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Wilkinson, Tom (1948-)


Main image of Wilkinson, Tom (1948-)

Though he had been, in his own words (2000), "a moderately successful actor for 25 years", it was being part of that ensemble in The Full Monty (UK/US, d. Peter Cattaneo, 1997), that made Tom Wilkinson such a hot property around the turn of the century.

He'd had earlier successes on stage (as, for example, T.S. Eliot in Tom and Viv, 1984, and as King Lear, 1993, both at the Royal Court) and on TV (in entertaining rubbish like First Among Equals, Granada, 1986, and as Pecksniff in Martin Chuzzlewit, BBC, 1994). He'd had telling character roles in such films as In the Name of the Father (UK/Ireland/US, d. Jim Sheridan, 1993), Priest (d. Antonia Bird, 1994, as an indulgent one) and Sense and Sensibility (d. Ang Lee, 1995, as dying Mr Dashwood), but the success of Monty, in which he played the middle-class manager, gave him new status and he filmed incessantly after that.

He was the choleric, obsessive Marquess of Queensberry in Wilde (UK/Germany/Japan/US, d. Brian Gilbert, 1997), the sexually tempted employer of The Governess (UK/France, d. Sandra Goldbacher, 1998), very funny (and BAFTA-nominated) as the theatrical entrepreneur who fancies himself as actor in Shakespeare in Love (UK/US, d. John Madden, 1998), and, in the US domestic tragedy, In the Bedroom (US, d. Todd Field, 2001), unbearably moving as the bereaved father, receiving both Oscar and BAFTA nominations. University of Kent-educated Wilkinson had become a major character star, with a remarkable gift - one among several - for conveying inner pain.

He is married to Diana Hardcastle, who was in Mike Figgis's The House (1984).

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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