Martin Freeman

Martin John Christopher Freeman[2] (born 8 September 1971[3]) is an English actor and comedian, known for portraying Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy (2012–2014), Tim Canterbury in the original UK version of sitcom mockumentary The Office (2001–2003), Dr. John Watson in the British crime drama Sherlock (2010–2017), and Lester Nygaard in the dark comedy-crime drama TV series Fargo (2014).

Martin Freeman
Freeman in 2018
Martin John Christopher Freeman

(1971-09-08) 8 September 1971
ResidenceBelsize Park, London, England[1]
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1997–present
Partner(s)Amanda Abbington

His other notable film roles include the romantic comedy Love Actually (2003), the comic science fiction film The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), the semi-improvised comedy Nativity! (2009), the comedic Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (2004–2013), most prominently in the sci-fi comedy The World's End (2013), and his portrayal of Everett K. Ross in the Marvel films Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Black Panther (2018).[4] Among other accolades, he has won an Emmy Award, a BAFTA Award, an Empire Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, with nominations including two other Emmy Awards, two other BAFTA Awards, a Saturn Award, and a Golden Globe Award.

Early life

Freeman was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, the youngest of five children. His parents, Philomena (née Norris) and Geoffrey Freeman, a naval officer, separated when Freeman was a child. When Freeman was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack.[5][6] Freeman attended the Salesian School, Chertsey before attending Brooklands College for media studies.[7] His older brother Tim became a musician with the group Frazier Chorus.


Freeman attended the Central School of Speech and Drama[7] and has appeared in at least 18 TV shows, 14 theatre productions, and several radio productions. He is notable for his role as Tim Canterbury in The Office, a role which, he said in 2004, "cast a very long shadow" for him as an actor.[8] He appeared in the sitcom Hardware. He also appeared in several films, including Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Love Actually (2003).[7]

He began to move into more serious dramatic roles on television with his appearance as Lord Shaftesbury in the 2003 BBC historical drama Charles II: The Power and The Passion. He can also be seen making a brief appearance in the first episode of the second series of This Life. Freeman also starred in the BBC television series The Robinsons and had a cameo in episode 1 of Black Books. In 2007, he appeared in The All Together written and directed by Gavin Claxton, as well as the Bill Kenwright theatre production of The Last Laugh. He is featured in the video for Faith No More's cover of "I Started a Joke".[9] In May 2009, he starred in Boy Meets Girl, a four-part drama that charts the progress of characters Veronica and Danny after an accident which causes them to swap bodies.[10]

He plays Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC contemporary adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. The first episode of Sherlock, "A Study in Pink", was broadcast on 25 July 2010 to critical acclaim. For his performance in the role he won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, 2011 and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.

He played Bilbo Baggins, the main character, in the three-part Peter Jackson film series The Hobbit.[11][12] Accolades that his performance in the first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, garnered him include Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards[13] and Best Actor at the 18th Empire Awards.[14] Freeman appeared in all three of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's comedic Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, commencing with a brief non-speaking role in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne's boyfriend, Declan, followed by a brief cameo in Hot Fuzz as a police officer. He was a main cast member in the 2013 finale to the trilogy, The World's End. On 5 October 2013, he was presented with a fellowship bearing his name by the members of University College Dublin's Literary & Historical Society. In April 2014, Freeman began playing insurance salesman Lester Nygaard in the dark comedy-crime drama series Fargo.[15] For his performance in this series, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award,[16] a Golden Globe Award,[17] and a Critics' Choice Television Award.[18] He opened in the title role in Shakespeare’s play Richard III in July 2014 at Trafalgar Studios.[19]

In 2015, Freeman starred as producer Milton Fruchtman in the television film The Eichmann Show, based on the filming, by blacklisted TV director Leo Hurwitz, of the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. The film intercut dramatic scenes with historical footage from the trial. The Daily Telegraph described the film as "absolutely enthralling".[20][21] He also played Everett K. Ross, a Central Intelligence Agency agent in Captain America: Civil War, which released in May 2016.[22]

In 2017, Freeman starred in Cargo, which premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival on 6 August 2017.[23] The film is a feature-length remake of a 2013 short film of the same name.[24] Later in the year he appeared opposite Tamsin Greig in Labour of Love, a political comedy by James Graham, at the Noël Coward Theatre.[25] Labour of Love charts both the evolution of the UK Labour Party in recent decades, and its presence in a tight-knit Nottinghamshire community. Freeman portrays fictional Labour MP David Lyons, whose modernising ideas pit him against the traditional left-wing constituency agent Jean Whittaker (Greig).[25]

In 2018, he reprised his role as Everett K. Ross in Black Panther, which was set around two weeks after the event in Captain America: Civil War, making it his second appearance in Marvel Cinematic Universe.[26] [27] Between May 2017 and July 2019, Freeman starred in numerous adverts for Vodafone.

