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Jack Davenport Biography


Home > Actors > D > Davenport, Jack > Biography


Birth Name: Jack Davenport
Born: 03/01/1973
Birth Place: Suffolk, England, GB




Jack Davenport was born on March 1, 1973 in Suffolk, England, United Kingdom to actors Maria Aitken and Nigel Davenport. Even though his parents were in the entertainment industry, Davenport came from a long line of British movers and shakers. His great-great uncle was politician and "London Evening Standard" publisher Sir William Maxwell Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook; his maternal great-grandfather was British diplomat John Maffey, 1st Baron Rugby; and his maternal grandmother was Lady Penelope Aiken, an English socialite and Member of the Order of the British Empire. The future star spent much of his youth on a farm run by his parents, and was later sent to boarding school following their separation. Davenport studied Literature and Film Studies at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, where he discovered he was more interested in production work over acting. His mother, who played John Cleese's wife in "A Fish Called Wanda" (1988), suggested to her son that he contact Cleese for a production job as a runner on the 1997 comedy "Fierce Creatures." Cleese - who also wrote and starred in the film - forwarded the letter to the casting agent, who then hired Davenport for the minor role of a student zookeeper.

Intrigued by acting, Davenport went through a rigorous audition process to land his breakthrough role as Miles Stewart, a law graduate sharing a house in South London with four roommates, in "This Life." The drama series focused on the complex relationships between the twenty-something barristers on and off the courtroom, with Davenport's Miles as the group's resident misogynist. "This Life" became more of a critical hit rather than a ratings winner, and only lasted two seasons. Davenport reunited with the cast on the 1997 special "This Life +10" (BBC), which gave a glimpse into the characters' lives a decade on. The actor began landing roles on British television and in cinema, playing Malcolm in "Macbeth" (1998) and the lead on "Ultraviolet" as a leather jacket-wearing detective who tracked down vampires. The series was often criticized for being a low-budget take on the hit U.S. series, "The X Files" (Fox, 1993-2002). Davenport's "Ultraviolet" character was similar to the role he played on the 1998 film "The Wisdom of Crocodiles," as Sergeant Roche, a detective investigating murders in London committed by a vampire (Jude Law). Davenport made his American film debut in "The Talented Mr. Ripley." The Anthony Minghella-directed drama starred Matt Damon in the title role and Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, the debonair object of Ripley's eerie obsession. Davenport played homosexual musician Peter Smith-Kingsley, a European jet setter who falls victim to Ripley's extremely sociopath behavior.

The actor made his mark on British television once again with a starring role on "Coupling." The BBC Two sitcom followed six friends - three male and three female - who discussed sex, relationships, and everything in between. Davenport played Steve Taylor, a bachelor in his thirties who often said the wrong thing at the wrong time. The premise of "Coupling" mirrored that of the hit comedy "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004), and was adapted into an unsuccessful U.S. version in 2003. Even though the American remake failed to perform in the ratings and was cancelled after only one season, the British version gained a devoted fan base during its four-year run. His mainstream recognition doubled after Davenport appeared in the 2003 blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" opposite Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. He played Admiral James Norrington, an expert swordsman and Knightley's character's fiancé. The film's producer Jerry Bruckheimer later revealed that Norrington was only supposed to appear in the first film, but due to the audience' positive feedback on the character, he was written back into the script for the follow-up features, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (2006) and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (2007). The trilogy went on to rake in over $2.5 billion in revenues worldwide.

In 2008, Davenport starred on the CBS period drama "Swingtown." The series followed families living in a Chicago suburb during the 1960s. The actor played Bruce Miller, a businessman who relocates to a new neighborhood with his wife and two children, only to discover their next-door neighbors (Grant Show and Lana Parilla) have an open marriage that often involved throwing swingers parties. Critics gave "Swingtown" mixed reviews for its nostalgic charm and portrayal of suburban America during the sexual revolution. The controversial premise, which incited attempted boycotts from the American Family Association, did not help the show last for more than one season. However, the talented Davenport did not wait too long to land another television role stateside. In 2009, he was cast on the drama "FlashForward," which revolved around a mysterious global event that caused people to lose consciousness for two minutes and 17 seconds, and while under, have a vision of what their lives would be like over a year later. Davenport played Lloyd Simcoe, a Stanford physicist who lost his wife during the blackout, and was left to take care of his autistic son. The ensemble cast included Joseph Fiennes and John Cho as a pair of FBI agents investigating the global blackout.