February 17, 1978
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Born into show business, Rory Kinnear took an early tragedy at age 10 and turned it into a multiple award-winning career that includes what many consider one of the greatest interpretation of Shakespeare's Iago that has ever graced British stages. Rory Kinnear was born on February 17, 1978 into a London-based entertainment family, the son of actors Roy Kinnear and Carmel Cryan, and the grandson of famous rugby player Roy Muir Kinnear. A comic performer best known to audiences as Veruca Salt's father in "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" (1971), father Roy died tragically in 1988 after a horse-riding accident on the set of Richard Lester's "The Return of the Musketeers," leading to a £650,000 settlement between the family and the production team. (Lester, who made "A Hard Day's Night" (1965) among other acclaimed films, never directed again.) Unsure of whether he wanted to follow his parents into their line of work, Kinnear studied English at that Balliol School at Oxford University with interest in becoming a lawyer. But in his early 20s, he started to feel a connection with his dad. As he told The Telegraph, "I did definitely feel a responsibility to be like him. Not so much as an actor; more as a human being. But perhaps I also felt that my becoming an actor was a way of getting to know him better." He applied to study drama at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and upon completed his two-year program, joined the Royal Shakespeare Company for such plays as "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Cymbeline." Kinnear's sights were set on the Royal National Theatre in South Bank, London, where he remembered sitting in the audience with his father and "seeing Anthony Hopkins in 'Pravda' and Ian Charleston in 'Hamlet'" (Beyond the Joke). After debuting on the famed stage in 2006's "Southwark Fair," he received raves for his outrageous performance as Sir Fopling Flutter opposite Tom Hardy and Hayley Atwell in "The Man of Mode," Nicholas Hynter's update of the 16th century restoration comedy. He won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor that year, and won Best Actor six years later for his simmering performance as Iago in "Othello." Continuing to work at the National Theatre (often under the direction of Howard Davies, who also directed Kinnear's original play "The Herd" in 2013), he concurrently began appearing regularly on British television, most notably as Denis Thatcher in BBC Four's "Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley," Beatles manager Brian Epstein in BBC Four's "Lennon Naked," reporter David Whitehead in Channel 4's "Southcliffe," and a truly strange role as a zoophilic Prime Minister on the pilot of Channel 4's "Black Mirror." His most well-known role to date, however, is MI6 Chief of Staff Bill Tanner in the Daniel Craig James Bond films, including "Quantum of Solace" (2008) and "Skyfall" (2012). series, both on film and in video games spinoffs. He was next seen as Frankenstein's Creature on the horror series "Penny Dreadful" (Showtime 2014-16).