Damian Lewis

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Damian Lewis

Damian Lewis Berlin 2015.jpg
Damian Watcyn Lewis

(1971-02-11) 11 February 1971 (age 50)
Alma mater Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Actor
  • presenter
  • producer
(m. 2007;died 2021)

Damian Watcyn Lewis OBE (born 11 February 1971) is an English actor, presenter, and producer. He played U.S. Army Major Richard Winters in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers , which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and also portrayed U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland , which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. [1] His performance as Henry VIII of England in Wolf Hall earned him his third Primetime Emmy nomination and fourth Golden Globe nomination. He plays Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series Billions and portrayed actor Steve McQueen in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)


Early life

Lewis was born in St John's Wood, London, the elder son of Charlotte Mary ( née Bowater) and John Watcyn Lewis, a City insurance broker with Lloyd's. [2] [3] [4] His paternal grandparents were Welsh. [5] His maternal grandfather was Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Ian Bowater, Lord Mayor of London, and his maternal grandmother's ancestors include The 1st Viscount Dawson of Penn (a doctor to the Royal Family) and the eminent naval shipbuilder (see Yarrow Shipbuilders) and philanthropist Sir Alfred Yarrow, 1st Baronet, who was of partial Sephardic Jewish descent. [6] He has stated that he "went to English boarding schools and grew up around people very much like [his character] Soames and in a milieu very much like the Forsytes '". [7]

As a child, Lewis made several visits to the US to visit relatives during summer breaks. [8] [9] He first decided to become an actor at the age of 16. [4] He was educated at the independent Ashdown House School in Forest Row, East Sussex, and at Eton College. He graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1993, after which he served as a stage actor for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

During his time with the RSC, he played Borgheim in Adrian Noble's production of Henrik Ibsen's Little Eyolf and Posthumus in William Shakespeare's Cymbeline . He also starred in another of Ibsen's plays, as Karsten Bernick in Pillars of the Community at the National Theatre in November 2005. [10]


Lewis once worked as a telemarketer selling car alarms, a job he detested. [11] His first television appearance was as a rakish student in an early episode of the English drama series A Touch of Frost (1993). He appeared in Robinson Crusoe (1997) as Patrick Conner. He appeared in Jonathan Kent's production of Hamlet , playing Laertes. This production was seen by Steven Spielberg, who later cast Lewis as Richard Winters in Band of Brothers , the first role of several that required him to have a credible American accent. [8]

He was in the 2000 series called Hearts and Bones as the love interest of Dervla Kirwan.

Subsequently, Lewis portrayed Soames Forsyte in the ITV series The Forsyte Saga , which earned him positive reviews. [12] He returned to the US to star in Dreamcatcher , a Lawrence Kasdan film about a man who becomes possessed by an evil alien. The character is American but when possessed he takes on a British accent. [8] On the heels of this role, he starred in Keane as a Manhattanite with a fragile mental state who is searching for his missing daughter. Despite the film's poor box-office, Lewis's performance in the role was very well reviewed. [13] [14] [15]

He played Jeffrey Archer in the TV special Jeffrey Archer: The Truth. Since 2004, he has appeared in a number of films, as well as the 2005 BBC TV adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing , as part of the ShakespeaRe-Told season. Lewis played the role of Yassen Gregorovich in the film Stormbreaker . In 2006, he appeared in Stephen Poliakoff's BBC drama Friends and Crocodiles . He has appeared on BBC's Have I Got News for You as guest host several times; on 10 November 2006, 1 May 2009, 18 November 2010, 27 April 9 November 2012 and 31 October 2014.

In 2008, Lewis starred as the main character Charlie Crews in the American television series Life on NBC. The show premiered in the US on 26 September 2007 and was affected by the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. Only half of the first season's shows were produced. Regardless, the show won a 2008 AFI Award for best television series. [16] Although the show received critical acclaim, when it returned the following television season, it was shuffled from night to night, and eventually cancelled by NBC to clear its time slot for the less expensive[ clarification needed ] nightly programme, The Jay Leno Show .[ citation needed ]

Lewis appeared, the following year, in the lead role in The Baker , a film directed by his brother, Gareth. Damian took a supporting role of Rizza in The Escapist , which he also helped produce. He led the cast in Martin Crimp's version of Molière's comedy, The Misanthrope , which opened in December 2009 at the Comedy Theatre, London. [17] Other cast members included Tara Fitzgerald, Keira Knightley and Dominic Rowan.

