Paul Rhys

Paul Rhys (born 19 December 1963) is a Welsh television, film and theatre actor.

Paul Rhys
Born (1963-12-19) 19 December 1963
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1983–present

Rhys was born in Neath, Glamorgan, and studied at RADA, leaving with the Bancroft Gold Medal in 1985. After graduating, he obtained his first major screen role, in Absolute Beginners (1986). Since then he has seldom been off the stage and screen. His first US exposure was when American film director Robert Altman cast Rhys, who was then still a student, as Theo van Gogh in Vincent and Theo opposite Tim Roth as Vincent.[1]

Early life

Paul was born to Catholic parents. His mother, Kathryn Ivory, was Irish-Welsh and his father, Richard Charles Rhys, was Welsh. The family moved to the village of Pencoed when Paul was ten. A committed punk during his youth, Rhys was in several bands before leaving for London to study at RADA.


Paul's first acting job was playing Liverpudlian judo expert Ralph in John Godber's hit play Bouncers, before he even went to RADA. In the first summer vacation from RADA, he was spotted by Philip Prowse and was invited to perform in Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre, playing the illegitimate son, Gerald. He then returned to RADA for two terms before leaving again, this time to play Dean Swift in Julian Temple's Absolute Beginners. Rhys completed his education at RADA by winning the William Pole prize and the Bancroft Gold Medal on graduation.


His first film role was in Franklin J. Schaffner's Lionheart. After a brief spell at the Royal Shakespeare Company he played opposite Colin Firth in Richard Eyre's award-winning film Tumbledown. Soon after this, he appeared in Vincent & Theo, directed by the legendary American film director Robert Altman, as Vincent van Gogh's younger brother Theo van Gogh. Continuing the theme of famous brothers, Paul then played Sydney Chaplin opposite Robert Downey, Jr.'s Charlie Chaplin in Richard Attenborough's Chaplin. He went on to play Massis in Alan Bennett's 102 Boulevard Hausmann, after which he played opposite Peter O'Toole in Rebecca's Daughters. A series of films then followed including From Hell, Food of Love, Love Lies Bleeding and Hellraiser: Deader.


Running parallel to Rhys's film work has been a diverse and notable television career, working in leading roles with directors such as Mike Hodges, Stephen Frears, Sir Richard Eyre, Philip Martin, Christopher Morahan, Tom Vaughan, Edward Hall, Harry Bradbeer in productions including Tumbledown, A Dance to the Music of Time, The Heroes, Ghosts, Gallowglass, The Healer, Anna Karenina, The Deal, Beethoven, and more recently the television series Borgia, Luther, Spooks and Being Human (in which he played the vampire Ivan).[2]

In 1995, he portrayed Simon Templar (aka "The Saint") for a series of three radio plays for BBC Radio 4.

In 2014, he appeared as the lead, traitor Aldrich Ames, in The Assets miniseries.

In 2015, he portrayed Vlad, the Prince of Wallachia aka Dracula in the first and third season of the television series "Da Vinci's Demons"


Rhys has a reputation for committing so fully to stage roles that on two occasions it has caused him to be taken to hospital, once with pneumonia and the other with mental exhaustion.[3]

In 2000 he performed in the title role of Hamlet at the Young Vic and later in Tokyo and Osaka. He received several awards for this performance.[4] He also played Angelo in Measure for Measure for which he won the Critics' Circle Theatre Award; Houseman in The Invention of Love; and Edgar in King Lear, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award. These three plays were all staged at the Royal National Theatre. He appeared as Edmund in Long Day's Journey into Night and Leo in Design for Living at The Donmar Warehouse, performing opposite Rachel Weisz and Clive Owen in the latter. He also briefly played the title role in Howard Brenton's play Paul at the National Theatre, but was unable to continue as he had lost a considerable amount of weight from overwork, dropping from 12 stone to nine. From 6 February to 26 March 2016 he starred in a new version of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya by Robert Icke at The Almeida Theatre alongside Tobias Menzies.

Real-life characters played by Rhys have included Vlad Tepes, Ludwig van Beethoven,[5] Peter Mandelson,[6] Paul McCartney, Thomas De Quincey, A. E. Housman, Frédéric Chopin, and Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Personal life

Rhys had a relationship with the late Australian actress Arkie Whiteley, with whom he appeared in Gallowglass.



Year Title Role Notes
1986Absolute BeginnersDean Swift
1987LionheartMayor of the Underground City
1987Little DorritCharles Stiltstalking
1989SpiritDouglas Rimmer
1990Vincent & TheoTheo van Gogh
1991Becoming ColetteChapo
1992Rebecca's DaughtersAnthony Raine
1992ChaplinSydney Chaplin
1992Nina Takes a LoverPhotographer
1999Love Lies BleedingDr. Jonathan Stephens
1999The Strange Case of Delphina Potocka or The Mystery of ChopinFrédéric Chopin
2001From HellDr. Ferral
2002Food of LoveRichard Kennington
2003VacuumAdamShort film
2003Y MabinogiLord PwyllVoice
2003The DealPeter Mandelson
2005Hellraiser: DeaderWinterDirect-to-video
2007Unknown ThingsHoogstraten
2011Eliminate: Archie CooksonArchie CooksonBIFFF Thriller Prize - Special Mention


