he played the principal villain, Davy Jones, although his face was entirely obscured by computer-generated makeup and he voiced the character with a Scots accent. He reprised the role in the 2007 sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, in which his real face was briefly revealed in one scene. He also provided the narration for the Animal Planet series Meerkat Manor. In 2006 he played the role of Richard Hart in Notes on a Scandal, for which he was nominated for a London Film Critics' Circle award. Nighy also appeared as General Friedrich Olbricht, one of the principal conspirators, in the 2008 film Valkyrie. He had played an SS officer in the 1985 Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil. Nighy starred in the film Wild Target in 2010.
In July 2009, he announced that he would play Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. Nighy had already worked with director David Yates twice, and with the majority of the Harry Potter cast in previous films. He has said of his role as Rufus Scrimgeour that it meant he was no longer the only English actor not to be in Harry Potter.
Nighy voiced Grandsanta in the 2011 CGI animated film Arthur Christmas. In 2012, he starred in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Wrath of the Titans, and the remake of Total Recall. In 2013, he played a role in Darkside, Tom Stoppard's radio drama based on Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon.
He is a supporter of Crystal Palace and is the Patron of the CPSCC (Crystal Palace F.C. Fast Results & Information Service) Children's Charity, and of the Ann Craft Trust. He is also one of the Honorary Patrons of the London children's charity Scene & Heard. He suffers from Dupuytren's contracture, a condition which causes the ring and little finger of each hand to be permanently bent inwards towards the palm.
|1981||Eye of the Needle||Squadron Leader Blenkinsop|
|1983||Curse of the Pink Panther||ENT Doctor|
|1984||The Little Drummer Girl||Al|
|1985||Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil||Helmut Hoffmann|
|1985||Thirteen at Dinner||Ronald Marsh|
|1989||The Phantom of the Opera: The Motion Picture||Martin Barton|
|1996||True Blue||Jeremy Saville|
|1997||FairyTale: A True Story||Edward Gardner|
|1998||Still Crazy||Ray Simms|
|1999||Guest House Paradiso||Mr. Johnson|
|2001||Blow Dry||Raymond "Ray" Robertson|
|2001||Lucky Break||Roger "Rog" Chamberlain|
|2002||AKA||Uncle Louis Gryffoyn|
|2003||Ready When You Are, Mr McGill||Phil Parish|
|2003||Love Actually||Billy Mack|
|2003||I Capture the Castle||James Mortmain|
|2004||Shaun of the Dead||Phillip|
|2005||The Magic Roundabout||Dylan||Voice only (UK version)|
|2005||The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy||Slartibartfast|
|2006||Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest||Davy Jones|
|2005||The Constant Gardener||Sir Bernard Pellegrin|
|2006||Flushed Away||Whitey||Voice only|
|2006||Notes on a Scandal||Richard Hart|
|2007||Hot Fuzz||Ch. Insp. Kenneth|
|2007||Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End||Davy Jones|
|2008||A Fox's Tale||The Ringmaster|
|2009||Underworld: Rise of the Lycans||Viktor|
|2009||The Boat That Rocked||Quentin|
|2009||Astro Boy||Professor Simon Elefun/Robotsky||Voice only|
|2009||Statuesque||Mr. Jellaby||Short film|
|2009||Glorious 39||Sir Alexander|
|2010||Wild Target||Victor Maynard|
|2010||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1||Rufus Scrimgeour|
|2011||Rango||Rattlesnake Jake||Voice only|
|2011||Arthur Christmas||Grandsanta||Voice only|
|2011||The Man with the Stolen Heart||Narrator||Voice only|
|2012||The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel||Douglas Ainslie|
|2012||Wrath of the Titans||Hephaestus|
|2012||Total Recall||Matthias Lair|
|2013||Great White Shark 3D||Narrator||Voice only|
|2013||Jack the Giant Slayer||Fallon (Big Head)||Voice only|
|2013||The World's End||The Network||Voice only|
|2013||About Time||James Lake|
|2015||The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel||Douglas Ainslie|