Personal life

Freeman lived in Potters Bar in Hertfordshire with his partner, actress Amanda Abbington. The couple have two children together.[28] They have appeared in other productions together, including Sherlock, Swinging with the Finkels, The Debt, The Robinsons, and The All Together. On 22 December 2016, Freeman announced in an article in the Financial Times that he and Abbington had separated.[1]

Freeman is a close friend of actor Simon Pegg, who is godfather to his son, Joe.[29]

In an edition of Who Do You Think You Are? aired on 19 August 2009, Freeman discovered that his grandfather, Leonard Freeman, was a medic who was killed a couple of days before the Dunkirk evacuation in May 1940 World War II. Leonard's father, Richard, born blind, was a piano tuner and organist at St Andrew's Church, West Tarring, and later a music teacher in Kingston upon Hull.[5]

Freeman is a vegetarian.[30] He has said his Catholic faith remains intact.[31] In 2011, Freeman umpired a charity cricket match to raise money for victims of the Christchurch earthquake.[32]

Freeman's personal style follows that of British mod subculture and he cites Paul Weller as one of his heroes and influences on his style.[33][34] Freeman is a big fan of soul, motown and jazz music, presenting an episode of BBC Two's The Culture Show in 2009 entitled "Martin Freeman Goes To Motown".[35] He has also selected music in the past for a motown compilation entitled Made To Measure[36] and has recently worked on a jazz compilation with friend Eddie Piller entitled Jazz On The Corner, which was released on Acid Jazz Records on 23 March 2018, featuring tracks by musicians including Kamasi Washington and The Brand New Heavies.[37] The pair presented Craig Charles' Funk and Soul Show on 31 March.[38] In 2019 a follow-up album to Jazz on the Corner was announced, entitled Soul on the Corner featuring tracks by artists including Leroy Hutson and Bobby Womack.[39]

In June 2018 Freeman was part of To Provide All People, a BBC Wales drama celebrating 70 years of the National Health Service.[40]

Political views

Freeman is a supporter of the Labour Party. As a teenager, he supported Britain's now-defunct Militant political group and volunteered with the Labour Party Young Socialists.[1]

In 2015, Freeman appeared in a party political broadcast to endorse the Labour Party ahead of the 2015 UK general election.[41] In August 2015, he was an outspoken supporter of Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election.[42]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 I Just Want to Kiss You Frank Short film
2000 The Low Down Solomon
2001 Round About Five The Man Short film
2001 Fancy Dress Pirate
2002 Ali G Indahouse Richard Cunningham
2003 Love Actually John
2004 Blake's Junction 7 Vila Short film
2004 Call Register Kevin
2004 Shaun of the Dead Declan Cameo
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Arthur Dent
2006 Confetti Matt Norris
2006 Breaking and Entering Sandy Hoffmann
2007 Dedication Jeremy
2007 The Good Night Gary Shaller
2007 Hot Fuzz Met. Sergeant
2007 Lonely Hearts The Pig Short film
2007 The All Together Chris Ashworth
2007 Rubbish Kevin Short film
2007 Nightwatching Rembrandt van Rijn
2008 Rembrandt's J'Accuse Rembrandt van Rijn Documentary
2009 Nativity! Paul Maddens
2009 Swinging with the Finkels Alvin Finkel
2010 Wild Target Hector Dixon
2010 The Girl is Mime Clive Buckle Short film[43]
2011 What's Your Number? Simon
2012 The Pirates! Band of Misfits The Pirate with a Scarf Voice
2012 Animals Albert
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Bilbo Baggins
2013 The World's End Oliver Chamberlain
2013 Svengali Don
2013 Saving Santa Bernard D. Elf Voice
2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Bilbo Baggins
2013 The Voorman Problem Dr. Williams Short film
2014 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Bilbo Baggins
2015 Midnight of My Life Steve Marriott Short film
2015 Tubby Hayes: A Man in a Hurry Narrator Documentary
2016 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Iain MacKelpie
2016 Captain America: Civil War Everett K. Ross
2017 Ghost Stories Mike Priddle
2017 Cargo Andy Rose
2018 Black Panther Everett K. Ross
2019 The Operative Thomas
2019 Ode to Joy Charlie


Year Title Role Notes
1997 The Bill Craig Parnell Episode: "Mantrap"
1997 This Life Stuart Episode: "Last Tango in Southwark"
1998 Casualty Ricky Beck Episode: "She Loved the Rain"
1998 Picking up the Pieces Brendan Episode: "1.7"
1999 Exhaust The Car Owner
2000 Bruiser Various Characters 6 episodes
2000 Lock, Stock... Jaap 2 episodes
2000 Black Books Doctor Episode: "Cooking the Books"
2001 World of Pub Various Characters 5 episodes
2001 Men Only Jamie Television film
2001–2003 The Office Tim Canterbury 14 episodes
2002 Helen West DC Stone 3 episodes
2002 Linda Green Matt Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go"
2003 Charles II: The Power and The Passion Lord Shaftesbury Miniseries
2003 The Debt Terry Ross Television film
2003 Margery and Gladys D.S. Stringer Television film
2003–2004 Hardware Mike 12 episodes
2004 Pride Fleck Television film
2005 The Robinsons Ed Robinson 6 episodes
2007 Comedy Showcase Greg Wilson Episode: "Other People"
2007 The Old Curiosity Shop Mr. Codlin Television film
2008 When Were We Funniest? Himself 4 episodes
2009 Boy Meets Girl Danny Reed Miniseries
2009 Micro Men Chris Curry Television film
2010–2017 Sherlock Dr. John Watson 13 episodes
2014 Fargo Lester Nygaard Season 1 (main role)
10 episodes
2015 Fargo Narrator Season 2 (special guest star)
Episode: "The Castle"
2014 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern Young Brian Pern Episode: "Jukebox Musical"
2014 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Martin Freeman/Charli XCX"
2015 The Eichmann Show Milton Fruchtman Television film
2015 Robot Chicken Reverend Parris (voice) Season 8; Episode: "Zero Vegetables"
2015 Toast of London Himself Episode: "Global Warming"
2015 Stick Man Stick Man (voice) TV adaptation of story by Julia Donaldson, originally illustrated by Axel Scheffler
2016–2017 StartUp Phil Rask 20 episodes
2017 Carnage: Swallowing the Past Jeff Television film
2018 To Provide All People Consultant Cardiologist Television film
2019 A Confession Det. Supt. Steve Fulcher 6 part series. Based on the investigation into the Murder of Sian O'Callaghan

