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Ioan Gruffudd (1973)

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  Summary  

Ioan Gruffudd is a Welsh actor.

Having trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he started off in Welsh language film productions, then came to international attention as Fifth Officer Harold Lowe in the film Titanic , and as Lt. John Beales in Black Hawk Down . However, he is probably best known for playing the role of Horatio Hornblower in Hornblower, the British made-for-TV films (1998–2003) based on C. S. Forester's novels.

Gruffudd's recent notable film roles include Lancelot in King Arthur , Mister Fantastic in Fantastic Four and the sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer , and British slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace . He played Tony Blair in W. .

  Biography  

 career
Gruffudd started his acting career at the age of 13 in a Welsh television film called Austin and then later moved on to the Welsh language soap opera Pobol y Cwm from 1987 to 1994.He also played football with the Pobol y Cwm football team Cwmderi FC alongside co-stars Hywel Emrys, Gwyn Elfyn and Ieuan Rhys. During this time, he was also active on stage, in school performances, and in the 1991 Urdd Eisteddfod production of Cwlwm. In 1992, at 18, he began attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. However, he was only given small parts in the Academy's productions, and feeling isolated and directionless, almost dropped out several times. However, in 1995 in his final year, he was cast in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler as George (Jörgen) Tesman, the husband of Hedda, the lead character. This performance led to him being offered the lead role in the 1996 TV remake of Poldark.

After playing Oscar Wilde's lover John Gray in 1997's Wilde he took his first international role as Fifth Officer Harold Lowe in the blockbuster film Titanic. He later landed the role as Horatio Hornblower in Hornblower, the Meridian production of the C. S. Forester novels (1998–2003), shown on ITV1 and A&E. Gruffudd has said: "It was quite something for an unknown actor to get the lead. So I will always be grateful to Hornblower. ... I would love to play this character through every stage of his life. I think it would be unique to have an actor playing him from the very early days as a midshipman, through till he's an Admiral. So, I would love to play this character till he perishes." Since 20 February, 2007, Gruffudd has been making plans to obtain rights to the Horatio Hornblower novels in order to produce a film for the big screen.

Gruffudd's TV work includes playing the character Pip in the BBC TV production of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations , Lt. John Feeley in BBC One's "Warriors" and architect Philip Bosinney in ITV's adaptation of The Forsyte Saga . He has starred in the films 102 Dalmatians , Black Hawk Down and King Arthur . In 2007, he starred in the historical drama Amazing Grace as William Wilberforce, the British abolitionist, receiving critical acclaim for the role. Gruffudd has also portrayed characters of both Marvel Comics and DC Comics, having appeared as Mister Fantastic in Marvel's Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer , and provided the voice of Mister Miracle in DC's Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006). In 2007, he appeared in Stories USA, and in 2008 also appeared in Agent Crush. He starred alongside Julia Roberts and Ryan Reynolds in Fireflies in the Garden. That year, he also starred in The Secret of Moonacre which was a critical and commercial failure. In 2009, he starred alongside Josh Brolin in W., a biopic about the life of George W Bush. Gruffudd played British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The film was a critical success, with Gruffudd praised for his work. In 2011, he played the financier of a cave dive in Sanctum.

Apart from television and film work, he also starred in the music video of Westlife's version of "Uptown Girl" alongside Claudia Schiffer, and on 7 July 2007 he was a presenter at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London.

Gruffudd is a native Welsh speaker. He was inducted into the Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain at the highest rank of druid in the National Eisteddfod at Meifod, Mid Wales, on 4 August 2003, with the bardic name "Ioan". In July 2008 he featured in a promotional trailer in Welsh for BBC Wales alongside fellow Welshmen Matthew Rhys and Gethin Jones publicising the broadcaster's coverage of the 2008 National Eisteddfod of Wales in Cardiff.

 personal life
Gruffudd currently lives with his wife, English actress Alice Evans, in Los Angeles, California. The couple met during the production of 102 Dalmatians, and married on 14 September 2007 in Mexico. One of Gruffudd's best men and speechmakers at the wedding was fellow Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, his long-time friend and former flatmate of eight years. On 20 April 2009, Gruffudd and his wife announced they were expecting their first child together. On 6 September 2009, the couple welcomed their first child, a girl, named Ella Betsi Janet Gruffudd. Janet was chosen as a middle name in honour of Evans's mother who died in 1999.

Gruffudd enjoys being in Los Angeles because "it's the easiest place in the world to drive, and it's a real pleasure to do that in my black Jag XK8. I've gone all out." He also admires the physicality and confidence of Americans, and enjoys being around them because he feels these qualities rub off on to him.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Ioan Gruffudd", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.