Martin Freeman

For other people named Martin Freeman, see Martin Freeman (disambiguation).

Martin Freeman

Freeman filming Sherlock in 2010
Born Martin John Christopher Freeman
(1971-09-08) 8 September 1971
Aldershot, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Residence Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, England[1]
Occupation Actor
Years active 1997–present
Religion Roman Catholicism
Partner(s) Amanda Abbington (2000–present)
Children 2

Martin John Christopher Freeman[2] (born 8 September 1971)[3] is an English actor, who became known for portraying Tim Canterbury in the original UK version of sitcom mockumentary The Office, Dr. John Watson in the British crime drama Sherlock, Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy, and Lester Nygaard in the dark comedy-crime drama TV series Fargo.

His other notable film roles include the romantic comedy Love Actually (2003), the comic science fiction film The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), the semi-improvised comedy Nativity! (2009), and the comedic Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, most prominently in the sci-fi comedy The World's End (2013).[4] Among other accolades, he has won an Emmy Award, BAFTA Award and an Empire Award, with nominations including two other Emmy Awards, two other BAFTA Awards, a Saturn Award, and a Golden Globe Award.

Early life

Freeman was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, the youngest of five children. His parents, Philomena (née Norris) and Geoffrey Freeman, a naval officer, separated when Freeman was a child. When Freeman was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack.[5][6] Freeman attended the Salesian School, Chertsey before attending Brooklands College for media studies.[7] His older brother Tim became a musician with the group Frazier Chorus.

Freeman was raised as a Roman Catholic. Although his family was not strict in their religious practices, his religion had a profound influence on him. As a child, he was asthmatic, and had to undergo a hip operation for what he has described as a "dodgy leg".[8][9]


Freeman at the BFI 51st London Film Festival, 2007

Freeman joined a youth theatre group at 15, but it was not until he was 17 that his confidence in his acting led to the decision to pursue it as a career.[8] He went on to attend the Central School of Speech and Drama.[7] Freeman has appeared in at least 18 TV shows, 14 theatre productions, and several radio productions. He is notable for his role as Tim Canterbury in The Office, a role which, he said in 2004, "cast a very long shadow" for him as an actor.[10] He appeared in the sitcom Hardware. He also appeared in several films, including Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Love Actually (2003).[7]

He began to move into more serious dramatic roles on television with his appearance as Lord Shaftesbury in the 2003 BBC historical drama Charles II: The Power and The Passion. He can also be seen making a brief appearance in the first episode of the second series of This Life. Freeman also starred in the BBC television series The Robinsons and had a cameo in episode 1 of Black Books. In 2007, he appeared in The All Together written and directed by Gavin Claxton, as well as the Bill Kenwright theatre production of The Last Laugh. He is featured in the video for Faith No More's cover of "I Started a Joke".[11] In May 2009 he starred in Boy Meets Girl, a four-part drama that charts the progress of characters Veronica and Danny after an accident which causes them to swap bodies.[12]

He currently plays Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC contemporary adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. The first episode of Sherlock, "A Study in Pink", was broadcast on 25 July 2010 to critical acclaim. For his performance in the role he won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, 2011 and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.

He played Bilbo Baggins, the main character, in the three-part Peter Jackson film series The Hobbit.[13][14] Accolades that his performance in the first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, garnered him include Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards[15] and Best Actor at the 18th Empire Awards.[16]

Freeman at the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey World Premiere at Embassy Theatre, Wellington, 2012

Freeman appeared in all three of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's comedic Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, commencing with a brief non-speaking role in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne's boyfriend, Declan, followed by a brief cameo in Hot Fuzz as a police officer. He was a main cast member in the 2013 finale to the trilogy, The World's End. On 5 October 2013, he was presented with a fellowship bearing his name by the members of University College Dublin's Literary & Historical Society. In April 2014, Freeman began playing insurance salesman Lester Nygaard in the dark comedy-crime drama series Fargo.[17] For his performance in this series, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award,[18] a Golden Globe Award,[19] and a Critics' Choice Television Award.[20] He opened in the title role in Shakespeare’s play Richard III in July 2014 at Trafalgar Studios.[21]

