Anatol Yusef is a British actor who has worked in the television, film, as well as the theater industry. He became globally popular when he played the character of ‘Meyer Lansky’ in the American period crime drama television series’ Boardwalk Empire’. He also worked in the film ‘Last Orders,’ adapted from the original Booker Prize-winning novel by British writer Graham Swift. He has worked in many television shows in his almost three-decade long acting career and has appeared in several films as well. Yusef’s career started in the television industry back in the early 1990s, and he eventually joined the theater in the early 2000s. As a stage actor, he made a name for himself working in popular shows like ‘Under Milk Wood’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and ‘Macbeth’. He has received many ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ nominations in his career, winning once in 2011.
Anatol Yusef started his professional career back in the early 1990s as a pre-teen. He worked in several television shows even before completing his education or acting training. His debut on television came in 1990 with a role in the British comedy-drama series’ Jeeves and Wooster’, in which he appeared in the first and third season as ‘Sydney Blumenfield’.
After his work in the show ended, he signed for the series ‘The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles‘ as ‘Hubert Van Hook’ in 1993 and played the character of ‘Mark’ in the British television children's drama series ‘Grange Hill’. After these three projects, he went on to complete his education and worked in a couple of shows as well which included ‘Thief Takers’ in 1999 and ‘Second Sight: Kingdom of the Blind’ in 2000.
Following the completion of his education, he signed up for Fred Schepisi's film ‘Last Orders’ in 2000. The movie had been adapted from the original novel of the same title. The film released in 2001. His portrayal of the younger self of the film’s lead character ‘Ray’, played by Bob Hoskins was much appreciated. Yusef came in touch with some iconic actors on the set of this movie, including the likes of Helen Mirren, Sir Michael Caine, David Hemmings, Tom Courtenay and Ray Winstone.
His good acting skills earned him positive feedback and later he became a resident company member with the ‘Royal Shakespeare Company’. He played some memorable roles during the next phase of his acting career including the role of ‘Duke of Cornwall’ in the RSC's production of ‘King Lear’ for which he was praised by the media and critics. In the next five years, Yusef earned a lot of praise and was critically appraised for his work on the stage. His stage works included productions like Bill Bryden's ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Richard III’ and ‘Moonlight’.
In 2010, he signed up to play the role of ‘Meyer Lansky’ in the American period crime drama television series ‘Boardwalk Empire.’ His first appearance in the show came in the seventh episode of the first season and he worked till the fifth season. He described his character as a “very ruthless and overachieving person.” His work in the show was often mentioned in the media and was praised by various publications as well as by the critic Clive James. Alongside working in the ‘Boardwalk Empire’, he appeared in the TV-miniseries ‘Southcliffe’ as ‘Paul Gould’ and later in 2016 he took the role of ‘Deblanc’ in the first season of ‘Preacher’.
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Anatol Yusef was born in Barking, East London on 20 July 1978 to a Turkish Cypriot family. His father was a Cypriot immigrant and his mother was born in London to a Turkish Cypriot family. He went to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and graduated in 2000. He is a very private person and has not revealed the details of his love life to the media. He is also not active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.