Clive Owen

Clive Owen

Owen at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival
Born (1964-10-03) 3 October 1964
Coventry, Warwickshire, England, UK
Residence Highgate, London
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor
Years active 1988–present
Spouse(s) Sarah-Jane Fenton (m. 1995)
Children 2

Clive Owen (born 3 October 1964) is an English actor who first gained recognition in the United Kingdom for playing the lead role in the ITV series Chancer from 1990 to 1991. He then received critical acclaim for his work in the film Close My Eyes (1991) before earning international attention for his performance as a struggling writer in Croupier (1998). In 2005, he won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the drama Closer (2004).

Owen has since played leading roles in films such as Sin City (2005), Derailed (2005), Inside Man (2006), Children of Men (2006), and The International (2009). In 2012, he earned his first Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his role in Hemingway & Gellhorn. Since 2014, Owen has played Dr. John W. Thackery on the Cinemax medical drama series The Knick, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination.

Early life

The fourth of five brothers, Owen was born in Coventry, West Midlands, in the United Kingdom, to Pamela (née Cotton) and Jess Owen, a country and western singer. His father left the family when Owen was three years old, and despite a brief reconciliation when Owen was nineteen, the two have remained estranged.[1] Raised by his mother and stepfather, a railway ticket clerk,[2] he has described his childhood as "rough".[1] While initially opposed to drama school, he changed his mind in 1984, after a long and fruitless period of searching for work. Owen graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[3] After graduation, he won a position at the Young Vic, performing in several Shakespearean plays.[4]


Early career

Initially, Owen carved out a career in television. In 1988, he starred as Gideon Sarn in a BBC production of Precious Bane and the Channel 4 film Vroom before the 1990s saw him become a regular on stage and television in the UK, notably his lead role in the ITV series Chancer, followed by an appearance in the Thames Television production of Lorna Doone.

He won critical acclaim for his performances in the Stephen Poliakoff film Close My Eyes (1991) about a brother and sister who embark on an incestuous love affair. He subsequently appeared in The Magician, Class of '61, Century, Nobody's Children, An Evening with Gary Lineker, Doomsday Gun, Return of the Native and then a Carlton production called Sharman, about a private detective. In 1996, he appeared in his first major Hollywood film The Rich Man's Wife alongside Halle Berry before finding international acclaim in a Channel 4 film directed by Mike Hodges called Croupier (1998). In Croupier, he played the title role of a struggling writer who takes a job in a London casino as inspiration for his work, only to get caught up in a robbery scheme. In 1999, he appeared as an accident-prone driver in Split Second, his first BBC production in about a decade.

Owen starred in The Echo, a BBC1 drama, before starring in the film Greenfingers, about a criminal who goes to work in a garden. He then appeared in the BBC1 mystery series Second Sight. In 2001, he provided the voice-over for a BBC2 documentary about popular music called Walk On By, as well as starring in a highly acclaimed theatre production called A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, about a couple with a severely handicapped daughter.

Ongoing work

Owen at the Children of Men premiere in Mexico City, 2006

Owen became well known to North American audiences in the summer of 2001 after starring as "The Driver" in The Hire, a series of short films sponsored by BMW and made by prominent directors. He then appeared in Robert Altman's Gosford Park. He appeared in the 2002 hit The Bourne Identity. In 2003, he reteamed with director Mike Hodges in I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. He starred in Beyond Borders as well as King Arthur in King Arthur, for which he learned to ride a horse.

He appeared in the Royal National Theatre debut of the hit play Closer, by Patrick Marber, which was produced as a film in 2004. He played Dan in the play, but was Larry the dermatologist in the film version. His portrayal of Larry in the film received rave reviews, as well as the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He noted that the expectations of him since the Oscar nomination have not changed the way he approaches film-making, stating "I try, every film I do, to be as good as I can and that's all I can do."[5]

After Closer, he appeared in Derailed alongside Jennifer Aniston, the comic book thriller Sin City as the noir antihero Dwight McCarthy and as a mysterious bank robber in Inside Man. Despite public denials, Owen had been rumoured to be a possible successor to Pierce Brosnan in the role of James Bond. A public opinion poll in the United Kingdom in October 2005 (SkyNews) found that he was the public's number one choice to star in the next installment of the series. In that same month, however, it was announced that fellow British actor Daniel Craig would become the next James Bond. In an interview in the September 2007 issue of Details, he claimed that he was never offered or even approached concerning the role.[6] In 2006, Owen spoofed the Bond connection by making an appearance in the remake of The Pink Panther in which he plays a character named "Nigel Boswell, Agent 006" (when he introduces himself to Inspector Clouseau, he quips that Owen's character is "one short of the big time").

In 2006, Owen starred in the highly acclaimed Children of Men,[7] for which he received widespread praise. The film was nominated for various awards, including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay; Owen worked on the screenplay, although he was uncredited.[8] The next year he starred alongside Paul Giamatti in the film Shoot 'Em Up and appeared as Sir Walter Raleigh opposite Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth I of England in the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age. He appeared in the Christmas special of the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant show Extras, as revealed in the video podcast teaser. Owen starred in The International (2009), a film which he described as a "paranoid political thriller".[9] He then played the lead in The Boys Are Back,[10] an Australian adaptation of the book The Boys Are Back in Town by Simon Carr.

