Billy Boyd

Active - 1998 - 2021  |   Born - Aug 28, 1968 in Glasgow, Scotland  |   Genres - Epic, Fantasy, Drama, Horror, Film, TV & Radio

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Biography by Aubry Anne D'Arminio

Billy Boyd is recognizable to international audiences as The Lord of the Rings trilogy's comic and courageous hobbit Peregrin "Pippin" Took. He is also one of Scotland's most prolific theater actors, a skilled musician, and a talented singer. Since graduating from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with a diploma in Dramatic Arts, Boyd starred in countless stage productions throughout the United Kingdom. He plays drums, bass, and guitar, and sings baritone and tenor. Boyd was discussing his latest play at Scotland's celebrated Traverse Theater, when he heard that he landed a coveted and career-changing role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy: one more great accomplishment in an already brilliant career.

Boyd was born in 1968 in Glasgow, Scotland, where he still lives today. He adored escaping to the movies as a child. After multiple viewings of George Lucas' Star Wars, Boyd reasoned that if he could not truly be a Jedi Knight, he might as well be an actor. At ten years old, he played the Artful Dodger in his school's version of Oliver Twist and was hooked. Through high school, he performed in amateur productions at the local art center and in annual Christmas shows. Yet, a cynical school guidance counselor coerced Boyd to temporarily abandon his ambition. After graduation, he became an apprentice bookbinder at a publishing house. Boyd bound books for six years, making good friends with his colleagues and spending his nights singing with a band on the Glasgow pub circuit. When he realized that he desired a change, he applied to acting school.

Boyd's audition tape marked the first time he acted in six years; nevertheless he was accepted into a selective three-year, acting-intensive diploma program at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama for the upcoming semester. In his first term, he learned to perfect his voice and movement. In his second, he performed in Shakespeare, Chekov, comedies, musicals, and even pantomimes. He earned walk-on roles on several television shows, and even a speaking part on Scotland's Taggart. Shortly before graduation, St. Andrews Repertory hired Boyd for their production of The Slab Boys, and to play the title role in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. He has acted steadily ever since, performing in several Shakespearean and various modern plays, including the U.K. tour of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting. He added four BBC Radio programs to his credit, and appeared in his first mainstream film, Jason Connery's Urban Ghost Story (1998). He also displayed his singing and drumming talents in the cult musical Julie and the Cadillacs (1999), in which he played the Scottish drummer of an English band during the '60s.

In the fall of 1998, Boyd auditioned for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, New Line Cinema's massive three-film screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's books. After meeting with director Peter Jackson, Boyd defeated over a hundred actors for the major role of Pippin Took and flew to New Zealand for the trilogy's 18-month shoot. Pippin is as brave as he is foolish, and as stout-hearted as he is afraid. The character appears in all three films -- The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), The Return of the King (2003) -- making Boyd an instant celebrity.

After completing The Lord of the Rings, Boyd quickly rejoined the theater. Only one month before the press junkets began for the trilogy's first installment, he performed in the Traverse Theater's rock & roll production The Ballad of Crazy Paola. Besides being named as one of Scotland's most eligible males, Boyd completed a comedy screenplay with fellow hobbit Dominic Monaghan, and launched his official website.

Boyd co-starred alongside Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), then played a significantly campier role the following year in Seed of Chucky. Though his work in the Lord of the Rings trilogy continues to be his most recognizable film role, Boyd appeared in a number of lesser known, yet meaty roles for the films On a Clear Day (2005), The Flying Scotsman (2007), and Stone of Destiny (2008). In 2009 he starred in the crime thriller Pimp, and co-starred in 2011's The Witches of Oz. Boyd continues to be active in film and television.

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  • Was raised by his grandmother after he lost both parents in his early teens—his mother died from heart disease, his father died of cancer.
  • Left school before his 17th birthday and spent four years apprenticing as a bookbinder, then two years working in the profession.
  • Made his stage debut in the title role of the musical Secret Diary of Adrian Mole at Scotland's Byre Theatre of St. Andrews.
  • Breakout role came as the hobbit Pippin in the 2001 blockbuster The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, a part he reprised in both sequels.
  • Got a tattoo of the word "nine" spelled out in Tengwar, a script created by Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.
  • Plays bass, drums and guitar, and also sings.
  • Is a skilled fencer and martial artist.
  • In 2010, starred in the Scottish musical Sunshine on Leith.
  • Active in charity work, along with his band, Beecake, with Nordoff Robbins, which raises money to fund musical therapy in Scotland.