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Robert Douglas Thomas Pattinson (born 13 May 1986) is an English actor. After starting to act in a London theatre club at the age of 15, he began his film career by playing Cedric Diggory in the fantasy film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). He went on to star as Edward Cullen in the film adaptations of the Twilight novels, consisting of five films between 2008 and 2012, which earned a combined total of over $3.3 billion worldwide. It brought Pattinson worldwide fame and established him among the world's highest-paid actors.
Robert Douglas Thomas Pattinson was born in London on 13 May 1986, the youngest of three children of Clare (Charlton), a booker at a model agency, and Richard Pattinson, a vintage car dealer. He grew up in a small home in Barnes with two older sisters, Elizabeth (Lizzy) and Victoria. Pattinson discovered his love for music long before acting and started learning the guitar and piano at the age of four. He attended Tower House School, from which, aged 12, he was expelled for shoplifting explicit magazines at a post office shop and selling them later to his male classmates. He completed his schooling at The Harrodian School. Pattinson's love of cinema began when he was a teenager, and he counts Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando and Jean-Paul Belmondo among his acting idols. In his late teens and early twenties, he performed acoustic guitar gigs at open mic nights in pubs around London where he sang his own written songs either solo under the stage name Bobby Dupea, or with his band Bad Girls.
Pattinson considered becoming a musician or going to university to study speech-writing, but never thought about pursuing an acting career; his teacher in school even advised him not to join the drama club because she thought he was not suited for the creative arts. However, when he was 13, he joined the local amateur theatre club called Barnes Theatre Company after his father convinced him to attend because he was quite shy. At age 15 and after two years of working backstage, he auditioned for the play Guys and Dolls and he got his first role as a Cuban dancer with no lines. He got the lead role of George Gibbs in the next play Our Town, was spotted by a talent agent who was sitting in the audience and he began looking for professional roles. He also appeared in the plays Macbeth, Anything Goes, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
2008-2013: The Twilight Saga and worldwide recognition
Pattinson at the Crillon Hotel in Paris, 2009
In 2008, Pattinson was cast as Edward Cullen in Twilight, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer. According to TV Guide, Pattinson was apprehensive about auditioning, fearful that he would not be able to live up to the "perfection" expected from the character. The film was released on 21 November 2008 and turned Pattinson into a movie star overnight. Although the film received mixed reviews, critics praised his chemistry with co-star Kristen Stewart. The New York Times called Pattinson a "capable and exotically beautiful" actor and Roger Ebert said he was "well-chosen" for the role.
He reprised his role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which was released on 20 November 2009. The film earned a record-breaking $142,839,137 opening weekend and an overall run of $709,827,462 worldwide. Though the film received negative reviews, film critic Michael Phillips from the Chicago Tribune said that Pattinson was still "interesting to watch" despite the bad makeup. Bill GoodyKoontz from the Arizona Republic said that "Pattinson's actually not in the film that much, but he does his best when he's around" and Michael O'Sullivan of the Washington Post noted that his acting was "uniformly strong". It brought Pattinson global stardom, and established him among the highest-paid actors in the world.
In 2009, Pattinson presented at the 81st Academy Awards ceremony. On 10 November 2009, Revolver Entertainment released the DVD Robsessed, a documentary which details Pattinson's life and popularity. His next film The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was released on 30 June 2010, earning $698,491,347 worldwide. The film received mixed reviews, Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised Pattinson's performance, stating that "(he) makes you forget the white makeup and weird eye contact lenses - to focus on a character torn between his love for the human Bella (Stewart) and the knowledge that she'll have to let go of her beating heart if she's to stay with him forever." Will Lawrence of Empire Online praised the performance of three leads of the film by saying that "All three corners of the love triangle look sharper than before: the most accomplished actor, Stewart, still lip-biting, Lautner still pec-flexing, and Pattinson not fully shaking that fiery-eyed pout. But all have grown into their roles, cutting loose in a film that (thankfully) sidesteps the melodrama of its prequels."
Pattinson executive-produced and starred in the film Remember Me, which was released on 12 March 2010. Though the film received mixed reviews, some critics praised his performance. Jake Coyle of The Associated Press said that "The young actor has an unmistakable screen presence. However in Remember Me, he pours it on thickly and self-consciously. With low eyes, sleeves rolled up just so and cigarette drooping artfully from his mouth, Tyler (like Edward Cullen) is a reluctant romantic." Ian Nathan of Empire Online stated that "this is the best thing he's done." and Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised his chemistry with co-star Emilie de Ravin in the film, stating that the "scenes between Pattinson and de Ravin exude genuine charm."
