The Info List - Damian Lewis

Damian Watcyn Lewis, OBE (born 11 February 1971) is an English actor and producer. He played U.S. Army Major Richard Winters in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and also portrayed U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland (which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award).[1] His performance as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall earned him his third Primetime Emmy nomination and fourth Golden Globe nomination.

Early life

Lewis was born in St John's Wood, London, the elder son of Charlotte Mary (née Bowater) and John Watcyn Lewis, a City insurance broker with Lloyd's.[2][3][4][5] His paternal grandparents were Welsh.[6] His maternal grandfather was Lord Mayor of London Sir Ian Bowater and his maternal grandmother's ancestors include Lord Dawson of Penn (a doctor to the Royal Family) and the philanthropist Alfred Yarrow.[4][7] He has stated that he "went to English boarding schools and grew up around people very much like Soames and in a milieu very much like the Forsytes'".[8]

As a child, Lewis made several visits to the U.S. to visit relatives during his summers.[9][10] He first decided to become an actor at age 16.[5] He was educated at the independent Ashdown House School in Forest Row, East Sussex, and at Eton College. He 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 Henrik Ibsen's Little Eyolf and Posthumus in William Shakespeare's Cymbeline. He also starred in another of Ibsen's plays, as Karsten Bernick in Pillars of the Community at the National Theatre in November 2005.[11]


Lewis once worked as a telemarketer selling car alarms, a job he detested.[12] He appeared in Robinson Crusoe (1997) as Patrick Conner. He appeared in Jonathan Kent's production of Hamlet, playing Laertes. This production was seen by Steven Spielberg, who later cast Lewis as Richard Winters in Band of Brothers, the first role of several that required him to have a credible American accent.[9]

Subsequently, Lewis portrayed Soames Forsyte in the ITV series The Forsyte Saga, which earned him rave reviews.[13] 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.[9] 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.[14][15][16]

He played Jeffrey Archer in the 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 2006, he appeared in Stephen Poliakoff's BBC drama Friends and Crocodiles. He has appeared on BBC's Have I Got News for You as guest host several times; on 10 November 2006, 1 May 2009, 18 November 2010, 27 April 9 November 2012 and 31 October 2014.

In 2008, Lewis starred as the main character Charlie Crews in the US television series Life on NBC. The show premiered in the U.S. on 26 September 2007 and was affected by the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. Only half of the first season's shows were produced. Regardless, the show won a 2008 AFI Award for best television series.[17] Although the show received critical acclaim, when it returned the following television season, it was shuffled from night to night, and eventually cancelled by NBC to clear its time slot for the less expensive[clarification needed] nightly programme, The Jay Leno Show.[citation needed]

Lewis appeared, the following year, in the lead role in The Baker, a film directed by his brother, Gareth. Damian took a supporting role of Rizza in The Escapist, which he also helped produce. He led the cast in Martin Crimp's version of Molière's comedy, The Misanthrope, which opened in December 2009 at the Comedy Theatre, London.[18] Other cast members included Tara Fitzgerald, Keira Knightley and Dominic Rowan.

Since 2010, Lewis has played Tory Prime Minister Simon Laity in two seasons of Number 10 on BBC Radio 4.[19][20]

He played Gareth, the father of an 11-year-old Liverpool F.C. fan, in the 2011 film Will.[21]

From 2011 to 2013, Lewis had a starring role as Gunnery Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland.[22] In 2013, he narrated poetry for The Love Book App, an "interactive anthology of love literature developed by Allie Byrne Esiri".[23]

Since 2016, he stars as billionaire Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series Billions.[24]

Lewis was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to drama.[25]

Personal life

On 4 July 2007, Lewis married actress Helen McCrory. They have a daughter, Manon (born 8 September 2006), and a son, Gulliver (born 2 November 2007).[26] Lewis and his family left England in the latter half of 2007 to live in Los Angeles, California, while he worked on the NBC-TV crime drama Life. However, after the completion of that series' final episode in early 2009, he, his wife, and children returned to England to reside in a Victorian townhouse located in Tufnell Park, in north London.[27]

In March 2010, Lewis became a trade justice ambassador for the charity Christian Aid.[citation needed] In May 2006, he played for England in Soccer Aid, and played golf for Europe in the All*Star Cup in August 2006, both shown on ITV.



