Tim Roth

For the metal guitarist, see Tim Roth (musician).
Tim Roth

Born Timothy Simon Roth[1]
(1961-05-14) 14 May 1961
Dulwich, London, England
Occupation Actor, film director
Years active 1982–present
Spouse(s) Niki Butler (m. 1993)
Children 3

Timothy Simon "Tim" Roth (born 14 May 1961) is an English actor and director. He made his debut role in the 1982 television film Made in Britain (1982). He garnered critical acclaim for his role as Myron in the 1984 film The Hit (1984), for which he was nominated for his first BAFTA Award. Roth gained more attention for his performances in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), Vincent & Theo (1990) and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990).

He later earned international recognition for appearing in Quentin Tarantino films, such as Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994) and Four Rooms (1995). For the historical drama Rob Roy (1995), Roth won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He made his directorial debut with The War Zone (1999), for which he received numerous accolades.

Roth's other notable films include Captives (1994), Little Odessa (1994), Everyone Says I Love You (1996), Gridlock'd (1997), Deceiver (1997), Legend of 1900 (1999), Planet of the Apes (2001), Invincible (2001), Funny Games (2007), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Arbitrage (2012), Broken (2012), Selma (2014) and his fourth collaboration with Tarantino: The Hateful Eight (2015). He also starred as Cal Lightman on the Fox series Lie to Me (2009—2011).

Early life

Roth was born in Dulwich, London, the son of Ann, a painter and teacher, and Ernie, a Fleet Street journalist, painter, and member of the British Communist Party until the 1970s.[2][3][4]

His father was born with the surname "Smith" in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York, to a British immigrant family of Irish ancestry; he changed his surname to the often German/Jewish "Roth" in the 1940s, "partly through solidarity with the victims of the Holocaust, partly because the English were far from welcome in some of the countries to which his job took him".[4][5]

Roth attended the Strand School in Tulse Hill. As a young man, he wanted to be a sculptor and studied at London's Camberwell College of Art.[6]


Roth at the Cannes film festival in 2012

Roth made his acting début at the age of 21, playing a white power skinhead named Trevor in a 1982 TV film titled Made in Britain. He played an East End character in King of the Ghetto, a controversial drama based on a novel by Farukh Dhondy set in Brick Lane and broadcast by the BBC in 1986. He played a shy young man in the 1984 Mike Leigh film Meantime.

In 1985, he appeared in the television film Murder with Mirrors. He played an apprentice hitman in Stephen Frears' The Hit, earning an Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Newcomer. He appeared in several other films towards the end of the decade and in 1989 he had a supporting role as the buffoonish lackey Mitchell in Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. In 1990, he began to enjoy international attention with starring roles as Vincent van Gogh in Robert Altman's Vincent & Theo and Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.

Roth and other young British actors of the time, such as Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Daniel Day-Lewis, Bruce Payne, and Paul McGann, were dubbed the Brit Pack,[7][8] a nickname based on the Brat Pack. Roth was cast as "Mr. Orange" in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 film Reservoir Dogs. In 1994, Tarantino cast him as a robber in Pulp Fiction.

They also collaborated in the 1995 film Four Rooms, where he played Ted. His role as Archibald Cunningham in Rob Roy earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, a Golden Globe nomination and won him a BAFTA for the same performance.

In 1996, he starred in Woody Allen's musical comedy Everyone Says I Love You. He also starred as "Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon 1900" in The Legend of 1900, and in the same year, he co-starred in the film Gridlock'd. He made his directorial debut in 1999 with The War Zone, a film version of Alexander Stuart's novel. In 2001, he portrayed General Thade in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes. Roth was the original choice for the role of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series, but he turned it down for Planet of the Apes.[9]

He was considered for the part of Hannibal Lecter in the 2001 film Hannibal before Anthony Hopkins returned to reclaim the role. He appeared in Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth and Michael Haneke's Funny Games, then starred as Emil Blonsky / Abomination in The Incredible Hulk.

From 2009 to 2011, he starred in a series on Fox called Lie To Me. He played Dr. Cal Lightman, an expert on body language who assists local and federal law organisations in the investigations of crimes. His character was based on Dr. Paul Ekman, a notable psychologist and expert on body language and facial expressions.[10] In 2010, Roth appeared on the cover of Manic Street Preachers' 2010 studio album, Postcards from a Young Man.

In 2012, he was announced as the President of the Jury for the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[11] He starred as FIFA President Sepp Blatter in United Passions, a film about football's governing body, released in 2014, to coincide with FIFA's 110th anniversary, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[12] However, United Passions grossed only $918 in its opening weekend, and has now been considered to be one of the worst films of all time. Roth later stated that he regretted taking the role in light of the corruption allegations listed against FIFA and Blatter at the time.

