Birth name
Kenneth Charles Branagh
5' 9½" (1.77 m)
Mini biography

Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK to parents William Branagh, a carpenter born in 1930, and Frances Branagh, also born in 1930. He has a brother named William Branagh Jr. who was born in 1955 and a sister named Joyce Branagh born in 1970. At 23, Kenneth joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he took on starring roles in Henry V and Romeo and Juliet. He soon found the R.S.C. too large and impersonal and formed his own, the Renaissance Theatre Company, which now counts Prince Charles as one of its royal patrons. At 29, he directed and starred in the film Henry V (1989), which costarred his then-wife, Emma Thompson. The film brought him Best Actor and Best Director Oscar nominations. In 1993, he brought Shakespeare to mainstream audiences again with his hit adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing (1993), which featured an all-star cast that included Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves. At 30, he published his autobiography and at 34 he directed and starred as Victor Frankenstein in the big-budget adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) with Robert De Niro as the monster himself. The bad reviews may have had some effect on his marriage, though, because in October 1995, Branagh and Thompson announced their plans to divorce. In 1996, Branagh wrote, directed and starred in a lavish adaptation of Hamlet (1996). In recent years he starred in a series of non-Bard-related roles in Celebrity (1998), Wild Wild West (1999), and as a voice in _Road to El Dorado, The (2000)_ .

Lindsay Brunnock (24 May 2003 - present)
Emma Thompson (20 August 1989 - October 1995) (divorced)
Trade mark

Likes to use very long takes (3-4 minutes) at certain points during his films.

Frequently casts Richard Briers

Frequently casted his wife Emma Thompson.

Frequently gives small roles to Patrick Doyle, his composer. [doyle]

Frequently casts Brian Blessed

Frequently casts Jimmy Yuill.


Denies rumor that he is dating Alicia Silverstone. [November 1999]

Dated Alicia Silverstone. [October 1999]

Dated Helena Bonham Carter. [1994-1999]

Originally cast as the lead in Amadeus (1984) before the production company decided on casting American actors in the leading roles.

Educated at RADA, London

Grew up in poverty in the shadow of a tobacco factory in Belfast.

Moved to Reading, England at the age of nine. At age 23, he became the youngest actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company to ever play the lead in Shakespeare's "Henry V".

Co-founded the Renaissance Theatre Company with David Parfitt, with Prince Charles as a royal patron.

Youngest actor to receive the Golden Quill (Gielgud Award), 2000.

He allegedly declined the C.B.E. (Commander of the order of the British Empire) in 1994.

He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1983 (1982 season) for Most Promising Newcomer for his performance in "Another Country".

Was one of the directors considered for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). He had appeared in the previous film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).

He was nominated for a 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actor of 2003 for his performance in "Edmond" at the Royal National Theatre: Olivier Stage.

He was awarded the 1988 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Special Award.

He was nominated for a 2003 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in "Edmond" at the Royal National Theatre.

Claims that Derek Jacobi is the reason he got into acting, and thus Jacobi became a frequent collaborator with him in most of his movies.

Was 15 when he first saw "Hamlet" performed.

A Member of the RADA Council.

Appeared with Campbell Scott in Dead Again (1991). Scott later starred in and co-directed Hamlet (2000/II) (TV), and Branagh later starred in and directed Hamlet (1996).

Wrote many of the In the Bleak Midwinter (1995) characters for specific actors.

He was one of the guests at Prince Charles's and Camilla Parker-Bowles' wedding on 9 April 2005.

Is a vice-president of Chichester Cinema at New Park. Maggie Smith and Anita Roddick are also vice-presidents.

In 1990, he received an honorary doctorate in Literature from Queen's University (located in Belfast, Northern Ireland).

Former son-in-law of Phyllida Law.

To date (2005), he has appeared as the title character in four films: Henry V (1989), Frankenstein (1994), Hamlet (1996) and Shackleton (2002) (TV).

Was considered for the role of Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Ex-brother-in-law of Sophie Thompson and Richard Lumsden.

He can speak Italian.

He can play guitar, piano and tap.

He and his ex-wife, Emma Thompson, have both appeared in separate films in the Harry Potter series. Branagh played Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002),$ and Thompson played Sybil Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Depending on what has been cut from the script for the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) could be the first both have appeared on screen together since their divorce.

Shares two roles with Laurence Olivier: Henry V and Hamlet. He and Olivier also both directed their own performances in both films.

The last film he made with Emma Thompson was Much Ado About Nothing (1993). Their roles had previously been played in an earlier film by Robert Stephens and Maggie Smith, who were also a couple at the time. Both Branagh and Thompson later worked with Smith in the Harry Potter films.

Has directed two people who have played Batman: Christian Bale in Henry V (1989), and Michael Keaton in Much Ado About Nothing (1993).

Personal quotes

"I feel more Irish than English. I feel freer than British, more visceral, with a love of language. Shot through with fire in some way. That's why I resist being appropriated as the current repository of Shakespeare on the planet. That would mean I'm part of the English cultural elite, and I am utterly ill-fitted to be."

"I think the best actors are the most generous, the kindest, the greatest people and at their worst they are vain, greedy and insecure."

"I'm just a foul-mouthed Brit."

My definition of success is control.

Friendship is one of the most tangible things in a world which offers fewer and fewer supports.

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