In 2015 Freeman starred as producer Milton Fruchtman in the television film The Eichmann Show, based on the filming, by blacklisted TV director Leo Hurwitz, of the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. The film intercut dramatic scenes with historical footage from the trial. The Daily Telegraph described the film as "absolutely enthralling".[22][23] He also played Everett Ross in Captain America: Civil War, which released in May 2016.[24]

Freeman starred in Cargo, a 2017 zombie feature length remake of a 2013 short film of the same name.[25]

Personal life

Freeman lives in Potters Bar in Hertfordshire with his partner, actress Amanda Abbington, whom he met on the set of Channel 4's Men Only in 2000.[26] The couple have two children together: Joe (born 2006) and Grace (born 2008).[8][9][27] They have appeared in other productions together, including Sherlock, Swinging with the Finkels, The Debt, The Robinsons, and The All Together.

In an edition of Who Do You Think You Are? aired on 19 August 2009, Freeman discovered that his grandfather, Leonard Freeman, was a medic who was killed a couple of days before the Dunkirk evacuation at the beginning of World War II. Leonard's father, Richard, was born blind and had been a piano tuner and organist at St Andrew's Church, West Tarring and later a music teacher in Kingston upon Hull.[5]

Freeman is a pescetarian.[28] He has struggled with religion, stating that "my relationship with my belief has never been easy."[29] Despite these struggles, he has said his Catholic faith remains intact.[30] In 2011, Freeman took part in a charity cricket match to raise money for victims of the Christchurch earthquake.[31] In 2015 Freeman appeared in a party election broadcast for the Labour Party, endorsing the party ahead of the UK general election in May.[32]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 I Just Want to Kiss You Frank Short film
2000 The Low Down Solomon
2001 Round About Five The Man Short film
2001 Fancy Dress Pirate
2002 Ali G Indahouse Ricky C
2003 Love Actually John
2004 Blake's Junction 7 Vila Short film
2004 Call Register Kevin
2004 Shaun of the Dead Declan Cameo
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Arthur Dent
2006 Confetti Matt
2006 Breaking and Entering Sandy
2007 Dedication Jeremy
2007 The Good Night Gary Shaller
2007 Hot Fuzz Met. Sergeant
2007 Lonely Hearts The Pig Short film
2007 The All Together Chris Ashworth
2007 Rubbish Kevin Short film
2007 Nightwatching Rembrandt
2008 Rembrandt's J'Accuse Rembrandt Documentary
2009 Nativity! Paul Maddens
2009 Swinging with the Finkels Alvin Finkel
2010 Wild Target Hector Dixon
2010 The Girl is Mime Clive Buckle Short film[33]
2011 What's Your Number? Simon
2012 The Pirates! Band of Misfits The Pirate with a Scarf Voice
2012 Animals Albert
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Bilbo Baggins
2013 The World's End Oliver Chamberlain
2013 Svengali Don
2013 Saving Santa Bernard Voice
2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Bilbo Baggins
2013 The Voorman Problem Dr. Williams Short film
2014 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Bilbo Baggins
2015 Midnight of My Life Steve Marriott Short film
2015 Tubby Hayes: A Man in a Hurry Narrator Documentary
2016 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Iain MacKelpie
2016 Captain America: Civil War Everett K. Ross
2017 Cargo Andy Australian post-apocalyptic film based on a 2013 short film of the same name
2017 Funny Cow Angus Pre-production


