- Category : Actor
- Type : GE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 1
Timothy Leonard Spall, OBE (born 27 February 1957) is an English character actor and occasional presenter.
Some of his more high-profile roles include Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter film series, Winston Churchill in the The King's Speech (2010), Peter Taylor in The Damned United (2009), Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and his own documentary Timothy Spall: Back at Sea (2010–2012). He also had a lead role in the Palme d'Or winning, five-time Academy Award nominated 1996 film, Secrets & Lies, and had a supporting role in The Last Samurai, released in 2003 and played the lead role in Pierrepoint which was released in 2005.
Spall, the third of four sons, was born in Battersea, South London. His mother, Sylvia R. (née Leonard), was a hairdresser, and his father, Joseph L. Spall, was a postal worker. He trained at the National Youth Theatre and RADA, where he was awarded the Bancroft Gold Medal as the most promising actor in his year. His brother, Matthew, is studio director of the computer games company Morpheme. Another brother, Richard, is the landlord tenant of the Astolat public house in Guildford.
Spall initially made his mark in theatre performing in productions for Birmingham Rep and, later, The Royal Shakespeare Company including The Merry Wives of Windsor, Three Sisters, Nicholas Nickleby and The Knight of the Burning Pestle.
Following a film debut in Quadrophenia and wider TV exposure playing the awkward Barry Taylor in all four series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Kevin in Outside Edge and as Aubrey the appalling chef in Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet, Spall has since appeared in films such as Crusoe, Secrets & Lies, Shooting the Past, Topsy-Turvy, Vanilla Sky, Rock Star, The Last Samurai, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and The King's Speech. He gained international recognition as Peter Pettigrew ("Wormtail") in the Harry Potter film series. In 1991 he guest-starred in the series 5 Red Dwarf episode Back to Reality. In 1993, Spall was in Rab C. Nesbitt.
On 31 December 1999, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Spall performed lead vocals on the song The Devil Is An Englishman from the Ken Russell film Gothic (1986), in which Spall portrayed John William Polidori.
Spall played the starring role of Albert Pierrepoint in the 2005 film Pierrepoint, which was released as The Last Hangman in the United States. In the 2006 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Spall voiced Phil Collins' manager, Barry Mickelthwaite. In 2007, he starred as Nathaniel in Disney's Enchanted and Beadle Bamford in Tim Burton's production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
He also starred as Georgie Godwin in a one-off television drama The Fattest Man in Britain on ITV 1 which aired on 20 December 2009. The drama also featured Bobby Ball, Frances Barber, Aisling Loftus and Jeremy Kyle.
In 2010 he portrayed Winston Churchill in critically acclaimed film The King's Speech for which as a member of the ensemble he was jointly awarded the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Spall reprised the role at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.
Spall is married to Shane and has three children: Pascale (born 1976), Rafe (born 1983), who is also an actor, and Mercedes (born 1985). He lives in Forest Hill, south-east London.
In 1996, Spall was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, but has since been in remission. He has said of his illness:
“I didn't know what made me ill but stress had something to do with it and the point is now to head off stress at the pass. It made me aware of things and become more selective. I am less worried about employment. I really do my homework so I am not getting stressed on the set because I don't know what I'm doing."
He is the owner of a Dutch barge that he and his wife have been sailing around the British Isles as part of a BBC Four TV series 'Timothy Spall: Back at Sea'.