Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams is a British actor best recognized for featuring as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in ITV’s historical drama ‘Downton Abbey,’ a role which earned him two consecutive Emmy Award nominations alongside a Golden Globe nomination. Born to a nurse and a urological surgeon, he was raised in a family with no links to the entertainment world. Bonneville grew up with a dream to become a lawyer. However, he changed his mind as a young man. After studying at Dulwich College Preparatory School and Sherborne School, he went to study acting at London’s Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. His professional career started with theatrical plays and eventually he shifted to television in 1990. Bonneville simultaneously began acting in films as well, and has since been consistently performing on both the small and the big screens. The London-born actor is extremely benevolent and often donates to charities.
Childhood & Early Life
Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams was born on 10 November 1963 in Paddington, London, England to a urological surgeon father and a nurse mother.
He studied at Dulwich College Preparatory School and later attended the independent school, Sherborne School.
Following his secondary education, he enrolled at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Later, Bonneville studied acting from the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.
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Hugh Bonneville began his acting career in theatre, making his first appearance at the Open Air Theatre. In 1987, he became a part of the National Theatre and went on to appear in numerous plays.
He made his television debut with the 1990 drama series ‘Chancer’. A year later, the actor joined the Royal Shakespeare Company where he performed in the production of ‘Hamlet.’
In 1994, he landed a film role in the horror drama film ‘Mary Shelley's Frankenstein’. Two years later, Bonneville starred in the short-lived sitcom ‘Married for Life’.
In the ensuing years, he had roles in the television series ‘Get Well Soon’ and ‘Mosley’. He ended the decade with an appearance in the romantic comedy-drama flick ‘Mansfield Park’.
Bonneville began the 2000s with an appearance in the comedy series ‘Take a Girl Like You’. Adapted from Kingsley Amis’ 1960 novel of the same name, the series was broadcast in three hour-long episodes.
In the ensuing years, he featured in many TV programs including ‘The Cazalets’, ‘Courting Alex’ and ‘The Robinsons’. During this time, the actor also earned a Golden Nymph Award for his performance in the made-for-television film ‘Tsunami: The Aftermath’.
From 2008 to 2011, he narrated the observational documentary series ‘Country House Rescue’. During this time, Bonneville also had roles in the movies ‘French Film’, ‘Knife Edge’ and ‘From Time to Time’. Also in 2011, he began narrating the documentary ‘The Hotel’ and joined the cast of BBC’s comedy series ‘Twenty Twelve’.
He was cast as Mr. Henry Brown in ‘Paddington’ (2014), a live-action animated comedy movie based on the character Paddington Bear created by author Michael Bond. He reprised his tole in Paddington’s sequel ‘Paddington 2’ which was released in 2017.
In 2015, Bonneville started narrating the animated series ‘Sofia the First’. Since 2016, he has been serving as a narrator for ITV’s reality series ‘The Cruise’.
In 2001, Hugh Bonneville played Young John Bayley in ‘Iris’, a British-American biographical flick that tells the story of the English novelist Dame Iris Murdoch and her relationship with the writer cum critic John Bayley. Bonneville’s performance in the movie earned him a European Film Award nomination along with a BAFTA Award nomination.
From 2010 to 2015, the actor starred as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in ITV’s historical period drama ‘Downton Abbey’. His role garnered him multiple award nominations including for Golden Globe Award, Satellite Award and Screen Actors Guild Award.
Family & Personal Life
Hugh Bonneville married Lucinda Evans in 1998. Together, they have a son named Felix.