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James Nesbitt

Date of Birth: Friday, January 15, 1965
AGE: 54
Occupation: Actor

Biography: A Northern Irish actor. Born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Nesbitt grew up in the nearby village of Broughshane, before moving to Coleraine, County Londonderry. He wanted to become a teacher, like his father, so began a degree in French at the University of Ulster. He dropped out after a year when he decided to become an actor, and transferred to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. After graduating in 1987, he spent seven years performing in plays that varied from the musical Up on the Roof (1987, 1989) to the political drama Paddywack (1994). He made his feature film debut playing talent agent Fintan O?Donnell in Hear My Song (1991).

Nesbitt got his breakthrough television role playing Adam Williams in the romantic comedy-drama Cold Feet (1998-2003), which won him a British Comedy Award, a Television and Radio Industries Club Award, and a National Television Award. His first significant film role came when he appeared as pig farmer "Pig" Finn in Waking Ned (1998). With the rest of the starring cast, Nesbitt was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. In Lucky Break (2001), he made his debut as a film lead playing prisoner Jimmy Hands. The next year, he played Ivan Cooper in the television film Bloody Sunday, about the 1972 shootings in Derry. A departure from his previous "cheeky chappie" roles, the film was a turning point in his career. He won a British Independent Film Award and was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor.

Nesbitt has also starred in Murphy?s Law (2001-2007) as undercover detective Tommy Murphy - a role that was created for him by writer Colin Bateman. The role twice gained Nesbitt Best Actor nominations at the Irish Film & Television Awards (IFTA). In 2007, he starred in the dual role of Tom Jackman and Mr Hyde in Steven Moffat?s Jekyll, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination in 2008.

He is a patron of numerous charities and in 2010 accepted the ceremonial position of Chancellor of the University of Ulster.

Nesbitt was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. His father, James "Jim" Nesbitt, was the headmaster of the primary school in Lisnamurrican, while his mother, May Nesbitt, was a civil servant. Jim and May already had three daughters - Margaret, Kathryn and Andrea. The family lived in the house adjoining the one-room school where Nesbitt was one of 32 pupils taught by Jim; the other pupils were all farmers? children.

When Nesbitt was 11 years old, the family moved to Coleraine, County Londonderry, where May worked for the Housing Executive. He completed his primary education at Blagh primary school, then moved on to Coleraine Academical Institution (CAI).In 1978, when he was 13, his parents took him to audition for the Riverside Theatre?s Christmas production of Oliver!. Nesbitt sang "Bohemian Rhapsody" at the audition and won the part of the Artful Dodger, who he played in his acting debut. He continued to act and sing with the Riverside until he was 16, and appeared at festivals and as an extra in Play For Today: The Cry (Christopher Menaul, 1984). He got his Equity card when the professional actor playing Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio broke his ankle two days before the performance, and Nesbitt stepped in to take his place. Acting had not initially appealed to him, but he "felt a light go on" after he saw The Winslow Boy (Anthony Asquith, 1948). When he was 15, he got his first paid job as a bingo caller at Barry?s Amusements in Portrush. He was paid 1 per hour for the summer job and would also, on occasions, work as the brake man on the big dipper.

He left CAI at the age of 18 and began a degree in French at Ulster Polytechnic in Jordanstown. He stayed at university for a year before dropping out. His father suggested that he should move to England if he wanted to continue acting, so Nesbitt enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD) in London. He graduated in 1987, at the age of 22.

Nesbitt is married to Sonia Forbes-Adam. The two met when Nesbitt went to the final call-back for Hamlet at Loughborough Hall in 1989, and they soon began dating. They split up for a year after the release of Hear My Song but reunited and married in 1994. They have since had two daughters, Peggy and Mary. Nesbitt?s three sisters all became teachers and his sister-in-law is Victoria Forbes-Adam, the director of the Coalition Against Child Soldiers. In 2002, a Sunday tabloid published an interview with a legal secretary who claimed to have had a two-month affair with Nesbitt. Shortly afterwards, another tabloid story revealed an affair with a prostitute, who claimed Nesbitt had boasted of liaisons with his Cold Feet co-star Kimberley Joseph, and Amanda Brunker, a former Miss Ireland. Commenting on the publication of details about his personal life, Nesbitt has said he feared that he would lose his marriage, though the exposing of his "dual life" allowed him to "take a long and considered look" at himself

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