Daniel Day-Lewis Biography

(British Actor and Only Person to Have Won Three 'Academy Awards for Best Actor')

Birthday: April 29, 1957 (Taurus)

Born In: Kensington, London, England

Sir Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is an English actor who has won three Academy Awards in the Best Actor category. Known for his dedication towards his characters and method acting, he has played a hero as well as a villain on screen. After studying acting from Bristol, he made his acting debut in ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ in 1971. In the early 1980s, Day-Lewis mainly shifted between theatre and films. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and played Romeo in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Flute in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. His first critically acclaimed role was in ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ in 1985. But, he was noticed by the public in ‘A Room with a View’ which was released in the same year. Finally, after the public recognition, Day-Lewis gained the leading man role with ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ in 1988. Day-Lewis has not only acted in movies and theatre, but also in few television series in the 1980s. Some of his iconic movies include ‘My Left Foot’, ‘There Will Be Blood’ and ‘Lincoln’. He is the only actor to win three times in the Lead Actor category and one of three male actors to win three Oscars.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In April

Also Known As: Sir Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis

Age: 67 Years, 67 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Rebecca Miller (m. 1996)

father: Cecil Day-Lewis

mother: Jill Balcon

Born Country: England

Actors British Men

City: London, England

Notable Alumni: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Ancestry: English Irish, Polish Irish

More Facts

education: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Childhood & Early Life
Daniel Day-Lewis was born in Kensington, London on April 29, 1957. His father, Cecil Day-Lewis (aka Nicholas Blake), was born in Ireland and was a ‘Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom’. Day-Lewis’ mother, Jill Balcon, was Cecil Day-Lewis’ second wife and was Jewish whose ancestors had migrated to England.
He has an older sister, Tamasin, who is a documentary filmmaker and television chef. Day-Lewis studied at Sevenoaks School in Kent which he disliked but it taught him three important interests: woodworking, acting and fishing.
Later, he was shifted to another independent school, Bedales, in Petersfiled, Hampshire. In 1975, he left Bedales and joined Bristol Old Vic School and attended it for three years. He also performed at the Bristol Old Vic and was an understudy to Pete Postlethwaite, with whom he later co-starred in a film.
Continue Reading Below
At the age of 14, Daniel Day-Lewis made his acting debut with the movie ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ where he played the role of a vandal. He believed the experience of working in a film was heavenly, and on top of that he also got paid to vandalise expensive cars.
In the 1980s, Day-Lewis started working in theatre and television including ‘Frost in May’ and ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’ for the BBC where he played two different kind of roles.
Day-Lewis acted in theatre and disappeared from films till 1982. He landed his first adult role, a small part in the film ‘Gandhi’ in 1982. Even though it was a small part it proved crucial for his career.
The movies that truly portrayed his acting calibre for acting were ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ (1985) and ‘A Room with a View’ (1985) which opened in New York on the same day. Thus, it offered the audience as well the critics evidence of his spectacular acting.
In 1987, he grabbed leading role in ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ starring opposite Juliette Binoche where he played the role of a Czech surgeon whose hyperactive sex life gets disturbed because he falls for a woman.
Day-Lewis prepared hard for this role as he stayed in character for the entire eight-month shoot. During this time, he also learned Czech to connect more with his on-screen character. This was just the beginning of his method acting.
In 1989, he played the character of Christy Brown in Jim Sheridan’s ‘My Left Foot’ where his character was a writer and painter, who was born with cerebral palsy and could only control his left foot. Day-Lewis prepared for this role by frequently visiting several people with disabilities in Sandymount School Clinic in Dublin.
He stayed in the character for long and refused to break out of it. The crew members moved him in a wheel chair and he often asked them to spoon-feed him. This is just an example of his dedication towards his characters and films.
When the movie released it won him many awards, including his first Academy Award for Best Actor and BAFTA Award for Best Actor. His hard work paid off and his role was appreciated by audience and critics.
Continue Reading Below
In the same year, Day-Lewis returned to theatre and worked with Richard Eyre in ‘Hamlet’ at the National Theatre, London. But during a scene when Hamlet sees his father’s ghost, Day-Lewis collapsed and refused to go back on stage. It is believed that Day-Lewis saw his own father’s ghost during that scene.
He worked with Jim Sheridan in ‘In the Name of the Father’ for which he lost 30lbs and kept a Northern Irish accent on and off the sets. He also spent time in prison to prepare for the role and asked the crew members to throw cold water at him and cuss at him.
His method acting also worked this time as the film was appreciated by all and garnered huge praise. It helped him with second nomination for Academy Award, as well as a BAFTA and Golden Globe nomination.
After working in few films, Day-Lewis took a semi-retirement to return to his old passion of woodworking. Moving to Florence, Italy, he learned the craft of shoemaking. During this time, he had disappeared from show business and media’s eyes.
He returned to acting in ‘Gangs of New York’ in 2002 after a gap of five years. In this movie, he starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and played the role of a gang leader. The role of a villainous gang leader earned him critical acclaim and won him an award.
In 2007, he starred in ‘There Will Be Blood’ which won him many awards. This movie also won him Best Actor Oscar which helped him in joining Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson as the only male actors to win two Oscars in two non-consecutive decades.
He acted in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ which was based on a book on the former President of America. When the movie released one could see the striking resemblance between the former President of America and the British actor. The resemblance between them was so uncanny it was difficult to make out that it was actually Day-Lewis acting as Lincoln.
The film grossed over $275 million worldwide and won him with many awards. John Hartoch, Day-Lewis’ teacher at acting school, also appreciated his performance.
After working in the film industry for so long and winning countless awards and acclaim from all over the world, Day-Lewis has decided to retire. In 2017, Day-Lewis’ spokeswoman has announced that he would be retiring from acting soon.
Continue Reading Below
Major Works
Daniel Day-Lewis has been one of the few actors in Hollywood to leave a mark through his remarkable acting. His role in ‘My Left Foot’ won him many accolades and awards. This was due to his method acting and immense dedication towards his role.
His next role that left an imprint in the minds of people was ‘The Gangs of New York’. In this movie, he played a villain as impeccably as he would play a hero. This film too won him tons of awards.
In 2012, a movie based on the life of Lincoln was released which broke many records. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.
Awards & Achievements
Day-Lewis won his first Academy Award for Best Actor and BAFTA Award for Best Actor in 1990 for his role in ‘My Left Foot’.
In 2008, he received the Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in Leading Role, Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a leading role for the film ‘There Will Be Blood’.
In 2013, Day-Lewis won the BAFTA Britannia Award for Excellence in Film. At the 70th, Golden Globe Awards, the British actor won his second Golden Globe for Best Actor, third Academy Award, and fourth BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for ‘Lincoln’.
Day-Lewis has also received honorary doctorate in letters from University in Bristol in 2010.
Personal Life & Legacy
Daniel Day-Lewis was in a relationship with the French actress Isabelle Adjani which lasted for only 6 years. Few months later their break-up, Day-Lewis’ first son Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis was born in New York.
He met his wife Rebecca Miller on the sets of the movie ‘The Crucible’. They got married in 1989 and have two sons, Ronan Cal Day-Lewis and Cashel Blake Day-Lewis.
In 2013, Day-Lewis was chosen by the People magazine as the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.
In 2009, he turned down the role in ‘Terminator Salvation’.
Time’s magazine mentioned him in the list of 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2013.
Day-Lewis has both British as well as Irish citizenship.
Prince William formally knighted Day-Lewis in November 2014.

