Bill Nighy Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (22)

Overview (3)

Born in Caterham, Surrey, England, UK
Birth NameWilliam Francis Nighy
Height 6' 0½" (1.84 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Bill Nighy is an award-winning British character actor. He was born William Francis Nighy on December 12, 1949 in Caterham, Surrey, England, to Catherine Josephine (Whittaker), a psychiatric nurse from Glasgow, and Alfred Martin Nighy, who was English-born and managed a garage in Croydon.

At school, he gained 'O'-levels in English Language and English Literature and enjoyed reading, particularly Ernest Hemingway. On leaving school he wanted to become a journalist but didn't have the required qualifications. He eventually went on to work as a messenger boy for the Field magazine. He stayed in Paris for a while because he wanted to write "the great novel", but he only managed to write the title. When he ran out of money, the British consul shipped him home.

Nighy wound up training at Guildford School of Dance and Drama in London, and has since then worked consistently in film, television, and on stage.

Nighy is perhaps best-known to international audiences for his memorable performance as washed-up pop singer Billy Mack in Love Actually (2003), which won him a BAFTA for best supporting actor. He has also made appearances in major franchises: he played vampire leader Viktor in Underworld (2003), Underworld: Evolution (2006) and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009), did the performance capture and voice for Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007), and made a brief appearance as Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010).

Nighy's recent film credits include roles in I Capture the Castle (2003), Shaun of the Dead (2004), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), The Constant Gardener (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006), Hot Fuzz (2007), Valkyrie (2008) and Pirate Radio (2009). He has also provided voice work for many animated movies in the past few years including Flushed Away (2006), Astro Boy (2009), Rango (2011) and Arthur Christmas (2011).

With supporting turns in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), Wrath of the Titans (2012) and Total Recall (2012), 2012 was a busy year for Nighy. There are no signs of slowing down either, as he next appeared in Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), About Time (2013), and I, Frankenstein (2014).

Nighy has also had an active career on the small screen, beginning with Agony (1979), and his first widely-recognized role was in 1991 mini-series The Men's Room (1991). He has also made a habit of working on television with Harry Potter director David Yates: projects together include State of Play (2003), The Young Visiters (2003), The Girl in the Café (2005) and Page Eight (2011). Nighy won a Golden Globe for his performance in Gideon's Daughter (2005).

Nighy actually began his career on the stage, and has earned acclaim for his work in numerous plays including "The Vertical Hour," "Pravda". "A Map of the World", Tom Stoppard's Arcadia in 1993, and David Hare's Skylight. He received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance in 2001 play "Blue/Orange."

Bill's partner was actress Diana Quick (he asked her to marry him but she said: "don't ask me again"; he called her his wife because anything else would have been too difficult). They have a daughter, Mary Nighy, who is studying at university and contemplating an acting career. She has already begun to appear on TV dramas and radio programs.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous and Dianne Martin

