Kenneth Branagh Biography

Kenneth Branagh photo

Born: December 10, 1960

Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Kenneth Branagh grew up in poverty in the shadow of a tobacco factory. He was educated at the RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in London, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at the age of 23, where he took the starring roles in Henry V and Romeo and Juliet. Branagh soon decided to form his own company, the Renaissance Theatre Co.

In 1989, he married fellow actor, Emma Thompson, and in that same year he directed and starred in the film Henry V with Thompson. The film brought him Best Actor and Best Director Oscar nominations.

He played opposite Thompson again in the films Dead Again and Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, which he also directed.

Branagh published his autobiography before he was 30, which may have been a bit too soon. After the poor run of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Branagh and Thompson announced their plans to divorce.

Although Branagh has always kept his Shakespeare roles up, he has also widened his scope with roles such as the John Grisham lawyer hero in The Gingerbread Man; a lovelorn parish priest in the period drama The Proposition; the arch villain in the '60s cult TV classic Wild Wild West and Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

He continues to act in films such as Valkyrie (2008) alongside Tom Cruise and played Sir Laurence Olivier alongside Harry Potter's Emma Watson in the BBC film My Week with Marilyn (2011). In 2011 he directed his biggest budget picture to date—Paramount's Thor.

In 2022 he was nominated for three Academy Awards for directing, writing and producing Belfast (2021), which was based on his own childhood growing up in Northern Ireland. He won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The movie also won Best British Film at the BAFTA Awards.

Branagh was married to actress Emma Thomson from 1989 to 1995, but the marriage fell apart when he had an affair with actress Helena Bonham Carter. In May 2003, he married Art Director Lindsay Brunnock.

Filmography (Director):

Death on the Nile (2022)
Belfast (2021)
Artemis Fowl (2020)
All Is True (2018)
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Branagh Theatre Live: Romeo and Juliet (2016)
Branagh Theatre Live: The Winter's Tale (2015)
Cinderella (2015)
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2013)
Thor (2011)
Sleuth (2007)
The Magic Flute (2006)
Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000)
Hamlet (1996)
In the Bleak Midwinter (1995)
Frankenstein (1994)
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Peter’s Friends (1992)
Dead Again (1991)
Henry V (1989)

Filmography (Actor):

Death on the Nile (2022)
Fireheart (2022)
Tenet (2020)
Twisted Tales of Love (2019)
All Is True (2018)
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Dunkirk (2017)
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
Macbeth (2013)
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
The Boat That Rocked (2009)
Valkyrie (2008)
Sleuth (2007)
Five Children and It (2004)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog (2000)
The Road to El Dorado (2000)
Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000)
Wild Wild West (1999)
The Theory of Flight (1998)
Celebrity (1998)
The Proposition (1998)
The Gingerbread Man (1998)
Hamlet (1996)
Othello (1995)
Frankenstein (1994)
Swing Kids (1993)
Peter’s Friends (1992)
Dead Again (1991)
Henry V (1989)
High Season (1987)
A Month in the Country (1987)

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