Ian McShane

This article is about the actor. For the Scottish professional footballer, see Ian McShane (footballer).
Ian McShane

McShane in December 2006
Born Ian David McShane
(1942-09-29) 29 September 1942
Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Residence Venice Beach, California, United States
Nationality English
Other names Ian Mcshane
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor, voice artist
Years active 1962–present
Spouse(s) Suzan Farmer (m. 1965; div. 1968)
Ruth Post (m. 1970; div. 1976)
Gwen Humble (m. 1980)
Children 2
Parent(s) Harry McShane (father)

Ian David McShane[1] (born 29 September 1942) is an English actor and voice artist He is known for his television roles, particularly Lovejoy (1986–1994),[2] Deadwood (2004–2006) and Game of Thrones (2016). He also starred as King Silas Benjamin in Kings, Bishop Waleran in The Pillars of the Earth, Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda, Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Frank in Hot Rod' .

Early life

McShane was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, the son of Irene (née Cowley; b. 1921) and Scottish footballer Harry McShane (1920–2012).[2][3][4] His father was Scottish and his mother, who was born in England, was of Irish and English descent.[5] McShane grew up in Davyhulme, Manchester, and attended Stretford Grammar School. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and was still a student there when he appeared in his first film, 1962's The Wild and the Willing.[2] McShane was a member of the National Youth Theatre.


In England, McShane's best known role may be antiques dealer Lovejoy in the series of the same name.[2][3] He also enjoyed fame in the United States as English film director Don Lockwood in Dallas and as an English cockfighting aficionado in Roots. Even before Lovejoy, McShane was a pin-up as a result of appearances in television series, such as Wuthering Heights (1967, as Heathcliff), If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969, as Charlie), Jesus of Nazareth (1977, as Judas Iscariot), and Disraeli (1978)—as well as films like Sky West and Crooked (1965) and Battle of Britain (1969).

In the United States, he is perhaps best known for the role of historical figure Al Swearengen in the HBO series Deadwood,[3] for which he won the 2005 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Drama.[2] He was also nominated for at the 2005 Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Within the science fiction community, McShane is best known for playing the character Dr Robert Bryson in Babylon 5: The River of Souls.[6] In 1985, he appeared as an iconic MC on Grace Jones' Slave to the Rhythm, a concept album which featured his narration interspersed throughout, and which sold over a million copies worldwide.[7][8]

Other recent roles include Captain Hook in Shrek the Third, Iofur Raknison (known as Ragnar Sturlusson in the film) in The Golden Compass,[9] Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda[10] (for which he received an Annie Award nomination), and Mr. Bobinsky in Coraline.[11] In live-action, he has performed in Hot Rod,[12] the action/thriller Death Race,[13] and The Seeker.[14] He has appeared in The West Wing as a Russian diplomat.[15] During 2007–08, he starred as Max in the 40th anniversary Broadway revival of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, co-starring Eve Best, Raúl Esparza, and Michael McKean, and directed by Daniel Sullivan, at the Cort Theatre (16 December 2007 – 13 April 2008).[16]

In 2009, McShane appeared in Kings, which was based on the biblical story of David. His portrayal of King Silas Benjamin, an analogue of King Saul, was highly praised, with one critic saying, "Whenever Kings seems to falter, McShane appears to put bite marks all over the scenery."[17]

In 2010, McShane starred in The Pillars of the Earth as Bishop Waleran Bigod. The series was a historical drama set in 12th century England and adapted from Ken Follett's novel of the same name.[18]

Also in 2010, the Walt Disney Company confirmed that McShane would portray Blackbeard in the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, On Stranger Tides.[19] In 2013, McShane played King Brahmwell in Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer.[20]

Since 2010, McShane has narrated the opening teases for each round of ESPN's coverage of The Open Championship.[21] In 2012, McShane had a guest role for two episodes as Murder Santa, a sadistic serial killer in the 1960s in the second season of American Horror Story.[22] In 2016 he joined the cast of Game of Thrones in Season 6 as Ray.[23][24]

McShane will be playing Mr. Wednesday in the upcoming television adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods.[25]

Personal life

McShane married and divorced Suzan Farmer in the 1960s. In 1977, he began a relationship with Sylvia Kristel after meeting her on the set of The Fifth Musketeer.[26] The affair ended his marriage to his second wife, model Ruth Post, who is the mother of his two children, Kate and Morgan.[2]

On 30 August 1980, McShane married Gwen Humble (born 4 December 1953). They live in Venice Beach, California.[2]

