Who is Richard C Armitage?
Richard Armitage is an English stage, film, TV, and voice actor, best known for playing ‘Thorin Oakenshield’ in ‘The Hobbit’ film series. A graduate from the ‘London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art’ (LAMDA), Armitage started his journey in the entertainment industry with theater. He then forayed into films and TV projects. His breakthrough role was that of ‘John Standring’ in the ‘BBC’ drama ‘Sparkhouse.’ He rose to fame in the UK with the lead role of ‘John Thornton’ in the British series ‘North & South.’ Following this, he gained worldwide fame for his portrayal of ‘Thorin Oakenshield’ in ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy. He gained more fame with series such as ‘Robin Hood,’ ‘Spooks,’ and ‘Hannibal’. He earned an ‘Olivier Award’ nomination for the ‘Best Actor’ for his portrayal of ‘John Proctor’ in the stage production of ‘The Crucible’ at ‘The Old Vic. Armitage.’ He utilized his baritone voice to establish himself as a skilled voice actor. He has lent his voice to various TV and radio programs and commercials and has narrated several audio books. He voices lead roles in the web series ‘Castlevania’ and in the scripted podcast serial ‘Wolverine.’
Childhood & Early Life
Richard Crispin Armitage was born on August 22, 1971, in Huncote, Leicestershire, England, to engineer John Armitage and his wife, Margaret, a secretary. He grew up with his older brother, Chris.
Armitage studied at the ‘Huncote Community Primary School.’ He then attended a ‘Church of England’ mixed secondary school named ‘Brockington College,’ located in Enderby, Leicestershire, England. He played the cello, both in school and as part of local orchestras. He also learned to play the flute during this time.
After obtaining a grant from the ‘Leicestershire Authority,’ Armitage transferred to the non-selective independent school named ‘Pattison College,’ which specializes in performing arts. He cleared his A Levels in music and English and completed his program in 1988. While attending the school, he also featured in local amateur and professional stage productions. He played an elf in a stage production of ‘The Hobbit’ at the ‘New Alexandra Theatre,’ Birmingham.
Following his stint with ‘Pattison College,’ Armitage went to Budapest, Hungary, and remained part of ‘Nachtcircus’ for 6 months to earn his ‘Equity Card,’ so that he could start his professional entertainment career in the UK.
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Armitage commenced his career with musical theater as an assistant choreographer for Kenn Oldfield. During this time, he was part of musicals such as ‘Cats’ and ‘42nd Street.’ Meanwhile, he also started featuring in dramatic stage plays such as ‘Death of a Salesman’ and ‘The Real Thing.’
Armitage was a bit sceptical of choosing musical theater as his career path and thus resolved to continue his studies in acting. He joined ‘LAMDA’ in 1993 and did a 3-year program there before making his comeback on stage. He worked in ‘Hamlet’ (1998) and ‘The Four Alice Bakers’ (1999 for the ‘Birmingham Repertory Theatre.’ He also worked in ‘Macbeth’ (1999-2000) and ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ (2000–2001) for the ‘Royal Shakespeare Company.’ He starred as ‘Jez’ in the 2002 production of ‘Use Me as Your Cardigan’ by ‘Charm Offensive.’
One of his most notable stage performances was that of ‘John Proctor’ in ‘The Old Vic’ production of ‘The Crucible’ in 2014. The critically acclaimed and commercially successful play, directed by Yaël Farber, won Armitage the ‘Broadway World: UK Award’ for the ‘Best Leading Actor in a New Production of a Play’ that year. It also fetched him an ‘Olivier Award’ nomination in the ‘Best Actor’ category.
The popularity of ‘The Crucible’ led ‘Digital Theatre’ to record it. It was then distributed to cinemas across the UK and Ireland. On March 17, 2015, ‘Digital Theatre’ made it available for digital download worldwide.
Armitage played ‘Kenneth’ in the ‘Laura Pels Theater’ production of the play ‘Love, Love, Love’ in 2016. It marked his first leading theatrical role on the American stage.
Films & Television
While doing theater, Armitage started featuring in bit roles in both films and TV projects. He bagged his first starring role on TV when he was cast as ‘John Standring’ in the ‘BBC’ drama ‘Sparkhouse’ in 2002.
He rose to prominence in the UK with the role of textile mill owner ‘John Thornton’ in the 2004 British historical period-drama ‘North & South.’ It was his first leading role. In the ensuing years, he established himself on TV with starring roles series such as ‘The Impressionists’ (2006), ‘Robin Hood’ (2006–2009), and ‘Spooks’ (2008–2010). He won the ‘Saturn Award’ for the ‘Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series,’ for his performance as ‘Francis Dolarhyde’ in ‘Hannibal’ (2015).
His first starring role in films came with the 2005 British psychological thriller ‘Frozen.’ Peter Jackson announced on October 21, 2010, that Armitage would play ‘Thorin Oakenshield’ in the three-film production of ‘The Hobbit.’ His performances in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (2012), ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ (2013), and ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ (2014) gained him international recognition. The last of the three also won him the ‘Saturn Award’ for the ‘Best Supporting Actor in a Film.’
He starred opposite Sarah Wayne Callies in the 2014 blockbuster hit “found footage” disaster film ‘Into the Storm.’ He bagged a ‘Best Actor’ award at the ‘NIFF,’ for his performance as ‘Chop’ in the film ‘Urban and the Shed’ (2015). Other notable films featuring Armitage include ‘Alice through the Looking Glass (2016), ‘Brain on Fire’ (2016), and ‘Ocean's 8’ (2018). He will be seen playing ‘James’ in the upcoming Julie Delpy film ‘My Zoe.’
Armitage has carved his niche as a noted voice actor with his trademark baritone voice. He stepped into voice acting while performing in the TV series ‘Robin Hood’ in 2006. He accepted a ‘BBC’ offer and narrated the audio book versions of the first four episodes of the series.
Following this, he worked as a narrator of several other audio books, such as the Georgette Heyer novels ‘Sylvester’ (2009), ‘Venetia’ (2010), and ‘The Convenient Marriage’ (2010) for ‘Naxos AudioBooks.’ He won the ‘Audible Award’ for the ‘Best Audiobook of the Year,’ for narrating ‘Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel’ (2014).
A radio adaptation of the epistolary novel ‘Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady’ by English writer Samuel Richardson was released by ‘BBC Radio 4’ in March and April 2010. It starred Armitage and Zoe Waites. Armitage has also read poetry for various radio shows. He has also narrated TV documentaries such as ‘Homes from Hell’ (2009), ‘Surgery School’ (2010), and ‘Elsa: The Lioness That Changed the World’ (2011). He has worked in various radio and TV commercials.
Since July 7, 2017, he has been playing the lead voice role of ‘Trevor Belmont’ in the American adult animated web series ‘Castlevania.’ Since March 12, 2018, he has been voicing the starring role of ‘Logan’/‘Wolverine’ in the scripted podcast serial ‘Wolverine,’ produced by ‘Marvel New Media’ and ‘Stitcher.’
Family & Personal Life
Armitage has not divulged much about his personal life. According to some sources, he was romantically associated with British actor Annabel Capper in 2013, while other sources claim he got engaged to Samantha Colley in 2016. Colley appeared with him in ‘The Crucible.’ Rumors of a romantic relationship between Armitage and his ‘The Hobbit’ co-star Lee Pace also surfaced, raising doubts about Armitage’s sexual orientation.