Please click on the headers below for more information on Jeremy Irons' life and work.
Full Name: Jeremy John Irons
Date of Birth: 19 September 1948
Zodiac Sign: Virgo (click here and here to read more about Virgos)
Height: 6′ 1½” (1.87m)
Birth Place: Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Residency: Oxfordshire, England and West Cork, Ireland, and has a home in Dublin, Ireland (possibly in other places as well)
Parents: Paul Dugan Irons (an accountant) and Barbara Anne Brereton Sharpe (a homemaker)
Siblings: An elder brother and sister, Christopher (born in 1943) and Felicity (born in 1944)
Marriages: Julie Hallam (1969 – annulled), Sinéad Cusack (March 28, 1978 – present)
Children: Samuel James Brefni (16 September 1978), Maximilian Paul Diarmiud (17 October 1985)
Jobs before making it: Counseling couples to be married, visiting elderly people, and running the youth group at a parish, cleaning up homes for Domestics Unlimited, busking in the cinema queues, and fixing up peoples’ gardens
Hobbies: Motorcycling, sailing, skiing, gardening, playing guitar and riding horses
Instruments played: Drums, guitar, piano, harmonica, violin and fiddle ( we’ve read that Jeremy took up playing the steel guitar at one point during the filming of Lolita )
Schools: Sherborne School in Dorset, UK, and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Bristol, UK
Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, the son of Barbara Anne (née Sharpe), a housewife, and Paul Dugan Irons, an accountant. Part of his maternal ancestry is Irish, and his great-grandfather was one of the first Metropolitan Policemen and later a Chartist. Jeremy has an elder brother, Christopher and an elder sister, Felicity. He was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset, (c. 1962–1966). He achieved some fame as the drummer and harmonica player (most memorably for his rendition of “Moon River” on harmonica) in a four-man school band called the Four Pillars of Wisdom. They performed, in a classroom normally used as a physics lab, for the entertainment of boys compulsorily exiled from their houses for two hours on Sunday afternoons. Jeremy was also known within Abbey House as half of a comic duo performing skits on Halloween and at end-of-term House Suppers.
Jeremy Irons trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and is now president of its fundraising appeal. He performed a number of plays and supported himself by busking on the streets of Bristol, before appearing on the London stage as John the Baptist and Judas opposite David Essex in Godspell, which opened at the Round House on 17 November 1971 before transferring to Wyndham’s Theatre playing a total of 1,128 performances.
Jeremy made several appearances on British television, including the children’s television series Play Away and as Franz Liszt in the BBC 1974 series Notorious Woman. More significantly he starred in the 13-part adaptation of H.E. Bates’ novel Love for Lydia for London Weekend Television (1977), and attracted attention for his key role as the pipe-smoking German student, a romantic pairing with Judi Dench in Harold Pinter’s screenplay adaptation of Aidan Higgins’ novel Langrishe, Go Down for BBC television (1978). The role which brought Jeremy fame was that of Charles Ryder in the television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited in 1981. Brideshead reunited him with Anthony Andrews, with whom he had appeared in The Pallisers seven years earlier. In the same year he starred in the film The French Lieutenant’s Woman opposite Meryl Streep. Almost as a ‘lap of honour’ after these major successes, in 1982 Jeremy played the leading role of an exiled Polish building contractor, working in the Twickenham area of South West London, in Jerzy Skolimowski’s independent film Moonlighting, widely seen on television, a performance which extended his acting range. A year later Jeremy was one of the participants in the third series of the BBC documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? In 2005, Jeremy Irons won both an Emmy award and a Golden Globe award for his supporting role in the TV mini-series, Elizabeth I. In 2008 he played Lord Vetinari in Sky One’s dramatisation of Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic. Also, in 2008, Jeremy learned to play the Irish fiddle on TG4′s Faoi Lan Cheoil. Lifetime Television joined forces with Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen in 2009 for the biopic Georgia O’Keeffe. Jeremy and Joan played famous photographer Alfred Stieglitz and painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Jeremy is currently filming the second season of The Borgias, a new historical drama series by Showtime about the infamous Italian renaissance family, which premiered on April 3, 2011 in the U.S. and Canada. The Borgias was met with huge success, having the best ratings for a new Showtime drama series in seven years and attracting 3.71 million viewers during its premiere week
Jeremy’s film debut came with Nijinsky in 1980. He appeared sporadically in films during the 1980s, including the Cannes Palme d’Or winner The Mission in 1986, and in the dual role of twin physicians in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers in 1988. Other films include Danny The Champion of the World (1989), Reversal of Fortune (1990), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, Kafka (1991), Damage The House of the Spirits (1993) appearing again with Glenn Close and Meryl Streep, Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995), Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty (1996), the 1997 remake of Lolita and as the musketeer Aramis opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1998 film version of The Man in the Iron Mask (1993), (1998). He is also known for playing the evil wizard Profion, along with Bruce Payne as Damodor, in the 2000 film, Dungeons and Dragons, from Time Warner studio New Line Cinema. The film was also based on the Tabletop role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons. He played the Über-Morlock from the movie The Time Machine (2002). In 2004, Irons played Severus Snape in Comic Relief’s Harry Potter parody, “Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azerbaijan”. Interestingly enough, Irons and Alan Rickman (who plays Snape in the Harry Potter film series), played the Gruber brothers, Simon and Hans, respectively, in the Die Hard film series. In 2005, he appeared in the films Casanova opposite Heath Ledger, and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. He has co-starred with John Malkovich in two movies; The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) and Eragon (2006), though they did not have any scenes together in Eragon. More recently Jeremy’s films include a western written, directed and starred in by Ed Harris called Appaloosa (Jeremy played the baddie, Randall Bragg), and The Pink Panther 2 with Steve Martin and Jean Reno (Jeremy plays one of the suspects).