See also



Year Title Role Notes
1962 The Wild and the Willing Harry Brown
1965 The Pleasure Girls Keith Dexter
1966 Sky West and Crooked Roibin
1967 Wuthering Heights Heathcliff
1969 If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Charlie Cartwright
1969 Battle of Britain Sgt. Pilot Andy
1970 Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You Fred C. Dobbs
1970 Tam-Lin Tom Lynn
1971 Freelance Mitch
1971 Villain Wolfe Lissner
1972 Left Hand of Gemini Unknown
1972 Sitting Target Birdy Williams
1973 The Last of Sheila Anthony
1975 Ransom Ray Petrie
1975 Journey into Fear Banat
1977 Code Name: Diamond Head Sean Donovan
1979 The Great Riviera Bank Robbery The Brain
1979 The Fifth Musketeer Fouquet
1979 Yesterday's Hero Rod Turner
1981 Cheaper to Keep Her Dr. Alfred Sunshine
1983 Exposed Greg Miller
1985 Ordeal by Innocence Philip Durant
1985 Too Scared to Scream Vincent Hardwick
1985 Torchlight Sidney
1987 Grand Larceny Flanagan
1999 Babylon 5: The River of Souls Robert Bryson, Ph.D.
2000 Sexy Beast Teddy Bass
2002 Bollywood Queen Frank
2003 Agent Cody Banks Dr. Brinkman
2003 Nemesis Game Jeff Novak
2005 Nine Lives Larry
2006 Scoop Joe Strombel
2006 We Are Marshall Paul Griffen
2007 Shrek the Third Captain Hook Voice
2007 Hot Rod Frank Powell
2007 The Seeker Merriman Lyon
2007 The Golden Compass Ragnar Sturlusson
2008 Kung Fu Panda Tai Lung Voice
2008 Death Race Coach
2009 Coraline Mr. Bobinsky Voice
2009 Case 39 Detective Mike Barron
2009 44 Inch Chest Meredith Also executive producer
2010 The Sorcerer's Apprentice Narrator Uncredited
2011 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Blackbeard
2012 Snow White and the Huntsman Beith
2013 Jack the Giant Slayer King Brahmwell
2014 Cuban Fury Ron Parfitt
2014 Hercules Amphiaraus
2014 John Wick Winston
2014 El Niño El Inglés
2015 Bolden! Judge Perry
2015 Bilal Umayya Voice
2016 Grimsby MI6 Head
2016 The Hollow Point Leland
2017 John Wick: Chapter Two Winston Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1966 You Can't Win Joe Lunn 7 episodes
1967 Wuthering Heights Heathcliff 4 episodes
1972 Whose Life Is It Anyway? Ken Harrison Television play
1975 Space: 1999 Anton Zoref Episode: "Force of Life"
1975 The Lives of Jenny Dolan Saunders Television film
1976 The Fantastic Journey Sir James Camden Episode: "The Fantastic Journey"
1977 Roots Sir Eric Russell Episode: "Part Nine"
1977 Jesus of Nazareth Judas Iscariot 2 episodes
1978 Will Shakespeare Christopher Marlowe Episode: "Dead Shepherd"
1978 Disraeli Benjamin Disraeli 4 episodes
1978 The Pirate Rashid Television film
1980 Armchair Thriller Curtis 4 episodes
1981–1982 Magnum, P.I. David Norman / Edwin Clutterbuck 2 episodes
1982 Marco Polo Ali Ben Yussouf 2 episodes
1983 Bare Essence Niko Theophilus 11 episodes
1983 Grace Kelly Prince Rainier of Monaco Television film
1985 Evergreen Paul Lerner 3 episodes
1985 A.D. Sejanus 5 episodes
1985 Braker Alan Roswell Television film
1986 American Playhouse Willy Wax Episode: "Rocket to the Moon"
1986–1994 Lovejoy Lovejoy 73 episodes
1987 Miami Vice Esteban Montoya Episode: "Knock, Knock... Who's There?"
1988 War and Remembrance Philip Rule 8 episodes
1989 Dallas Don Lockwood 13 episodes
1989 Minder Jack Last Episode: "The Last Video Show"
1989 Miami Vice Gen. Manuel Borbon Episode: "Freefall"
1989 Dick Francis Mysteries: Blood Sport David Cleveland Television film
1989 Dick Francis Mysteries: Twice Shy David Cleveland Television film
1990 Perry Mason Andre Marchand Television film
1990 Columbo Leland St. John Episode: "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo"
1996 Madson John Madson 6 episodes
1997 The Naked Truth Leland Banks 2 episodes
2002 The West Wing Nikolai Ivanovich Episode: "Enemies Foreign and Domestic"
2002 In Deep Jamie Lamb 2 episodes
2003 Trust Alan Cooper-Fozzard 6 episodes
2003 The Twilight Zone Dr. Chandler Episode: "Cold Fusion"
2004–2006 Deadwood Al Swearengen 36 episodes
2008 SpongeBob SquarePants Gordon Voice
Episode: "Dear Vikings"
2009 Kings King Silas Benjamin 12 episodes
2010 The Pillars of the Earth Waleran Bigod 8 episodes
2010 Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special Tai Lung Voice
Television film
2012 American Horror Story: Asylum Leigh Emerson 2 episodes
2015 Ray Donovan Andrew Finney[27] 9 episodes
2016 Doctor Thorne Sir Roger Scatcherd[28] 3 episodes
2016 Game of Thrones Ray Episode: "The Broken Man"
2016 American Gods Mr. Wednesday[29] Upcoming series