In June 2010 it was announced that Owen and Nicole Kidman would star in an HBO film about Ernest Hemingway and his relationship with Martha Gellhorn entitled Hemingway & Gellhorn. James Gandolfini served as executive producer to the film, written by Barbara Turner and Jerry Stahl. The film was directed by Philip Kaufman.[11] The film was released in 2012. Owen shot Shadow Dancer,[12] joint Anglo-Irish production about a young mother who is heavily involved with the Irish Republican Movement. She is arrested in London following an aborted bombing attempt and must either choose to inform on her family or spend the rest of her life behind bars. The film co-stars Andrea Riseborough, Gillian Anderson and Aidan Gillen and was directed by James Marsh. In April 2010, he was cast as the lead in Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's horror-thriller Intruders.[13] The film received a limited release in the US in 2011.

Owen starred in the film Blood Ties, directed by Guillaume Canet, alongside French actress Marion Cotillard. It was released in June 2013 at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. In 2015, Owen made his Broadway debut in a revival of Harold Pinter's Old Times at the American Airlines Theatre.[14] He was selected to be on the jury for the main competition section of the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.

Personal life

Owen married Sarah-Jane Fenton on 6 March 1995; the couple live in Highgate, London and Wrabness, Essex with their two daughters, Hannah (1997) and Eve (1999).[15]

In November 2006,[16] Owen became patron of the Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich, Essex, and launched an appeal for funds to repair deteriorating elements of the fabric.[17][18]

Owen enjoys the music of indie rock band Hard-Fi and has been seen at two of their concerts: at Brixton Academy on 15 May 2006[19] and Wembley Arena on 18 December 2007. He is also a supporter of Liverpool F.C.[20] and narrated the fly on the wall documentary series Being: Liverpool.[21]


Year Film Role Notes
1988 Vroom Jake
Boon Geoff TV series: episode 8, "Peacemaker"
1989 Precious Bane Gideon Sarn TV film
1990 Chancer Stephen Crane / Derek Love TV series: 20 episodes
Lorna Doone John Ridd TV film
1991 Close My Eyes Richard Gillespie
1993 Class of '61 Devin O'Neil TV film
Century Paul Reisner
The Magician Det. Con. George Byrne TV film
1994 The Return of the Native Damon Wildeve TV film
Doomsday Gun Dov TV film
An Evening with Gary Lineker Bill Desbackos TV film
Nobody's Children Bratu TV film
1995 Bad Boy Blues Paul TV film
1995–96 Sharman Nick Sharman TV series: 5 episodes
1996 Privateer 2: The Darkening Ser Lev Arris Video game
The Rich Man's Wife Jake Golden
1997 Croupier Jack Manfred
Bent Max
1998 The Echo Michael Deacon TV series: 2 episodes
1999 Split Second Michael Anderson TV film
Second Sight DCI Ross Tanner TV series
2000 Greenfingers Colin Briggs
2001 The Hire The Driver Short film
Gosford Park Robert Parks Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Motion Picture
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Walk On By Narrator TV documentary; voice only
2002 The Bourne Identity The Professor
2003 Beyond Borders Nick Callahan
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead Will
2004 Closer Larry Gray BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Toronto Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actor of the Year
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
King Arthur Arthur
2005 Derailed Charles Schine
Sin City Dwight McCarthy
2006 Children of Men Theo Faron Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award Best Actor
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
Inside Man Dalton Russell
The Pink Panther Nigel Boswell / Agent 006 Uncredited cameo
2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age Sir Walter Raleigh
Shoot 'Em Up Mr. Smith Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2009 The International Louis Salinger
Duplicity Ray Koval
The Boys Are Back Joe Warr Also executive producer
2010 Trust Will Cameron
2011 Killer Elite Spike Logan
Intruders John Farrow
2012 Hemingway & Gellhorn Ernest Hemingway Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Shadow Dancer Mac
2013 Blood Ties Chris Pierzynski
Words and Pictures Jack Marcus
2014–present The Knick Dr. John W. Thackery TV series; also executive producer
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
2015 Last Knights Raiden
2016 The Confirmation Walt
The Escape The Driver Short film
2017 Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Commander Arün Filitt Post-production
Anon Sal Frieland Filming


  1. 1 2 Maher, Kevin (8 September 2007). "Clive Owen's orgy of violence". Times Online. London. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
  2. Wood, Gaby (11 July 2004). "The player". The Observer. London. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
  3. "conservatoirefor dance and drama". Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  4. "The Biography Channel". Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  5. Topel, Fred (4 September 2007). "Clive Owen: A totally original badass". Crave Online. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
  6. "Clive Owen: Details". September 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
  7. "Children of Men interview". Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  8. "Quint chats up Alfonso Cuaron about the CHILDREN OF MEN DVD!!!". Ain't it Cool News. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
  9. "Clive Owen: The International". 11 February 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  10. "The Boys Are Back: interviews". BBC Film Network. 14 January 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  11. "HBO Orders Hemingway Film With Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen".
  12. "'Shadow Dancer' Begins Filming in Ireland". IFTN. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  13. "Clive Owen Stars in Horror-Thriller 'Intruders'". Bloody Disgusting. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  14. Charles McNulty (8 October 2015). "Clive Owen and Sam Rockwell hit Broadway in Old Times and Fool for Love with different results". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  15. "About Clive Owen". Yahoo movies. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  16. Cinema staff. "Patron of the Electric Palace". Electric Palace Cinema, Harwich website. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  17. Cinema staff. "Clive Owen Launches £85,000 Appeal". Electric Palace Cinema press release. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  18. Kevin Maher (19 July 2008). "The Electric Palace cinema in Harwich: the first picture show". The Times. London. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  19. "Hard-Fi team up with very special guest | News | NME.COM". Nme.Com<!. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  20. " – Q&A: Clive Owen – Nov 10, 2005". CNN. 10 November 2005.
  21. Pearce, James (8 September 2012). "Blood Red: Liverpool FC fan Clive Owen to narrate Fox documentary". Liverpool Echo. Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales Limitedc. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
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