Born on November 15, 1972, British actor Jonny Lee Miller has stolen scenes in many movies, including 1996's Trainspotting, in which he played a heroin addict. But the London import is now becoming an American TV star too as super sleuth Sherlock Holmes on Elementary. Miller is equally famous for an impromptu wedding to a young Angelina Jolie in the '90s.
Jonny Lee Miller was born on November 15, 1972, in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England, to Ann Lee, a theater actress, and Alan Miller, a BBC stage manager. His grandfather was actor Bernard Lee, who played "M" in the first 11 James Bond flicks. "My family has always been involved in theatre in one way or other ... I suppose I was encouraged by that and then went on to do school plays myself and enjoyed it," said Miller in interview with Whatsonstage.com. He got his training at the National Youth Music Theatre along with future friend Jude Law. At age 10, he was cast in a BBC production of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. By Miller's late teens, he was appearing regularly on British TV, mostly in smaller roles.
Acting With and Marrying Angelina Jolie
In 1995, the actor appeared in his first movie stateside, opposite Angelina Jolie in Hackers, a story about young computer renegades. They had chemistry off the screen as well as on it, and in 1996 the co-stars impetuously eloped in Vegas. (During their nuptials, Jolie wore black rubber pants and a shirt inscribed with Miller's name in her blood.) Although they split after only two years, they've remained friends. While his marriage fizzled, Miller's movie career began thriving that year, thanks to a role as a heroin addict alongside his pal Ewan McGregor in the Oscar-nominated Trainspotting. Other noteworthy movies of his include Dracula 2000, Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda and Dark Shadows.
Transition to U.S. TV
Earning a Best Actor nod at the Scottish BAFTA Awards for his portrayal of real-life cyclist Graeme Obree in the 2006 film The Flying Scotsman elevated Miller's acting status. That same year, he finally got his chance at a starring role on American TV, as part of the show Smith, about a crew of criminals. Unfortunately, the series got nixed after only three episodes. In 2008, he got his second shot at a U.S. prime-time series. In Eli Stone, Miller portrayed a legal shark whose life got turned upside down after suffering hallucinations from a brain aneurysm. The show got canceled in the middle of its second season.
Playing Sherlock Holmes
It appears as though Miller's third attempt at an American TV show might be the charm. Many have tried their hand at playing fictional detective Sherlock Holmes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's literary series. Miller is the latest, in the CBS series Elementary, which debuted in 2012. In this version, Holmes is a recovering addict and his sidekick Dr. Watson is a woman (played by Lucy Liu). The unusual spin on the tale paid off, as the series became the most watched new show of the year. When not on set, Miller spends time with his wife, actress Michelle Hicks, and their son Buster Timothy Miller, born in December 2008. Besides family time, Miller is a dedicated runner with 16 marathons under his belt. He ran an ultra marathon in May 2013 on behalf of Jonah's Just Begun, a charity dedicated to finding a cure for the pediatric disease Sanfilippo syndrome. The actor learned about this organization through a cameraman on Elementary who is the father of the charity's namesake, Jonah Weishaar. "Sometimes you need to help the person standing next to you," said the star with the philanthropic heart.
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