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BILL NIGHY (Leonard Saber) was born in Caterham, Surrey, in 1949 and trained for the stage at the Guildford School of Acting. He made his professional stage debut at Newbury's Watermill Theatre and subsequently gained experience at regional theaters like the Edinburgh Traverse, the Chester Gateway and the Liverpool Everyman. It was in Liverpool that he formed a touring theater company with Julie Walters and Peter Postlewaite, which played at a variety of venues. He made his first appearance in London in "Comings and Goings” at the Hampstead Theatre in November 1978.

Nighy's long association with the work of David Hare began in the early 1980s when he was cast in "Dreams of Leaving,” a BBC film written and directed by Sir David. They next worked together on "Map of the World,” which Hare both wrote and staged at the National Theatre in London. When Hare was asked by Peter Hall, the National's artistic director, to form a company of actors, Nighy became a founding member of the ensemble that also included Anthony Hopkins.

Hare's first production for the new company was "Pravda,” a merciless satire on the British newspaper industry, which he co-wrote with Howard Brenton. Hopkins played the role of ruthless media tycoon Lambert Le Roux with Nighy cast as his equally unscrupulous associate. The two actors were again reunited for Hare's production of Shakespeare's "King Lear” with Nighy playing Edgar and Hopkins in the title role. A decade later, he starred in Hare's "Skylight,” which won him a Barclay's Theatre Award and which played very successfully for a season at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End of London.

Nighy has regularly appeared at the National Theatre in a succession of new plays by leading British writers. In 1993, he starred as an ambitious academic in Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia” in a production by Trevor Nunn. Seven years later he won enormous critical acclaim for his performance as psychiatrist Dr. Robert Smith in "Blue/Orange,” written by Joe Penhall and directed by Roger Michell. It was a performance that also brought him a Best Actor nomination in the prestigious Olivier Awards.

Other theater credits include two revivals of plays by Harold Pinter: "Betrayal” at the Almeida Theatre and "A Kind of Alaska” at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre. Nighy was also seen as Trigorin in a National Theatre production of Chekhov's "The Seagull” opposite Judi Dench as Arkadina. Nighy had previously worked with Dame Judi on "Absolute Hell” (BBC), and they were reunited for the critically acclaimed 2007 feature film "Notes on a Scandal,” also starring Cate Blanchett and directed by Richard Eyre.

In 2007, Nighy starred on Broadway to exuberant critical acclaim in David Hare's "The Vertical Hour,” starring alongside Julianne Moore.

Nighy's long list of television credits includes virtually every major drama series on British TV, but it was his work on "The Men's Room” (BBC) in 1991 that brought him particular attention. More recently, he won a BAFTA Best Actor Award and a Royal Television Society Best Actor Award for his performance as a newspaper editor in the series "State of Play,” and he has starred in two television films for writer/director Stephen Poliakoff in "The Lost Prince,” for which he won a Golden Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and the critically acclaimed "Gideon's Daughter.”

Nighy's portrayal of Lawrence, a middle-aged Treasury official rejuvenated by love in "The Girl in the Café,” won him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a miniseries and widespread praise from critics.

Nighy made his movie debut in the early 1980s in "The Little Drummer Girl.” It was "The Constant Gardener,” another John le Carre screen adaptation, which won him Best Supporting Actor at the British Independent Film Awards in 2005. But it was "Still Crazy” and his performance as aging rock vocalist Ray Simms that established Nighy's cinema profile and earned him the Peter Sellers Award for Best Comedy Performance, given by the London Evening Standard. Nighy won a second Peter Sellers Award for his unforgettably washed-up pop star Billy Mack in "Love Actually,” a popular performance that also won him a London Film Critics Award and a Best Supporting BAFTA Award.

Nighy's other credits include "Underworld,” "Underworld: Evolution,” "Shaun of the Dead,” "Enduring Love,” "Easy Virtue” and "Hot Fuzz.” In 2003, Nighy won four Best Supporting Actor Awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for his performances in "AKA,” "Lawless Heart,” "I Capture the Castle” and "Love, Actually.” His stellar performance as Davy Jones was a worldwide sensation in Jerry Bruckheimer's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest” and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End,” both directed by Gore Verbinski. In 2007, he was nominated for a Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Villain for his role in "At World's End.”

In the past year, Nighy has filmed "Valkyrie” with Tom Cruise, "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,” Richard Curtis's "The Boat That Rocked” and "Wild Target,” opposite Emily Blunt and Rupert Grint. He has recently finished filming Stephen Poliakoff's "Glorious 39.”

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