About David Jude Heyworth Law
Plagued with being called a heartthrob and a Golden Boy, British actor Jude Law managed to develop into a respected actor known for tackling challenging and often flawed characters. Though he struggled a bit early in his career to make a name for himself, Law finally burst onto the scene full force with his Oscar-nominated performance in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), eventually becoming one of the new millennium's top box office draws.
He was born David Jude Heyworth Law on December 29, 1972, in Lewisham, London, England. Raised in South London by his parents, who were both schoolteachers, Law joined the National Youth Music Theatre at age 13, where he acted in such productions as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He left school at age 16 after winning a part as a teenage runaway on the British television soap opera Families.
Over the next several years, Law won parts on stage, in a touring production of Pygmalion and The Fastest Clock in the Universe in London (both 1992), and on TV in both Britain and the U.S. (a 1990 episode of Sherlock Holmes during the PBS series Mystery!). In 1994, Law made his film debut, in the poorly received British film Shopping; the film also featured Law's future wife, Sadie Frost, an actress best known for her appearance in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).
Because early film roles in The Crane and Shopping failed to set the world of cinema alight, the young actor returned to the stage to star in The Snow Orchid, Live Like Pigs and Les Parents Terribles. Law became the only cast member of Les Parents Terribles who was invited to reprise his role in the hit Broadway version of the play, Indiscretions. Law earned a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor for his starring role complete with a much-talked-about nude scene opposite Kathleen Turner, as a son involved in an incestuous relationship with his mother.
Moving back to film, Law was offered the part of Bosie opposite Stephen Fry in Wilde. The film was applauded by critics and brought the young star to the attention of studio bosses in Hollywood. Jude suddenly became a busy man in films such as Music From Another Room, I Love You, I Love You Not, Gattaca and Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil.
1999 saw Jude star in the film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel The Talented Mr Ripley. Cast as the playboy Dickie Greenleaf, Jude starred alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Philip Seymour-Hoffman before being bumped off by an obsessed Matt Damon. Jude walked away with a BAFTA for his efforts and was also nominated for an Oscar.
Steven Spielberg secured Jude's acting talents next to play Gigolo Joe in the sci-fi film AI. The project was inherited from the late Stanley Kubrick and, although Jude received a Golden Globe nomination, critics were somewhat divided on the film's merits.
Sam Mendes' Road To Perdition saw Jude play a hit-man hot on the heels of Tom Hanks. Keen not to trade on his pretty-boy looks, Jude excelled as the twisted killer with a penchant for photographing his victims. Next up was the hugely successful epic Cold Mountain with Jude as a traumatized Civil War soldier opposite Nicole Kidman and Renée Zellweger. The film was an Oscar magnet and saw Jude pick up his second nomination.
Whilst his career was going from strength to strength, his personal life was beginning to attract an increased number of column inches. Having married Sadie Frost in 1997, the couple and their friends were dubbed the Primrose Hill set and gossip about their social life became a tabloid obsession.
Law began dating Sienna Miller after they met on the set of the remake of the film Alfie. Taking on the role made famous by Michael Caine, Jude found himself working his charms on Susan Sarandon and Jane Krakowski. However, the film failed to charm both critics and audiences and was even voted one of the worst remakes of all time.
A cameo as Errol Flynn in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator saw Law bounce back to form and Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow performed well at the US box office. A run of credible roles in I Heart Huckabees, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Closer and All The King's Men saw Jude become one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood.
However, in July 2005 it was his private life once again that dominated the headlines when he issued a public apology to his fiancée, Sienna Miller. The apology followed a kiss and tell story sold to a tabloid newspaper by his children's nanny, Daisy Wright, detailing her affair with the star. "I just want to say I am deeply ashamed and upset that I've hurt Sienna and the people most close to us."
Miller immediately broke off the engagement and the tabloids again began to shadow the couple's every move. However, far from being a thing of the past, the couple became involved in what can best be described as an on/off relationship. After becoming a father for the fourth time, after a brief relationship with model Samantha Burke in 2008, Law and Miller rekindled their relationship.
They got back together in December 2009 after starring in different shows on Broadway that year. The couple spent Christmas 2009 in Barbados with three of his children but they revealed they had split again in February 2011.
His troubles off screen appear not to have affected his work as :aw highlighted in 2006's The Holiday, which landed him a nomination for an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss, shared with co-star Cameron Diaz. He played the role of a book editor and single father in the American romantic comedy film, which was a commercial success despite receiving mixed reviews.
Parts in 2007's My Blueberry Nights, Sleuth and Rage (2009) followed, before Jude appeared in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. He was cast in the film, alongside Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell, as transformations of the late Heath Ledger's character as he travels through a dream world. The move was necessitated by Ledger's untimely death before filming ended.
Further critical acclaim came in 2009 in the form of a Saturn Award nomination for best supporting actor for his performance as Dr John Watson in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes. Based on a tale created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the film starring Robert Downey Jr was a commercial success and helped to cement Law’s acting abilities.
In 2011, he played Hugo's father in Martin Scorsese's Hugo, appeared in Contagion and reprised his role as Watson in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. He also returned to the stage in Anna Christie. It was announced on March 15, 2012 that Law has been nominated for a Best Actor Olivier Award - the most prestigious in the world of theatre - for his role in the play.
He will be playing Alexei Karenin in Anna Karenia in 2012 as well as lending his voice to Rise of the Guardians. In 2013, he will appear in The Bitter Pill with Catherine Zeta Jones, Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum.
Law married actress Sadie Frost in 1997. They have four children: a son Rafferty, a second son Finley (whom she has from a previous marriage), a daughter Iris born in October 2000, and a third son Rudy born in September 2002. In 2003, Frost filed for divorce after five years of marriage. Law was later engaged to actress Sienna Miller, who co-starred with him in Alfie. He also has a child with model Samantha Burke from a brief relationship. Daughter Sophia was born in 2009.