May 5, 1983
Jersey, Channel Islands, , GB
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Blessed with the same rakish British charisma that made Americans swoon over Jude Law and Robert Pattinson, Henry Cavill made a dent in the international hunk-consciousness with his portrayal of the Duke of Suffolk on Showtime's Henry VIII-based series, "The Tudors" (2007-2010). Cavill was by then accustomed to period dress, due to his previous noted performances in historic features such as "The Count of Monte Cristo" (2002) and "Tristan and Isolde" (2006). Even as he gained notice for his work in "The Tudors," director Woody Allen helped the actor expand beyond his 16th-century limits and into the modern-day world with a small role in the contemporary comedy "Whatever Works" (2009). However, when he was suddenly announced as film's next Clark Kent in the latest iteration of Superman in 2011, it became clear that Hollywood had indeed deemed him a leading man in the making, with Cavill finally making his Kryptonian debut in 2013's "Man of Steel."
Born on May 5, 1983, Cavill was raised one of four brothers in Jersey, on the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy, France. While attending Stowe Boarding School, he first fell in love with acting, appearing in many student productions from Shakespeare to "Grease." It was during one of those school performances that Cavill was spotted by a casting director looking to fill the role of vengeful 15-year-old Albert Mondego for a film adaptation of "The Count of Monte Cristo" (2002). The handsome newcomer made a strong showing in his big-screen debut, resulting in more forthcoming offers. The following year, he played the servant of an eccentric, country-dwelling family headed by a failing author (Bill Nighy) with lovely daughters (Rose Byrne and Romola Garai) in the charmer "I Capture the Castle" (2002).
Cavill had a small role as a soldier in a TV-movie adaptation of "Goodbye Mr. Chips" (2003), seen in the U.S. on PBS, before appearing as an ill-fated partygoer in the umpteenth horror sequel, "Hellraiser: Hellworld" (2005), which was released straight-to-DVD. The same year, Cavill was a serious contender for the role of James Bond in "Casino Royale" (2005), but he was eventually deemed too young and Daniel Craig was given the lead instead. It wasn't Cavill's first brush with an iconic role, having already been passed over after auditioning to play Superman, but he soldiered ahead and took on the challenging role of the marginalized son of a strong and kindly warrior (Rufus Sewell) in "Tristan & Isolde" (2006). From that moderate medieval success, Cavill landed a lead in Showtime's lavish historical series "The Tudors" (2007-2010), playing Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, the closest friend of King Henry VII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who runs afoul of the brutal monarch after marrying his favorite sister, Princess Mary Tudor.
The show earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Series - Drama, in 2008 and also helped generate a loyal fan base for Cavill, who was declared one of "TV's Top 10 Dream Men" by US Weekly magazine and one of "Hollywood's Next-Gen Men" in Vanity Fair. Passed over again for a prominent leading film role in the crowd-pleasing vampire franchise, "Twilight" (2008), for which the actor was now deemed too old, Cavill next became a model for the Dunhill cologne line. While "Tudors" remained a strong ratings-getter, Cavill's big screen profile received another boost when he adopted an American accent to play a love interest of Evan Rachel Wood in "Whatever Works" (2009), filmmaker Woody Allen's 40th work and one that marked his return to storytelling in Manhattan.
Less than two years later, the doors to Hollywood burst wide open for the rising star when Cavill was cast as the latest actor to don the Man of Steel's red cape in director Zack Snyder's interpretation of the iconic comic-book hero Superman. Produced by Christopher Nolan, who had worked miracles with his Batman reboot, the newest adventure of the Kryptonian was an effort to reestablish the franchise's viability after the costly disappointment of Bryan Singer's underwhelming "Superman Returns" (2006). Before that big-budget endeavor got underway, however, Cavill starred as the fierce warrior Theseus in the heavily stylized Greek mythology movie "Immortals" (2011), a film that allowed him to show off his superhero-ready physique. After appearing with Bruce Willis in the little-seen thriller "The Cold Light of Day" (2012), Cavill was finally ready for a brighter spotlight with "Man of Steel" (2013), which debuted to a barrage of publicity and high expectations.