Radcliffe in November 2010
|Born||Daniel Jacob Radcliffe
23 July 1989
Radcliffe made his acting debut at age ten in BBC One's television movie David Copperfield (1999), followed by his film debut in 2001's The Tailor of Panama. Cast as Harry at the age of eleven, Radcliffe has starred in eight Harry Potter films since 2001, with the final instalment released in July 2011. In 2007 Radcliffe began to branch out from the series, starring in the London and New York productions of the play Equus, and the 2011 Broadway revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The Woman in Black (2012) will be his first film project following the final Harry Potter movie.
Radcliffe has contributed to many charities, including Demelza House Children's Hospice and The Trevor Project. He has also made public service announcements for the latter. In 2011 the actor was awarded the Trevor Project's "Hero Award".
Early lifeRadcliffe was born on 23 July 1989 in West London, England, the only child of Alan George Radcliffe, a literary agent, and Marcia Jeannine Gresham (née Marcia Gresham Jacobson), a casting agent who was involved in several films for the BBC, including The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Walk Away And I Stumble. Radcliffe's mother is Jewish and a native of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex (her family's surname was anglicised from "Gershon"); his father, originally from Northern Ireland, is Protestant. Radcliffe first expressed a desire to act at the age of five. In December 1999, aged ten, he made his acting debut in the BBC One's televised two-part adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield, portraying the title character as a young boy. Radcliffe was educated at independent schools for boys, including Sussex House School, a day school in Cadogan Square in Chelsea, London.
Following the release of the first Harry Potter movie, attending school became hard, with some students becoming hostile. Radcliffe said it was people just trying to "have a crack at the kid that plays Harry Potter" rather than jealousy. As his acting career began to consume his schedule, Radcliffe continued his education through on-set tutors. The actor admitted he was not very good at school, considered it useless, and found the work to be "really, really difficult." However, he did achieve A grades in the three Advanced levels he sat in 2006 but then decided to take a break from education and did not go to college or university. Part of the reason was he already knew he wanted to act and write. Another reason was it would be difficult to have a normal college experience. "The paparazzi, they’d love it,” he told Details magazine in 2007. "If there were any parties going on, they’d be tipped off as to where they were, and it would be all of that stuff."
Harry PotterDavid Heyman asked Radcliffe to audition for the role of Harry Potter for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the best-selling book by British author J.K. Rowling. The author had been searching for an unknown British actor to personify the character. However, Radcliffe's parents did not want him to audition for the role as the contract required shooting all seven films in Los Angeles, California, so they did not tell him. Once the movie's director Chris Columbus saw a video of the young actor in David Copperfield, he recalled thinking, "This is what I want. This is Harry Potter". Eight months later, after several auditions, he was selected to play the part. Rowling also endorsed the selection, saying the filmmaker could not "have found a better Harry". Warner Bros offered him a two-movie contract, with shooting in the UK, and assured his parents he would be protected. When signing up, Radcliffe was unsure if he would do any more pictures.
