Best Known For
Academy Award-winning English actor Daniel Day-Lewis is known for going to extreme lengths to prepare for a role. He has starred in several films, including Sunday, Bloody Sunday; My Beautiful Laundrette; My Left Foot; and Lincoln.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Daniel Day-Lewis was born on April 29, 1957, in London, England. He studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic and made his film debut in Sunday, Bloody Sunday. He was acclaimed for his role in My Beautiful Laundrette, and won an Oscar for My Left Foot. Day-Lewis married Rebecca Miller in 1996, and they have two sons. He also has a third child from a previous relationship.
"I don't rehearse at all in film if I can help it. In talking a character through, you define it. And if you define it, you kill it dead."
"I suppose I have a highly developed capacity for self-delusion, so it's no problem for me to believe that I'm somebody else."
"I couldn't do this work at all unless I did it in my own rhythm."
"You can never fully put your finger on the reason why you're suddenly, inexplicably compelled to explore one life as opposed to another."
"The whole thing of weight, I guess it's because there is a wider fascination we all have with weight."
"There must've been some part of me that wanted to make my mark. But there was never a defining moment."
Daniel Day-Lewis was born on April 29, 1957, into a well-to-do and creative family in London, England. His father, Cecil Day-Lewis, was a writer, enjoyed the honor of being England's poet laureate for the last four years of his life. His mother, Jill Balcon, was an actress.
Day-Lewis was such a poorly behaved student as his South London public school that his parents sent him to a private school in Kent, called Sevenoaks, but Day-Lewis did not fare much better there. Despite his lack of success in school, Day-Lewis had plenty of other talents. He shared the Balcon family inclination to act, but he was initially more drawn to working-class pursuits than to the stage. Enamored with woodworking and craftsmanship as a teenager, he focused for a time on these pursuits rather than on acting. Eventually, the future Oscar winner allowed chance to play a role in his future, and he applied to only one theater program. When he was accepted to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Day-Lewis threw himself fully into the craft of drama.
After his years at the Bristol Old Vic and several forays onto the stage, Day-Lewis made it to the silver screen with a small part in Gandhi (1982). He continued to appear in films and plays for several years, during which time he developed his much noted and intense acting style. Applying the same ethos to drama as he did to woodworking, Day-Lewis became a method actor who devotes himself physically, psychologically, and emotionally to getting in character for each of his roles. This creative process ultimately served Day-Lewis well in Hollywood. Day-Lewis explained his preparations for roles this way: "I don't rehearse at all in film if I can help it. In talking a character through, you define it. And if you define it, you kill it dead."
Daniel Day-Lewis shifted between theater and film for most of the early 1980s, joining the Royal Shakespeare Company and appearing alongside stars Anthony Hopkins and Sir Laurence Olivier in the 1984 film The Bounty. In 1986, Day-Lewis's career started to gather steam with his acclaimed role in A Room with a View (1986). His first leading role came shortly after, in 1987, when he starred opposite Juliette Binoche in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. To prepare for the role, Day-Lewis learned Czech, and he subsequently stayed in character for the entire eight-month shoot.
For an even more extreme foray into a character's soul, Day-Lewis took on the role of Christy Brown in My Left Foot (1989). The actor learned about his paralyzed character by taking up residence in a wheelchair, even off-camera, requiring the crew to move him around.
profile name: Daniel Day-Lewis profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Best Actor Oscar Winners 64 people in this group
Without question, the president of the United States is one of the most respected and dignified positions held throughout the world. However, the men that have taken the oath to lead the nation forward have their own stories, struggles and lives beyond the speeches and suits that are on display to the public. These are the actors that have shown the men of the White House for who they really are.
Actors Who Played Presidents 32 people in this group
See our group of screen presidents, which includes actors who have played real-life American presidents as well as faux chief executives. Biography.com's Screen President group includes Frank Langella, Morgan Freeman, Josh Brolin, Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis and many more.
Screen Presidents 30 people in this group