|2016||Dad's Army||Sergeant Wilson|
|2016||Their Finest Hour and a Half||Filming|
|1976||Softly, Softly: Taskforce||Albert Blake||Episode: "Say it with Flowers"|
|1978–82||Play for Today||Dave/William/Bill||3 episodes|
|1980||Agony||Vincent Fish||Season 2|
|1980||Fox||Colin Street||2 episodes|
|1980||BBC2 Playhouse||Bruno||Episode: "Standing in for Henry"|
|1982||Minder||Oates||Episode: "Looking for Micky"|
|1982||Play for Tomorrow||Connor Mullen||Episode: "Easter 2016"|
|1983||Reilly, Ace of Spies||Goschen||Episode 3: "1905: The Visiting Fireman"|
|1983||Jemima Shore Investigates||David Cullen||Episode: "A Model for Murder"|
|1985||The Last Place on Earth||Cecil Meares|
|1989||Storyboard||Sam||Episode: "Making News"|
|1990||Making News||Sam Courtney|
|1990||Screenplay||Howard Nash||Episode: "Antonio and Jane"|
|1991||The Men's Room||Mark Carleton||BBC serial|
|1991||Bergerac||Episode: "All for Love"|
|1991–93||Performance||Roger Maitland/Hugh Marriner||2 episodes|
|1992||Chillers||Tom Dickenson||Episode: "The Cat Brought It In"|
|1993||Eye of the Storm||Tom Frewen||6 episodes|
|1993||Peak Practice||Alan Sinclair||Episode: "Growing Pains"|
|1994||Wycliffe||David Cleeve||Episode: "The Four Jacks"|
|1996||Testament: The Bible in Animation||Belshazzar||Episode: "Daniel"|
|1997||Insiders||Mark Gordon||Episode: "The Vat Man"|
|1997||Kavanagh QC||Giles Culpepper QC||Episode: "Ancient History"|
|1998||Kiss Me Kate||Cameron|
|1998-00||The Canterbury Tales||The Merchant||2 episodes|
|1999||People Like Us||Will Rushmore||Episode: "The Photographer"|
|2000||Animated Tales of the World||Tiger||Episode: "A Story of Taiwan: Aunt Tiger"|
|2002||Auf Wiedersehen, Pet||Jeffrey Grainger||Season 3|
|2002||The Inspector Lynley Mysteries||Episode: "Well Schooled in Murder"|
|2003||State of Play||Cameron Foster|
|2003||The Lost Prince||Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham|
|2004||He Knew He Was Right||Colonel Osborne|
|2005||The Girl in the Café||Lawrence|
|2005||Gideon's Daughter||Gideon Warner|
|2010||Doctor Who||Dr. Black||Uncredited; Episode: "Vincent and the Doctor"|
|2011||Page Eight||Johnny Worricker|
|2014||Turks & Caicos||Johnny Worricker|
|2014||Salting the Battlefield||Johnny Worricker|
|2013||Disney Infinity||Davy Jones|
|2014||The Elder Scrolls Online||High King Emeric|
|2015||Disney Infinity 3.0||Davy Jones|
Awards and nominations
- The Plaza Suite by Neil Simon – Watermill Theatre, Newbury
- The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore by Tennessee Williams – Watermill Theatre, Newbury
- Landscape and Silence, by Harold Pinter – Gateway Theatre, Chester
- Entertaining Mr Sloane by Joe Orton – Gateway Theatre, Chester
- Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard – Arts Theatre, Cambridge
- The Immoralist, from the novel by André Gide – Hampstead Theatre
- Speak Now, by Olwen Wymark – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (1971)
- Freedom of the City, by Brian Friel – Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
- Under New Management, by Chris Bond – Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
- Occupy! – Liverpool Everyman Theatre (1976)
- Illuminatus!, Ken Campbell/Chris Langham – NT Cottesloe (The theatre's first production, 1977)
- Comings and Goings, by Mike Stott – Hampstead Theatre Club (1978)
- The Warp, by Neil Oram/ Ken Campbell – ICA (1979)
- Illuminations, by Arthur Rimbaud – Lyric Hammersmith (1980)
- A Map of the World, by David Hare – NT Lyttelton (1983)
- Pravda, by David Hare/ Howard Brenton – NT Olivier (1985)
- King Lear, by William Shakespeare – NT Olivier (1986)
- Mean Tears, by Peter Gill – NT Cottesloe (1987)
- Betrayal, by Harold Pinter – Almeida Theatre, London (1991)
- Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard – NT Lyttelton (1993)
- The Seagull, by Anton Chekhov/ad. Pam Gems – NT Olivier (1994)
- Skylight, by David Hare – NT production at Vaudeville Theatre, London (1995)/ UK tour (1997)
- A Kind of Alaska, by Harold Pinter – Donmar Warehouse (1998)