The release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (released as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States) took place in 2001. The story follows Harry, a young boy who learns he is a wizard and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to begin his magical education. He got a seven figure salary for the lead role but asserted that the fee was not "that important" to him. His parents chose to invest the money for him. The film broke records for opening-day sales and opening-weekend takings and became the highest-grossing film of 2001. With a total of US$974 million in ticket sales, Philosopher's Stone stands as the second most commercially successful in the series, behind the final installment. The adaptation met with strong reviews, and critics took notice of Radcliffe: "Radcliffe is the embodiment of every reader's imagination. It is wonderful to see a young hero who is so scholarly looking and filled with curiosity and who connects with very real emotions, from solemn intelligence and the delight of discovery to deep family longing," wrote Bob Graham of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second instalment of the series. Reviewers were positive about the lead actors' performances but had polarised opinions on the movie as a whole. Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post labelled it "big, dull and empty", whereas Desson Thomson of the same publication had more positive feelings. Observing that Radcliffe and his peers had matured, Los Angeles Times's staff writer Kenneth Turan believed the novel's magic could not be successfully duplicated in the film. Nonetheless, it still managed to earn US$878 million, taking the second spot of the highest-grossing 2002 films worldwide behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
The 2004 release Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban marked the third in the series. While garnering the highest critical acclaim of the series and grossing US$795.6 million worldwide, the film's performance at the box office ranks the lowest in the series. Meanwhile, Radcliffe's performance was panned by critics, who found him to be "wooden", with New York Times journalist A. O. Scott writing that Watson had to carry him with her performance. Next was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005. The film explored romantic elements, included more humour and saw Harry selected as a competitor in a dangerous multi-wizard school competition. Goblet of Fire set records for a Harry Potter opening weekend, as well as for a non-May opening weekend in the US and an opening weekend in the UK. In a 2005 interview, Radcliffe singled out the humour as being a reason for the movie's creative success.
Despite the success of the past movies, the future of the franchise was put into question as all three lead actors were unsure about signing on to continue their roles for the final two episodes. However, by 2 March 2007, Radcliffe signed for the final films, which put an end to weeks of press speculation that he would be denied the part due to his involvement in Equus. Radcliffe reprised his role for the fifth time in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), which details Harry's return to Hogwarts after his recent encounter with Lord Voldemort. It opened to positive responses from the press. IGN movie critic Steven Horn found Order of the Phoenix to be one of "those rare films that exceeds the source material" and Colin Bertram of New York's Daily News publication dubbed it the best movie in the series. Radcliffe has stated that he had formed a special bond with actor Gary Oldman while working with him on set and that director David Yates and actress Imelda Staunton made Order of the Phoenix the "most fun" film in the series to work on. His performance earned several nominations, and he picked up the 2008 National Movie Award for "Best Male Performance". As the fame of the actor and the series continued, Radcliffe and fellow Harry Potter cast members Rupert Grint and Emma Watson left imprints of their hands, feet, and wands in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
On 15 July 2009, the series's sixth instalment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was released. It centres around Harry discovering an old book belonging to the Half-Blood Prince and beginning to learn more about Lord Voldemort's past. The film did considerably better than the previous movie, breaking the then-record for biggest midnight US showings, with US$22.2 million at 3,000 theatres and with US$7 million, giving the UK its biggest Wednesday ever. In its total run, Half-Blood Prince totalled in US$933 million ticket sales. The film remains one of the most positively reviewed entries within the series among film critics, who praised the film's "emotionally satisfying" story, direction, cinematography, visuals and music. At the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, Radcliffe received nominations for "Best Male Performance" and "Global Superstar".
For financial and scripting reasons, the last book was divided into two films that were shot back to back, drawing criticism from the book's fanbase. The actor defended the split, pointing out that it would have been impossible to properly adapt the final novel into a single film. He added that the last movie was going to be extremely fast-paced with a lot of action, while the first part would be far more sedate, focussing on character development. Had they combined them, those things would not have made it to the final cut. Filming lasted for a year, concluding in June 2010. On the last day of shooting, like most of the cast and crew, Radcliffe openly wept. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010) was about Harry, Ron and Hermione leaving Hogwarts to track down Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, which are objects Voldemort has left part of his soul inside. The film was released in November and grossed over US$950 million. Its most lucrative territory was the UK, where it reportedly had the highest-grossing three-day opening in history. Overseas, its earnings of US$205 million in 91 markets made it the top-grossing foreign opening for a non-summer picture. The movie received mostly favourable reviews in the media.
