Richard E. Grant
Character actor Richard E. Grant crafted a career that saw him equally at home in projects as disparate as "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011-) and "Downton Abbey" (ITV, 2010-15). Born in Mbabane, Eswatini, he began his acting career in Cape Town, South Africa before relocating to England. After a small role in the sitcom "Sweet Sixteen" (BBC, 1983), he quickly jumped into the deep end. Playing the frequently drunk title character in Bruce Robinson's "Withnail & I" (1987), Grant was at the center of what would quickly become a cult classic. He teamed again with Robinson for the oddball comedy "How to Get Ahead in Advertising" (1989), about a marketing executive with a boil that talks. The work caught Hollywood's attention, and he was soon acting in high-profile fare like "L.A. Story" (1991), with Steve Martin, and Robert Altman's "The Player" (1992). He also starred in the Academy Award-winning short "Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life" (1995). Drawing upon his classical training, he played Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Trevor Nunn's big screen adaptation of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night or What You Will" (1996) opposite Helena Bonham Carter. He found himself exposed to a completely different kind of audience when he joined the pop group Spice Girls in "Spice World" (1998). He worked steadily, including playing classic characters such as Bob Cratchit in "A Christmas Carol" (TNT, 1999) and the namesake hero in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (BBC, 1999-2000). He began his first brush with the sci-fi classic "Doctor Who" (BBC, 2005-) when he appeared with Rowan Atkinson in the comedy short "Doctor Who - The Curse of Fatal Death" (BBC, 1999). He went on to voice the Doctor in an animated project "Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka" (BBC, 2003), and then later played the villainous Great Intelligence in the main series. His work in television included recurring roles on "Downton Abbey" playing art historian Simon Bricker and as Jasper in "Girls" (HBO, 2012-17). He also had a memorable appearance in "Game of Thrones" playing the egotistical actor Izembaro. He found a fresh round of acclaim for his talents when he joined Melissa McCarthy for "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" (2018). Playing McCarthy's partner in a scam to sell forged letters from literary greats, Grant earned critical raves and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The stellar notices didn't slow him at all. He continued working, appearing on television in the sitcom "Hang Ups" (Channel 4, 2018-) and "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (Netflix, 2017-19), and in the Disney film "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" (2018). He then carved out a place in yet another sci-fi classic with a starring role in "Star Wars: Episode IX" (2019).