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Mark Addy Biography


Home > Actors > A > Addy, Mark > Biography


Birth Name: Mark Addy
Born: 01/14/1964
Birth Place: York, England, GB


Mark Addy Johnson was born on Jan. 14, 1964, in the North Yorkshire suburb of Tang Hall. The son of a glazier and stained glass craftsman at the Gothic cathedral of York Minster, Addy became interested in acting while a student at the Joseph Rowntree School in York. He spent three weeks building sets and shifting scenery backstage at Tang Hall's Theatre Royal, where he watched professional actors ply their trade. When he expressed his curiosity about the craft to visiting actress Imelda Staunton, the veteran British character player advised him to enroll in her alma mater, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. After his 1982 graduation from York's Millthorpe High School, Addy studied at RADA, from which he graduated in 1984. As a young actor treading the boards, Addy's portly build and North Yorkshire accent often found him slotted as characters of low intelligence and dim prospects. Performing in a stage piece with playwright John Godber's Hull Truck Theatre Company, Addy was not invited to continue with the ensemble when the play transferred to London's West End. Deciding that he had had enough of theatre, he decided to try his luck instead with film and television.

Addy made his television debut in 1987 on an episode of the BBC series "The Continental," at Pebble Mill Studios in Birmingham; episodes of the show were written and directed by Addy's mentor, John Godber. He also appeared in two episodes apiece of the BBC medical sitcom "A Very Peculiar Practice" (1986-88) and Thames Television's long-running crime drama "The Bill" (1984-2010); in the latter, he portrayed the baby-faced defendant in a case of alleged date rape. Addy was on home ground for the Granada Television series "Band of Gold" (1995-1997), appearing as a cop in three episodes of the third and final season of this taboo-shattering look at prostitution in Northern England. He would be in uniform again in two first season episodes of the BBC's deceptively-titled comedy series "Ghostbusters of East Finchley" (1995) and as a second season addition to the successful BBC police precinct comedy "The Thin Blue Line" (1995-96) starring Rowan Atkinson. Other than roles in made-for-TV films, Addy had never performed in any feature films. That all changed when John Godber turned down a part in Peter Cattaneo's proposed film "Eggs, Beans and Chippendales" and suggested Addy take his place.

Concerned with the comic plight of unemployed steel workers who decide to raise money by performing a strip show in their native Sheffield, the film was released by 20th Century Fox as "The Full Monty" (1997) to international acclaim and went on record as the highest-grossing film from the United Kingdom in movie history. Addy's BAFTA-nominated portrayal of the good-natured and pot-bellied Dave Horsefall, an ex-welder who desperately tries to shed weight prior to the big show by wrapping himself in cellophane, was an instant audience pleaser. Addy proved equally adept at the broad comedy required of his scenes with co-stars Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson and Hugo Speer, as he was in tender moments with onscreen wife Lesley Sharp, whose character stands behind her husband in a third act scene that interrupts the barrage of belly laughs for an disarmingly emotional sidebar. "The Full Monty" spawned a Broadway musical adaptation in 2001 and launched Addy from the ranks of bit players to international film stardom.

For his U.S. film debut, Addy affected an American accent in the Warner Brothers family fantasy "Jack Frost" (1998), supporting star Michael Keaton in the tale of a father who returns after his death as a snowman to make good on promises left unfulfilled. The film was a dud at the box office, earning back $7 million of its $50 million budget, but Addy had his foot in the door of American movie houses. An invitation came from no less than executive producer Steven Spielberg to star in "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" (2000), based on the animated primetime series "The Flintstones" (ABC, 1959-1966) and a prequel to the 1994 film of the same name. Replacing John Goodman as prehistoric quarry worker Fred Flintstone, Addy held his own opposite a cast of mostly television actors. Another critical dartboard, the film tanked at the box office but there was no stopping Addy, who found himself in the sudden position of being able to pick and choose film roles. He played a butler opposite comedian Chris Rock in "Down to Earth" (2001) and enjoyed prominent roles opposite rising star Heath Ledger in "A Knight's Tale" (2001) and "The Order" (2003), both directed by Brian Helgeland. He donned a waxed mustache and celluloid collar for Simon Wells' ill-advised remake of "The Time Machine" (2002), starring Guy Pearce, and popped up as a ship captain in "Around the World in 80 Days" (2004) with Jackie Chan.

Addy returned to working class mode to star on the American situation comedy "Still Standing" (CBS, 2002-06), as the frequently stymied head of a middle class Chicago household. While never a big ratings puller, the series provided Addy with a regular paycheck and paired him to good effect with actress Jami Gertz for four seasons. After the cancellation of "Still Standing" in 2006, Addy returned to the United Kingdom for a role in the fantasy-tinged sitcom "Bonkers" (ITV, 2007), which is remembered less for its own merit than for a plagiarism suit lodged after its first and only season. In the ITV Sunday night telefilm "Bike Squad" (2008), Addy went for cheap but sincere laughs as an out-of-shape cop. His next job was a complete about-face, based on the Yorkshire Ripper murders that occurred between 1975 and 1981. An adaptation of a series of novels by David Pearce, "Red Riding" (2009) was split into three films, with Addy appearing in the final third, "Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983," as an ineffectual lawyer who finds redemption in helping to bring the case to a definitive close.

Addy donned detective's plain clothes for inconsequential roles in Gurinder Chadha's "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" (2010), a blackly comic whodunit set in London's East Indian Southall community, and in the Canadian "Barney's Version" (2010), supporting Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman in an adaptation of the final novel by Mordecai Richler. He had slightly more to do playing Friar Tuck to Russell Crowe's "Robin Hood" (2010), directed by Ridley Scott from a script by friend Brian Helgeland. Without having read the source novels of fantasy writer George R. R. Martin, Addy signed on for the HBO miniseries "Game of Thrones" (2011- ), an adaptation of the first book from Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Extra padding giving him a literally larger-than-life aspect, Addy brought a winning mixture of gravitas and grit to his performance as beleaguered potentate Robert Baratheon. The role reunited the actor with his RADA classmate Sean Bean, cast as Baratheon's childhood friend Eddard Stark, who spends a great deal of the first season sussing out a conspiracy plot to unseat the king. The miniseries was an instant hit for HBO and a clear win for Mark Addy, who was, by this point in his career, well on his way towards being one of Hollywood's most reliable character actors.