The final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, was released worldwide starting on 13 July 2011 in Australia. The film concerns the battle against Voldemort's followers in Hogwarts, along with Harry's final climactic duel with Lord Voldemort. Radcliffe, along with the film, was critically acclaimed. Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post asked: "Who could have predicted that Radcliffe, Grint and Watson would turn out to be good actors?" Likewise, Rex Reed of the New York Observer said: "Frankly, I’m sorry to see [Radcliffe] go," while Rolling Stone's critic Peter Travers commented on Radcliffe: "Well played, sir." However, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said that Radcliffe, Grint and Watson were "upstaged by the supporting [actors]". The film broke several box office records, including biggest midnight release, biggest first-day opening, and biggest opening-weekend. Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is currently the third-highest grossing film in the world, and the highest-grossing non-James Cameron film, with more than $1.29 billion worldwide. Radcliffe admitted that some people would never be able to separate him from the character but also said he is "proud to be associated with this film series forever." Despite positive feelings about the movies, he has no interest in doing more Harry Potter films. After Rowling suggested writing an eighth book, Radcliffe was asked if he would do another film; he replied: "[It is] very doubtful. I think 10 years is a long time to spend with one character." Despite devoting so much time to the series, Radcliffe has asserted that he did not miss out on a childhood like other child actors: "I’ve been given a much better perspective on life by doing Potter.
Other acting workThe Tailor of Panama, an American 2001 film based on John le Carré's 1996 spy novel and a moderate commercial success. In 2002, he made his stage debut as a celebrity guest in the West End production The Play What I Wrote directed by Kenneth Branagh, who appeared with him in the second Harry Potter movie. In 2007, he appeared in December Boys, an Australian family drama about four orphans that was shot in 2005 and released to theatres in mid-September 2007. Also in 2007, Radcliffe co-starred with Carey Mulligan in My Boy Jack, a television drama film shown on ITV on Remembrance Day. The TV film received mostly good reviews, with several critics praising Radcliffe's performance as an 18 year-old who goes missing in action during a battle. Radcliffe stated, "For many people my age, the First World War is just a topic in a history book. But I've always been fascinated by the subject and think it's as relevant today as it ever was."
At age 17, in a bid to show people he was not a kid anymore, he performed onstage in Peter Shaffer's play Equus, which had not been revived since its first run in 1973. Radcliffe took on the lead role as Alan Strang, a stable boy who has an obsession with horses, at the Gielgud Theatre. The role generated significant pre-opening media interest and advance sales topped £1.7 million, as Radcliffe appeared in a nude scene. Equus opened on 27 February 2007 and ran until 9 June 2007. Radcliffe's performance received positive reviews as critics were impressed by the nuance and depth of his against-type role. Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph wrote that he "displays a dramatic power and an electrifying stage presence that marks a tremendous leap forward." He added: "I never thought I would find the diminutive (but perfectly formed) Radcliffe a sinister figure, but as Alan Strang, [...] there are moments when he seems genuinely scary in his rage and confusion." The production then transferred to Broadway in September 2008 with Radcliffe still in the lead role. Radcliffe stated he was nervous about repeating the role on Broadway because he considered American audiences more discerning than those in London. Radcliffe's performance was nominated for a Drama Desk Award.
After voicing a character in an episode of the animated television series The Simpsons in late 2010, Radcliffe debuted as J. Pierrepont Finch in the 2011 Broadway revival How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, a role previously held by Broadway veterans Robert Morse and Matthew Broderick. Other cast members included Rose Hemingway and Mary Faber. Both the actor and production received favourable reviews, with the latter receiving 9 Tony Award nominations. His first post-Harry Potter project will be the 2012 supernatural thriller The Woman in Black, which is adapted from the 1983 novel by Susan Hill and set for a February release in the UK. Radcliffe portrays a man sent to deal with the legal matters of a mysterious woman who has just died. Soon after, he begins to experience strange events and hauntings from the ghost of a woman dressed in black. He said he was "incredibly excited" to be part of the film and described the script as "beautifully written". Variety confirmed Radcliffe will star in the indie comedy The Amateur Photographer, a film adaptation of the book of the same name, directed by Christopher Monger. Set in 1970, it follows a man (Radcliffe) who discovers his calling after being drafted by the residents of a small England mill town to serve as a photographer for their most personal moments.