Year Title Role Notes
1997 The Bill Craig Parnell Episode: "Mantrap"
1997 This Life Stuart Episode: "Last Tango in Southwark"
1998 Casualty Ricky Beck Episode: "She Loved the Rain"
1998 Picking up the Pieces Brendan Episode: "1.7"
1999 Exhaust The Car Owner
2000 Bruiser Various Characters 6 episodes
2000 Lock, Stock... Jaap 2 episodes
2000 Black Books Doctor Episode: "Cooking the Books"
2001 World of Pub Various Characters 5 episodes
2001 Men Only Jamie Television film
2001–2003 The Office Tim Canterbury 14 episodes
2002 Helen West DC Stone 3 episodes
2002 Linda Green Matt Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go"
2003 Charles II: The Power and The Passion Lord Shaftesbury Miniseries
2003 The Debt Terry Ross Television film
2003 Margery and Gladys D.S. Stringer Television film
2003–2004 Hardware Mike 12 episodes
2004 Pride Fleck Television film
2005 The Robinsons Ed Robinson 6 episodes
2007 Comedy Showcase Greg Wilson Episode: "Other People"
2007 The Old Curiosity Shop Mr. Codlin Television film
2008 When Were We Funniest? Himself 4 episodes
2009 Boy Meets Girl Danny Reed Miniseries
2009 Micro Men Chris Curry Television film
2010–present Sherlock Dr. John Watson 10 episodes
2014 Fargo Lester Nygaard Season 1; 10 episodes
2014 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern Young Brian Pern Episode: "Jukebox Musical"
2014 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Martin Freeman/Charli XCX"
2015 The Eichmann Show Milton Fruchtman Television film
2015 Robot Chicken Reverend Parris (voice) Season 8; Episode: "Zero Vegetables"
2015 Fargo The Narrator (voice) Season 2; Episode: "The Castle"
2015 Toast of London Himself Episode: "Global Warming"
2015 Stick Man Stick Man (voice) TV adaptation of story by Julia Donaldson, originally illustrated by Axel Scheffler
2016 StartUp Phil Rask 10 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Work Award Category Result
2002The OfficeBritish Comedy AwardsBest Comedy ActorNominated
2004The Office (for "The Office Christmas Specials")BAFTAsBest Comedy PerformanceNominated
British Comedy AwardsBest TV Comedy ActorNominated
Love ActuallyPhoenix Film Critics SocietyBest CastNominated
Love ActuallyWashington DC Area Film Critics Association AwardBest Ensemble CastWon
Love ActuallyCritics' Choice Movie AwardsBest Acting EnsembleNominated
HardwareRose d'OrBest Male Comedy PerformanceWon
2011SherlockBAFTAsBest Supporting ActorWon
Sherlock (for "A Scandal in Belgravia")Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
Gold Derby TV AwardsTV Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actor Won
SherlockCrime Thriller AwardsBest Supporting ActorWon
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
PAAFTJ AwardsBest Cast in a Miniseries or TV MovieWon
PAAFTJ AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV MovieNominated
Tumblr TV AwardsHottest Male Character in a TV ShowNominated
Tumblr TV AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama SeriesWon
Tumblr TV AwardsBest Male Character in a TV SeriesNominated
Tumblr TV AwardsBest Cast in a TV ShowWon
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyTotal Film Hotlist AwardsHottest Actor Nominated
2013The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyEmpire AwardsBest ActorWon[16][34]
Saturn AwardBest ActorNominated
MTV Movie AwardsBest Scared-as-S**t PerformanceNominated[35]
MTV Movie AwardsBest HeroWon[15]
SFX AwardsBest ActorNominated
Shorts AwardsVisionary ActorWon
New Zealand Movie AwardsHero of the Year Nominated
Constellation AwardsBest Male Performance In A 2012 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-SeriesNominated
Tumblr Movie AwardsBest Leading Actor Nominated
Tumblr Movie AwardsBest Ship Nominated
Online Film Critics' AwardsMost Cinematic MomentNominated
Stella AwardsBest Actor in a Leading Role Won
The World's EndAlternative End of Year Film AwardsBest Ensemble CastWon
2014The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugEmpire AwardsBest ActorNominated
MTV Movie AwardsBest HeroNominated
Constellation AwardsBest Male Performance In A 2013 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-Series2nd Place
YouReviewers AwardsBest HeroNominated
Stella AwardsBest Actor in a Leading RoleWon
Online Film Critics' AwardsMost Cinematic MomentNominated
CinEuphoria AwardsBest EnsembleNominated
FargoCritics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actor in a Movie or Mini-SeriesNominated
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Actor in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Ensemble in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television FilmNominated
Crime Thriller AwardsBest Actor
Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-SeriesNominated
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieWon
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Ensemble in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
2015The Hobbit: The Battle of Five ArmiesMTV Movie AwardsBest HeroNominated
Favorite British Artists of the YearFavourite Actor in a Motion PictureNominated
FargoFavorite British Artists of the YearFavourite Actor in a Television SeriesNominated
Richard IIIThe Mousetrap AwardsBest Male PerformancerWon
2016Stick ManBritish Animation AwardsBest Voice Performance Won


