Dominic West

Dominic West Biography

Television Actor, Theater Actor, Film Actor (1969–)
British TV, film and stage actor Dominic West rose to fame with his starring role on HBO's 'The Wire,' before finding more small-screen success with Showtime's 'The Affair.'

Who Is Dominic West?

Born in Sheffield, England, in 1969, Dominic West made an early mark on the big screen in rom-coms like 28 Days. He became known to audiences as Detective Jimmy McNulty on HBO's celebrated police drama The Wire, his success opening the door for roles in thrillers like The Forgotten, art-house favorites like Pride and blockbusters like Tomb Raider. West has also earned acclaim for work in miniseries and varied stage productions, as well as his co-starring role on the steamy Showtime series The Affair.

Dominic West

Dominic West attends the 'The Square' photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2017 in Cannes, France. 

TV Roles

'The Wire'

Beginning in 2002, West became known to audiences as Detective Jimmy McNulty on HBO's The Wire, a groundbreaking police drama that dug deep into the illegal drug activity and institutional decay plaguing the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Never a huge ratings hit, the show nevertheless drew a devoted following and its reputation continues to strengthen after wrapping in 2008.

As part of a rotating cast that featured real-life policemen, as well as up-and-coming actors like Idris Elba and Michael B. Jordan, West's McNulty was the show's closest thing to a main character, displaying a dogged sense of duty to go with his darker struggles with alcoholism and womanizing. The British actor later lamented that he never mastered the distinct Baltimore accent, but for series creator David Simon, there was little doubt that West nailed the part. "He gave the character colors and facets that we were able to utilize for five seasons, creating a main protagonist that was highly intelligent, very angry, dryly comic and humanly flawed," Simon said. "He's a pro and among the best I've worked with."

'The Hours'

Making his return to series television in 2011, West took on a more dapper role as BBC news anchor Hector Madden in the 1950s drama The Hour. With real-life events like the Suez Crisis providing the backdrop, West shined as a war veteran seeking to adapt to the tastes of a younger generation as he struggles to retain control of his personal life, his layered performance resulting in his first Golden Globe nomination.

'The Affair'

In 2014, West kicked off his run on Showtime's The Affair as Noah Solloway, a married novelist who pursues his passion for Ruth Wilson's waitress, Alison Lockhart. The series became known for its steamy love scenes—West often appears in the nude—and its shifting point-of-view narrative, garnering another Golden Globe nomination for its male lead (and a win for Wilson) along the way. Following the twists of Season 3, in which an incarcerated Solloway is tormented by Brendan Fraser's menacing prison guard John Gunther, Season 4 premiered in June 2018.

'Appropriate Adult,' 'Burton & Taylor' and Other Series

In the TV film Appropriate Adult (2011), West delivered a BAFTA-winning performance as Fred West, a British serial killer who murdered at least 12 young women from the 1960s through the 1980s. He also drew praise for his roles in the historical miniseries The Devil's Whore (2008), as Oliver Cromwell, and Burton & Taylor (2013), as Richard Burton. In early 2018, it was announced he would co-star in a new BBC production of Les Miserables, as the persecuted Jean Valjean.


Early Roles: '28 Days,' 'The Phantom Menace' and 'Rock Star'

With rugged good looks and physical presence, West didn't have to wait long to earn supporting roles on the big screen after making his way to Hollywood. He was tapped for the role of Henry, Earl of Richmond in Richard III (1995), and played Sandra Bullock's unsupportive significant other in 28 Days (2000). There were also bit parts in Spice World (1997) and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999), before his turn as a heavy metal guitarist in the Mark Wahlberg vehicle Rock Star (2001).

New Opportunities: 'Chicago,' 'Punisher' and 'The Awakening'

Following an appearance in the well-received musical Chicago (2002), West was seemingly heading down a familiar path as the jerk boyfriend in Mona Lisa Smile (2003). But he found more intriguing work in the mystery-thriller The Forgotten (2004), before using his physicality for prime roles in 300 (2007) and Punisher: War Zone (2008). The actor then flip-flopped between high- and lowbrow fare, surfacing in the period piece From Time to Time (2010), the horror flick The Awakening (2011), the farcical Johnny English Reborn (2011) and the big-budget flop John Carter (2012).

Festival and Blockbuster Favorites: 'Pride,' 'Finding Dory' and 'Tomb Raider'

After nearly 20 years in the business, West had earned enough clout to pick and choose smaller projects to his liking, portraying a gay bookstore owner in 2014's Pride, an artist in Cannes' 2017 Palme d'Or-winning The Square and a manipulative husband in the 2018 biographical drama Colette. He also made sure to keep his name relevant in blockbuster fare, joining the ensemble voice cast for Finding Dory in 2016 and starring as the butt-kicking heroine's father in the 2018 reboot of Tomb Raider.

Marriage to Catherine FitzGerald

Dominic West's wife, landscape designer Catherine FitzGerald, is from Irish aristocratic stock: Her father, Dominic, was the 29th Knight of Glin, a line that ended with his death in 2011. West originally dated FitzGerald while the two attended Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and they later rekindled their romance after she divorced her first husband. The two wed at her family castle in Glin in 2010 and have four children. West also has a daughter from a previous relationship to Polly Astor, daughter of former Tory MP Michael Astor.

What Is Dominic West's Net Worth?

According to Celebrity Net Worth, West is valued at $12 million.

Stage Productions

West has also forged an impressive list of stage credits, enjoying some of his earliest success in that arena with an award-winning performance in Anton Chekov's The Seagull at London's Old Vic theatre in 1997. Following a five-month stint with the acrobatic troupe De La Guarda in Argentina, he went on to star in classic Shakespearean productions, like As You Like It and Othello, and new acclaimed projects like Tom Stoppard’s Rock 'n' Roll. More recently, he headlined a revival of Les Liaisons dangereuses in London in 2016.

Sheffield Boy to Old Etonian

Dominic West was born on October 15, 1969, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The sixth of seven children in a Roman Catholic family, West found his way into his future craft by way of his mom, Moya, an amateur actress who introduced the boy to a local company at age 9.

West's father, George, achieved financial success by manufacturing vandal-proof bus shelters through his plastics factory, and at 13 West was sent to the Tony boarding school Eton College. Miserable at first, he eventually hit his stride by way of the drama department, starring in a production of Hamlet at age 16.

Following a stint in Argentina as a cattle herder, West resumed his education at Trinity College, where studied English literature and appeared in his first short film. From there, he readied to purse an acting career full time by enrolling at London's Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Personal Life

A resident of West London, West has been involved with his share of social causes, including the human-rights organization Free Tibet. In late 2013, he hiked more than 200 miles to the South Pole with Prince Harry and a group of veterans to raise money for Walking with the Wounded.

The actor was awarded an honorary degree from his hometown's Sheffield Hallam University in 2010, and the following year he received the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage from the Trinity College Philosophical Society.

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