Wilkinson at the premiere of Duplicity in March 2009
|Born||Thomas Geoffrey Wilkinson
) 5 February 1948
Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Thomas Geoffrey "Tom" Wilkinson, OBE (born 5 February 1948) is an English actor. He has twice been nominated for an Academy Award, for his roles in In the Bedroom and Michael Clayton. In 2009, he won Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Film for playing Benjamin Franklin in John Adams.
Wilkinson was born in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, the son of Thomas Wilkinson, Sr., a farmer. At the age of four, he moved with his family to Canada, where they lived for several years before returning to England and running a pub in Cornwall. Wilkinson graduated from the University of Kent, where he was a member of T24 Drama Society (then named UKCD) and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Wilkinson made his television debut in the mid-1970s and worked on several British television series, most notably the mini-series First Among Equals (1986). He first gained critical acclaim with his appearance as Mr. Pecksniff, in the BBC’s 1994 adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit. He made only the occasional film, including a brief appearance in 1995’s Sense and Sensibility and a villain in The Ghost and the Darkness (1996). After becoming part of the ensemble cast of the smash hit The Full Monty in 1997, a role which earned him a BAFTA, he began to take film roles more frequently, including supporting parts in Oscar and Lucinda, Wilde, Shakespeare in Love, and The Patriot.
His portrayal of the grief stricken father, Matt Fowler, in Todd Field's In the Bedroom, received international praise from critics. For the role, he was named Best Actor of the Year by the New York Film Critics' Circle, and went on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. That success was followed up by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Normal, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Batman Begins, and Separate Lies.
In 2007, Wilkinson played the manic depressive attorney Arthur Edens in Michael Clayton and garnered much critical acclaim and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The same year, he played an uncle planning for murder in Woody Allen’s Cassandra's Dream.
In 2008, Wilkinson portrayed American patriot Benjamin Franklin in the HBO mini-series John Adams. In the HBO film, Recount, Wilkinson, with an uncanny resemblance, also portrayed American political adviser and lawyer, James A. Baker, in Baker’s capacity as Chief Counsel to George W. Bush during the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election controversy, receiving an Emmy Award for the former and a nomination for the latter. He also received a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors' Guild Award nomination for his role in John Adams. He also portrayed Friedrich Fromm, Commander in Chief of the German Reserve Army alongside Tom Cruise in the 2008 World War ll thriller Valkyrie.
Wilkinson stars in the horror comedy Burke and Hare, which is directed by John Landis. His 2010 role as Harvard professor / covert CIA high official in Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer was well noticed. He played another historical character, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., in the 2011 television miniseries The Kennedys, for which he gained an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Mini-series or Movie. Earlier that year, he released The Green Hornet and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
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