Born in England in 1971, Martin Freeman acted in a number of British television series before his big break, being cast as Tim Canterbury on the BBC series The Office. Since then, he has become known for roles in films like Love Actually (2003) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012). Freeman has also developed a following for his portrayal of Dr. John Watson opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the popular British television series Sherlock.
Born in Aldershot, England on September 8, 1971, actor Martin Freeman grew up near London as the youngest of five children. His parents split up when he was little, and he lost his father when he was only 10 years old. Freeman attended Catholic school before enrolling at the Central School of Speech and Drama. In his early career, he performed in several productions at London's National Theatre.
In 2001, Freeman had a major career breakthrough with the British television series The Office. Created by Ricky Gervais, the comedy proved to be a big hit. Freeman especially endeared himself to audiences with his portrayal of Tim Canterbury, a lovable, underachieving sales rep with a crush on the company's receptionist.
Freeman has also won over audiences with roles on the silver screen. In 2003, he was part of an all-star ensemble cast in the romantic comedy Love Actually. In 2005, he appeared in the film adaptation of Douglas Adams's novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
In Recent Years
Freeman enjoyed another wave of television success with Sherlock, which debuted in 2010. In this modern-day reimagining of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he played Dr. John Watson, the trusty aide to master detective Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch). Freeman won a BAFTA award in 2011 and received Emmy Award nominations in 2012 and in 2014 for his work on the series.
Taking on another literary role, Freeman was cast as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This film, directed by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, is slated to be released in December 2012. The actor has been cast to play the same character in two follow-up films of The Hobbit franchise, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hit theaters in 2013 and The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies will be out in late 2014. The film series is based on the award-winning fantasy novel by famed English writer J.R.R. Tolkien, who also wrote the well-received Lord of the Rings book series.
In 2014, Freeman appeared on American television in the series Fargo. The show is based on the 1996 Coen brothers film by the same name. Freeman plays an insurance salesman who gets mixed up with a dangerous drifter (Billy Bob Thornton). For his work on the series, Freeman received a lead actor Emmy nomination in 2014. And he won an Emmy that year for his role as John Watson on the PBS program Sherlock. That same year, Freeman also took to the stage, playing the title role in Richard III for a limited engagement in London. He hit the big screen in 2016 when he found himself among superheroes in the Marvel comic action film Captain America: Civil War. He also starred opposite Tina Fey in the comedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016).
Since 2000, Freeman has been in a longtime relationship with actress Amanda Abbington. The couple have two children, Joe (b. 2006) and Grace (b.2008).
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