Birth Name: Jonathan Michael Francis O’Keeffe
Birth Date: July 27th 1977
Birth Place: Dublin, Ireland
Height: 5ft 10
Jonathan Rhys Meyers (birth name: Jonathan Michael Francis O’Keeffe) was born on July 27th 1977 in Dublin, Ireland. He was born 2 months premature and spent the first few months of his life in hospital and was baptised shortly afterwards due to a heart condition. On February 14th 1978 Jonathan was discharged from hospital. When he was almost a year old he and his family moved to County Cork, Ireland. He attended North Monastery Christian Brothers School but was expelled at age 15 due to truancy and spent some of his free time at local pool halls where he was discovered by Hubbard Casting. The agents were looking talent spotting for War of the Buttons (1994) which was being produced by David Puttnam and asked Jonathan to audition for a part. Unfortunately after several days of auditioning he didn’t get the role and almost gave up on any aspiration to become an actor but thankfully was discouraged not too. Soon after that audition he was contacted about another audition for a national ad campaign for Knorr Soup which although embarrassed by it, led to him being considered for his first major film A Man of No Importance (1994), where his first credit was cast as ‘First Young Man’. His first lead role came shortly after that being cast in a film called The Disappearance of Finbar (1996). After filming for it was postponed for 6 months he returned home to Cork and soon found himself auditioning for a part in Michael Collins (1996) which was being produced by Neil Jordan. He traveled to Dublin and successfully won the role of Collins’ assassin. Jordan described him as someone who ‘looks like a young Tom Cruise’. “He [Jonathan] comes into the casting session with alarming certainty. Obviously gifted”.
Jonathan continued working constantly from that point and appeared in such films as The Maker (1997), Telling Lies in America (1997) and The Tribe (1998). Going on to film The Governess (1998), B. Monkey (1998), Titus (1999) and Ride with the Devil (1999), he has received critical acclaim for several performances, most notably as Brian Slade in Velvet Goldmine (1998), Steerpike in the British mini-series Gormenghast (2000) and as a sympathetic football coach in Bend It Like Beckham (2002). Jonathan is also a talented singer and musician, having performed his own vocals in Velvet Goldmine (1998) and August Rush (2007).
In 2005 after beating hundreds of people for the part, Jonathan was cast in CBS’ mini-series Elvis whilst filming Woody Allen’s Match Point (2005) where he played the role of tennis coach turned killer Chris Wilton. For his role in Match Point he was awarded with the “Outstanding Newcomer Award” at Cannes. In 2006 after the whole series had aired, Jonathan won his first Golden Globe after being nominated for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television” as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Since then he has continued to work in both television and on the big screen and not long after his Golden Globe success, he landed the role as King Henry VIII in Showtimes new drama The Tudors. Throughout the role Jonathan was nominated for several awards for his portrayal most notably at the Monte Carlo Television Festival “Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series” and the Irish Film and Television Awards “Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television” in which he won both in 2008.
Between Elvis and The Tudors Jonathan has accumulated roles working alongside the likes of Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible III (2006), August Rush, (2007) to which he loaned his voice to for several of the soundtracks, The Children of Huang Shi (2008) and Shelter/6 Souls (2010) alongside Julianne Moore. On July 24th 2012 it was announced that he was to return to television after taking a short break throughout 2011 to star in NBCs Dracula which was to film in Budapest, Hungary in February 2013. During filming Jonathan made his TV producing debut and produced every episode of the show which aired from October 25th 2013 to January 24th 2014 before its cancellation in May 2014 after fluctuating ratings throughout airing.
Since Dracula’s cancellation Jonathan has been cast in a number of films such as Stonewall by Roland Emmerich which highlights the gay rights movement and the riots that followed at the Stonewall Inn, Damascus Cover (post-production), based on the novel by Howard Kaplan which is being produced by Xeitgeist Entertainment Group. The Rising:1916 (pre-production) is another project which he will be starring in which will primarily focus on the story of the Easter rising playing the role of Padraig Pearse and London Town (post-production) where he will play the lead singer of the The Clash Joe Strummer. According to numerous sources he is also rumoured to have loaned his voice to the productions soundtrack. More projects which have been filmed through the latter stages of 2015 will premiere this year including a TV mini series remake of the classic Roots where he will play slave trader Tom Lea in a production commissioned by the History Channel (post-production) and Shadow which wrapped in Atlanta in November. On March 17th it was announced that he was to be reunited with Michael Hirst (The Tudors) as a series regular on History channel drama Vikings and Harald Zwart (The Mortal Instruments, 2013) in WWII drama The 12th Man
Aside from acting, Jonathan has been the face of many fashion brands and fragrance labels. Back in 2001 when relatively new to the industry he was chosen as the face of Club Monaco where he modeled the Fall/Winter collection campaign. 2006 was a busy year as he was announced as the face of both Hugo Boss and Versace and fronted many campaigns such as ‘Hugo XX/XY’, ‘Hugo Elements’ and ‘Hugo Green’ before being replaced by Ryan Reynolds. For Versace, Jonathan modeled there 2006 Fall collection and the Spring 2007 collection. 2009 saw Jonathan announced as the face of Italian label ‘Energie’ where he modelled for them for 2 campaigns
More trivia can be found here
Last edited by Helen on May 20th 2016