Who is Ray Stevenson?
George Raymond Stevenson, or simply Ray Stevenson, is an actor from Northern Ireland. He has garnered fame for portraying Titus Pullo in the BBC/HBO television series ‘Rome’, Dagonet in ‘King Arthur’, Frank Castle/The Punisher in ‘Punisher: War Zone’ and ‘The Super Hero Squad Show’, Volstagg in the MCU, and Isaak Sirko in ‘Dexter’. A Lisburn native, Stevenson has always been interested in acting. He studied at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before embarking on his career as an actor. In 1993, he made his screen debut in the TV series ‘A Woman's Guide to Adultery’. His big screen debut came two years later, in the drama film ‘Some Kind of Life’. In his nearly three-decade-long career, he has accumulated over 50 film and television credits to date. He is also active on stage and has performed in plays like ‘Mouth to Mouth’ and ‘The Duchess of Malfi’. In 2013, he was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Guest Performance in a Television Series for his role in ‘Dexter’.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on May 25, 1964, in Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Ray Stevenson is the second of three sons of a Royal Air Force pilot and his Irish wife. In 1972, when he was eight years old, he relocated to Lemington, Newcastle upon Tyne, England with his family.
Having harboured acting aspirations all his life, Stevenson enrolled at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, from where he eventually obtained his graduate degree.
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Ray Stevenson starred as a journalist in ‘A Woman's Guide to Adultery’ in 1993. A year later, he appeared in the television miniseries ‘The Dwelling Place’. He worked with the likes of Jane Horrocks and Gwen Taylor on his feature film debut, ‘Some Kind of Life’ (1995).
In 1996, he played Larry Birch in the TV miniseries ‘The Tide of Life’. Between 1995 and 1996, he essayed the role of Steve Dickson in the ITV series ‘Band of Gold’.
He worked with Helena Bonham Carter and Kenneth Branagh in the 1998 Paul Greengrass drama film ‘The Theory of Flight’, portraying a high-priced gigolo. That year, he was also part of the main cast of the BBC One police procedural drama series ‘City Central’.
Stevenson joined the cast of ITV’s comedy-drama show ‘At Home with the Braithwaites’ in the second series as Graham Braithwaite. In 2004, he played Dagonet, King Arthur’s jester and a “Knight of the Round Table” of Arthurian legend, in the historical adventure film ‘King Arthur’.
He shared the screen space with Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, and Mila Kunis in the 2010 dystopian action film ‘The Book of Eli’. He then appeared in the action-comedy ‘The Other Guys’.
In 2011, he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Volstagg in the superhero film ‘Thor’ and went on to reprise the role in ‘Thor: The Dark World’ (2013) and ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ (2017). Volstagg is the second Marvel Comics character he played in his career, the other being Frank Castle/The Punisher.
In 2011, he played Irish-American mobster Danny Greene in the biographical crime-drama film ‘Kill the Irishman’ and Porthos in Paul W. S. Anderson’s cinematic adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ ‘The Three Musketeers’.
He was cast as Firefly in the military science fiction action film ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ (2013). Stevenson has also portrayed Marcus Eaton in the Divergent film series.
In 2012, he essayed the role of Isaak Sirko, the primary antagonist of the seventh season of the Showtime crime-drama mystery series ‘Dexter’.
In 2016, he joined the cast of Starz’s historical action series ‘Black Sails’ as Edward Teach/Blackbeard. He is currently starring as the aging federal agent Jake Elliot in ABC and M6’s crime-drama series ‘Reef Break’.
In 2000, he performed as Jesus Christ in the ‘York Mystery Plays’ at York Minster. A year later, he appeared at the Albery Theatre in London playing Roger in a production of Kevin Elyot’s ‘Mouth to Mouth’. His best-known performance is as Cardinal in ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ by John Webster at the Royal National Theatre in 2003.
Ray Stevenson was cast as Titus Pullo, a hot-headed, hedonistic Roman soldier, in BBC/HBO’s ‘Rome’ (2005-07). Created by John Milius, William J. MacDonald, and Bruno Heller, the series depicts the city state’s sudden and violent transition from a republic to an empire. The show heavily draws from the two Shakespearean plays about the period, ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’.
In 2008, he played the comic-book character Frank Castle/The Punisher in Lexi Alexander’s action thriller film ‘Punisher: War Zone’. He later lent his voice to the character for an episode (2009) of the Cartoon Network/Marvel Animation series ‘The Super Hero Squad Show’.
Family & Personal Life
Ray Stevenson met actress Ruth Gemmell while he was filming the TV drama ‘Band of Gold’ (1995). In November 1997, they exchanged wedding vows at Westminster, London. The couple also appeared together in ‘Peak Practice’ (1997), portraying a husband and his wife. They parted ways in 2005.
He began a relationship with anthropologist Elisabetta Caraccia in 2005. They have three sons together, including Sebastiano Derek (born 2007) and Leonardo George (born 2011).