Lewis at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival, February 2015
Damian Watcyn Lewis
11 February 1971
|Alma mater||Guildhall School of Music and Drama|
|Occupation||Actor, presenter, and film producer|
Damian Watcyn Lewis (born 11 February 1971) is an English actor, presenter, and producer. He played US Army Major Richard Winters in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and also portrayed US Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland, which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. His performance as Henry VIII of England in Wolf Hall earned him his third Primetime Emmy nomination and fourth Golden Globe nomination. He plays Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series Billions and portrayed actor Steve McQueen in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).
Lewis was born in St John's Wood, London, the elder son of Charlotte Mary (née Bowater) and John Watcyn Lewis, a City insurance broker with Lloyd's. His paternal grandparents were Welsh. His maternal grandfather was Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Ian Bowater, Lord Mayor of London, and his maternal grandmother's ancestors include The 1st Viscount Dawson of Penn (a doctor to the Royal Family) and the eminent naval shipbuilder (see Yarrow shipbuilders) and philanthropist Sir Alfred Yarrow, 1st Baronet, who was of partial Sephardic Jewish descent. He has stated that he "went to English boarding schools and grew up around people very much like [his character] Soames and in a milieu very much like the Forsytes'".
As a child, Lewis made several visits to the US to visit relatives during summer breaks. He first decided to become an actor at the age of 16. He was educated at the independent Ashdown House School in Forest Row, East Sussex, and at Eton College. He graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1993, after which he served as a stage actor for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
During his time with the RSC, he played Borgheim in Adrian Noble's production of Henrik Ibsen's Little Eyolf and Posthumus in William Shakespeare's Cymbeline. He also starred in another of Ibsen's plays, as Karsten Bernick in Pillars of the Community at the National Theatre in November 2005.
Lewis once worked as a telemarketer selling car alarms, a job he detested. His first television appearance was as a rakish student in an early episode of the English drama series A Touch Of Frost (1993) . He appeared in Robinson Crusoe (1997) as Patrick Conner. He appeared in Jonathan Kent's production of Hamlet, playing Laertes. This production was seen by Steven Spielberg, who later cast Lewis as Richard Winters in Band of Brothers, the first role of several that required him to have a credible American accent.
He was in the 2000 series called Hearts and Bones as the love interest of Dervla Kirwan.
Subsequently, Lewis portrayed Soames Forsyte in the ITV series The Forsyte Saga, which earned him positive reviews. He returned to the US to star in Dreamcatcher, a Lawrence Kasdan film about a man who becomes possessed by an evil alien. The character is American but when possessed he takes on a British accent. On the heels of this role, he starred in Keane as a Manhattanite with a fragile mental state who is searching for his missing daughter. Despite the film's poor box-office, Lewis's performance in the role was very well reviewed.
He played Jeffrey Archer in the TV special Jeffrey Archer: The Truth. Since 2004, he has appeared in a number of films, as well as the 2005 BBC TV adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing, as part of the ShakespeaRe-Told season. Lewis played the role of Yassen Gregorovich in the film Stormbreaker. In 2006, he appeared in Stephen Poliakoff's BBC drama Friends and Crocodiles. He has appeared on BBC's Have I Got News for You as guest host several times; on 10 November 2006, 1 May 2009, 18 November 2010, 27 April 9 November 2012 and 31 October 2014.
In 2008, Lewis starred as the main character Charlie Crews in the US television series Life on NBC. The show premiered in the US on 26 September 2007 and was affected by the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike. Only half of the first season's shows were produced. Regardless, the show won a 2008 AFI Award for best television series. Although the show received critical acclaim, when it returned the following television season, it was shuffled from night to night, and eventually cancelled by NBC to clear its time slot for the less expensive[clarification needed] nightly programme, The Jay Leno Show.
Lewis appeared, the following year, in the lead role in The Baker, a film directed by his brother, Gareth. Damian took a supporting role of Rizza in The Escapist, which he also helped produce. He led the cast in Martin Crimp's version of Molière's comedy, The Misanthrope, which opened in December 2009 at the Comedy Theatre, London. Other cast members included Tara Fitzgerald, Keira Knightley and Dominic Rowan.
From 2011 to 2013, Lewis had a starring role as Gunnery Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland. In 2013, he narrated poetry for The Love Book App, an "interactive anthology of love literature developed by Allie Byrne Esiri".
Lewis and his family left the UK in the latter half of 2007 to live in Los Angeles, California, while he worked on the NBC-TV crime drama Life. However, after the completion of that series' final episode in early 2009, he, his wife and their children returned to the UK to reside in a Victorian townhouse located in Tufnell Park, in north London. They also have a house near Sudbury in Suffolk.
In March 2010, Lewis became a trade justice ambassador for the charity Christian Aid. In May 2006 and June 2018, he played for England in Soccer Aid, and played golf for Europe in the All*Star Cup in August 2006, both shown on ITV.
During the COVID-19 pandemic Lewis and McCrory supported Feed NHS, a scheme to give food from high street restaurants to NHS staff. By early April 2020, they had raised £1m for the charity. The initiative started in London, but following its success plans were announced to roll it out to other cities in the UK.
|2003||Dreamcatcher||Gary "Jonesy" Jones|
|Brides||Norman Harris||Original Greek Title:|
|An Unfinished Life||Gary Winston|
|2006||The Situation||Dan Murphy|
|Stormbreaker||Yasha "Yassen" Gregorovich||Released in the US as Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker|
|2008||The Baker||Milo "The Baker" Shakespeare||Also producer; also known as Assassin In Love|
|2012||The Sweeney||Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins|
|2013||Romeo & Juliet||Lord Capulet|
|2014||The Silent Storm||Balor McNeil|
|2015||Queen of the Desert||Lt. Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie, VC|
|Bill||Sir Richard Hawkins|
|2016||Our Kind of Traitor||Hector|
|2019||Run This Town||Rob Ford|
|Once Upon a Time in Hollywood||Steve McQueen|
|2020||Dream Horse||Howard Davies|
|1993||Micky Love||Clive||Television movie|
|1995||Agatha Christie's Poirot||Leonard Bateson||Episode: "Hickory Dickory Dock"|
|1996||A Touch of Frost||Adam Weston||Episode: "Deep Waters"|
|1999||Warriors||Lt. Neil Loughrey||Television movie|
|2000||Life Force||Kurt Glemser||2 episodes|
|2000||Hearts and Bones||Mark Rose||8 episodes|
|2001||Band of Brothers||Maj. Richard D. Winters||Miniseries|
|2002-2003||The Forsyte Saga||Soames Forsyte||10 episodes|
|2002||Jeffrey Archer: The Truth||Jeffrey Archer||Television movie|
|2003||The Forsyte Saga: To Let||Soames Forsyte||Television movie|
|2005||Colditz||Cpl / Lt. Nicholas McGrade||2 episodes|
|2005||Friends and Crocodiles||Paul||Television movie|
|2005||Much Ado About Nothing||Benedick||Television movie|
|2006-2020||Have I Got News for You||presenter||7 episodes|
|2007-2009||Life||Charlie Crews||32 episodes|
|2011||Stolen||D.I. Anthony Carter||Television movie|
|2011-2014||Homeland||Nicholas Brody||38 episodes|
|2015||Wolf Hall||Henry VIII of England||Miniseries|
|2016-present||Billions||Bobby Axelrod||48 episodes|
|2009||The Misanthrope||Alceste||Comedy Theatre|
|2015||American Buffalo||Teach||Wyndham's Theatre|
|2017||The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?||Martin Gray||Theatre Royal Haymarket|