Bill Nighy is an award-winning actor of the stage and screen whose extensive filmography illustrates an illustrious career. Amongst others, Nighy has received a BAFTA Award, a London Film Critics Circle Award, and an Evening Standard British Film Award. Audiences can see Nighy in "The Bookshop," a film set in a small town in 1959 England that tells the story of a woman who decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop, a decision which becomes a political minefield. Nighy stars alongside Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson. Nighy has also finished filming "Heidi: Queen of the Mountain," in which he plays the beloved Grandfather alongside Anna Friel and Greg Wise, as well as "Triple Word Score," a supernatural comedy-drama that follows the story of Nighy searching for his missing son with whom he shared a passion for the board game Scrabble. Nighy's iconic turn as an aging rock star in Richard Curtis's 2003 ensemble comedy hit "Love Actually" won him his previously mentioned Evening Standard British Film Award. He recently reprised the role in "Red Nose Day Actually" (2017), a charity special that revisited the much-loved original characters. Nighy has returned to working with Richard Curtis throughout his career, lending his character acting talent to Curtis' varied scripts. The Toronto International Film Festival in Autumn 2016 saw the premiere of gothic murder mystery "The Limehouse Golem," an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd's 1994 novel, which also stars Daniel Mays and Olivia Clarke. Also featured during TIFF 2016 was "Their Finest," in which Nighy 'on irresistible form' (Daily Express) stars alongside Sam Claflin and Gemma Arterton in the story of a film crew attempting to boost war-time morale. 2015 saw Nighy reprise his role of Douglas in the hotly awaited sequel, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," starring once again opposite the stellar cast of the first movie. This was followed by a turn as the iconic Sergeant Wilson in the motion picture production of the beloved television comedy "Dad's Army," opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Gambon and Toby Jones (released February 2016). September 2014 saw the release of "Pride," a feature film recalling the true story of gay and lesbian activists raising money to support the families of the striking Welsh miners in 1984. Nighy starred opposite Imelda Staunton and Dominic West in the critically acclaimed and widely lauded film, which went on to win Best British Independent Film at the 2014 BIFAs and receive nominations at the 2015 BAFTAS and Golden Globe Awards. Early in 2013, Bill starred in "Jack the Giant Slayer," another box office hit, making $65.2M at the US Box Office. Following this, Bill once again teamed up with Richard Curtis for his much-anticipated time-travelling romantic comedy "About Time," also starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams. In January 2014, Nighy appeared in "I, Frankenstein," which was written and directed by Stuart Beatie. Nighy starred in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2012) to much critical acclaim. Boasting a stellar British cast, including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imrie and Slumdog Millionaire actor Dev Patel, the film was released in the UK in February 2012 and in the USA in May 2012 and made a staggering $46.4 million at the US box office alone. Nighy's incredible list of film credits also includes "Wild Target" (2010), with Rupert Grint and Emily Blunt; "Pirate Radio" (aka "The Boat That Rocked," 2009), which reunited him with Richard Curtis; Bryan Singer's "Valkyrie" (2008), with Tom Cruise; Richard Eyre's "Notes on a Scandal" (2006), for which he earned a London Film Critics Circle Award nomination; "Underworld"" and "Underworld: Evolution;" Fernando Meirelles' "The Constant Gardener" (2005) which garnered a British Independent Film Award (BIFA) nomination; "Lawless Heart" (2001) which brought him a BIFA nomination; and "Still Crazy" (1998), for which he won an Evening Standard British Film Award. Nighy is unrecognizable as the tentacled pirate captain Davy Jones in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (2006) and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (2007). He has lent his voice to several animated features, including "Flushed Away" (2006). Further roles include Minister Rufus Scrimgeour in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part On" (2010) and the role of Slartibartfast in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (2005). Nighy began his career on the stage and has since earned acclaim for his work in numerous plays, including David Hare's "Pravda" (1985), "Skylight" (1995) and "A Map of the World" (1983). He has also performed in plays by other leading dramatists, including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Brian Friel, Anton Chekhov and Peter Gill. He received an Olivier Award nomination in 2001 for Best Actor for his performance in Joe Penhall's "Blue/Orange." On Broadway, he starred in the 2006 premiere of David Hare's "The Vertical Hour," directed by Sam Mendes. In 2016, for one night only Nighy joined the cast of David Hare's "Stuff Happens," as the Narrator, at the National Theatre alongside Alex Jennings and Carey Mulligan. Nighy returned to the stage in June 2014 for the major West End revival of David Hare's Olivier award-winning "Skylight." Directed by Steven Daldry, Nighy starred opposite Matthew Beard and Carey Mulligan at the Wyndham's Theatre. The run's success was further confirmed when the cast relocated to Broadway in March 2015, for which they received Best Revival of a Play at the Tony Awards. Nighy was nominated for Best Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Tom Sergeant. Also well known for his work on the small screen, in 2012 Nighy earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance in the BBC television movie "Page Eight," directed by David Hare and produced by Harry Potter producer David Heyman. Nighy reunited with David Hare in 2014 for the second and third installments of the "The Worricker Trilogy," featuring Nighy as MI5 agent Johnny Worricker. "Turks & Caicos" and ""Salting the Battlefield"" both aired in 2014, in which Nighy once again joined a cast including Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Walken and Ralph Fiennes, among others, to conclude the trilogy. Nighy's television work includes dozens of series guest roles and long-form projects, including the one for which he first gained attention, 1991's "The Men's Room." Since then, Nighy has worked several times with director David Yates, including the acclaimed BBC project "State of Play" (2003), for which he won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor. Yates also directed him in the BBC telefilm "The Young Visiters" (2003), and HBO's "The Girl in the Café" (2005), which brought him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries. Later in 2005, Nighy won a Golden Globe in the same category for his performance in the 2005 telefilm "Gideon's Daughter."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Amazon Video X-Ray

