Ralph Fiennes Biography

Ralph Fiennes is a noted English stage and film actor. This biography provides detailed information on his childhood, life, career, achievements and timeline.

Ralph Fiennes
Quick Facts

Birthday: December 22, 1962

Nationality: British

Famous: Actors Directors

Age: 56 Years, 56 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Also Known As: Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes

Born in: Ipswich, Suffolk, England, UK

Famous as: Actor, Director, Producer

Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Alex Kingston (m. 1993–1997)

father: Mark Fiennes

mother: Jennifer Lash

siblings: Jacob Fiennes, Joseph Fiennes, Magnus Fiennes, Martha Fiennes, Michael Emery, Sophie Fiennes

More Facts

education: Bishop Wordsworth's School, St Kieran's College, Newtown School, Waterford, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design

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Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, popularly known as Ralph Fiennes, is an English stage and film actor. He is very well-known in the British theatre circle for his love for Shakespearean dramas and enactment of his main characters like, ‘Hamlet’, ‘Coriolanus’, ‘Richard II’, etc. Very recently, he made his directorial debut with ‘Coriolanus’, yet again exhibiting his love for the literary characters, especially that of Shakespeare’s. Fiennes started off his career in acting in London and was associated with theatres like, Open Air Theatre and National Theatre. He ventured into movies soon after with his dark and dense characterization of Bronte’s ‘Heathcliff’ in ‘Wuthering Heights’. Although the movie did fairly well but it could not get him the international fame that he deserved, but Spielberg’s Jewish massacre drama, ‘Schindler’s List’ forced the filmmakers across the world to take notice. His memorable portrayal of the devilishly desensitized ‘Amon Goeth’ earned him international acclaim as well as many prestigious awards including BAFTA and Golden Globe. Fiennes is an accomplished actor who has appeared in a variety of roles in genres like thrillers, dramas, animations, romantic-comedy, etc.

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Ralph Fiennes
Childhood & Early Life
  • Ralph Fiennes was born in Ipswich, England, to Mark Fiennes and Jennifer Lash. His father was a farmer and photographer and his mother was a writer. He has six other siblings who are into entertainment industry like himself.
  • Fiennes attended the St. Kieran’s College, later transferring to Newtown School in County Waterford. His family moved to Salisbury, which is why he had to finish his schooling at the Bishop Wordsworth’s School.
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  • Fiennes attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from 1983-1985 and soon after started his stage career at the Open Air Theatre, Resent’s Park and the National Theatre.
  • He started his film career in 1992 by playing ‘Heathcliff’ in the movie version of Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’. In the following year, he got an opportunity to play a controversial role in Peter Greenaway’s, ‘The Baby of Macon’.
  • In 1993, Fiennes portrayed the most memorable and crucial role of his life. He played ‘Amon Goeth’ in Steven Spielberg’s movie on the mass murder of Jews by Nazis, ‘Schindler’s List’, along with Liam Neeson.
  • He gave another fine performance in the World War II epic romance, ‘The English Patient’ in 1996. He starred in the lead role in the movie along with Kirstin Scott-Thomas and was nominated for an Oscar.
  • Throughout the late 1990s, Fiennes did movies like: ‘Oscar and Lucinda (1997)’, film version of the television series ‘The Avengers (1998)’ and provided the voice of ‘Rameses’ in the animated musical, ‘The Prince of Egypt (1998)’.
  • In 1999, he did a drama movie, ‘Sunshine’, which fetched him a European Film Award. ‘Onegin’ also released in the same year; the movie was directed by his sister, Martha. He co-produced the movie besides acting in it.
  • Fiennes went back to the stage in 2000 with William Shakespeare’s ‘Coriolanus’ and ‘Richard II’. He also made a television appearance in a documentary drama on the life of writer Proust—‘How Proust Can Change Your Life’.
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  • In 2002, he starred in David Cronenberg’s award winning thriller ‘Spider’, ‘Red Dragon’ and also starred as Chris Marshall in a romantic comedy, ‘Maid in Manhattan’.
  • Fiennes starred as the lead villain, ‘Lord Voldemort,’ in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ in 2005. He also appeared in the sequels, ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2’.
  • In the same year, he starred in the movie version of John le Carre’s novel, ‘The Constant Gardener’. It was filmed in the slums of Kibera, which affected the crew and they started ‘The Constant Gardiner Trust’ to provide basic education in the area.
  • Throughout the 2000s, he did movies like, ‘Faith Healer (2006)’ which got him a Tony Award nomination, ‘In Bruges (2008)’ which won him a British Independent Film Award, ‘The Duchess (2008) earned him a Golden Globe and ‘The Reader 2008)’.
  • Others include: the Academy Award-winning movie, ‘The Hurt Locker (2009), ‘Skyfall (2012)’, and his directorial debut ‘Coriolanus (2012)’.
Major Works
  • Fiennes’ best role is considered to be his impeccable characterization of ‘Amon Goeth’ in Steven Spielberg’s Jewish massacre drama ‘Schindler’s List’ in 1993. It is the role that made the filmmakers all over the world to take notice of him.
Awards & Achievements
  • He has won most of his awards for ‘Schindler’s List’—BAFTA, Boston Society of Film Critics Award, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award, London Film Critics Circle Award, etc.
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  • Other accolades include: Evening Standards British Film Award (The Constant Gardener), Tony (Hamlet), Gotham Independent Film Award (The Hurt Locker), People’s Choice and San Diego Film Critics Society Award (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 2), The James Joyce Award, etc.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Fiennes married the English actress, Alex Kingston, in 1993 after dating her for 10 years. They both were students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which is where they initially met. The couple got divorced in 1997.
  • He started an affair with another English actress, Francesca Annis, in 1995, after meeting her for the first time during one of his Shakespearean plays (Hamlet). The couple dated for 11 years and split up in 2006.
  • This British film star is a UNICEF UK ambassador and has done work in India, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda and Romania.
  • He is an eighth cousin of the Prince of Wales, and a third cousin of adventurer Ranulph Fiennes and author William Fiennes.
  • His siblings are: Joseph Fiennes (actor), Martha Fiennes (director), Magnus Fiennes (composer), Sophie Fiennes (filmmaker) and Jacob Fiennes (conservationist).

1. Schindler's List (1993)

  (Biography, Drama, History)

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

  (Comedy, Adventure, Drama)

3. The English Patient (1996)

  (Drama, Romance, War)

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

  (Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery, Drama)

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

  (Mystery, Family, Adventure, Fantasy)

6. The Reader (2008)

  (Romance, Drama)

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

  (Mystery, Family, Adventure, Fantasy)

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

  (Mystery, Family, Adventure, Fantasy)


BAFTA Awards
1994 Best Actor in a Supporting Role Schindler's List (1993)

See the events in life of Ralph Fiennes in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Ralph Fiennes Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- July 25, 2017

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