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THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

RICHARD ARMITAGE (Thorin Oakenshield) has been a favorite of critics and audiences in the UK for several years, and his popularity is quickly rising worldwide.

Armitage, who originated the part of Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," will reprise his role in the conclusion of the Trilogy, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again," due out in December 2014. Also in 2014, he stars in Steven Quale's action thriller "Into the Storm," slated for release in August.

Armitage gained a huge fan following in the UK with starring roles in such high-profile television productions as "North and South," "Spooks (US title: MI-5)," "Robin Hood" and "Strike Back."

His first film in the U.S. was the 2011 hit "Captain America: The First Avenger," directed by Joe Johnston and starring Chris Evans in the title role. Armitage played the super hero's nemesis, Heinz Kruger, in the film, which also starred Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci and Hayley Atwell. His recent television credits include "Macbeth," part of the BBC's 2005 "ShakespeaRe-told" miniseries, opposite James McAvoy and Keeley Hawes, and the ITV telefilm "Marple: Ordeal by Innocence." British TV audiences have also seen him on such programs as "Sparkhouse," "Cold Feet," "Ultimate Force" and "Between the Sheets."

Born and raised in Leicester, England, Armitage was classically trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He has appeared in numerous stage productions, including such plays as "Hamlet," "The Four Alice Bakers," "Macbeth" and "The Duchess of Malfi."

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