Jeremy Irons read the audio book recording of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, and the audio book recording of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. One of his best known film roles has turned out to be the voice of Scar in The Lion King (1994). Irons has since provided voiceovers for two Disney World attractions. He narrated the Spaceship Earth ride, housed in the large geodesic globe at Epcot, and voiced H.G. Wells in the English version of the former Disney attraction The Timekeeper. He was originally to star as the Phantom in a 2006 French musical adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera, though the project was canceled. Research to find ‘the perfect voice’ has indicated that Irons’s voice is one of the best.
In 1985, Jeremy directed a music video for Carly Simon and her heavily promoted single, “Tired of Being Blonde”. Although the song was not a hit, the video – featuring the fast cutting, parallel narratives and heavy use of stylized visual effects that were a staple of pop videos at the time – received ample attention on MTV and other outlets. Irons has contributed to other musical performances, recording William Walton’s Façade with Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and in 1997 the songs from Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, released on the Decca label. He sang a selection of sophisticated Noël Coward songs at the 1999 Last Night of the Proms in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Coward’s birth. In 2003 he played Fredrik Egerman in a New York revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, and two years later appeared as King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot at the Hollywood Bowl. Jeremy Irons also has a full song named “Be Prepared” that takes part in the movie The Lion King. This song can be found in the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of the movie. In 2006, Jeremy performed a Bob Dylan song, ‘To Make You Feel My Love’ on the Unexpected Dreams: Songs from the Stars CD. Scarlett Johansson, Ewan McGregor and Julia Lewis-Dreyfus also sang on this CD.
Jeremy Irons has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company three times, in 1986, 1986-87 and in 2010. In 1984, Jeremy made his New York debut and won a Tony Award for his Broadway performance opposite Glenn Close in The Real Thing. After an absence from the London stage for 18 years, in 2006 he co-starred with Patrick Malahide in Christopher Hampton’s stage adaptation of Sándor Márai’s novel Embers at the Duke of York’s Theatre. He made his National Theatre debut playing Harold Macmillan in Never So Good, a new play by Howard Brenton which opened at the Lyttelton on March 19, 2008. In 2009, after nearly a 20 year absence, Jeremy Irons returned to Broadway in Impressionism, a new play by written by Michael Jacobs and directed by three-time Tony Award®-winner Jack O’Brien. Set in Manhattan, Impressionism is the story of an international photojournalist and a New York gallery owner whose unexpected brush with intimacy leads them to realize that there is quite an art to repairing broken lives. The following year, in 2010, Jeremy returned to Royal Shakespeare Company to star in The Gods Weep, written by Dennis Kelly, an acclaimed and multi-award-winning playwright, and directed by Maria Aberg. Dennis Kelly’s savage new play explores what happens when corporate greed and state security frighteningly overlap.
Jeremy Irons is married to Irish actress Sinéad Cusack and is the father of two sons, Samuel James Brefni Irons (September 16, 1978), who works as a photographer, and Maximilian Paul Diarmuid Irons (October 17, 1985), who appeared in the 2006 Burberry fashion campaign. Both of Irons’ sons have appeared in films with their father. He now lives in the small town of Watlington in Oxfordshire, as well as a residence in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. He is also the patron since 2002 of the Thomley Activity Centre, an Oxfordshire non-profit activity centre for disabled children. Jeremy Irons owns Kilcoe Castle (which he had painted a rusty pink) in County Cork, Ireland, and has become involved in local politics there. He also has another Irish residence near Kilmainham, Dublin. Irons is a patron of the Chiltern Shakespeare Company. He is a fan of English football club Portsmouth FC. At the 1991 Tony Awards, Jeremy was one of the few celebrities to wear the recently created red ribbon to support the fight against AIDS, and he was the first celebrity to wear it onscreen. He supports a number of other charities, including the Prison Phoenix Trust of which he is an active patron. Upset by the sight of beer-soaked tables and overflowing ashtrays in a lounge at Shannon airport in southwestern Ireland during a flight delay on 8 August 2002, he grabbed a cleaner’s trolley and cloth and started mopping up the mess, much to the surprise of fellow passengers.