Stephen Moyer Biography

Film Actor, Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor(1969–)
Stephen Moyer is best known for his portrayal of seductive vampire Bill Compton on HBO's hit show True Blood.

Synopsis

Born on October 11, 1969, in Essex, England, Stephen Moyer is a classically-trained actor whos started out acting in Shakespeare plays, then made several appearances on British television. Moyer traveled to the United States to get his career off the ground internationally, but didn't find much luck at first. Moyer's star rose when he was cast as Bill Compton, the seductive vampire, in HBO's True Blood (2008-14). Moyer struck up a romance with castmate Anna Paquin, and the two married in 2010.

Early Life

Actor Stephen Moyer was born on October 11, 1969, in a small village in Essex, England.  The actor began performing at the age of 6 as a choirboy at his local church, and his precocious stage presence allowed him to quickly become head of the choir. Moyer was singing at church one Sunday when the headmaster of his preparatory academy heard his voice and immediately signed him up for the school play. Moyer recalls, "The headmaster saw me, and he made me Tom Sawyer in the school play, and that was it! I played the lead in most of the school plays from then on, and I kind of knew, then and there, that I wanted to do it, from about the age of 13."

There were few, if any, established paths for Moyer to follow toward an acting career growing up. As Moyer explains, "I didn't know what to do, because nobody had ever done it from where I'm from. None of my family. It's not the same as going, 'I'm gonna go to Hollywood and say that I'm an actor.' ...The only way in is to go to drama school, but nobody knew how to do that either."

He eventually found an advertisement for drama school in the back of the periodical Stage and Television Today and immediately filled out the application. Soon after, he auditioned for and was accepted into the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Arts and graduated as a classically trained actor in 1988, at the age of 19.

British Theater and Television

For the next five years, Moyer performed with such prestigious stage companies as the National Theatre of Wales and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He performed in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and an acclaimed production of Sophocles' Oedipus trilogy that featured all three plays in one night. "Six hours long," Moyer recalls. "If you got through it, it was rewarding, but most people were asleep after about two hours." After spending one year as Romeo in a touring production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in 1993 Moyer broke into television with a role on the British sitcom Conjugal Rights. The show was best known for featuring a talking dog, a gimmick Moyer later called "heinous" and "a crime against television."

Moyer went on to star in a variety of British TV shows through the 1990s, including Castles (1995), A Touch of Frost (1997), The Grand (1997) and Life Support (1999). With the money he earned from his television career, Moyer moved into a purple houseboat on a London canal, where he threw posh parties attended by celebrities such as rock star Pete Townshend. "In my 20s, I wanted to be at the apex of the adventure and craziness," he admits. Over the next several years, Moyer appeared in increasingly prominent film and television roles. He acted opposite Kate Winslet in the acclaimed 2000 film Quills and appeared in Undiscovered (2005), 88 Minutes (2007) and the miniseries The Starter Wife (2007).

'True Blood'

Moyer's biggest break came in 2008, when he was cast in Alan Ball's HBO series True Blood, an adaptation of The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. Moyer says that when he read the pilot script, "I was blown away by it. It's not my genre at all, but I could see in it a whole microcosm of society as we know it." Moyer plays Bill Compton, a seductive 173-year-old vampire who falls in love with a waitress named Sookie Stackhouse, played by Anna Paquin.

Emerging amidst a nationwide vampire craze spurred by the Twilight books and films, True Blood has proven an enormous success. Hypothesizing about its massive appeal, Moyer says, "What our show does is check a lot of boxes: vampire fans, Alan Ball fans, HBO fans, drama fans, people who just like a really well-acted story."

The series had a very successful run, having recieved a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award. It also gained attention for its themes that ran parallel to the LGBT rights movement that went on in the United States, using vampires as a subsitute for gays and lesbians. After six seasons on the air, it was revealed that the seventh and final season would air in 2014. Moyer takes the directors chair for the first episode of the final season, a role that he has previously taken on for the series.

Later Roles

Moyer put his early work on stage to good use as part of the reiteration of classic film The Sound of Music (1965), which has an air date of December 5, 2013. The television special is completely live, with Moyer and his co-star Carrie Underwood comitting to live singing and acting. Although comparisons to the film are inevitable, the live event will more closely follow original 1959 musical version.

Personal Life

In a classic case of an onscreen romance leading to real-life love, Stephen Moyer quickly fell for his co-star Anna Paquin. They became engaged in 2009 and married a year later. Moyer also has two children, Lilac and Billy, from previous relationships. In September 2012, the couple gave birth to twins, Charlie and Poppy, prematurely. After their first birthday, the children were revealed to be in good health.

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