  1. "Sherlock's Amanda Abbington: 'actors need to remember how lucky they are'". 24 Sep 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  2. "Martin Freeman (April 2012)". Slow Boat Records. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  3. Larman, Alexander. "Freeman, Martin (b. 1971)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  4. Braun, J.W. (2010). The Lord of the Films. ECW Press.
  5. 1 2 "Martin Freeman". Who Do You Think You Are?. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  6. "Interview: Martin Freeman, Actor". The Scotsman. 27 November 2009.
  7. 1 2 3 "Martin Freeman: No ordinary Bilbo Baggins". The Independent. 30 November 2012.
  8. 1 2 3 Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:'The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail. UK. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  9. 1 2 Paton, Maureen (17 July 2010). "In a taxi with...Martin Freeman". Daily Mail. London.
  10. Meritt, Stephanie (22 February 2004). "Tim for a change". Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  11. , Faith No More - I Started A Joke (Official Music Video), (21 Feb 2014); retrieved 5 August 2016.
  12. Boy Meets Girl Interview: Martin Freeman profile, (30 April 2009); retrieved 27 August 2011.
  13. "Martin Freeman to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit". BBC News. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  14. Child, Ben (22 October 2010). "Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, a match made in Hobbit heaven". Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  15. 1 2 Calautti, Katie (April 15, 2013). "Bilbo Baggins Beats Snow White For Best Hero At MTV Movie Awards". MTV Movie Awards.
  16. 1 2 Szalai, Georg (25 March 2013). Sam Mendes Win Empire Awards in U.K. for 'Skyfall', The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. "Martin Freeman interview: 'I had no interest in Fargo just being a TV version of the film'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  18. Lowry, Brian (July 10, 2014). "2014 Emmy Awards: 'Game of Thrones,' 'Fargo' Lead Nominations". Variety. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  19. Swift, Andy (January 11, 2015). "Golden Globes 2015: Gina Rodriguez, Transparent, The Affair Win Big". TVLine. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  20. Prudom, Laura (June 20, 2014). "Critics' Choice Awards: 'Breaking Bad,' 'OITNB,' 'Fargo,' 'Normal Heart' Among Top Winners". Variety. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  21. "Richard III".
  22. Gerard O’Donovan (20 January 2015). "The Eichmann Show, review: 'absolutely enthralling'". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  23. "Martin Freeman interview: The actor on hobbits, Cumbermania and his Nazi-hounding role in The Eichmann Show". The Independent. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  24. De Semlyen, Phil (February 22, 2016). "Martin Freeman's Captain America: Civil War character revealed". Empire. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  25. Giroux, Jack (September 24, 2016). "'Cargo' First Look: Martin Freeman Stars in the Zombie-Infested Drama". /Film.
  26. Power, Vicki. "How Tim from The Office found real love: Amanda Abbington on life with Martin Freeman". Daily Mail. 17 July 2011.
  27. McLean, Craig (26 May 2013). "Amanda Abbington: Sherlock's Martin and Benedict have a fantastic chemistry". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  28. "Actor Martin Freeman's back in snow business with another Yuletide flick". 15 Nov 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2016. I am pescetarian really because I eat fish but not meat.
  29. Hardy, Rebecca (20 November 2009). "'People care more about X Factor than homelessness:' The Office star Martin Freeman on the things that tick him off". Daily Mail.
  30. "Martin Freeman: No ordinary Bilbo Baggins". The Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  31. NZPA and Greer McDonald (April 2011). "Charity Match Benefits Christchurch Effort". The Rugby Corner.
  32. Mason, Rowena (3 April 2015). "Hobbit star Martin Freeman appears in Labour election broadcast". Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  33. "The 48 Hour Film Project: Behind the Scenes". Pixiq. February 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  34. "Best Actor – Martin Freeman". Empire. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  35. "Best Scared-As-S**t Performance". MTV Movie Awards. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  36. "Best Actor Dagger 2014". Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
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