Ioan Gruffudd Biography

Theater Actor, Film Actor, Television Actor, Actor (1973–)
Ioan Gruffudd is a Welsh actor best known for playing Horatio Hornblower in the Emmy Award-winning A&E miniseries.


Ioan Gruffudd was born on October 6, 1973, in Cardiff, Wales. In 1986, the 13-year-old Ioan began a six-year run on the Welsh prime-time soap opera People of the Valley. Gruffudd later had a small but memorable part as a ship's officer in the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic. Another sea-faring role saw Gruffudd promoted when he played Commander Horatio Hornblower in the Emmy Award-winning A&E miniseries. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Alice Evans.


Born Ioan Gruffudd (pronounced yo-IN griffith), on October 6, 1973, in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.The eldest of three children born to teachers Peter and Gillian, who changed the family surname from the English Griffiths to the Welsh Gruffudd.

In 1986, the 13-year-old Gruffudd landed a permanent role on the Welsh BBC prime-time soap opera People of the Valley (1986-1992). He left the series after a six-year run and moved to London, where he attended Britain's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. A string of television roles followed, including the BBC drama A Relative Stranger (1995) and the ITV series Poldark (1996).

Eventually, Gruffudd was offered smaller roles in larger productions. In the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, he landed the sympathetic role of Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, who held the noble distinction of rescuing Kate Winslet's character (Rose DeWitt Bukater) at the end of the film. The following year, he gave a passionate performance as the lover of famed playwright Oscar Wilde in the biopic Wilde. In 1999, he headlined the Welsh film Solomon and Gaenor, which told the story of star-crossed lovers. Later that same year, the film received an Academy Award Nomination as Best Foreign Language Film.

In May 1999, Gruffudd starred as the orphaned Pip in the big-budget BBC production of Great Expectations (later popularized in America on PBS's Masterpiece Theater), based on the literary classic by Charles Dickens. However, it was the title role in the A&E miniseries Horatio Hornblower that brought Gruffudd to the attention of millions of viewers. Based on the epic novels by C.S. Forester, the films traced the career of a young English sailor during the Napoleonic wars.

In 1999, Gruffudd starred as the sword-wielding hero in four Horatio Hornblower features that included The Duel, The Fire Ship, The Duchess and the Devil, and The Wrong War. Later the same year, Horatio Hornblower won an Emmy Award for Best Miniseries.

Most recently, Gruffudd adopted a lighter tone with his role in 102 Dalmatians (2000), opposite Glenn Close and Gerard Depardieu. In the spring of 2001, Gruffudd reprised his most famous role in two more long-awaited installments in the Horatio Hornblower series, subtitled Mutiny and Retribution.

He starred in Fantastic Four in 2006.

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