In 2011, he starred as Jacob Jankowski in Water for Elephants, adapted from the novel by Sara Gruen. The film received mixed reviews, but Pattinson's performance was praised. Film critic Richard Corliss from Time praised Pattinson for being "shy and watchful" and said that he "radiates a slow magnetism that locks the viewer's eyes on him", ultimately calling him "star quality". Mick LaSalle from the San Francisco Chronicle stated that Pattinson succeeded at holding his own at the center of a major feature and was "endlessly watchable". Peter Travers of the Rolling Stone said he "smolders" in the film and Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said that "Pattinson is entirely convincing as Jacob".
Pattinson reprised the role of Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, which was released on 18 November 2011 and earned $705,058,657 at the worldwide box office. The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 24% of critics (of the 188 counted reviews) gave the film a positive review, and the site's consensus reads, "Slow, joyless, and loaded with unintentionally humorous moments, Breaking Dawn Part 1 may satisfy the Twilight faithful, but it's strictly for fans of the franchise." He also played Georges Duroy in a film adaptation of the 1885 novel Bel Ami, and the film had a world premiere at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. It was released on 12 February 2012.
Pattinson starred in the film adaptation of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis, directed by David Cronenberg. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It was well received, with Pattinson's performance particularly praised. Justin Chang of Variety wrote, "An eerily precise match of filmmaker and material, Cosmopolis probes the soullessness of the 1% with the cinematic equivalent of latex gloves. ... Pattinson's excellent performance reps an indispensable asset."Robbie Collin of The Telegraph stated that it is a sensational performance from Robert Pattinson, "yes, that Robert Pattinson - as Packer. Pattinson plays him like a human caldera; stony on the surface, with volcanic chambers of nervous energy and self-loathing churning deep below." And Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly stated, "Pattinson, pale and predatory even without his pasty-white vampire makeup, delivers his frigid pensées with rhythmic confidence."
Pattinson starred one last time as Edward Cullen in the final instalment of the Twilight saga, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 which was released on 16 November 2012, and has grossed over $829 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of the Twilight series. At Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 48% approval rating, based on 174 reviews with the consensus stating: "It is the most enjoyable chapter in The Twilight Saga, but that's not enough to make Breaking Dawn Part 2 worth watching for filmgoers who don't already count themselves among the franchise converts."
Pattinson started his career as a model at age 12. In 2013, Dior Homme signed him as the face of their Fragrances. In 2016, he also became the first brand ambassador of their Menswear collection. In late 2013, he appeared in a black and white short film with model Camille Rowe, as the new face of Dior Homme Fragrances.
In May 2014, two of Pattinson's films premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. First, Pattinson starred in David Michôd's futuristic western The Rover, alongside Guy Pearce and Scoot McNairy. The film had its premiere out of competition at the festival. For his performance as a naïve simpleton member of the criminal gang, Pattinson drew rave reviews. Scott Foundas of Variety said that "Pattinson who turns out to be the film's greatest surprise, sporting a convincing Southern accent and bringing an understated dignity to a role that might easily have been milked for cheap sentimental effects." He further added that "(it is) a career re-defining performance for Pattinson that reveals untold depths of sensitivity and feeling."Todd McCarthy, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, wrote that "Pattinson delivers a performance that, despite the character's own limitations, becomes more interesting as the film moves along." Jessica Kiang in her review for The Playlist, noted that "(Pattinson) turns in a performance that manages to be more affecting than affected."
Next he starred in Anton Corbijn's Life as Life Magazine photographer Dennis Stock; the film deals with the friendship between actor James Dean and Stock. Critical reception for the film was mixed but Pattinson received appreciation for his performance as a photographer. Guy Lodge of Variety called his performance a "sly turn",Little White Lies said that "Pattinson's performance is as crisp as the white shirt and black suits his character always wears. This is a camouflage for his own problems that slowly unfurl, adding colour and improving the film." David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter noted that Pattinson "gives arguably the most fully rounded performance."
