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Kenneth Branagh
Branagh in April 2011
Kenneth Charles Branagh

10 December 1960 (1960-12-10) (age 60)
Nationality British
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active 1981–present
Home town Reading, Berkshire, England
  • Emma Thompson
    (m. 1989; div. 1995)
  • Lindsay Brunnock
    (m. 2003)
Partner(s) Helena Bonham Carter

Sir Kenneth Branagh (born 10 December 1960) is a British actor, movie director and television producer. He played Hamlet. He has directed and acted in many Shakespeare adaptations. He has acted alongside popular actors including: Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves, Michael Keaton, Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman.

Branagh has played the title role in BBC radio broadcasts of Hamlet and Cyrano de Bergerac, and the role of Edmund in King Lear. Branagh has narrated several audiobooks, such as The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis. He also participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony portraying Isambard Kingdom Brunel during the Industrial Revolution segment, "pandemonium" giving the speech from The Tempest.

Since Richard Attenborough's death in August 2014, Branagh has been the president of the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts in London.

Early life

Branagh in July 2009 at the Roma Fiction Fest, where he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award

Branagh, the middle of three children, was born in Belfast, the son of working class Protestant parents Frances and William Branagh. He lived in the Tigers Bay area of the city and was educated at Grove Primary School.

At the age of nine, he moved with his family to Reading, Berkshire, England, to escape the Troubles. He was educated at Whiteknights Primary School, then Meadway School, Tilehurst, where he appeared in school productions such as Toad of Toad Hall and Oh, What a Lovely War!.

He attended the amateur Reading Cine & Video Society (now called Reading Film & Video Makers) as a member and was a keen member of Progress Theatre for whom he is now the patron. Branagh went on to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In 1980 the Principal of RADA, Hugh Cruttwell, asked Branagh to perform a soliloquy from Hamlet for Queen Elizabeth II, during one of her visits to the academy.

Acting roles


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Chariots of Fire Cambridge Student Uncredited
1987 A Month in the Country James Moon
High Season Rick
1989 Henry V Henry V
1991 Dead Again Mike Church / Roman Strauss
1992 Peter's Friends Andrew Benson
1993 Much Ado About Nothing Benedick
Swing Kids Herr Knopp, Gestapo Uncredited
1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Victor Frankenstein
1995 Othello Iago
1996 Hamlet Prince Hamlet
1998 The Gingerbread Man Rick Magruder
The Theory of Flight Richard
Celebrity Lee Simon
The Proposition Father Michael McKinnon
The Dance of Shiva Colonel Evans Short film
1999 Alien Love Triangle Steven Chesterman
Wild Wild West Dr. Arliss Loveless
2000 Love's Labour's Lost Berowne
The Road to El Dorado Miguel Voice Only
How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog Peter McGowen
Periwig Maker The Periwig Maker Short film
2001 Schneider's 2nd Stage Joseph Barnett
2002 Rabbit Proof Fence A.O. Neville
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Gilderoy Lockhart
2004 Five Children & It Uncle Albert
2007 Sleuth Man on TV Uncredited
2008 Valkyrie Henning von Tresckow
2009 The Boat That Rocked Sir Alistair Dormandy
2011 My Week with Marilyn Laurence Olivier
2012 Stars in Shorts Mark Snow Short Film, episode: "Prodigal"
2014 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Viktor Cherevin
2016 Mindhorn Himself Cameo
2017 Dunkirk Commander Bolton
Murder on the Orient Express Hercule Poirot
2018 Avengers: Infinity War Asgardian Distress Caller Voice only
All Is True William Shakespeare

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