Awards and nominations

2002The OfficeBritish Comedy AwardsBest Comedy ActorNominated
2004The Office (for "The Office Christmas Specials")BAFTAsBest Comedy PerformanceNominated
British Comedy AwardsBest TV Comedy ActorNominated
Love ActuallyPhoenix Film Critics SocietyBest CastNominated
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association AwardBest Ensemble CastWon
Critics' Choice Movie AwardsBest Acting EnsembleNominated
HardwareRose d'OrBest Male Comedy PerformanceWon
2011SherlockBAFTAsBest Supporting ActorWon
Sherlock (for "A Scandal in Belgravia")Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
Gold Derby TV AwardsTV Movie/Miniseries Supporting ActorWon
SherlockCrime Thriller AwardsBest Supporting ActorWon
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
PAAFTJ AwardsBest Cast in a Miniseries or TV MovieWon
PAAFTJ AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV MovieNominated
Tumblr TV AwardsHottest Male Character in a TV ShowNominated
Tumblr TV AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama SeriesWon
Tumblr TV AwardsBest Male Character in a TV SeriesNominated
Tumblr TV AwardsBest Cast in a TV ShowWon
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyTotal Film Hotlist AwardsHottest ActorNominated
2013Empire AwardsBest ActorWon[14][44]
Saturn AwardBest ActorNominated
MTV Movie AwardsBest Scared-as-S**t PerformanceNominated[45]
MTV Movie AwardsBest HeroWon[13]
SFX AwardsBest ActorNominated
Shorts AwardsVisionary ActorWon
New Zealand Movie AwardsHero of the YearNominated
Constellation AwardsBest Male Performance In A 2012 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-SeriesNominated
Tumblr Movie AwardsBest Leading ActorNominated
Tumblr Movie AwardsBest ShipNominated
Online Film Critics' AwardsMost Cinematic MomentNominated
Stella AwardsBest Actor in a Leading RoleWon
The World's EndAlternative End of Year Film AwardsBest Ensemble CastWon
2014The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugEmpire AwardsBest ActorNominated
MTV Movie AwardsBest HeroNominated
Constellation AwardsBest Male Performance In A 2013 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-Series2nd Place
YouReviewers AwardsBest HeroNominated
Stella AwardsBest Actor in a Leading RoleWon
Online Film Critics' AwardsMost Cinematic MomentNominated
CinEuphoria AwardsBest EnsembleNominated
FargoCritics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actor in a Movie or Mini-SeriesNominated
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Actor in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Ensemble in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television FilmNominated
Crime Thriller AwardsBest ActorNominated[46]
Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-SeriesNominated
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieWon
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
Online Film Critics' AwardsBest Ensemble in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominated
2015The Hobbit: The Battle of Five ArmiesMTV Movie AwardsBest HeroNominated
Favorite British Artists of the YearFavourite Actor in a Motion PictureNominated
FargoFavorite British Artists of the YearFavourite Actor in a Television SeriesNominated
Richard IIIThe Mousetrap AwardsBest Male PerformancerWon
2016Stick ManBritish Animation AwardsBest Voice PerformanceWon
2018Labour of LoveWhatsOnStage AwardsBest Actor in a PlayNominated
2019Black PantherScreen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureWon


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  9. , Faith No More — I Started A Joke (Official Music Video), (21 Feb 2014); retrieved 5 August 2016.
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  14. Szalai, Georg (25 March 2013). Sam Mendes Win Empire Awards in U.K. for 'Skyfall', The Hollywood Reporter.
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  19. "Richard III".
  20. Gerard O’Donovan (20 January 2015). "The Eichmann Show, review: 'absolutely enthralling'". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
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  32. NZPA and Greer McDonald (April 2011). "Charity Match Benefits Christchurch Effort". The Rugby Corner. Archived from the original on 27 September 2014.
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  40. "BBC - BBC Wales marks NHS at 70 with all-star production To Provide All People - Media Centre".
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