James Purefoy Biography

James Purefoy is an English actor who is known for his role in HBO’s ‘Rome.’ Check out this biography to know about his birthday, childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about him.

Quick Facts

Birthday: June 3, 1964

Nationality: British

Famous: Actors British Men

Age: 55 Years, 55 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Gemini

Also Known As: James Brian Mark Purefoy

Born in: Taunton

Famous as: Actor

Height: 6'1" (185 cm), 6'1" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Jessica Adams (m. 2014), Holly Aird (m. 1996–2002)

father: Anthony Chetwynd Purefoy

mother: Shirley Purefoy

children: Joseph Purefoy, Rose Purefoy

More Facts

education: The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Brooklands College - Weybridge Campus

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James Purefoy is an English actor who is known for playing Mark Antony in HBO’s ‘Rome’, Laurens Bancroft in the Netflix original series ‘Altered Carbon’ and a professor-turned-serial-killer in the drama ‘The Following’. He has made a number of appearances in a variety of television shows and plays across USA and UK since the 1980s. Born in Somerset, Purefoy boarded at Sherborne and later went to a night school. Following his schooling, he took a succession of odd jobs and eventually enrolled at Central School of Speech and Drama to study acting. He began his career as a stage actor and appeared in a number of theatre productions before venturing into films and television shows. Since establishing himself in the entertainment world, the actor has been consistently impressing his audiences by playing versatile characters. On the personal front, the actor is married to director and producer Jessica Adams and is the father of four children.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • James Purefoy was born on 3 June 1964 in Taunton, Somerset, England to Shirley Purefoy and Anthony Chetwynd.
  • He went to the boarding school Sherborne School and later went to a night school before enrolling at Brooklands College.
  • Purefoy worked as a porter at the Yeovil District Hospital before attending the Central School of Speech and Drama.
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  • James Purefoy began his career on stage, initially appearing in the plays ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Mary Morgan’ and ‘Equus’.
  • In 1988, he joined Royal Shakespeare Company and went on to appear in the productions of ‘The Constant Couple’, ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’, ‘The Tempest’ and ‘King Lear’.
  • He made his television debut in 1991 with an episode of ‘The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes’. That year, the actor also starred as Laertes in the play ‘Hamlet.’ This was followed by his stage roles in ‘Let them Sniff the Flowers’ and ‘Back Up the Hearse’.
  • After featuring in ‘Present Laughter’ at Globe Theatre in 1993, Purefoy starred in the production of ‘Death of a Salesman’ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. During this time, he also had a role in the drama ‘Rides’.
  • In 1995, he played Captain Jack Spears in the television film ‘Sharpe's Sword’ and also made his film debut in ‘Feast of July’ as Jedd Wainwright.
  • In 1996, he acted in the series ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’. He then starred as Tom Bertram in the romantic comedy-drama flick ‘Mansfield Park’ which was released in 1999.
  • Purefoy started the new decade with the role of Edward, the Black Prince of Wales in the adventure comedy ‘A Knight's Tale’.
  • In 2003, he played Donald Farfrae in the TV film ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’. A year later, he got to play Colonel Rawdon in ‘Vanity Fair’. Adapted from the novel by Crawley William Makepeace Thackeray, the flick earned many awards and nominations including the Golden Lion nomination at the Venice Film Festival.
  • From 2005 to 2007, the actor had a lead role in ‘Rome’, a British-American-Italian drama series that featured an extensive range of characters, many of whom were based on real historical figures.
  • Purefoy was cast in the miniseries ‘The Summit’ as Thom Lightstone, a role he played from 2008 to 2010. During this period, he also portrayed the character of Teddy Rist in the action drama ‘The Philanthropist’.
  • In early 2011, he starred as Peter in the production of ‘Flare Path’ alongside Sienna Miller and Sheridan Smith. Four years later, he got the chance to play Pangbourne in the dystopian drama flick ‘High-Rise,’ which was nominated at the 2017 Empire Award for Best British Film.
  • From 2016 to 2018, Purefoy featured as Hap Collins in the television drama ‘Hap and Leonard’. He also played Laurens Bancroft in the sci-fi web television drama ‘Altered Carbon’ during this time period.
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Major Works
  • In 2010, James Purefoy played the titular character in the dark fantasy action-adventure movie ‘Solomon Kane’. Based on Solomon Kane, a pulp magazine character created by Robert E. Howard in 1928, the film was directed and written by Michael J. Bassett. Its screenplay was novelised by the renowned author Ramsey Campbell.
  • From 2013 to 2015, the actor played the role of Joe Carroll in ‘The Following’, a drama series that ran for two seasons on Fox. Its first season follows a former FBI agent trying to help recapture a serial killer while the second season introduces the agent’s niece who provides help in capturing the killer while also dealing with a new cult.
Family & Personal Life
  • James Purefoy married actress Holly Aird in 1996 and had a son named Joseph. The two parted ways in 2002.
  • In 2014, he married Jessica Adams, a documentary director and producer. The couple has two sons, Kit and Ned, and a daughter named Rose.

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How To Cite

Article Title
- James Purefoy Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- April 15, 2019
James Purefoy

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