Cary Elwes

Active - 1979 - Present  |   Born - Oct 26, 1962 in Westminster, London, England  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

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Biography by Andrea LeVasseur

The handsome blonde actor Cary Elwes (pronounced El-Ways) was born in London to a portrait painter and an interior designer. He moved to the U.S. to study at Sarah Lawrence College, but made his film debut in the U.K. with the coming-of-age drama Another Country (1984), co-starring alongside fellow handsome young actors Rupert Everett and Colin Firth. He soon started a pattern of appearing in historical dramas and other period pieces, first with Lady Jane (1985), opposite Helena Bonham Carter, and then as the lead role in Maschenka (1986), based on the book by Vladimir Nabokov. However, he didn't make his international film breakthrough until 1987 with Rob Reiner's classic adventure fairy tale The Princess Bride. He seemed to possess a timeless quality essential for the role of Westley, the sensitive-yet-daring farm boy who becomes the swashbuckling Dred Pirate Roberts and gallantly fights for his love. Continuing with historical films, he capably handled a Southern accent for the Civil War drama Glory and then tried a one-time stint as associate producer for the little-seen drama Leather Jackets. Next, he made a successful jump to broad comedy with lead roles in Hot Shots! (1991) and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Switching to darker themes, he played Lord Arthur Holmwood in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) and Alicia Silverstone's object of obsession in The Crush (1993). The following year, he briefly returned to adventures for The Jungle Book before moving on to playing authority figures in the thrillers Twister and Kiss the Girls. In the late '90s, he voiced cartoons and appeared in a few made-for-TV movies and miniseries until 1999, when he transformed his usually slender frame for the role of portly producer John Houseman (Orson Welles' colleague) in Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock. He continued portraying cinematic legends in his next few films, including the German cinematographer Fritz Arno Wagner in Shadow of the Vampire and pioneering producer Thomas H. Ince in The Cat's Meow. In 2001,he played a reoccurring role on The X-Files as FBI Assistant Brad Follmer and returned to romantic comedy adventures as Prince Regent Edgar in Ella Enchanted (2003).

He was the lead in the infamous 2004 slasher movie Saw, and had a lead part in the 2006 National Lampoon comedy Pucked. In 2007 he appeared in the ill-fated Lindsay Lohan movie Georgia Rule. He came back for Saw: The Final Chapter in 2010. 2011 turned out to be a busy year for Elwes with parts in the comedy No Strings Attached, the Spielberg-directed The Adventures of Tintin, and the ensemble romantic comedy New Year's Eve.

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  • Comes from an artistic family: his father was a portrait artist, his mother was an interior designer, his grandfather was a painter and his great-grandfather was a singer. One of his two brothers is a producer; the other is an artist.
  • Made his first stage appearance at age 6 in a production of Robin Hood; starred in the Mel Brooks spoof Robin Hood: Men in Tights 25 years later.
  • Split his time between living with his father in Spain and his mother in London after his parents divorced.
  • Dropped out of Sarah Lawrence College after two years to pursue acting work.
  • Breakout role was the dashing Westley in Rob Reiner's fractured fairy tale The Princess Bride (1987).
  • Has appeared in several films produced by older brother Cassian Elwes, including Oxford Blues (1984), Never on Tuesday (1988), Leather Jackets (1992) and The Chase (1994).
  • Is an avid history buff and enjoys performing in period films.