Trade Mark (1)

His gaunt, pale appearance

Trivia (14)

He played the part of "Sam Gamgee" in the original BBC radio production of The Lord of the Rings alongside Ian Holm as "Frodo". Peter Jackson (director of the The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)) gave this version to those members of his cast who hadn't read the book.
He is a huge fan of The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 (2000 season) for Best Actor in his performance of Blue/Orange at the Royal National Theatre, Cottesloe Stage.
He was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in June 2004.
He has Dupuytren's Contracture, a hereditary condition which causes the ring and little fingers of each hand to be permanently bent inwards towards the palm.
He has played four different undead characters. He was a zombie in Shaun of the Dead (2004). He was a vampire in Underworld (2003) and Underworld: Evolution (2006). He plays Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007). And he plays the vampire "Szabec" in the audiobook adaptation of "Cast, In Order of Disappearance", which was rewritten to lightly parody Underworld (2003). While not "undead", he does also play Naberius, a demon prince in I, Frankenstein (2014).
He has a daughter, Mary Nighy (born July 17, 1984) with Diana Quick, who was his long-time partner.
He has worked with three actors who have played Bilbo Baggins. In the BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo was played by John Le Mesurier, while Frodo was played by Ian Holm, who played Bilbo in Peter Jackson's films. Holm was later succeeded by Martin Freeman, whom Nighy has worked with several times: Love Actually (2003), Shaun of the Dead (2004), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and Hot Fuzz (2007). He also takes over Le Mesurier's role in the film version of Dad's Army (2016).
His father was English. His mother was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and also had Irish ancestry.
Years before Shaun of the Dead (2004), Nighy was up for a role in another zombie film - he was considered for the role of Roger Derebridge in Lifeforce (1985), though Nicholas Ball was cast instead.
He was the first narrator of the series Meerkat Manor (2005). For the American broadcast, his voice was replaced by Sean Astin. Astin and Nighy have also both played Samwise Gamgee.
Bill Nighy was cast in the lead role of Charles Paris in the 2010 BBC radio/audiobook adaptation of the Simon Brett's "Cast, in Order of Disappearance". This book is the first in the series "The Charles Paris mysteries", featuring Charles, a minor British actor and amateur sleuth, and was originally published in 1975.

The audiobook version of the story was relocated to the set of a vampire film "The Wreathing" with Charles cast in the role of "Szabec", a middle management vampire in an organised vampire society. The relocation of the story is a deliberate reference to Bill Nighy's casting as "Viktor" in the "Underworld" franchise of vampire films. In the audiobook, the equivalent of the "Selene" role (played by Kate Beckinsale in the film) is played by a fictional actress called Jodie Ricks (dramatised by Martin McCutcheon in the audiobook).
He and his Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) co-star Michael Byrne played General Friedrich Olbricht in dramas depicting the 20 July Plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler: Byrne in The Plot to Kill Hitler (1990) and Nighy in Valkyrie (2008).
He turned down the chance to play the Doctor in Doctor Who (2005).

Personal Quotes (22)