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2004 Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Drama Deadwood Won
2005 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Won
2005 Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Nine Lives Nominated
2005 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Deadwood Nominated
2005 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
2005 Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Drama Nominated
2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2009 Annie Awards Best Voice Acting in an Animated Featured Production Kung Fu Panda Nominated
2010 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Cast 44 Inch Chest Won
2010 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film The Pillars of the Earth Nominated
2011 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
2011 Golden Nymph Awards Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries Nominated
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Villain Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Nominated
2016 Gold Derby TV Awards 2016 Best Drama Guest Actor[30] Game of Thrones Nominated


  1. "Ian McShane, Esq's Biography". Debrett's. 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Gilbey, Ryan (16 March 2013). "Ian McShane: rogue trader". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 385. ISBN 1-84854-195-3.
  4. "Ian McShane Biography (1942–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  5. "Start building your family tree today". Thegenealogist.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  6. "Babylon 5: The River Of Souls". scifimusings.blogspot.ca. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  7. Billboard – Google Livros. Google Books. 22 November 1986. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  8. Billboard – Google Livros. Google Books. 13 December 1986. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  9. Ebert, Roger. "The Golden Compass Movie Review (2007) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  10. "Kung Fu Panda - Ian McShane Interview". movieweb.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  11. "Coraline - Ian McShane Interview". movieweb.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  12. "Ian McShane Joins The Cast Of Hot Rod". movieweb.com. 18 June 2006. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  13. Hewitt, Chris. "Ian McShane Enters The Death Race". Empire. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  14. "Interview: Ian McShane, Star of 'The Seeker: The Dark is Rising'". AOL Moviefone. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  15. "35 People You Might Not Realize Appeared on 'The West Wing'". mentalfloss.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  16. "The Homecoming @ Cort Theatre | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  17. David, My David: Israel's Most Charismatic King Comes to TV by Gordon Haber, 25 March 2009.
  18. MacInnes, Paul (2010-10-16). "The Pillars of the Earth: episode one". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  19. "EXCLUSIVE: 'Pirates 4' Producer Jerry Bruckheimer Confirms Geoffrey Rush Return, Penelope Cruz As Blackbeard's Daughter » MTV Movies Blog".
  20. Kit, Borys (21 March 2011). "Ian McShane Joins Bryan Singer's 'Jack the Giant Killer'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 22 March 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  21. 2010 BRITISH OPEN THURSDAY on YouTube
  22. Mitovich, Matt Webb; Mitovich, Matt Webb (10 October 2012). "Horror Story Taps Deadwood's Ian McShane to 'Tussle' With Jessica Lange". TVLine. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  23. "Ian McShane cast in Game of Thrones season 6". Watchers On The Wall. 1 August 2015.
  24. "Ian McShane Has No Regrets About Spoiling Game of Thrones". vulture.com. 24 July 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  25. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0574534/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
  26. Ross, Deborah (30 June 2007). "Interview: Sylvia Kristel, the world's most famous porn star". The Independent. London, UK. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  27. "'Deadwood' Star Ian McShane Joins Showtime's 'Ray Donovan'". thewrap.com. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  28. Heritage, Stuart (7 March 2016). "Ian McShane: why he'll always be an antiques dealer with a mullet". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  29. "Ian McShane to Star in 'American Gods' for Starz". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  30. Montgomery, Daniel (September 7, 2016). "Gold Derby TV Awards 2016: 'People v. O.J. Simpson' leads winners, 'Game of Thrones' & 'Veep' also prevail". Gold Derby. Retrieved September 11, 2016.

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