Jeremy Irons

Last updated on the 24 June 2024 by Maeve

Jeremy Irons

Mini Biography

Born:  19 September 1948, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.

Jeremy Irons’ father was an accountant who instilled a love for figures, but young Jeremy craved a different kind of drama. He dreamt of becoming a vet, a passion nurtured by his island upbringing. However, fate intervened at boarding school, where a love for Shakespeare blossomed.

Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder and Claire Bloom as Lady Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited
Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder and Claire Bloom as Lady Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited

Irons attended the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Here, he shed his island shyness, immersing himself in the world of classical theatre. He devoured Shakespeare and contemporaries, graduating with a thirst for diverse roles. The 1970s saw him travel through London’s vibrant theatre scene. He took on everything from musicals like “Godspell” to Shakespearean tragedies, his distinctive voice and brooding intensity entrancing audiences.

His screen debut came in 1980 with “Nijinsky,” but it was television’s “Brideshead Revisited” in 1981 that catapulted him to international fame. Irons embodied the enigmatic Charles Ryder, his performance capturing the hearts of viewers worldwide. This success paved the way for a prolific film career.

Reversal of Fortune - Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close
Reversal of Fortune – Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close

Irons possessed a remarkable ability to inhabit complex characters. He could be chillingly villainous, as seen in his portrayal of twins in “Dead Ringers,” or deliver heartbreaking vulnerability, like his turn as the accused Claus von Bülow in “Reversal of Fortune,” a role that earned him an Academy Award. He played historical dramas with ease, bringing figures like Manfred von Richthofen in “The Red Baron” and Rodrigo Borgia in “The Borgias” to life.

François Arnaud, Jeremy Irons and Holliday Grainger - The Borgias
François Arnaud, Jeremy Irons and Holliday Grainger – The Borgias

He didn’t shy away from lighter roles either. He voiced the iconic villain Scar in Disney’s “The Lion King,” adding a layer of Shakespearean villainy to the animated masterpiece. His work transcended genre, captivating audiences in thrillers like “Die Hard with a Vengeance” and fantasy epics like “Eragon.”

Despite his Hollywood success, Irons remained deeply connected to the stage. He returned to the West End and Broadway throughout his career, winning a Tony Award for his performance in “The Real Thing.” He continued to challenge himself with diverse theatrical roles, solidifying his reputation as a thespian of exceptional range.

Jeremy Irons’ personal life is as private as his characters are public. Married to actress Sinéad Cusack since 1978, the couple have two sons, Max and Samuel, who have also pursued careers in the arts. Irons is known for his environmental activism and humanitarian work,


Oscar award


WINNER | Best Actor in a Leading Role for Reversal of Fortune (1991)



Suggested viewing


The Merchant of Venice (2004)

The Merchant of Venice poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.0

Shakespeare’s story follows merchant Antonio, who takes a loan from moneylender Shylock to help his friend Bassanio woo a wealthy heiress. When Antonio fails to repay the debt, Shylock demands a pound of his flesh as payment. The film explores themes of justice, mercy and prejudice.

Top cast: Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Joseph Fiennes, Lynn Collins, Zuleikha Robinson, Kris Marshall, Charlie Cox, Heather Goldenhersh, Mackenzie Crook, John Sessions, Gregor Fisher, Ron Cook.


The Borgias (2011)

The Borgias poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.9

The Borgias chronicles the rise and fall of the infamous Borgia family in Renaissance Italy. Patriarch Rodrigo Borgia uses cunning and ruthlessness to become Pope Alexander VI and he uses his position to secure power and influence for his ambitious children, Cesare and Lucrezia. The series explores their family’s struggle for political dominance and personal gain, over seeing a world of political intrigue, moral corruption and the ever-present threat of betrayal.

Top cast: Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Joanne Whalley, Sean Harris, Vernon Dobtcheff, Colm Feore, Peter Sullivan, Lotte Verbeek.


Brideshead Revisited (1981)

Brideshead Revisited (1981) poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.6

A young man from a modest background befriends a charming but troubled member of a wealthy, Catholic family. Drawn to their opulent lifestyle and deep faith, he becomes entangled in their complex relationships, navigating love, loss and the clash between tradition and personal desires against the backdrop of a changing world.

Top cast: Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews, Diana Quick, Claire Bloom, Phoebe Nicholls, Simon Jones, John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Stéphane Audran.


Munich: The Edge of War (2021)

Munich: The Edge of War

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.8

As war looms in Europe, two former friends, now on opposing sides, reunite in Munich. One, a British diplomat, seeks a peaceful resolution. The other, a German official, grapples with his loyalty as he uncovers a Nazi secret that could tip the world into chaos.

Top cast: George Mackay, Jannis Niewöhner, Jeremy Irons, Robert Bathurst, Jessica Brown Findlay, August Diehl, Sandra Hüller, Alex Jennings, Ulrich Matthews.


Reversal of Fortune (1990)

Reversal of Fortune poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.2

A wealthy socialite falls into a coma, leaving her husband accused of attempted murder. He hires a determined lawyer who delves into inconsistencies in the case, raising questions about guilt and innocence while grappling with the complexities of a high-profile trial and the societal pressures surrounding wealth and privilege.

Top cast: Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Ron Silver, Annabella Sciorra, Uta Hagen, Fisher Stevens, Jack Gilpin, Christine Baranski, Stephen Mailer.


The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981)

The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.9

In Victorian England, a wealthy gentleman becomes entangled with a social outcast, sparking a passionate but forbidden affair. While filming a movie based on this story, the actors portraying the couple find themselves drawn to each other, mirroring the complexities of their on-screen characters and blurring the lines between reality and fiction.

Top cast: Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Hilton McRae, Lynsey Baxter, Emily Morgan, Penelope Wilton, Jean Faulds, Charlotte Mitchell, Peter Vaughan.


Longitude (2000)

Longitude poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.8

In a race against time and bureaucracy, a self-taught clockmaker battles the scientific establishment to build a precise timepiece, solving the centuries-old problem of determining longitude at sea, and revolutionising navigation while ensuring safer journeys for countless lives.

Top cast: Michael Gambon, Jeremy Irons, Ian Hart, Andrew Scott, Bill Nighy, Gemma Jones, John Wood, Anna Chancellor, Brian Cox.


The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

The Man Who Knew Infinity poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 7.2

A brilliant but unschooled Indian mathematician, facing poverty and societal constraints, sends his groundbreaking formulas to a renowned Cambridge professor. Despite initial skepticism, their unlikely partnership blossoms, as the professor mentors the prodigy, traversing cultural differences and the pressures of academic validation.

Top cast: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Devika Bhise, Stephen Fry, Toby Jones, Arundathi Nag, Anthony Calf, Richard Cunningham.


Jeremy Irons full filmography @ Wikipedia
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