In 2016, Pattinson appeared in Paramount Pictures and Plan B Entertainment's adaptation of The Lost City of Z, directed by James Gray. Premiered at the New York Film Festival, the film stars Pattinson as British explorer Corporal Henry Costin. Pattinson grew a heavy beard and lost 35 pounds of weight for the film. Earning critical praise for his role, Matt Neg of NBP described him as "one of the better actors working today",
Keith Uhlich in his review for Brooklyn Magazine called him "subtle scene-stealer", and Linda Marric writing for Heyuguys find his performance "an impressively subtle, yet brilliant."
In August 2017, while promoting Good Time, Pattinson wrote and starred in a short film for GQ, titled Fear & Shame, which was described by the magazine as, "Robert Pattinson Battles Fame and Fear to Get a New York Street Dog". Shot on the streets of New York, the film narrates Pattinson's journey to buy a hot dog while avoiding media and fans in the hustle of the city.The A.V. Club called it "bizarre and delightful". While IndieWire said that "he's got a bright" and "shimmering future".
Zellner Brothers' western-comedy Damsel was his first comedy since his 2008 film How to Be. Pattinson portrayed Samuel Alabaster, an eccentric pioneer who travels west in search of his fiancée. His performance was favourably received: the New York Post described it as a "hilariously oddball performance" and The A.V. Club found him "easily the best thing about Damsel".
His last film of 2018 was Claire Denis' science-fiction drama film High Life, set in space, about team of criminals traveling towards a black hole. Denis initially had Philip Seymour Hoffman in mind for the role of the protagonist, but after becoming aware of Pattinson's commitment and desire to work with her, she cast him in the role instead. Pattinson starred as Monte, one of the criminals on the spaceship, who became a father against his wishes through artificial insemination, and raised his daughter as the ship progressed to the black hole. Critics praised the film with Allen Hunter of Screen International noting Pattinson as the most "dominant" and "engaging" element in the film and Jason Bailey of The Playlist called it "another scorching Pattinson performance; he plays the character's menace and rebellion with brio".
2019-present: The Batman and return to mainstream films
Pattinson's first 2019 role was Robert Eggers's black-and-white psychological horror film The Lighthouse, set on a remote New England island in the 1890s. The film premiered at the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, with widespread critical acclaim for both the film overall and Pattinson's performance. In his review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw described Pattinson's performance as "mesmeric" and a "sledgehammer punch," which "just gets better and better." Gregory Ellwood, writing for Collider, said that Pattinson has "topped himself here" and his performance is "so transformative it's jarring. You simply never thought he had it in him." He received his second Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead for the film.
Pattinson in Dior Homme Fall 2017 Menswear Collection
Pattinson began modelling at the age of 12, but his workload began to decrease four years later. In December 2008, he blamed the lack of modelling work on his masculine appearance: "When I first started I was quite tall and looked like a girl, so I got lots of jobs, because it was during that period where the androgynous look was cool. Then, I guess, I became too much of a guy, so I never got any more jobs. I had the most unsuccessful modelling career." Pattinson appeared as a model for British teen magazines, and in the advertising campaign for Hackett's autumn 2007 collection.
In November 2010, Pattinson was approached by Burberry to be the face of their brand with a £1m deal, which he turned down.
Pattinson plays the guitar and piano since age four, and writes his own music. He appears as the singer of two songs on the Twilight soundtrack: "Never Think", which he co-wrote with Sam Bradley, and "Let Me Sign", which was written by Marcus Foster and Bobby Long. The songs were included in the film after director Catherine Hardwicke added Pattinson's recordings into an early cut without his knowledge, and he agreed that "one of them specifically, it really made the scene better. It was like it was supposed to be there." The soundtrack for the film How to Be features three original songs performed by Pattinson and written by composer Joe Hastings. Pattinson has said, "I've never really recorded anything - I just played in pubs and stuff", and when asked about a professional music career, he said, "Music is my back-up plan if acting fails." In 2010, Pattinson was awarded the "Hollywood's Most Influential Top Unexpected Musicians" award.
Pattinson also played the guitar on the Death Grips song "Birds", which was released in November 2013 on their album Government Plates. In a March 2017 interview, Pattinson stated that he would contribute music to his upcoming film Damsel. Talking about it, he said that "I don't play that much any more, though I am doing music for ['Damsel']. I used to differentiate between music and acting but the more I don't play music, the more I push that area of my brain into acting. I improvise like I would when I play music." In February 2019, Pattinson collaborated with the Nottingham band Tindersticks and released the song "Willow" for High Life original soundtrack.
