- Category : Actor
- Type : GE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (8,16,20)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Explanation 1
Damian Watcyn Lewis (born 11 February, 1971) is a Golden Globe-nominated English actor and producer, who is probably best known for portraying Major Richard Winters, one of the most famous soldiers in World War Two, in the Emmy-award winning HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and Soames Forsyte in the ITV miniseries The Forsyte Saga. He currently stars as Det. Charlie Crews in the NBC drama Life.
I went to English boarding schools and grew up around people very much like Soames and in a milieu very much like the Forsytes's
—Damian Lewis, PBS.org (2002)
Lewis was born in St. John's Wood, London, the son of Charlotte Mary (née Bowater) and J. Watcyn Lewis, a city broker. His paternal grandparents were Welsh. His maternal grandfather was Lord Mayor of London Ian Frank Bowater and his maternal grandmother's ancestors include Bertrand Dawson, 1st Viscount Dawson of Penn (a doctor to the British Royal Family) and philantropist Alfred Yarrow. Lewis was raised Anglican.
Lewis made several visits to the United States to visit relatives during his summers as a child. He first decided to become an actor at age 16. He was educated at Ashdown House and Eton College and graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1993, after which he served as a stage actor for the Royal Shakespeare Company. During his time with the RSC, he played Borgheim in Adrian Noble's production of Ibsen's Little Eyolf, as well as Posthumus in Shakespeare's Cymbeline. He has also starred in another of Ibsen's plays, Pillars of the Community.
He once worked as a telemarketer selling car alarms, a job he detested.
Lewis also appeared in Jonathan Kent's production of Hamlet, playing Laertes opposite Ralph Fiennes' Hamlet. This production was seen by Steven Spielberg, who subsequently cast Lewis as Richard Winters in the HBO/BBC World War II miniseries Band of Brothers, his first role of several that required a credible American accent.
Subsequently, Lewis has played Soames Forsyte in the ITV series The Forsyte Saga (later shown as a Masterpiece Theatre miniseries) — which earned him rave reviews and further exposed him to a US audience. He returned to the US to star in Dreamcatcher, a Stephen King film about a man who becomes possessed by an evil alien. The character is American but when possessed he takes on a British accent, thus requiring Lewis to toggle between the two. On the heels of this role, he starred in Keane as a Manhattanite with a fragile mental state who is searching for his missing daughter. Despite the film's poor box-office performance, the role won Lewis rave reviews.
He played Jeffrey Archer in the satirical TV special Jeffrey Archer: The Truth. Since 2004, he has appeared in a number of films, as well as the 2005 BBC TV adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing, as part of the ShakespeaRe-Told season. Lewis played the role of Yassen Gregorovich in the film Stormbreaker.
In February 2006, he became a trade justice ambassador for Christian Aid, a UK charity. Later that year, he also appeared in Stephen Poliakoff's BBC drama Friends and Crocodiles. Also in 2006, he was a player for England in Soccer Aid in late May, and golfed for Europe in the All*Star Cup, in late August, both shown on ITV. On 10 November 2006, he was guest host on BBC's Have I Got News For You.
In 2007, Lewis stars as the main character in the U.S. television series Life on NBC. He stars as a police officer framed for murder and held in prison for 12 years from 1995 to 2007 before being exonerated. The show premiered in the US on September 26, 2007. The following year he appeared in the lead role in a film entitled The Baker, directed by his brother, Gareth Lewis, and took the supporting role of Rizza in The Escapist, which he also helped produce.
Lewis's mother died in an automobile accident in India in 2001, an incident he called (in a 2006 interview) "the single most important thing that's happened to me in my life." In late 2004, Lewis begin dating actress Helen McCrory. The two married on 4 July 2007 and have a daughter, Manon (born September 2006), and a son, Gulliver (born November 2007). They currently reside in Los Angeles. A well-known Liverpool fan; he was spotted performing the "Torres Bounce" in The Albert Pub, shortly before the Liverpool vs Chelsea Champions League Semi-Final First Leg of 22/04/2008.