RALPH FIENNES (Francis Dolarhyde) has emerged as one of the leading actors of his generation with much-lauded screen performances in films such as
The English Patient, Quiz Show, Schindler's List, Sunshine, The End of the Affair, Oscar and Lucinda,
and Onegin. Fiennes has also received much critical acclaim for his performances in the theater, both here and in the U.K., for the title roles in such classics as
Hamlet, Ivanov, Richard II and Coriolanus. He will be seen on
screen this year in two feature film thrillers, Red Dragon and
Spider, and the romantic comedy, Maid in Manhattan.
Born in Suffolk, he grew up in England and Ireland and graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1985. He began working professionally as an actor in England's open-air theatre in Regents Park, the Theatre Clwyd and the Oldham Coliseum, and became part of Michael Rudman's company at the National Theatre in 1987, barely two years after leaving drama school. In 1988 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company where he remained for two seasons, giving notable performances in
Henry VI, King Lear and Love's Labour's Lost.
In 1991 Fiennes landed a small, but compelling, role in the award-winning series
Prime Suspect. This led to his being cast by David Puttnam as T.E. Lawrence in a special television film about the legendary hero,
A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia. That same year he made his feature film debut in a dark version of Emily Bronte's
Wuthering Heights, opposite Juliette Binoche. Fiennes starred next in the BBC's haunting
telefilm, The Cormorant.
It was Fiennes' icon-shattering interpretation of Bronte's Heathcliff that compelled Steven Spielberg to cast him as SS Commandant Amon
Goeth, opposite Liam Neeson, in Schindler's List in 1993. His extraordinary performance in this film won critical praise worldwide. He received the
BAFTA, New York Film Critics, National Society of Film Critics, Boston and Chicago Film Critics Awards as Best Supporting
Actor, along with an Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe nomination and the London Film Critics Award for Best British Actor of 1994.
He then landed the role of Charles van Doren in Robert Redford's critically acclaimed film,
Quiz Show. In 1995, Fiennes starred in Kathryn Bigelow's futuristic thriller,
Strange Days, after which he returned to the stage for a much-lauded production of
Hamlet, directed by Jonathan Kent for London's Almeida Theatre. A subsequent special Broadway engagement won him Broadway's 1994 Tony Award as Best Actor.
Then in 1996, he starred as the mortally wounded pilot in Anthony Minghella's brilliant and moving adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's
The English Patient.
The film earned acclaim around the world, won the Academy Award for Best Picture and for Fiennes his second
Oscar nomination as Best Actor.
Once again he followed film with stage work, returning to London's Almeida Theatre and director Jonathan Kent to portray the title role in Chekhov's tragicomic early play
Ivanov. With a striking modern translation by David Hare, and rave reviews all around, the production and cast were granted the singular honor of an invitation to Moscow for a week's special performance.
In 1997, Fiennes starred opposite Cate Blanchett in Oscar and Lucinda, an eccentric love story adapted from Peter Carey's celebrated novel and directed by Australia's Gillian Armstrong.
He then brought to cinematic life a long-sought dream, by starring in and executive producing the feature film version of Pushkin's classic verse novel,
Onegin. Directed by his sister, Martha Fiennes, and co-starring Liv Tyler, this visually stunning production was shot partially on location in Russia.
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