Gary Oldman is definitely one of my favorite actors in Harry Potter series, portraying Sirius Black from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban onwards. So I decided to write a biography on him and I found out connections and facts that I never imagined to be true!
Born on March 21st 1958, Gary Oldman is an English actor that works in theater, movies and television. His father was a former sailor, later turned welder and his mother was a manager of a boarding house. Oldman attended West Greenwich School, which he left when he was 16 to go work in a sports shop. He also performed as a singer, but left the profession to start pursuing an acting career after he saw Malcolm McDowell’s performance in the movie The Raging Moon in 1971.
Oldman started to train for acting in Young People’s Theater in Greenwich while he also worked jobs as an assistant to a butcher, assembly line worker, a porter and shoe seller. He applied to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but was unsuccessful. To add insult to injury, they told him to do something else for a living. This became quite funny, since Oldman had and still has quite a prospering career. He got a scholarship at Rose Buford College, where he got his BA in Acting in 1979.
While he is perhaps most known for his movies, Oldman actually started out in theater with his first role being Puss in [Look at me; I'm an idiot] Whittington and His Cat in York. He was lauded for his work ethic and intensity, two traits for which he is still known to this day. Later on, he starred in plays such as The Massacre at Paris, Desperado Corner, Chinchilla, A Waste of Time, Summit Conference, Entertaining Mr. Sloane and Saved. Around the time of his peak theater career, Oldman also performed in his first movie, Remembrance, in 1982. He became a member of “Brit Pack”, which marked British actors of 1980s becoming prominent in Hollywood together with Colin Firth, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tim Roth, Paul McGann and Bruce Payne.
Oldman enjoyed mainstream success in 1991, when he played Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK, where during filming, he also met his first wife. Some other roles include Count Dracula, Drexl Spivey in True Romance (written by Quentin Tarantino), Zorg in The Fifth Element, Norman Stansfield in Leon: The Professional, Egor Krushnov in Air Force One, Mason Verger in Hannibal, while also appearing in TV show Friends, for which he got an Emmy.
His career went into a slump between 2002 and 2004, when it resurged again due to his portrayal of Sirius Black in Prisoner of Azkaban. A year later, in 2005, Oldman was cast as James Gordon in Batman Begins, a widely acclaimed Batman series by Christopher Nolan. Some of his other movies of ‘00s were A Christmas Carol, The Unborn, The Book of Eli, Red Riding Hood and Kung Fu Panda 2.
He got his first Academy Award nomination in 2011 for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which he sadly did not receive. Oldman then proceeded to continue his amazing acting work in Lawless, Paranoia, RoboCop, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Child 44, The Hitman’s Bodyguard and Darkest Hour, where he played Winston Churchill. For the latter he received a deserved Academy Award for Best Actor, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA.
This mini biography does not really do Gary Oldman justice, as it is just a small look into his fascinating life. Fan or not, I urge you to see his movies, especially his earliest and most recent ones. You will see the same dedication, skill and ability to morph completely into his role, which, in my opinion, marks Oldman as one of the best British, if not overall, actors in the world.