Richard Armitage is an English actor. He has found success in theater, television, voice-acting, and more recently film. He is best known for his roles in the television show North & South, and his role as  Thorin Oakenshield in the film adaptions of The Hobbit.   

Richard Armitage Bio: Age, Early Life

Richard Armitage was born in Leicester, England, on August 22, 1971 (Richard Armitage age: 51). As a child, his focus was mainly on his musical talents, namely the cello, which he developed more at Brockington College in Enderby. His focus shifted to drama and dance when he transferred to the arts-focused boarding school in Coventry, Pattison College.  

Richard Armitage Bio: Early Theatre career

British entertainers at the time had to receive equity cards in order to have access to most jobs, with few available to noncard holders. Upon graduating, Armitage briefly joined the Nachtcircus in Budapest, Hungary, in order to garner enough professional work to apply for an equity membership card. After his time there, he worked in musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun, Cats and 42nd Street and in dramas such as Death of a Salesman. 

He enrolled in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1993 in order to further develop his skills in dramatic theater. In 1996 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as a supporting character. During his time there he participated in productions such as Macbeth and The Duchess of Malfi. He also performed as a part of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Richard Armitage Bio: Television

Richard Armitage began his television and film career with numerous small unaccredited and credited roles. Among these include an unnamed man in a pub in an episode of Boon.

Armitage’s first significant role was as John Thornton in the BBC miniseries North and South. He became an overnight heartthrob with viewers in the U.K. This part launched him into national popularity.

He played Guy of Gisborne in the BBC series Robin Hood, which went on for three seasons. He also played Ricky Deeming in the detective show George Gently.  In 2008, Armitage joined season seven of Spooks with the role of Lucas North. In the series, he played a psychologically damaged spy who had been liberated after eight years in a Russian prison. He has also had parts in series like Moving On, Strike Back, Between the Sheets, Cold Feet, Ultimate Force and Hannibal. His role as serial killer Francis Dolarhyde in Hannibal won him the Saturn Award that year for Best Supporting Actor on a television series.         

Armitage starred as Daniel Miller in the television series Berlin Station, where he played a U.S. intelligence agent stationed in Berlin, already having practiced with this type of role with his part in Spooks.

He claimed that his two experiences playing a spy differ largely from one another. “I expected myself to be rolling over bonnets [hoods] of cars with guns and pulling out lots of James Bond-style gadgets. But, actually, it feels like something has changed in that ten years, that technology has become unreliable for the intelligence services,” he told uInterview in an exclusive video interview.  “So, it was almost like back to basics, back to old-fashioned spycraft, and face-to-face interaction between two opponents psychoanalyzing each other and really getting under each other’s skin. And not just against one’s perceived enemies, but against one’s perceived friends as well. That was fascinating for me and I think it is what makes it slightly different to the genre.”

Despite the prior experience, he put a lot of research into the role. “I went in search of a truthful account of the CIA. I treated it as a job interview for the CIA. What would I do about this institution that I was going to work for?” he told uInterview. “So, I looked at Glenn Greenwald, I looked at some writing that he did; I looked at a novel that Bob Baer had written; I looked at a great book called Legacy of Ashes. I forget who wrote it, but it is like the birth and history of the CIA. I also looked at a lot of fiction; I looked at Olen Steinhauer, a novelist, screenwriter. I looked at his work. And then, I let the script do the work and really just try to just arm myself with as much information as possible and then allow the character to step into the unknown. Because that’s really what these guys are facing; it’s a sort of fumbling around in the dark, really, and trying to figure out what’s happening. All of the prep was upfront and then I sort of unleashed Daniel into the arena.”

Recent television work includes the 2021 show Stay Close and the 2023 thriller Obsession.

Richard Armitage Bio: Film Work

Armitage began with very small roles in film, such as being a Naboo fighter pilot in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. His first role in a large production was in the BBC television film  Sparkhouse, where he played the supporting actor John Standring.  His first significant role in a film was his work in the independent movie Frozen. In 2011 he played Heinz Kruger, a Nazi soldier, in the Marvel franchise film Captain America: The First Avenger. 

Armitage didn’t gain international success until he was cast as the dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit Trilogy, one of his best-known roles outside of the United Kingdom.

He also had a small part in Alice Through the Looking Glass and more significant parts in Sleepwalker. His most recent films include Ocean’s 8 (2018), The Lodge (2019) and The Man from Rome (2022).

Richard Armitage Bio: Later Theater Work

Richard Armitage’s success in television greatly expanded the number of stage roles he was able to obtain. He stared as John Proctor in The Old Vic’s production of The Crucible.

It was a financial and critical success. The live production was recorded and distributed internationally in theaters as a way to meet large demands to see the production. It was later released in digital formats. For his role, Armitage received the Best Leading Actor in a New Production of a Play by Broadway World: UK Awards in 2014 and was also nominated for a Best Actor Olivier Award.

He also played the character Kenneth in Laura Pels Theater’s production of Love, Love, Love, and Swann in the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center’s staged reading, Remembrance of Things Past. 

Richard Armitage Voice Work

Richard Armitage was first introduced to voice work when he was asked to do the audiobook recordings for the novel adaption of the BBC show Robin Hood. Armitage’s low-pitched voice has become one of the actor’s trademarks and is described as a baritone. Since then he has gone on to do other narrations, radio shows and audiobooks.

Richard Armitage Bio: Personal Life, Dating History, Girlfriends

The prolific actor is private with his dating life but was previously engaged to actress Samantha Colley.

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