Toby Stephens

Last updated on the 10 June 2024 by Maeve

Toby Stephens

Mini Biography

Born 21 April 1969, London, England

Toby Stephens’s father, Robert Stephens, was a renowned Shakespearean actor and his mother, Maggie Smith, the iconic Dame of British theatre and cinema. Despite this theatrical pedigree, Stephens’s path to acting wasn’t entirely preordained.

Jane Eyre - Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens
Jane Eyre – Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens

Toby Stephens’s early life was a whirlwind of transatlantic travel. Following his parents’ divorce when he was four, Stephens and his brother, Chris Larkin (who also became an actor), found themselves shuttling between England with their father and Canada and the US with their mother, who was in high demand for acting roles. This nomadic upbringing instilled in Stephens a sense of independence and adaptability, traits that would later serve him well in his acting career.

The allure of the stage eventually captivated Stephens. While working as a stagehand at the Chichester Festival Theatre, he found himself drawn to the end-of-season productions put on by the crew. This inspired him to attend the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), graduating in 1992.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Toby Stephens and Tara Fitzgerald
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Toby Stephens and Tara Fitzgerald

Fresh out of LAMDA, Stephens landed a plum role – the title character in a Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production of “Coriolanus.” This performance earned him critical acclaim and prestigious awards, including the Sir John Gielgud Prize for Best Actor and the Ian Charleson Award. It marked the beginning of a fruitful association with the RSC, where he tackled diverse Shakespearean roles like Claudio in “Measure for Measure” and Hamlet.

Toby Stephens’s screen debut came in 1992 with Sally Potter’s unconventional biopic “Orlando,” where he played the fiery Othello. He balanced his stage work with television appearances, including the period drama “The Camomile Lawn.” In 2002, he achieved global recognition for his portrayal of the villainous Gustav Graves in the James Bond film “Die Another Day.” His charismatic performance earned him a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Following “Die Another Day,” Stephens continued to impress audiences with his versatility. He took on the role of the conflicted William Gordon in the Indian historical drama “Mangal Pandey: The Rising” and then the brooding Mr. Rochester in the BBC’s 2006 adaptation of “Jane Eyre.”

Black Sails - Toby Stephens and Luke Arnold
Black Sails – Toby Stephens and Luke Arnold

In 2014, Stephens embarked on a defining television role, portraying the ruthless Captain Flint in the Starz series “Black Sails.” This Golden Age of Piracy drama showcased Stephens’s ability to command the screen with a captivating blend of charm and menace. He spent four seasons breathing life into the complex and morally ambiguous Flint, solidifying his place as a leading television actor.

From 2018 to 2021, Stephens took on another prominent television role, playing John Robinson, the resourceful husband and father in the Netflix sci-fi series “Lost in Space.” This family adventure series allowed him to explore a lighter side, displaying his comedic timing and on-screen chemistry with his co-star, Molly Parker.

Toby Stephens married actress Anna-Louise Plowman in 2001 and the couple have three children.


Suggested viewing


Vexed (2010)

Vexed poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.2

A detective with a messy personal life tackles crimes alongside a charming new partner. As they face murder, kidnappings and dangerous hitmen, their undeniable chemistry simmers beneath the surface of their police work, making it hard to tell if they’ll solve the case or confess their feelings first.

Top cast: Toby Stephens, Lucy Punch, Miranda Raison, Rory Kinnear, Ronny Jhutti, Nick Dunning.


Black Sails (2014)

Black Sails poster

Bftv 9.5 / IMDb 8.2

On a lawless island teeming with pirates, ambition drives a ruthless captain seeking freedom, while his former ally clings to a fading dream. As empires clash and loyalty fractures, their pursuit of wealth and survival ignites a bloody game of power, redefining legacy and rewriting history amidst the roar of cannons and the clash of steel.

Top cast: Toby Stephens, Luke Arnold, Hannah New, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Schmitz, Tom Hopper, Clara Paget, Zach McGowan, Hakeem Kae-Kazim.


Summer of Rockets (2019)

Summer of Rockets poster

Bftv 8.5  / IMDb 7.0

Amidst Cold War paranoia, a Jewish inventor traverses a web of espionage and family tensions. His revolutionary hearing aids draw MI5’s attention, plunging him into a shadowy world where loyalty blurs and secrets explode, as his family grapples with class prejudice and the looming nuclear threat, all against the backdrop of Britain’s fading imperial glory.

Top cast: Toby Stephens, Keeley Hawes, Linus Roache, Mark Bonnar, Lucy Cohu, Claire Bloom, Lily Sacofsky, Timothy Spall, Gary Beadle.


Die Another Day (2002)

Die Another Day poster

Bftv 8.0  / IMDb 6.0

Trapped, tortured, then released under suspicion, Bond hunts a traitor and a billionaire who weaponises diamonds and sunlight. Battling a laser-wielding diamond mogul and his genetically enhanced henchmen, Bond surfs glaciers, infiltrates ice palaces and finds a fiery ally in a tech-savvy NSA agent, all while trying to die another day.

Top cast: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Madsen, Will Yun Lee.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.3

In a rural Victorian era, a mysterious woman seeks refuge in a crumbling mansion, ostracised by whispers of a cruel marriage. When a kind farmer seeks her truth, she reveals a diary chronicling her escape from a brutal husband, her fight for independence and the love that fuels her resilience, forcing the village to confront their judgment and redefine redemption.

Top cast: Toby Stephens, Tara Fitzgerald, Rupert Graves, Sarah Badel, Jackson Leach, Joe Absolom, Kenneth Cranham, Beatie Edney.


Jane Eyre (2006)

Jane Eyre (2006)

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.3

Orphaned Jane endures cruelty and hardship, escaping to become a governess. She finds solace and love at Thornfield, only to discover her enigmatic master harbours a dark secret that threatens their fragile bond. Torn between passion and integrity, Jane must choose her own path, defying societal expectations and confronting the ghosts of her past to claim a future of her own design.

Top cast: Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens, Tara Fitzgerald, Lorraine Ashbourne, Pam Ferris, Christina Cole, Jeanne Golding, Ned Irish, Arthur Cox.


Cambridge Spies (2003)

Cambridge Spies poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.4

In 1930s England, four brilliant Cambridge students, drawn to communist ideals and anti-fascism, become Soviet spies. Their convictions fuel their dangerous missions throughout WWII and the Cold War, passing secrets and facing shifting loyalties. But as their web of deception grows, so does the risk of exposure, forcing them to confront the true cost of their choices and the fragility of their carefully constructed world.

Top cast: Tom Hollander, Toby Stephens, Rupert Penry-Jones, Samuel West, Stuart Laing, Patrick Kennedy, Marcel Iures, lmelda Staunton, Anna-Louise Plowman.

Related to

A Spy Among Friends poster



Toby Stephens full filmography @ Wikipedia
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