Who Is Ewan McGregor?
Ewan Gordon McGregor was born March 31, 1971, in Crieff, Scotland. He achieved worldwide critical acclaim with his role in the film Trainspotting in 1996. In 1998, McGregor landed the largest role of his career when he signed on as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. McGregor went on to star in such films as Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012), and later earned his first Golden Globe for his work on the TV series Fargo.
Actor. Born Ewan Gordon McGregor on March 31, 1971, to schoolteachers James Charles Stuart McGregor and Carole Diane Lawson. McGregor was born in Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland, just a few miles north of Edinburgh. He also has a brother Colin, who is an RAF pilot.
As a child, Ewan McGregor did little acting, but enjoyed singing, and became a soloist for his school's orchestra and choir. He also helped his father at the Crieff Highland Games, where his father was named director. McGregor would eventually be awarded the title of Chieftan of the Games in 2001.
After high school, Ewan McGregor joined the Perth Repertory Theater and furthered his education through three years of training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His studies at Guildhall eventually led to McGregor landing a major role as Private Mick Hopper in Dennis Potter's 1993 Lipstick on Your Collar, which was a British made-for-television musical comedy.
In 1993, Ewan McGregor starred in a British television miniseries called The Scarlet & The Black, which was an adaptation of Henri Beyle Stendhal's 1830 novel. In that same year, McGregor made his cinematic debut in Bill Forsyth's American drama Being Human, which starred Robin Williams. The film did not do well in theaters and had a very short run, which limited McGregor's exposure.
After filming Being Human, Ewan McGregor continued to make television appearances in the United States and Britain, including Family Style (1993), Doggin' Around (1994) and Kavanagh QC (1995). He also got his first major movie role in the 1994 film Shallow Grave, which was written by Danny Boyle and received some critical acclaim.
In 1994, while filming an episode of Kavanagh QC, Ewan McGregor met his future wife, French production designer Eve Mavrakis. They had a whirlwind relationship and married on July 22, 1995 in a small village in France.
After Shallow Grave, McGregor continued to get work as a movie actor in the British surfing movie Blue Juice (1995) and Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book (1996), before landing a role in 1996's Trainspotting.
For Trainspotting—his second movie with director Danny Boyle—Ewan McGregor shaved his head and lost 30 lbs to play the main character and heroin addict Mark Renton. The movie and McGregor's role received worldwide critical acclaim, garnering much attention for the young actor.
Following his success in Trainspotting, McGregor took a completely different role as Frank Churchill in the historical comedy Emma (1996). McGregor then continued his work in cinema, including Brassed Off (1996), The Serpent's Kiss (1997), A Life Less Ordinary (1997), and Nightwatch (1998).
In 1998, Ewan McGregor landed the largest role of his career when he signed on as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. McGregor already had a connection with the iconic movie series as his uncle, Denis Lawson, appeared as Wedge Antilles in the original three films. McGregor first hit the screen as Kenobi in 1999, with Star Wars: Episode I–The Phantom Menace, to much commercial success. The next two installments of the trilogy would follow years later.
Also in 1999, McGregor acted in Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine, as a 1970s-era glam rocker in the mode of Iggy Pop.
In the late 1990s, Ewan McGregor started his own production company called Natural Nylon. He founded it with fellow actors Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Jonny Lee Miller and Sean Pertwee. The group's first movie was the Pat Murphy biopic Nora in 2000, which was co-produced by Wim Wenders' production company and Metropolitan Pictures. The film dramatized the real-life relationship between Irish author James Joyce and Nora Barnacle. McGregor was the star of the movie as Joyce and he played opposite Susan Lynch as Barnacle.
Following Nora in 2001, McGregor took on another challenging role in Baz Luhrmann's musical Moulin Rouge!, which was set in Paris in 1899. McGregor starred as the young poet Christian, who carries on a tumultuous relationship with Nicole Kidman's character throughout the film. McGregor was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his role in the film and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast. Later that same year, Black Hawk Down (2001) was released with McGregor playing one of the ensemble cast's main characters, Grimes.