Personal lifeIn 2007, Radcliffe was in a relationship with Laura O'Toole, an understudy for one of his co-stars in a play. Following the break-up, they remained friends. He is an atheist and has also stated that he is "very proud of being Jewish." In 2008, he revealed that he suffers from a mild form of the neurological disorder dyspraxia. The motor skill disorder sometimes gets so bad that he has trouble doing simple activities, such as writing or tying his own shoelaces. "I was having a hard time at school, in terms of being crap at everything, with no discernible talent," the actor commented. In August 2010, he stopped drinking alcohol after finding himself becoming too reliant on it.
Radcliffe is a supporter of the Liberal Democrats. He has voiced support for the political party's Nick Clegg and pledged to spend more time in the UK to help increase his profile to a younger audience. At the age of 16, Radcliffe became the youngest non-royal ever to have an individual portrait in Britain's National Portrait Gallery. On 13 April 2006, his portrait, drawn by Stuart Pearson Wright, was unveiled as part of a new exhibition opening at the Royal National Theatre, then moved to NPG where it resides.
He is a fan of underground and punk rock music, and is a keen follower of cricket, including cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Writing short stories and poetry is also a passion. In November 2007, the actor published several poems under the pen name Jacob Gershon – a combination of his middle name and the Jewish version of his mother's maiden name Gresham – in Rubbish, an underground fashion magazine. He enjoys a close friendship with his fellow Harry Potter co-stars Emma Watson and Tom Felton and is tight-knit with his family, whom he credits for keeping him grounded.
homophobia, Radcliffe filmed public service announcements for The Trevor Project promoting awareness of gay teen suicide prevention beginning in 2009. He first learned of the organisation while working on Equus on Broadway in 2008 and has contributed financially to it. "I have always hated anybody who is not tolerant of gay men or lesbians or bisexuals. Now I am in the very fortunate position where I can actually help or do something about it," he said in a 2010 interview. In the same interview, he spoke of the importance of public figures advocating for equal rights. Radcliffe considers his involvement to be one of the most important things in his career. For his work for the organisation, he was given the "Hero Award" in 2011.
Radcliffe has supported various charities. He designed a Cu-Bed for Habitat's VIP Kids range, and all the royalties from the sale of the bed went directly to his favourite charity, Demelza House Children's Hospice, in Sittingbourne, Kent. Radcliffe has urged his fans to make donations in lieu of Christmas presents to him to that charity's Candle for Care program. In 2008, he was among several celebrities to donate their old eyeglasses to an exhibit honouring victims of the Holocaust. During the Broadway run of Equus, the actor also auctioned off a pair of jeans he wore in the show for several thousand dollars. He has also donated money to Get Connected UK, a London-based free confidential national helpline for troubled youth.
He is reported to have earned £1 million for the first Potter film and around £15 million for the sixth movie. Radcliffe appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2006, which estimated his personal fortune to be £14 million, making him one of the richest young people in the UK. In March 2009, he was ranked number one on the Forbes list of "Most Valuable Young Stars". By April, The Daily Telegraph measured his net worth at £30m, making him the 12th richest young person in the UK. According to the publication, he is expected to have amassed £70m by the time the series of movies concludes. Radcliffe was considered to be the richest teenager in England as of June 2009. In February 2010, he was named the sixth highest paid Hollywood male star and placed at number five on Forbes's December list of Hollywood's highest-grossing actors, with the revenue of US$780 million thanks to one movie released that year: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The actor was reported in 2010 to have personal assets of £28.5 million, making him richer than Princes William and Harry. Despite his wealth, Radcliffe has said he does not have expensive tastes. His main expense is buying books: "I read a lot." He also stated that money would never be the focus of his life.