I got briefly mistaken for someone who might be good in bed, which was very, very good.
I wanted to be a journalist, I thought it was glamorous and that I'd meet beautiful women in the rain.
I've always slightly worried about the kids who play football around my house. They know I'm an actor, but felt sorry for me because they'd never seen anything I've done.
"The British consul shipped me home for 25 quid and I had to pay my father back, he was a wee bit cross." (about being in Paris)
You come to realise there is this huge disparity between what you think about yourself and your work and what other people think about you and your work, at first you either think they're insane or that it's a conspiracy to make you look stupid. Or maybe, just maybe, they're right, and you're sometimes quite good at what you do.
There's a bit in Performance (1970), one of my favourite films - with James Fox giving one of my favourite performances - and there's a scene where he's getting ready, and there's a bit where he arranges his Playboy lighter, and the magazines, and the ashtray, perfectly symmetrically aligned on the coffee table, the funky coffee table. And then he gets his tie and his shirt absolutely fabulous, and the hair is right - and I love it with all my heart, and I love the whole movie, and I love him in it... And then, he looks in the mirror and says: 'I am a bullet.' And my heart goes boom.
I don't smoke now, which is marvellous. My only addictions are caffeine and sugar.
I even wear a suit for improvisation workshops, rolling around. Well, acting's a white-collar job, you know? You wear a suit.
I hate design which has nothing to do with function. When I first went to work and had digs, I would arrange that there was nothing in my room, just a bed and a chair. It was like a cell. And I once saw this thing on the telly where there were these two guys who lived in a minimalist house. Absolutely nothing in it, but they had a deal that if they left their shoes on the stairs in an interesting shape, and they both agreed, they could leave them there. I understand that.
There was a time when you were supposed to question everything the director said, to create some kind of conflict, out of which creativity would be born. But I love it when they tell you what to do, you know: "Start there, walk over there, say the line and I'll shout: Cut!" I think it's groovy. When we were filming with Stephen Poliakoff, his first note to me - he prefaced it with: "That was marvellous", which is always a good start - anyway, his note was: "Don't wiggle your eyes about so much," and you know, my heart leapt. Because I know that. I know how to not make my eyes wiggle about.
You know, there may be periods when you're unemployed. Great. You'll never know what will happen from one minute to the next. Yeah, fabulous. You don't know what money you're going to be making in 25 years' time. Yeah, baby! It's like being a gambler, and when I was 18, that was music.
If you're in a play and you have the same jokes to deliver, eight times a week, it's endlessly fascinating, just trying to hit it each time, and maybe a little bit quicker, a little bit later, trying to feel the air in which you're about to place it. To have 400 people laugh at the same time, you would go to your grave trying to get it right. And it's also very glamorous when it's on film, because you're not there. I love it when a producer phones up and says: "It played very well in France. They were laughing." In France.
I am a world-class procrastinator. I'm only an actor because I've been putting off being a writer for 35 years.
I speculate to be sociable, but it's a very big deal for me that any work I do should be well received. As for how people generally perceive me, I don't know.
The director (Gore Verbinski) asked me to do Dutch, and I don't do Dutch. So I decided on Scottish. - on his Scottish accent for Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006).
I used to think that prizes were demeaning and divisive, until I got one, and now they seem sort of meaningful and real. (On winning a Golden Globe in 2007)
[on the National Public Radio program "Fresh Air," after having been asked about having "developed" a drinking problem during the 1970s and '80s] I don't want to talk about this at length. But I will say a couple of things, and if you'll forgive me, I won't say anything further. One is that I didn't develop a drinking problem. I am one of those people who is built in such a way that I have, from the very beginning, an unfortunate relationship with alcohol. So there was never a good time for me to have a drink. Then there's one further thing I will say, but I'd rather not say anything further, just for reasons that we don't have to go into it. Not because I have any shame in this area; I'm a sober alcoholic, it's a perfectly respectable thing to be and I've made arrangements about it. But I will say that I used to drink and it was absolutely terrible, and now I don't drink and it's absolutely marvelous. And that's as much as I'd like to say. Thanks.
[Asked about the Lord of the Rings films] I haven't seen them. Someone told me Peter Jackson distributed copies of the radio version to the cast and crew. And since I get 0.00001% in royalties every time someone buys the CD, I've been getting £40 instead of £20 over the last couple of years!
If you were asked by your grandchildren what developments in your lifetime made you most proud, one of them might be the civil rights movement in America and the other would be the emancipation of gay men and women.
Gay men and women were marginalised and victimised . When I was young, people still went to jail for any public display of affection between people of the same sex. It seems bizarre to say that, I've never understood it. And now I can stand in a town hall in London and watch two male friends get married and say I love you in a public place, and I find it almost overwhelmingly moving.
[deflecting a personal question from a journalist] If I was in a relationship and I were to tell you about it I would involve your readers in something approaching gossip, and I know they would never forgive me for that.
I will say that I was approached. But I didn't want to be the Doctor. No disrespect to Doctor Who (2005) or anything, I just think that it comes with too much baggage.

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Pro Name Page Link

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed