JEREMY IRONS began his career in England in theater at the Bristol Old Vic and then debuted in London in Godspell as John the Baptist. His work in the West End and at Stratford-upon-Avon culminated with his performance of Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He made his Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing opposite Glenn Close, for which he won both the Drama League Award and the Tony Award for Best Actor.
Irons has played many roles for television, most notably in Love for Lydia and Christopher Hampton’s Tales from Hollywood. His performance in Brideshead Revisited brought him worldwide acclaim and nominations for an Emmy Award, the British Academy, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. In 1996, he directed and co-starred with his wife, actress Sinead Cusack, in Mirad, A Boy from Bosnia, a Channel 4 television film about refugees, written by Ad De Bont.
On the wide screen he has starred in such films as Jerzy Skolimowski’s Moonlighting, Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, Volker Schlondorff’s Swann in Love, and The Mission with Robert De Niro. Irons played opposite Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, for which he received the Variety Club Award for Best Actor and a BAFTA nomination, and opposite his son Sam in Roald Dahl’s Danny, the Champion of the World. His performance in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers brought him a Best Actor Award from the New York Film Critics Circle and a Canadian Genie. Irons starred again with Glenn Close in the film based on the re-trial of Claus von Bülow, Reversal of Fortune. For this performance, Irons received the 1990 Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
Irons went on to work in such films as Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka, David Cronenberg’s M. Butterfly, and Bille August’s The House of the Spirits, with Streep and Close again. In 1994, Irons created the voice of Scar for Disney’s The Lion King. He followed that with the action film Die Hard: With a Vengeance co-starring Bruce Willis, and Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty, co-starring Liv Tyler.
Irons’ more recent films include Wayne Wang’s Chinese Box and The Man in the Iron Mask, in which he
co-starred with Gérard Depardieu, Leonardo DiCaprio, and John Malkovich. He played Humbert Humbert in Adrian Lyne’s controversial film Lolita and also co-starred in Longitude, an A&E Granada film that premiered on the BBC. Irons was in production with four films in 2001, including And Now…Ladies and Gentleman, directed by Claude Lelouch; The Time Machine, based on the H.G. Wells novel; Callas Forever, directed by Franco Zeffirelli; and Last Call, a Showtime original picture directed by Henry Bromell, co-starring Neve Campbell. In 2002 Irons played Colonel Pretis in Mathilde, a film directed by Nina Mimica. In 2003, Irons debuted in the New York City Opera production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music in the role of Frederik, directed by Scott Ellis. He also shot an István Szabó film entitled Being Julia. In late 2004 Irons played Antonio in a Michael Radford film production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, co-starring Al Pacino. In Spring 2005 Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven was released, with Irons co-starring opposite Orlando Bloom. Casanova, a film by Lasse Hallström, is to be released later this year. Currently Irons is shooting Elizabeth I, co-starring Helen Mirren.
Jeremy Irons made his Hollywood Bowl debut in 1994, narrating a performance of Walton’s music from Henry V. He has worked previously with conductor John Mauceri, in a studio recording of My Fair Lady with Kiri Te Kanawa.