In August 2011, he helped to raise awareness towards the cancer by highlighting The Cancer Bites campaign in his acceptance speech at 2011 Teen Choice Awards, he shared the details about the campaign which is working for the people suffering from cancer. In August 2013, he visited Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and participated in arts and crafts with the patients. In September 2013, he joined International Medical Corps and became one of their first responders, to help raise awareness before the disaster strikes by strengthen of communities. He participated in a charitable auction Go Go Gala, organised by GO Campaign and bought a cello made out of recycled material, at $5,600 on 15 November 2013. In March 2014, he donated autographed items for auction to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. In May 2014, he donated his bike for an Auction to Benefit the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), who provide primary healthcare services to the people living in the outback. He participated in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, promoting the awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In November 2014, he participated in GO Campaign's annual charity function. In October 2015, he joined Global Goals Campaign, which aims to end poverty by 2030.
In 2015, Pattinson became the first ambassador of GO Campaign, he said that, "I've eagerly followed the growing impact GO Campaign has had over the years, on so many children and youth, and I love how tangible and transparent it is. They partner with some remarkable grassroots local heroes who are doing fantastic work but who lack the needed resources, and in places where a little bit of money can go a long way. I've been a donor and a supporter, and now I look forward to joining their efforts, so together we can give opportunity to even more kids and young adults across the globe."
In May 2019, at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, he co-hosted a charity event along with Helen Mirren, organised by HFPA. Pattinson along with Mirren donated $500,000 to international aid organisation Help Refugees on behalf of HFPA.
Pattinson was named one of the "Sexiest Men Alive" in 2008 and 2009 by People Magazine. In 2009, he was named the "Sexiest Man Alive" by Glamour UK.AskMen named Pattinson as one of the top 49 most influential men of 2009. In 2009, Vanity Fair named Pattinson "the most handsome man in the world" along with Angelina Jolie as the most beautiful woman in the world. Pattinson was named one of Vanity Fair's "Top Hollywood Earners of 2009" with estimated earnings of $18 million in 2009.
In December 2009, Pattinson autographed a guitar to be auctioned off for charity. He also volunteered for the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief in January 2010.GQ and Glamour both named him the "Best Dressed Man" of 2010, with GQ stating, "Extremely elegant and inspiring, the true essence of a contemporary man." In 2010, People listed Pattinson in their "World's Most Beautiful" issue. In 2010, the actor declined a $2 million fashion campaign with Burberry.
In 2011, Pattinson was 15th on Vanity Fair's "Hollywood Top 40" with earnings of $27.5 million in 2010.GQ once again named Pattinson the "Best Dressed Man" of 2012. In October 2012, Pattinson was named "Sexiest Man Alive" by Glamour UK.
In 2013, Pattinson was 2nd on Glamour UKs "Richest UK Celebs Under 30" with earnings of £45 million. Britain's London Evening Standard named him one of the London's most influential people of 2013 in their The Power 1000. In February 2014, he appeared on the cover of World Film Locations: Toronto, a book about Toronto and the films shot in the city. A play about three mature women obsessed with Pattinson, titled Totally Devoted, debuted at Surgeons' Hall, Edinburgh on 13 August 2014. In October 2014, Pattinson was 3rd on Heat magazine's "annual rich list of young British stars" with earnings of $82.89 million. London Evening Standard included him in their list of 2014's London's 1000 most influential people.
In mid-2009, Pattinson became romantically linked to his The Twilight Saga co-star Kristen Stewart. In July 2012, Stewart was photographed with her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders revealing an affair; the day that the photos were released, Sanders, who was 19 years older than Stewart and married at the time, issued a public apology for the affair, as did Stewart. Pattinson and Stewart split, but reconciled in October 2012. The pair eventually broke up in May 2013. He was in a relationship with singer-songwriter FKA Twigs from September 2014 to mid-2017.
In September 2020, it was reported that Pattinson had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and production on The Batman had halted just 3 days after it initially resumed. Warner Brothers declined to comment on the identity of the person diagnosed, but multiple sources with "knowledge of the production" confirmed it.
A wax statue of Pattinson was added to the Madame Tussauds collection in London and New York City in 2010. Pattinson along with his Twilight co-stars, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner put his signature, hand and foot prints in wet concrete at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on 3 November 2011. On 19 February 2014, Russian astronomer Timur Kryachko named an asteroid he had discovered after Pattinson, as 246789 Pattinson.
He was honoured with a tribute at 2017 Deauville American Film Festival on 2 September 2017, with screening of selected films of his during the festival run.