- Blue/Orange, by Joe Penhall – NT Cottesloe (2000), Duchess Theatre (2001)
- The Vertical Hour, by David Hare, Broadway production at the Music Box Theater, NY (2006)'
- Skylight, by David Hare – West End production at Wyndham's Theatre (2014)
- Skylight, by David Hare – Broadway production at John Golden Theatre (2015)
|8 March 1981 – 30 August 1981||The Lord of the Rings||Sam Gamgee||J.R.R. Tolkien dramatised by Brian Sibley and Michael Bakewell||Jane Morgan and Penny Leicester||BBC Radio 4|
|18 October 1983 – 15 November 1983||Yes, Minister||Frank Weisel||Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn adapted for radio by Pete Atkin||Pete Atkin||BBC Radio 4|
|26 December 1993||Arcadia||Bernard Nightingale||Tom Stoppard||David Benedictus||BBC Radio 3|
|30 April 1994||Ancient Enemies||Elizabeth North||BBC Radio 4|
|21 August 1999||So Much Blood||Charles Paris||Simon Brett dramatised by Bert Coules||Gaynor Macfarlane||BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play|
|6 January 2002||Blue/Orange||Joe Penhall||BBC Radio 4|
|21 March 2003||Baldi: The Book Case||O'Connor||Simon Brett||Mark Lambert||BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play|
|19 April 2003||Turtle Diary||William||Russell Hoban||Gaynor Macfarlane||BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play|
|25 September 2004||A Series of Murders||Charles Paris||Simon Brett dramatised by Jeremy Front||BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play|
|29 December 2004||All Fingers and Thumbs||Tom||Alan Stafford||Dirk Maggs||BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play|
|30 August 2006 – 20 September 2006||A Charles Paris Mystery: Sicken and So Die||Charles Paris||Simon Brett dramatised by Jeremy Front||Sally Avens||BBC Radio 4|
|19 October 2007 – 9 November 2007||A Charles Paris Mystery: Murder Unprompted||Charles Paris||Simon Brett dramatised by Jeremy Front||Sally Avens||BBC Radio 4|
|17 July 2008||I Wish to Apologise for My Part in the Apocalypse||Keith||Duncan Macmillan||Sam Hoyle||BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play|
|10 December 2008 – 31 December 2008||A Charles Paris Mystery: Dead Side of the Mic||Charles Paris||Simon Brett dramatised by Jeremy Front||Sally Avens||BBC Radio 4|
|26 December 2009||Educating Rita||Frank||Willy Russell||Kirsty Williams||BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play|
|2 January 2010||Private Lives||Elyot||Noël Coward||Sally Avens||BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play|
|29 January 2010 – 19 February 2010||A Charles Paris Mystery: Cast in Order of Disappearance||Charles Paris||Simon Brett dramatised by Jeremy Front||Sally Avens||BBC Radio 4|
|22 November 2010 – 13 December 2010||A Charles Paris Mystery: Murder in the Title||Charles Paris||Simon Brett dramatised by Jeremy Front||Sally Avens||BBC Radio 4|
|20 April 2011||The Bat Man||Christopher||Amelia Bullmore||Mary Peate||BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play|
|26 August 2013||Darkside||The Witch Finder / Doctor Antrobus||Tom Stoppard||BBC Radio 2|
- Bill Nighy – Nighy Accepts Surname Mispronunciation. contactmusic.com. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- The Men's Room, The Internet Movie Database, accessed 23 November 2009.
- Bill Nighy: the thinking woman's bagel The Independent, 19 February 2006; Family Detective The Daily Telegraph.
- Bill Nighy, Hello magazine, undated, accessed 23 November 2009.
- BBC – Doctor Who (David Tennant and Billie Piper)- News at the Wayback Machine (archived April 8, 2008)
- Roberts, Laura. "It's not Love Actually after all as star Nighy splits with partner of 27 years", Daily Mail, 25 August 2008.
- Crystal Palace Supporters Children's Charity accessed 2 Jun 2007; Ann Craft Trust homepage
- National Theatre archive cast and production listing.
- Bill Nighy at the Internet Movie Database
- Bill Nighy: A Life in Pictures Interview at BAFTA
- Bill Nighy at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Silk Sound Books