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Gary Oldman

Born Leonard Gary Oldham in New Cross, south London, in 1958. The sudden departure of his father, a welder, when Oldman was 7 was the start of an unhappy childhood – he left his brutal boys’ school to become a sales clerk, performing at the Greenwich Young People’s Theatre in his spare time.

He won a scholarship to the Rose Buford College of Speech and Drama and got his film break starring alongside Phil Daniels and Tim Roth in Mike Leigh’s Meantime. Since then he has played everyone from Sid Vicious to Ludwig van Beethoven, has dated Isabella Rossellini and divorced Uma Thurman.

In 1997 he unexpectedly established himself as an accomplished director with the harrowing Nil By Mouth, winner of the 1998 BAFTA award for Best Screenplay.