May 13, 1986
London, England, GB
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In the tried and true nature of all movie magic moments in time, it took only one film to turn Robert Pattinson from unknown featured player to the idol of millions of women of all ages around the globe. The British actor, who prior to 2008 was best known as the doomed Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005), was cast as Edward Cullen, the romantic vampire hero of "Twilight" (2008). The news of the casting sent shockwaves through the young adult community that worshiped the novels by Stephanie Meyer on which the film was based, and who quickly elevated Pattinson to favored pin-up status. The buzz around Pattinson seemed to solidify what the British press had ordained him in 2005 - a "Star of Tomorrow." Of course, he tried to branch out with a turn as surrealist painter Salvador Dali in "Little Ashes" (2009), but the Twi-hard masses largely ignored it in favor of him reprising Edward in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" (2009), "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" (2010) and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" (2011). In between, Pattinson strove to separate himself further with turns in the romantic drama "Remember Me" (2010) and "Water for Elephants" (2011), but remained inextricably entwined in "Twilight" for better or worse during the early part of his career.
Born Robert Thomas-Pattinson on May 13, 1986 in London, England, he was raised in the suburb of Barnes by his parents, Clare and Robert Pattinson. Acting captured his fancy at an early age and soon supplanted schoolwork as his sole focus. As a teenager, he joined the prestigious Barnes Theatre Club, which gave him an education in classic drama. A casting agent saw him in a production of "Tess of the D'urbervilles" and encouraged him to pursue performing as a career. He made his screen debut in 2004 in a German TV production of the epic fantasy "Ring of the Nibelungs," which aired in the United States as "Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King" in 2006. Pattinson also landed a minor role as a younger version of James Purefoy's character in Mira Nair's adaptation of "Vanity Fair" (2004), but his scenes were left on the cutting room floor.
Immediately after returning from the South African set of "Nibelungs," he was awarded the role of Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" for director Mike Newell. Diggory, the hero of rival wizard school Hufflepuff, was Harry's opponent on both the Quidditch field and in romance, as he trumped Harry's two wins at the TriWizard Tournament by squiring the young hero's beloved, Cho Chang, to the Yule Ball. Diggory's moment in the sun was short-lived, as both he and Harry faced down the sinister Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). The villain's henchman, Peter Pettigrew, dispatched Diggory, who was mourned by the entire school. The press, in its raves over Newell's film adaptation, singled out Pattinson for his charismatic performance, and some went as far as to name him a "future Jude Law." The Times Online also bestowed the "Star of Tomorrow" award upon him.
Pattinson's sudden popularity afforded him some choice roles post-"Potter." He was top-billed as a shell-shocked World War II airman in the supernatural thriller "The Haunted Airman" for BBC Four, and later played a nerdy student with a crush on his teacher (Catherine Tate) in the highly rated drama, "The Bad Mother's Handbook" (2007) for ITV. That same year, he returned briefly to the wizard world with a flashback cameo as Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." The following year saw Pattinson return to features with "How To Be," which earned him critical acclaim for his portrayal of a depressed young man who attempts to wrest some control over his spiraling life. Pattinson also tackled the role of legendary surrealist Salvador Dali in the arthouse effort, "Little Ashes," which explored the friendship between Dali, filmmaker Luis Bunuel and poet Federico Garcia Lorca, as well as the unusual romance that developed between the former and the latter. However, everything that came before was overshadowed by the high-powered spotlight that shone on Pattinson after he was cast as Edward Cullen in Catherine Hardwicke's adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's teen novel, "Twilight" (2008). A century-old vampire trapped in the body of a 17-year-old, Cullen falls madly in love with a human girl, Isabella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and later runs afoul of a malevolent fellow bloodsucker with designs on his new girlfriend.
Massively popular with teenage girls, the news of Pattinson being cast as Edward was met with almost equal excitement as the reaction to the book-to-film adaptation in the first place. Internet fan sites quickly sprung up to celebrate him and debate his crush-worthy status in great detail, including everything from his unique hair style to his handsome profile. A bit like a deer in headlights at his overnight fame, Pattison attempted to stay largely out of the public eye. When he began filming the inevitable sequel, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" (2009), rumors began flying that he was head-over-heels in love with his co-star, Stewart. Pages upon pages in magazines and on websites were devoted to dissecting each photo of them together; each interview. The "are they or aren't they" furor reached fever pitch before the film's fall 2009 release. Also that year, he starred as surrealist painter Salvador Dalí in the British-Spanish co-production "Little Ashes" (2009) followed by a more mainstream film steeped in 9/11 drama which he also executive-produced, "Remember Me" (2010).
However, it was the hugely successful franchise, continuing with "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" (2010), as well as the requisite hype surrounding Pattison and Stewart that captured the attention of a Twi-hard nation. In fact, Pattison and Stewart were more open about their off-screen relationship as the years went by, with Pattison going so far as to tease "Robsten" fans that they were "technically married." He also attempted to branch out by starring opposite A-lister Reese Witherspoon in "Water for Elephants" (2011), but critics were less than kind to both leads who lacked an obvious onscreen chemistry. By the time "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" (2011) was released later that year - made all the more attractive by a heavily-hyped, headboard-breaking sex scene between newlyweds Edward and Bella - Pattinson was being touted by his "Cosmopolis" (2012) director David Cronenberg as a "profound" actor who just needed the proper vehicle in which to display his talents. Meanwhile, Pattison's relationship with Stewart - which was rarely acknowledged despite their growing comfort with public displays of affection - suddenly jumped into the limelight when Us Weekly reported that Stewart cheated on him with her "Snow White and the Huntsman" director, Rupert Sanders, who himself was married to actress and mother of his two children, Liberty Ross. Naturally, print and Internet tabloids were set afire when the news and accompanying pictures emerged, leading Stewart to immediately issue a public apology for what she called a "momentary indiscretion." Pattinson was reportedly hurt and angry enough to move out of the Los Angeles home he shared with Stewart soon after her "lapse" was reported.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part TwoEdward Cullen
Bel AmiGeorges Duroy
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One)Edward Cullen
Water for ElephantsJacob Jankowski
The Twilight Saga: EclipseEdward Cullen
Remember MeTyler Hawkins
The Twilight Saga: New MoonEdward Cullen
Little AshesSalvador Dali
Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireCedric Diggory
How to BeArt