Daniel Day-Lewis Movies

1. Gandhi (1982)

  (Biography, History, Drama)

2. There Will Be Blood (2007)


3. In the Name of the Father (1993)

  (Drama, Biography)

4. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

  (War, Action, Romance, Drama, Adventure)

5. My Left Foot (1989)

  (Biography, Drama)

6. Phantom Thread (2017)

  (Drama, Romance)

7. Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)


8. The Bounty (1984)

  (Romance, Drama, History, Adventure, Action)

9. Gangs of New York (2002)

  (Crime, Drama)

10. Lincoln (2012)

  (Biography, History, War, Drama)


Academy Awards(Oscars)
2013 Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Lincoln (2012)
2008 Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role There Will Be Blood (2007)
1990 Best Actor in a Leading Role My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)
Golden Globe Awards
2013 Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Lincoln (2012)
2008 Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama There Will Be Blood (2007)
BAFTA Awards
2013 Best Leading Actor Lincoln (2012)
2008 Best Leading Actor There Will Be Blood (2007)
2003 Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Gangs of New York (2002)
1990 Best Actor My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)

See the events in life of Daniel Day-Lewis in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Daniel Day-Lewis Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com

People Also Viewed

Rebecca Miller Biography
Rebecca Miller
Cillian Murphy Biography
Cillian Murphy
Paul Mescal Biography
Paul Mescal
Colin Farrell Biography
Colin Farrell
Robert Sheehan Biography
Robert Sheehan
Jack Gleeson Biography
Jack Gleeson