Born Patrick G. Duggan on March 24, 1945, Patrick Malahide grew up in the Thames Valley west of London in the village of Pangbourne, where Kenneth Grahame wrote about Mole, Toad, and Rat in the 1908 children's classic The Wind in the Willows. Malahide's Irish immigrant parents each held down two jobs to send Patrick and their other two children to the best schools. Patrick attended St. Anne's Primary and then the Douai School of the Benedictine Abbey at Upper Woolhampton, Berkshire. At both schools, Patrick received an excellent education and learned to mix with upper-class children and mimic the articulation and cadence of their speech. Thus, he was unwittingly preparing himself for film roles requiring an understanding of class-conscious societies and a mastery of accents. Such roles included his portrayal of Sir John Conroy in the 2001 TV miniseries Victoria and Albert, Captain Claude Howlett in the 1999 TV miniseries All the King's Men, and the Rev. Casaubon in the 1994 TV miniseries Middlemarch. After attending Edinburgh University, where he studied literature and psychology and performed with a dramatic society, he taught English at a boys' school in Wokingham. Soon, however, he abandoned the classroom for the stage, managing and directing at a small theater and acting in the plays of Henrik Ibsen, Noel Coward, Anton Chekhov, and Arthur Miller. After performing in London, he signed on with the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, playing roles in the dramas of Shakespeare and other classic authors, accepted television roles, and earned critical acclaim in 1981 in a tour de force one-man show, Judgement [writer's note: the British spelling of the word "judgment" is correct here], in which he tells the audience why he resorted to cannibalism to survive as a Russian officer in a Nazi prison. Then came worldwide recognition from productions such as The Killing Fields (1984), the TV miniseries The Singing Detective (1985), A Month in the Country (1987), the TV docudrama Investigation: Inside a Terrorist Bombing (1990), A Man of No Importance (1994), U.S. Marshals (1998), and Billy Elliot (2000).
Biography by Mike Cummings
- Parents each worked two jobs to send him to the best schools; it paid off for his acting career because he used the experience to learn the many dialects of the English language.
- Studied experimental psychology for two years in college; he left school feeling unsatisfied and decided to try his hand at acting.
- Stage name comes from Malahide Castle, where his mother once worked as a cook.
- Prior to making it as an actor, sold bone china to U.S. soldiers stationed in Germany.
- Made his television debut in 1976 in an episode of Flight of the Heron, but his big breakthrough came in 1981 for his critically acclaimed performance in the one-man show Judgment.