Born December 15th, 1972, Stuart Townsend would grow up to possess the kind of dark, coolly seductive looks that lend themselves to playing either ladies' men or raving psychos, ownsend is one of the more compelling actors to have emerged from Ireland during the 1990s. A native of Dublin, Townsend was born to pro golfer Peter Townsend and Lorna Townsend, a well-known former model who died in 1994. He first became interested in performing through his then-girlfriend, who was studying at the Gaiety School of Acting. Townsend also enrolled at the school and made his stage debut in the school's production of Tear Up the Black Sail. He made his professional stage debut in John Crowley's True Lines. In 1996, Townsend broke onto the screen with his role in Gillies MacKinnon's Trojan Eddie. Portraying a seductive young man who steals away a bride from her groom on their wedding day, Townsend was afforded the opportunity to work with the legendary Richard Harris. His exposure in the film led to his first starring role, in Shooting Fish (1997), a successful comedy which cast him as a sweet-natured con man. That same year, Townsend had a supporting role in Carine Adler's acclaimed drama Under the Skin, engaging in emotional dysfunction and phone sex with the film's heroine. He also made a terrifying impression in the Irish crime thriller Resurrection Man, playing a psychotic killer. Townsend subsequently extended his talents to period drama, portraying an impoverished Jew in 19th century Silesia in Simon Magus (1998) and essaying a dual role in the 16th- and 20th century-set The Venice Project (1999). In 1999, he was also visible in Michael Winterbottom's Wonderland, an ensemble drama that screened at that year's Cannes Film Festival. The turnover to the new millennium found Townsend with some big shoes to fill as he stepped into the role of Anne Rice's staple bloodsucker Lestat (originally portrayed by Tom Cruise in Neil Jordan's Interview With the Vampire (1994) in 2002. Baring his fangs alongside co-star and title character Aaliyah (who perished in an airplane crash shortly before the film opened in theaters) Townsend recieved a fair amount of praise for his role in the film, which was previously rumored to have been heading for a straight to video release. In 2005 he joined the cast of ABC's Night Stalker for a role as an investigative reporter determined to catch the person responsible for his wife's murder.
Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx
- Became interested in acting when he attended an acting course with his girlfriend.
- Paid the rent as a boxer while attending Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin.
- Started his own theater company called Ether for Lunch.
- Was famously fired from The Lord of the Rings trilogy the day before filming began when director Peter Jackson decided Townsend was too young to play Aragorn.
- Became friends with Orlando Bloom on the set of The Lord of the Rings.
- Wrote and directed the 2007 drama Battle in Seattle.
- Had a nine-year romance with Charlize Theron, whom he met while filming Trapped.