Personal life

Roth has a son, Jack, born to Lori Baker in 1984.[13] Jack is also an actor.[14] Roth married Nikki Butler in 1993; they have two sons, Timothy Hunter (born 1995) and Michael Cormac (born 1996). Roth is a supporter of the Green Party of England and Wales.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Meantime Colin A Channel 4 TV Movie directed by Mike Leigh
1984 The Hit Myron Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
1985 Return to Waterloo Boy Punk
1988 A World Apart Harold
To Kill a Priest Feliks
Twice Upon a Time
1989 The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover Mitchel
1990 Vincent & Theo Vincent van Gogh
Farendj Anton
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead Guildenstern
1991 Backsliding Tom Whitton
1992 Reservoir Dogs Freddy Newendyke ("Mr. Orange")
Jumpin' at the Boneyard Manny
1993 Bodies, Rest & Motion Nick
El Marido perfecto Milan
1994 Captives Philip Chaney
Little Odessa Joshua Shapira Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Pulp Fiction "Ringo" ("Pumpkin")
1995 Rob Roy Archibald Cunningham BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Four Rooms Ted
1996 No Way Home Joey
Everyone Says I Love You Charles Ferry
Mocking the Cosmos Myrodemnon / Myron
1997 Gridlock'd Alexander "Stretch" Rawland
Hoodlum Dutch Schultz
Deceiver James Walter Wayland
Animals with the Tollkeeper Henry
1998 Legend of 1900 Danny Boodman TD Lemon 1900
1999 The War Zone Director
C.I.C.A.E. Award
Valladolid International Film Festival Silver Spike
European Film Award for European Discovery of the Year
Edinburgh International Film Festival for Best New British Feature
Tróia Award – First Works Section
Jury Award for Best Director & Best First Feature
Nominated – Bodil Award for Best Non-American Film
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film
2000 The Million Dollar Hotel Izzy Goldkiss
Vatel Marquis de Lauzun
Lucky Numbers Gig
2001 Planet of the Apes Thade Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actor
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Invincible Hersche Steinschneider / Erik Jan Hanussen
The Musketeer Febre
2002 Emmett's Mark John Harrett / Frank Dwyer Nominated – DVD Exclusive Award for Best Supporting Actor in a DVD Premiere Movie
2003 Whatever We Do Joe Short film
To Kill a King Oliver Cromwell
2004 Nouvelle-France William Pitt
The Beautiful Country Captain Oh
With It "Chicken Louis" Farnatelli
Silver City Mitch Paine
2005 Don't Come Knocking Sutter
Dark Water Jeff Platzer
2007 Even Money Victor
Youth Without Youth Dominic
Virgin Territory Gerbino
2008 Funny Games George
The Incredible Hulk Emil Blonsky/Abomination
2009 King Conqueror King Pedro II of Aragon
2010 Pete Smalls Is Dead Pete Smalls
2012 Arbitrage Detective Michael Bryer
Broken Archie Stockholm International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Möbius Rostovski
2013 The Liability Roy
2014 Grace of Monaco Prince Rainier of Monaco
United Passions Sepp Blatter
Selma George Wallace
October Gale Tom
2015 A Fall from Grace Detective Tabb
600 Miles Hank Harris
Chronic David
Hardcore Henry Henry's Father
Mr. Right Hopper
The Hateful Eight Oswaldo Mobray
2016 The Brits Are Coming Peter Fox Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1982 Made in Britain Trevor Television film
1983 Meantime Colin A Channel 4 TV Movie directed by Mike Leigh
Not Necessarily the News Gay Man Episode: "Road Trip"
1985 Murder with Mirrors Edgar Lawson Television film
1986 King of the Ghetto Matthew Long 4 episodes
1987 Metamorphosis Gregor Samsa Television film
1991 Tales from the Crypt Jack Craig Episode: "Easel Kill Ya"
1993 Murder in the Heartland Charles Starkweather Miniseries
Heart of Darkness Marlow Television film
2006 Tsunami: The Aftermath Nick Fraser Television film
2009 Skellig Skellig Television film
2009–2011 Lie to Me Dr. Cal Lightman People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Crime Fighter[16]
2010 Sea Wolf Death Larsen 2 episodes
2014 Klondike The Count 6 episodes
Robot Chicken The Doctor (voice) Episode: "Walking Dead Lobster"
2016 Reg[17] Reg Keys Television film
Rillington Place John Christie
2017 Twin Peaks TBA


  1. "Person Details for Simon T Roth, "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008" — FamilySearch.org".
  2. Tim Roth Biography (1961–), Film Reference
  3. Raphael, Amy, Tim Roth interview, UK: Esquire
  4. 1 2 Simon, Alex (5 March 2009). "Tim Roth: The Hollywood Interview". The Hollywood Interview. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
  5. Shoard, Catherine (20 May 2012). "Tim Roth: who's the daddy?". The Guardian. London.
  6. Geoff Pevere. "Tim Roth treats actors with care". Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  7. Stern, Marlow. "Gary Oldman Talks 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,' 'Batman' Retirement". The Daily Beast. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  8. The Brit Pack. Brucepayne.de. Retrieved on 14 January 2011.
  9. What Would 'Potter' Have Been Like With Tim Roth As Snape? » MTV Movies Blog. Moviesblog.mtv.com (7 December 2007). Retrieved on 14 January 2011.
  10. Lie to Me, USFCA
  11. "Tim Roth to lead Cannes Un Certain Regard jury". BBC News. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  12. "Tim Roth to play Fifa president Sepp Blatter on film" . BBC. Retrieved 4 December 2013
  13. Andrew Smith (28 March 1997). "Look back in anger". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  14. "Jack Roth". IMDb.
  15. Craig McLean (3 April 2008). "Tim Roth: touching evil in Michael Haneke's Funny Games". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  16. WINNERS' LIST: People's Choice Awards 2011
  17. "BBC One: Reg". BBC Online. Retrieved 7 June 2016.

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