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Gary Oldman is an English actor and film director whose edgy, intense style has brought him acclaim in such hits as Sid and Nancy, JFK, and The Dark Knight.
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Actor Gary Oldman was born in London, England, on March 21, 1958. From the moment his star fist shined as Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy (1986), Oldman has brought a raw, powerful edge to his roles, which have run the gamut from Dracula to Beethoven to Lee Harvey Oswald.
Actor. Born Leonard Gary Oldman in London, England, on March 25, 1958. The son of a welder and homemaker, Oldman grew up in a hardscrabble working class neighborhood of south London. His childhood and later adult years were framed by the absence of his father, who left the family when Oldman was just seven years old.
Hardly a committed student, Oldman eventually dropped out of school at the age of 16, when he found work as a store clerk. But after discovering his ability to perform on stage, Oldman returned to the classroom and enrolled in the Young People's Theater in Greenwich, England.
Oldman's work in theater class paved the way for a scholarship and even better opportunities at the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in London. Oldman graduated in 1979 with a degree in theater arts.
For much of the early 1980s, Oldman kept pace with a frenzied theater schedule. For the young actor, though, the hard work paid off. Among the recognitions he received from this period was the coveted Fringe Award for Best Newcomer for the 1985-86 season for his role in The Pope's Wedding.
Gary Oldman's big introduction to mainstream audiences came as Sid Vicious in the film Sid and Nancy (1986). Critics praised Oldman for his portrayal of the mercurial punk rocker. His followup role as the gay playwright Joe Orton in Prick up Your Ears (1987) won him equal praise.
Oldman's versatility, in fact, helps explain his stardom. The actor's ability to make himself a believable Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK (1991) then turn around and command the screen as Dracula in Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stroker's Dracula (1992) is evidence of this.
For much of the 1990s Oldman's talents were on full display. His films included The Scarlet Letter (1995), The Fifth Element (1997), and Air Force One (1997). In 1998 he stepped off the stage to take on the role of director in Nil by Mouth, a heartbreaking look at the life of one working class family in South London.
For Oldman, who wrote the script for the movie, the film touched some familiar ground, mirroring in some respects the troubled, up-and-down life he'd known as a child.
As the 2000s took shape, Oldman's career continued to roll forward. The actor took on roles in a variety of films, from the Harry Potter series, to the Batman franchise, to lending his voice to the animated science fiction movie Planet 51 (2009).
For Oldman, a recovering alcoholic who claims he once drank two bottles of vodka a day, professional triumphs have sometimes been met with personal setbacks. He's been married four times, including to actress Uma Thurman and model Donya Fiorentiono.
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