English actor Bill Nighy is considered to be one of the best dressed men in British cinema and rightly so because the actor, who turned 65 in December 2014, never fails to look impeccably handsome in his tailored navy suits. Nighy, who was born on December 12, 1949 as William Francis Nighy, is presently one of the most bankable stars in the film industry. He made a breakthrough in British television with a starring role in the 1991 miniseries, The Men’s Room, on BBC and made a name for himself in cinema portraying an aging rock musician in the romantic comedy, Love Actually, in 2003. Now a full-fledged film star, Nighy had appeared in several roles as a struggling, aspiring actor in the 80s.
Born and raised in Caterham, Surrey, England, Nighy is the youngest child to his Scottish mother and English father. He was educated at the John Fisher School in Purley. Before taking an interest in acting, he worked at his father’s garage and the Croydon Advertiser. He went on to receive his training in performance at the Guildford School of Acting and Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre. He made his stage debut at London’s National Theatre in an adaptation of Illuminatus!. There he met fellow actress Diana Quick with whom he would end up sharing his life for the next 27 years. Nighy and Quick never married but were considered to be each other’s de facto spouses. The pair was one of the longest lasting couples in show business but to everyone’s dismay, they announced their separation in 2008. Nighy shares a daughter, Mary Nighy, with his former longtime partner. His daughter, born in 1984, is also an actress in Britain.
In the 1980s, Nighy landed roles in episodes of a few British television series such as Agony, Minder, The Last Place on Earth and Reilly, Ace of Spies. Simultaneously, he made his debut in film with the spy film, Eye of the Needle, in 1981. He had further roles in films like Curse of the Pink Panther, The Little Drummer Girl, Hitler’s SS: Portrait in Evil, Thirteen at Dinner and The Phantom of the Opera: The Motion Picture. In 1991, he made a breakthrough appearance in the BBC series, The Men’s Room, which eased his entry into film. He appeared in the thriller movie, State of Play, in 2003 and starred in the acclaimed 1996 drama, Kerton’s Story. During this time, he also made waves on stage, performing at the National Theatre. He popularly appeared in 1993’s Arcadia alongside Felicity Kendal. He was considered for the Olivier Award for Best Actor for his role in 2000’s Blue/Orange. He appealed to the American audience from his comic role in Still Crazy in 1998 and a year later received further popularity from his appearance in an episode of BBC-TV’s People Like Us. In 2003, he starred as Vampire Elder Victor in the action horror film, Underworld and reprised his role in 2006’s Underworld: Evolution. He also joined the cast of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans in 2009. He joined the ensemble cast of the hit British rom-com Love Actually in 2003 for which he received his first BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor. He gave critically acclaimed performances in 2005’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Girl in the Café. In 2006, he appeared in a Golden Globe Award winning role in Stephen Poliakoff’s Gideon’s Daughter. That year, he appeared in his debut Broadway role in Sam Mendes’ The Vertical Hour at the Music Box Theatre. He received his second Golden Globe nomination for the political action drama, Page Eight in 2011. In 2012, he starred alongside Judi Dench in the comedy drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and in 2015, reprised the successful role in the sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Nighy is a fervent fan of music and football. He especially loves listening to Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones and supports Crystal Palace F.C.