Since 2010, Lewis has played Tory Prime Minister Simon Laity in two seasons of Number 10 on BBC Radio 4. [18] [19]

He played Gareth, the father of an 11-year-old Liverpool F.C. fan, in the 2011 film Will . [20]

From 2011 to 2013, Lewis had a starring role as Gunnery Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland . [21] In 2013, he narrated poetry for The Love Book App, an "interactive anthology of love literature developed by Allie Byrne Esiri". [22]

Since 2016, he has starred as billionaire Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series Billions . [23]

Lewis was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to drama. [24]

Personal life

Helen McCrory and Lewis at the 2013 British Academy Film Awards Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory (8464894420).jpg
Helen McCrory and Lewis at the 2013 British Academy Film Awards

Lewis married actress Helen McCrory in 2007. They have a daughter, Manon (born 2006), and a son, Gulliver (born 2007). [25] McCrory died of cancer on 16 April 2021, aged 52. [26]

Lewis and his family left the UK in 2007 to live in Los Angeles while he worked on the NBC-TV crime drama Life . After completion of that series' final episode in 2009, they returned to the UK to live in a Victorian townhouse in Tufnell Park, north London. [27] They also have a house near Sudbury in Suffolk. [28]

In 2010, Lewis became a trade justice ambassador for the charity Christian Aid. [29] In May 2006 and June 2018, he played for England in Soccer Aid, and played golf for Europe in the All*Star Cup in August 2006, both shown on ITV.

Lewis is a supporter of Liverpool F.C. [30] He previously dated Katie Razzall, Kristin Davis and Sophia Myles. [31]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lewis and McCrory supported Feed NHS, a fundraiser to give food from high street restaurants to NHS staff. By April 2020, they had raised £1m for the charity. The initiative started in London, but following its success plans were announced to roll it out to other cities in the UK. [32]



1997 Robinson Crusoe Patrick
2003 Dreamcatcher Gary "Jonesy" Jones
2004 Keane William Keane
Brides Norman HarrisOriginal Greek Title: Νύφες
2005 Chromophobia Marcus Aylesbury
An Unfinished Life Gary Winston
2006 The Situation Dan Murphy
Stormbreaker Yasha "Yassen" Gregorovich Released in the US as Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker
2008 The Baker Milo "The Baker" ShakespeareAlso producer; also known as Assassin In Love
The Escapist Rizza
2011 Your Highness Boremont
Will Gareth
2012 The Sweeney Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins
2013 Romeo & Juliet Lord Capulet
2014 The Silent Storm Balor McNeil
2015 Queen of the Desert Lt. Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie, VC
Bill Sir Richard Hawkins
2016 Our Kind of Traitor Hector
2019 Run This Town [33] Rob Ford
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Steve McQueen
2020 Dream Horse Howard Davies


1993Micky LoveCliveTelevision movie
1995 Agatha Christie's Poirot Leonard BatesonEpisode: "Hickory Dickory Dock"
1996 A Touch of Frost Adam WestonEpisode: "Deep Waters"
1999 Warriors Lt. Neil LoughreyTelevision movie
2000 Life Force Kurt Glemser2 episodes
Hearts and Bones Mark Rose8 episodes
2001 Band of Brothers Maj. Richard D. Winters Miniseries
2002–2003 The Forsyte Saga Soames Forsyte10 episodes
2002 Jeffrey Archer: The Truth Jeffrey Archer Television movie
2003 The Forsyte Saga: To Let Soames ForsyteTelevision movie
2005 Colditz Cpl / Lt. Nicholas McGrade2 episodes
Friends and Crocodiles PaulTelevision movie
Much Ado About Nothing BenedickTelevision movie
2006–2020 Have I Got News for You Presenter7 episodes
2007–2009 Life Charlie Crews32 episodes
2011StolenD.I. Anthony CarterTelevision movie
2011–2014 Homeland Nicholas Brody 38 episodes
2015 Wolf Hall Henry VIII of England Miniseries
2016–present Billions Bobby Axelrod60 episodes
2020Spy WarsHostCurrent


1994The School For Wives- Almeida Theatre
1995 Hamlet Laertes Belasco Theatre
2003–2004 Five Gold Rings Daniel Almeida Theatre
2009 The Misanthrope Alceste Comedy Theatre
2015 American Buffalo Teach Wyndham's Theatre
2017 The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? Martin Gray Theatre Royal Haymarket

Awards and nominations

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  29. "Actor Signs up to Christian Aid Trade Campaign".
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  32. "Homeland and Peaky Blinders stars raise nearly £1m to feed NHS workers". BBC News. BBC. 10 April 2020. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  33. "Damian Lewis to Play Controversial Ex-Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in Drama".