Year Title Role Notes
1987My Family and Other AnimalsGeorge
1988TumbledownHugh MacKessacTelevision film
1988The HeroesIvan Lyon
1990Screen TwoAmable MassisSeries 7, Episode 5: "102 Boulevard Haussmann"
1990Opium EatersThomas De QuinceyTelevision film
1992ChillersAdam MarshallSeries 1, Episode 9: "A Bird Poised to Fly"
1994The HealerDr. John LassiterTelevision film; BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Actor
1994A Summer's Day DreamChristopherTelevision film
1995GhostsCaptain Peter BuckleSeries 1, Episode 2: "Blood and Water"
1995The Haunting of Helen WalkerEdward GoffeTelevision film
1996Kavanagh QCSam WicksSeries 2, Episode 6: "Job Satisfaction"
1997A Dance to the Music of TimeCharles Stringham
1998PerformanceEdgarKing Lear
2000Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)Douglas MiltonSeries 1, Episode 4: "Paranoia"
2000I Saw YouBen WaltersTelevision film
2000Anna KareninaNikolai
2001The InnocentDavid PastorovTelevision film
2001The CazaletsRupert Cazalet
2002I Saw YouBen Walters
2002The Lives of AnimalsJohnTelevision film
2003Murder in MindMatthew HopkinsSeries 3, Episode 1: "Echoes"
2005TimewatchCiceroEpisode: "Murder in Rome"
2005BeethovenLudwig van Beethoven
2006The Ten CommandmentsRamesses II
2008BonekickersEdward LaygassSeries 1, Episode 1: "Army of God"
2008Agatha Christie's PoirotRobin UpwardSeries 11, Episode 1: "Mrs McGinty's Dead"
2008SpooksAlexis MeynellSeries 7, Episode 5
2009The QueenPrince CharlesSeries 1, Episode 4: "The Enemy Within"
2010Being HumanIvan5 episodes
2010LutherLucien BurgessSeries 1, Episode 3
2010New TricksSebastian CarterSeries 7, Episode 1: "Dead Man Talking"
2010When Harvey Met BobPaul McCartneyTelevision film
2010Agatha Christie's MarpleLewis PritchardSeries 5, Episode 3: "The Blue Geranium"
2011Murdoch MysteriesDr. Llewllyn Francis3 episodes
2011Moving OnAndySeries 3, Episode 4: "Donor"
2011Great ExpectationsCompeyson/Denby
2013–14BorgiaLeonardo da Vinci6 episodes
2013–15Da Vinci's DemonsVlad the Impaler4 episodes
2014The AssetsAldrich Ames
2015–17TURNGeorge III3 episodes
2015CasanovaCount of St. GermainTelevision film
2016VictoriaSir John Conroy3 episodes
2017RellikPatrick Barker3 episodes
2018LorePhilip SmithSeries 2, Episode 5: "Mary Webster: The Witch of Hadley"


Year Title Role Notes
1983 BouncersRalphYorkshire Actors
1984A Woman of No ImportanceGerald ArbuthnotGlasgow Citizens Theatre
1985La Vie parisienneMilordGlasgow Citizens Theatre
1986The OrphanPolydoreGreenwich Theatre
1986The Merchant of VeniceLorenzoRoyal Shakespeare Company
1986Much Ado About NothingClaudioRoyal Shakespeare Company
1987GhettoSolomonRiverside Studios
1988The Government InspectorKhlestakovCompass Theatre
1990BentRudyRoyal National Theatre
1994Design for LivingLeoDonmar Warehouse
1995–96Long Day's Journey Into NightEdmundYoung Vic
1997King LearEdgarRoyal National Theatre; Nominated — Laurence Olivier Award
1997The Invention of LoveHousemanRoyal National Theatre
1999–2000HamletHamletYoung Vic; Barclays Theatre Award
2004Measure for MeasureAngeloRoyal National Theatre; Critics' Circle Theatre Award
2005PaulPaulRoyal National Theatre
2012The Master and MargaritaWoland/The MasterBarbican Theatre
2016Uncle VanyaUncle VanyaAlmeida Theatre


  1. "Rupert Cazalet - Paul Rhys". Public Broadcasting System. Retrieved 4 August 2016. Rhys burst on to the scene in dramatic fashion a decade ago, being chosen by Robert Altman to star with Tim Roth in Vincent & Theo. "I was spoilt early on with Altman. I worked with him and thought life would always be like that. Of course it's not," he smiles.
  2. Wales Online: "Actor Paul Rhys on the day he mud wrestled Ray Winstone", 12 November 2011. Accessed 14 March 2013
  3. "Actor Paul Rhys on the day he mud wrestled Ray Winstone". WalesOnline. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  4. Gibbons, Fiachra (8 November 1999). "Award victory for play denied West End run". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  5. BBC Press Office
  6. Guardian Reviews, The Deal, Channel 4, 16/9/2003

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.