Childhood & Early Life
Jonathan Pryce was born as John Price on 1st June 1947, in Carmel, Flintshire, in Wales, UK. His parents were Margaret Ellen and Isaac Price, who used to run a small grocery shop together. He has two older sisters as well.
He did his schooling from Holywell Grammar School. Later he attended Edge Hill College where he was training to be a teacher. It was during this time that he took part in his first theatre production.
One of his tutors who was immensely impressed by Pryce’s performance, applied to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on his behalf, after which Pryce got a scholarship to study at the Academy.
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After completing his graduation from the Academy, Jonathan Pryce joined the Everyman Theatre Liverpool Company. Owing to his talents, he was able to eventually become the theatre’s Artistic Director. Later, he went to perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company as well.
He made his first screen appearance in 1972 in an episode of ‘Doomwatch’ a British TV sci-fi program, where he played a minor role.
In 1975, he appeared in the play ‘Comedians’ playing the lead role. Over the next few years, he appeared in several other plays such as ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’ (1978) and ‘Macbeth’ (1980). His performance in ‘Macbeth’ as the titular character was appreciated.
He made his film debut in 1976 in ‘Voyage of the Damned’, which was directed by Stuart Rosenburg. The film, which starred him in a minor role, earned three Oscar nominations.
His first significant work in films was in the 1983 horror fantasy movie ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ where he played a significant role. The film, which was directed by Jack Clayton, won a few awards and nominations. However, it was a commercial failure.
Jonathan Pryce then appeared in lead roles in the films, ‘Martin Luther Heretic’ and ‘The Ploughman’s Lunch’, both of which were released in 1983.
He appeared in numerous movies in the upcoming years, in lead roles as well as supporting roles. Some of them are ‘Brazil’ (1985), ‘Haunted Honeymoon’, (1986), ‘Glengarry Glenn Ross’, (1992), ‘A Business Affair’ (1994) and ‘Shopping’ (1994). In 1995, he played a lead role in the movie ‘Carrington’ for which he won two awards.
Meanwhile he continued playing guest roles in TV shows such as ‘Tickets for the Titanic’, and ‘Screen Two’. He also appeared in television movies like the 1993 film ‘Barbarians at the Gate’ where he played a main role. He played important role in films such as ‘Regeneration’ (1997), ‘Stigmata’ (1999), ‘The Affair of the Necklace’ (2001), and ‘Unconditional Love’ (2002).
Jonathan Pryce received worldwide recognition in 2003 after his appearance in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’, which was the first film of the popular ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film series’.
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The film, which was directed by Gore Verbinski, became a huge commercial hit. Pryce also reprised his role in the sequels ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End’ which were released in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Both the sequels were also huge hits.
In 2007, he portrayed the renowned British detective Sherlock homes in the TV film ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars’. It aired on BBC. Some other films he appeared in over the years include ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’, (2009), ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ (2013), ‘The Salvation’ (2014), ‘Narcopolis’ (2015) and ‘To Walk Invisible’ (2016).
He has also played an important role in a few episodes of the popular American fantasy drama series ‘Game of Thrones’. His performance earned him a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award.
Jonathan Pryce played an important role in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, a 1997 James Bond film directed by Roger Spottiswoode. It was the eighteenth film of the James Bond series, which focuses on the adventures of the British intelligence agent James Bond. The film starred Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, along with actors Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, and Jon Don Baker. Like most James Bond films, it did quite well commercially. It received mostly mixed reviews.
Pryce played an important role in the 2003 American fantasy film ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl’. The film, which was the first installment of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film series, was directed by Gore Verbinski.
Other actors in the film included Johnny Depp, who played the lead role, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and Jack Davenport. The film earned huge popularity worldwide, and also became a big commercial success, grossing more than $ 650 million worldwide. It also won multiple Oscars.
'Narcopolis’ a British sci-fi film released in 2015 is among the most recent works in Pryce’s film career. The film, which was directed by Justin Trefgarne, starred actors Elliot Cowan, Elodie Yung, Robert Bathurst, and Harry Lloyd in addition to Pryce.
Awards & Achievements
Jonathan Pryce has won two Tony Awards for Best Actor, for his role in the play ‘Comedians’ and the musical ‘Miss Saigon’ in 1977 and 1991 respectively.
He won a Laurence Olivier award for his portrayal of the titular character in the famous Shakespearean play ‘Hamlet’ in 1980.
For his role in the 1992 drama film ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’, Pryce won the ‘Valladolid International Film Festival Award’ for Best Actor.
His role in the 1995 film ‘Carrington’ won him the ‘Evening Standard British Film Award’ for Best Actor. He won another award for Best Actor, for the same role, at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2006, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liverpool.
Jonathan Pryce is also a fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama as well as a Companion of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
For his contribution to drama, Pryce was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 Birthday Honors.
Personal Life & Legacy
Jonathan Pryce is in a long-term relationship with actress Kate Fahy and they have a home in London. They have three children, Patrick, Gabriel, and Phoebe.
He is known for his charitable activities as well. Pryce is a patron of ‘Friendship Works’ a charity organization for children, and also supports ‘Saving Faces’, a surgical charity organization.