John Noble Biography


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Birth Name: John Noble
Born: 08/20/1948
Birth Place: Port Pirie, South Australia, AU


Born Aug. 20, 1948 in the coastal town of Port Pirie in South Australia, John Noble landed his first acting job in a touring production of pubs sponsored by the country's Council for the Arts. Theater was his main focus during the 1970s and 1980s, when Australia's cultural resources began to attract global attention. In 1977, he served as artistic director for the Stage Company of South Australia, a position he held for a decade, and later became a Trustee of the Adelaide Festival Centre and chairman of that city's Drama Festival. During this period, he was also a fixture on the Australian stage, with occasional forays to London's West End. Among the highlights of his lengthy theatrical career were 240 performances of Ron Blair's "The Christian Brothers," a one-man play about a priest whose harsh teaching methods provided a window into his own compromised soul. In 1979, he was featured in the award-winning production of Rob George's "Errol Flynn's Great Big Adventure Book for Boys" at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, and later commissioned the author to create "Percy and Rose," which Noble directed for the Adelaide Festival of the Arts. Noble would go on to produce some 70 new plays in Australia and conduct master classes in acting throughout his native country. In 1984, Noble was nominated for Young Australian of the Year by South Australian Premier John Bannon.

Noble's onscreen career began with 1988's "The Dreaming," a supernatural thriller about a white doctor who experienced disturbing phenomena after treating an aborigine patient. Supporting roles in homegrown features and made-for-TV movies like the romantic comedy "The Nostradamus Kid" (1992) and "The Monkey's Mask" (2000) as the grieving father of a missing young woman (Abbie Cornish), preceded a lengthy recurring run as a doctor on the popular medical drama "All Saints" (Seven Network, 1998-2009). However, Noble's profile on the international scene exploded after New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson cast him in the Oscar-winning "The Return of the King" (2003), the final film in his epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

In "Return," as well as a scene in the extended version of "The Two Towers" (2002), Noble played Denethor, the steward of the walled city of Gondor, and father to two of the series' heroes, Boromir (Sean Bean) and Faramir (David Wenham). An embittered figure, jealous of the respect commanded by his predecessors and by the rulers of other kingdoms, Denethor channeled his frustrations into his sons, praising Boromir as a hero while denigrating Faramir at every turn and even sending him to a certain death against invading enemies. When a massive army threatened Gondor, Denethor's remaining resolve crumbled, and his failure to save his city lead to madness that resulted in his own suicide. For his work in "Return of the King," Noble shared Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice Awards with his castmates, as well as the National Board of Review Award for Best Cast.

The phenomenal success of "Return" boosted Noble's screen career in his native country, as well as around the world. He was Anatoly Markov, a Russian Consul and mole for international terrorists in the sixth season of "24" (Fox, 2001-2010), then played actor-director Irving Pichel in Peter Bogdanovich's ABC TV-movie "The Mystery of Natalie Wood" (2004). That same year, he reunited with "Return of the King" co-star John Rhys-Davies to play an evil, anti-Semitic prince in "Esther and the King" (2006), a faith-based epic about the Biblical story of Persian Queen Esther. Few people saw him play another Russian villain in the crime drama "Running Scared" (2006) or the Dragon Spirit in "Avatar: The Last Airbender" (2010), but by 2008, Noble had eclipsed these flops by virtue of his critically acclaimed turn as an eccentric scientist on "Fringe."

The son of a former Nazi scientist, Noble's Walter Bishop discovered a parallel universe where technology had advanced at a more rapid pace than in our own world. Bishop reproduced these inventions in his own world, but was sidetracked when his son, Peter, developed an incurable illness. After discovering his own alternate universe double had discovered a cure for his son's double, Bishop entered the mirror world with the intent of claiming the formula to revive his own son, who had died of his illness. The plot failed, and Bishop was forced to kidnap his son's double and raise him as his own child. After a fire claimed the life of his assistant, he was deemed unstable and sent to a mental institution for 17 years. Later, the grown alternate Peter (Joshua Jackson) freed his father to aid agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) in curing her lover of a mysterious disease. Father and son eventually teamed to help solve strange paranormal phenomena while contending with the truth about their own pasts as it unraveled throughout the show. A slow-building cult favorite, Noble's performance - at once comic, tragic, eccentric and moving - became "Fringe's" most acclaimed element, with critics naming Bishop among the best characters on television. For his efforts, Noble received two Satellite Award nominations in 2008 and 2009, as well as a 2009 Saturn Award nomination.




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