Possessing a wistful handsomness and vulnerable charisma, British actor Linus Roache first gained recognition -- and controversy -- as a gay Catholic priest in Antonia Bird's 1994 Priest. A native of Manchester, where he was born in 1964, Roache is the son of actor William Roache, best known for his long-running role on the popular TV series Coronation Street. It was on that show that the younger Roache made his debut at the age of nine, playing his father's son. Following his debut, he spent much of the next decade on stage, performing with the likes of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Following the success of Priest, as well as a role in the popular BBC TV series Seaforth that same year, Roache took some time off to recuperate from the grueling experience of making Priest. When he returned to the screen, it was in Iain Softley's adaptation of Henry James' The Wings of the Dove (1997). Roache won acclaim for his complex portrayal of Merton Densher, an impoverished journalist who becomes caught up in a disastrous scheme involving his girlfriend (Helena Bonham Carter) and a dying heiress (Alison Elliott). The film itself was roundly praised and helped put Roache back in the spotlight that he had rejected just two years earlier.
The actor could subsequently be seen doing work in a number of diverse films, including Shot Through the Heart (1998), which cast him as a Yugoslavian marksman caught up in the horrors of war; and The Venice Project (1999), a drama in which he played both a 17th-century Italian count and a member of the 20th-century California art world.