Year Title Role Notes
1997 Robinson Crusoe Patrick
2003 Dreamcatcher Gary "Jonesy" Jones
2004 Keane William Keane
2004 Brides Norman Harris Original Greek Title: Νύφες
2005 Chromophobia Marcus Aylesbury
2005 An Unfinished Life Gary Winston
2006 The Situation Dan Murphy
2006 Stormbreaker Yasha "Yassen" Gregorovich Released in the US as Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker
2008 The Baker Milo "The Baker" Shakespeare Also producer; also known as Assassin In Love
2008 The Escapist Rizza
2011 Your Highness Boremont
2011 Will Gareth
2012 The Sweeney Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins
2013 Romeo & Juliet Lord Capulet
2014 The Silent Storm Balor McNeil
2015 Queen of the Desert Lt. Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie, VC
2015 Bill Sir Richard Hawkins
2016 Our Kind of Traitor Hector
2018 Ocean's 8 In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Micky Love Clive Television movie
1995 Agatha Christie's Poirot Leonard Bateson Episode: "Hickory Dickory Dock"
1996 A Touch of Frost Adam Weston Episode: "Deep Waters"
1999 Warriors Lt. Neil Loughrey Television movie
2000 Life Force Kurt Glemser 2 episodes
2000 Hearts and Bones Mark Rose 8 episodes
2001 Band of Brothers Maj. Richard D. Winters 10 episodes
2002–03 The Forsyte Saga Soames Forsyte 10 episodes
2002 Jeffrey Archer: The Truth Jeffrey Archer Television movie
2003 The Forsyte Saga: To Let Soames Forsyte Television movie
2005 Colditz Cpl / Lt. Nicholas McGrade 2 episodes
2005 Friends and Crocodiles Paul Television movie
2005 Much Ado About Nothing Benedick Television movie
2006–14 Have I Got News for You Himself 6 episodes
2007–09 Life Charlie Crews 32 episodes
2011 Stolen D.I. Anthony Carter Television movie
2011–14 Homeland Nicholas Brody 31 episodes
2015 Wolf Hall Henry VIII of England 6 episodes
2016–present Billions Bobby Axelrod 25 episodes

Awards and nominations


  1. ^ "Winners at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards". USA Today. 23 September 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Damian Lewis's Transformations". 
  3. ^ Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage, 1990, ed. Charles Kidd, pg 759
  4. ^ a b Profile at thePeerage.com; accessed 14 January 2009.
  5. ^ a b Interview with The Sunday Express, 25 May 2003; accessed 22 December 2008.
  6. ^ Mottram, James. Damian Lewis interview with Marie Claire, 25 February 2008. accessed 14 January 2009.
  7. ^ Fascinating Fact 4144. Contact Music, 21 October 2007; accessed 14 January 2009.
  8. ^ "An Interview with Damian Lewis". Public Broadcasting Service. 2002. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c Iannotti, Lauren. "Esquire Style". Esquire, April 2003, 139 (4):120.
  10. ^ "Fighting Talk". New Woman, November 1999. republished at Damian-Lewis.com. accessed 22 December 2008.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Prato, Alison. "Out on the Town with This Season’s Breakout Stars", Maxim (October 2008); accessed 15 December 2008.
  13. ^ Kelleher, Terry (14 October 2002), "The Forsyte Saga". People. 58 (16):36
  14. ^ Rozen, Leah (19 September 2005), "Keane". People. 64 (12):40
  15. ^ Kauffmann, Stanley (19 September 2005), "Heights and Depths". New Republic. 233 (12):28–29
  16. ^ Travers, Peter (6 October 2005) "Keane". Rolling Stone. (984):164
  17. ^ "AFI Awards 2008". American Film Institute. 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  18. ^ "The Misanthrope's London production". Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. 
  19. ^ Staff. "BBC Media Centre Programme Information – Afternoon Drama: Number 10". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "Number 10". Radiolistings.co.uk. 6 January 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Why we chose LFC and Istanbul". 2 November 2011. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  22. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (21 December 2010). "Damian Lewis Cast As The Male Lead In Showtime's Pilot 'Homeland'". Deadline.com. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  23. ^ "The Love Book App, poetry read by great actors". 
  24. ^ "Damian Lewis Suits Up for New Showtime Drama Billions". People. 11 August 2015. 
  25. ^ "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b13. 
  26. ^ "''The Mirror'' article". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  27. ^ Collins, Lauren (2016). "Blue Blood, Blue Collar: Damian Lewis's transformations," The New Yorker, 18 January 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2017.

External links