Iain Glen

Active - 1986 - 2020  |   Born - Jun 24, 1961 in Edinburgh, Scotland  |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

A handsome supporting player whose occasional leap into the lead has resulted in some interestingly varied performances, actor Iain Glen has appeared in everything from low-budget indies to high-profile Hollywood blockbusters -- frequently holding his own opposite such screen heavies as Harvey Keitel (The Young Americans) and Billy Connolly (Gabriel & Me). A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, who studied at Edinburgh Academy and the University of Aberdeen before honing his craft at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the talented Shakespearian actor would go on to impress audiences in such stage works as Macbeth and Henry V. In 1985, the ascending stage talent made a successful transition to the screen with a small role in an episode of the popular U.K. mystery series Taggart, and after making the leap to the big screen with a supporting role in the 1987 feature Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Glen returned to television the next year for a role in the series The Fear. In the years that followed, Glen's big-screen career gained notable momentum thanks to solid performances in Gorillas in the Mist (1988) and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990), with his early years coming to a peak when he took home a Best Actor award from the Berlin International Film Festival for his turn as a convicted killer in the 1990 film Silent Scream. That same year, Glen also received accolades for his portrayal of real-life explorer Lt. John Hanning Speke in Mountains of the Moon, though the remainder of the decade would find him sticking mainly to U.K. television (occasionally taking the lead, as in 1992's Frankie's House).

Following an endearing turn as a sports reporter whose one-night fling leads him to come to terms with his tragic past in Glasgow Kiss, Glen received notable international exposure with a high-profile role opposite Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Though Glen's shattering performance as a father suffering terminal lung cancer in the drama Gabriel & Me (screenwriter Lee Hall's follow-up to Billy Elliot) ultimately failed to gel with audiences, Glen's horrific turn as a seemingly possessed father in Darkness offered the talented actor at his manic best. By this point, Glen seemed to be growing increasingly comfortable alternating between more independent-minded features and more large-scale productions, taking the role of noted psychiatrist Carl Jung in the 2003 romantic drama The Soul Keeper before taking a more epic turn as an anthropologist who hunts and captures pygmies in order to study them and prove a link between man and ape in 2005's Man to Man. He appeared in Ridley Scott's epic Kingdom of Heaven, as well as Resident Evil: Extinction. In 2008 he had a major part in a retelling of The Diary of Anne Frank for the BBC, and followed that up with a part in the Michael Caine vehicle Harry Brown. In 2011 he acted in the Oscar winning biopic The Iron Lady.

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  • Became an actor only when his university friends coerced him into joining the drama society.
  • Attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts along with Ralph Fiennes.
  • At the Royal Academy he earned their coveted Bancroft Gold Medal.
  • Made his film debut in Gorillas in the Mist (1988).
  • Also musically gifted, he took the lead in the musical Martin Guerre opposite Nicole Kidman.
  • Plays the piano and the guitar.