Kenneth Branagh

Born on Dec. 10, 1960 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Kenneth Branagh moved to England with his family when he was 10. This is when he began his love affair with Shakespeare, reading 25-cent paperbacks of his plays. Branagh began his career in theater and soon became a familiar face on the acclaimed 1984 BBC trilogy "Too Late to Talk to Billy," "A Matter of Choice for Billy" and "A Coming to Terms for Billy." After making a name for himself with "Another Country," he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at age 23, and was the youngest "Henry V" in the troupe's history. He continued acting in British TV ventures such the BBC drama, "Fortunes of War" (1987). Branagh gained international recognition and dual Oscar nods as the director and star of the 1989 screen adaptation of Shakespeare's lyrical "Henry V." Branagh traveled to the United States to helm his next feature, the contemporary thriller "Dead Again" (1991) and then returned home to make "Peter's Friends" (1992), a British variation on "The Big Chill." That same year, Branagh directed "Swan Song," a short film based on a Chekhov short story. The film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Film - Live Action. Branagh adapted Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" (1993) as a big-screen, all-star romp through Tuscany with Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves. Branagh won critical acclaim for his turn as Iago to Laurence Fishburne's "Othello" (1995) and also won praise for writing and directing "A Midwinter's Tale" (1995). Branagh appeared as himself in Al Pacino's documentary "Looking for Richard" (1996), then followed with his own big screen version of "Hamlet," setting it in the 19th Century. On the small screen, Branagh's role as Reinhard Heydrich in the HBO original "Conspiracy" (2001) earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries. After co-starring alongside Tom Cruise in "Valkyrie" (2008), he starred in and executive-produced three feature-length adaptations of Henning Mankell's best-selling Wallander crime novels for the BBC. The three-part miniseries, "Wallander" (2009), later aired on PBS and earned the esteemed actor another Emmy Award nomination. Branagh then took some time away from the spotlight to focus on his latest directorial effort, the big-budget adaptation of Marvel Comics' "Thor" (2011). Branagh's performance earned him accolades including nominations at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor. Branagh next served as both director and supporting actor on the action thriller "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" (2014). Branagh followed this with the CGI-heavy fairy tale "Cinderella" (2015). A more recent voice credit includes the animated adventure "Fireheart" (2022) and Branagh directed and starred in "Death on the Nile" (2022).