Born in London in 1966, Samuel West is the son of actors. West began acting as a child, and gave one of his most memorable performances in 1992, as Leonard Bast in the film Howards End. He went on to land several prominent movie roles, including parts in 1999's Notting Hill and 2004's Van Helsing. West has also continued to work on both television and stage productions. He has appeared on such TV series as Waking the Dead (2002), Cambridge Spies (2003) and Any Human Heart (2010), and portrayed both Richard II and Hamlet on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company. One of his more recent roles, West was cast as King George VI in the film Hyde Park on Hudson (2012).
Samuel West was born in Hammersmith, London, England, on June 19, 1966. He is the son of actress Prunella Scales, known for her role on the television series Fawlty Towers, and actor Timothy West, known for such films as Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998) and Beyond Borders (2003). The West family, in fact, has encompassed a long line of actors, including Samuel West's brother, Joseph West, and half sister, Juliet West; and both of his paternal grandparents.
Samuel West had developed his own acting aspirations at a young age, closely following his parents' roles and sometimes even joining them on the set, and he began landing parts on television before he was in his teens. West earned his first acting role when he was just 9 years old; he played Prince Albert (King Edward VII's son) on the TV series Edward the King. (He would later portray Prince Albert for a second time in an entirely separate production: the 1997 film The Ripper.)
West followed his career as a child actor with longer roles on TV series, as well as coveted stage and film parts, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Following his graduation from Oxford University, where he received a bachelor's degree in English literature in 1988, West made his stage debut in London, playing Michael in the play Les Parents Terribles (1989). That same year, he was cast as Count Konradin von Lohenburg in the film Reunion (1989). Just two years later, West would deliver one of the most memorable performances of his career, as Leonard Bast in the film Howards End (1992). Based on the novel by E.M. Forster, the film earned both critical and commercial acclaim.
Since Howards End, West has appeared in several prominent roles on the big screen, including a part alongside Julia Roberts in the film Notting Hill (1999), and as Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Van Helsing (2004). More recently, he was cast as King George VI in Hyde Park on Hudson (2012), alongside Bill Murray (Franklin D. Roosevelt) and Laura Linney (Margaret Suckley).
Additionally, West has continued to work on both TV and stage productions over the past several years. Possibly his most notable roles on the stage, he portrayed both Richard II and Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2002, he directed his first stage production: The Lady's Not for Burning. West's TV work in recent years has included parts on Waking the Dead (2002), Cambridge Spies (2003) and Any Human Heart (2010), among other series.
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