In 2002, Ewan McGregor continued his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the second film of the trilogy, Star Wars: Episode II–Attack of the Clones. Another commercial success, McGregor was able to parlay his popularity into many more films.
In his early years as an actor, a magazine told Ewan McGregor that he had a very close resemblance to Albert Finney when he was a young man. So, in 2003, when Tim Burton was looking for someone in McGregor's age range to play Albert Finney as a young man in the fantasy film Big Fish, he was given the part. The film was a critical and commercial success as well. That same year, McGregor also starred in the erotic drama Young Adam, which was directed by David Mackenzie and originally screened at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. McGregor played Joe Taylor, one of two barge workers who pull up the corpse of a young woman from a river. Also that year, McGregor and Renée Zellweger starred opposite each other in director Peyton Reed's homage to 1960s romantic comedies in a film called Down With Love.
On and Off Camera
During 2004, McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman created a documentary about riding their motorcycles from London to New York. The pair traveled east through Europe and Asia, and then flew to Alaska to finish the journey to New York. The entire journey, entitled Long Way Round, went from April 14, 2004, to July 29, 2004. It was documented as a television series, DVD set, and book. It covered over 19,000 miles and 12 countries. The project was conceived partly to raise awareness of the worldwide efforts of UNICEF and included stops to see UNICEF projects.
McGregor reprised his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi for the final time in 2005 for Star Wars: Episode III–Revenge of the Sith. That same year he also lent his voice to the animated family film Robots, starred with Scarlett Johansson in The Island, and filmed Marc Forster's Stay, which was a follow-up to the successful Finding Neverland.
After multiple commercial and critical successes, Ewan McGregor tried his hand at several arthouse films in 2006. His first was Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Ed Blum's directorial debut about a day in the life of seven British couples. The second was Miss Potter, the much-anticipated Chris Noonan follow up to the 1995 success Babe, a biopic about popular children's author Beatrix Potter.
Ewan McGregor has also tried his hand at stage acting, taking the role of Sky Masterson from 2005 to 2007 in the revival of the play Guys & Dolls at London's Piccadilly Theatre.
In 2007, Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley Boorman created a follow-up documentary to their 2004 trip, entitled Long Way Down. During this trip the two rode their motorcycles again, but this time traveled from John o' Groats in northern Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa. This documentary also centered on the pair spending time visiting UNICEF projects along their journey and was distributed as another television series, DVD set, and book. That same year, McGregor appeared in Cassandra's Dream (2007), and was ranked No. 36 by Empire magazine in their list of the "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time." The next year, he appeared in the films Incendiary (2008) and Deception (2008).
In 2009, McGregor starred in I Love You Phillip Morris and joined the cast of Ron Howard's blockbuster Angels & Demons, the sequel to the very popular Dan Brown novel and film, The DaVinci Code.
McGregor continued to earn acclaim for his many roles, including a Golden Globe nomination for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012). He delivered his directorial debut, American Pastoral, in 2016, and the following year he rejoined his old castmates for the highly anticipated T2 Trainspotting.
Also in 2017, McGregor took on dual roles for Season 3 of Fargo. Earning his usual high marks, he garnered an Emmy nomination before taking home the first Golden Globe Award of his career for his work on the show.
Singing and Personal Life
In addition to film, McGregor has appeared on several soundtracks as a singer throughout his career, including two duets with Nicole Kidman on the Moulin Rouge! Soundtrack, two singles for the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack and a duet with Renee Zellweger for the movie Down With Love.
Ewan McGregor and his wife have four daughters: Clara Mathilde (born in 1996), Esther Rose (b. 2001), Jamiyan, (b. in 2001, adopted from Mongolia in 2006), and Anouk (b. 2011).
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