Date of Birth
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Andrew Clement Serkis (born 20 April 1964) is an English actor, director, and producer. He is best known for his performance capture roles comprising motion capture acting, animation, and voice work for computer-generated characters such as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), King Kong in the eponymous 2005 film, Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy (2011–2017), Captain Haddock / Sir Francis Haddock in Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Baloo in his self-directed film Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018) and Supreme Leader Snoke in the Star Wars sequel trilogy films The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), also portraying Kino Loy in the Star Wars Disney+ series Andor (2022).
Serkis is the tenth highest-grossing actor of all time, and his film work in motion capture has been critically acclaimed. He has received an Empire Award and two Saturn Awards for his motion-capture acting.
He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of serial killer Ian Brady in the British television film Longford (2006) and was nominated for a BAFTA for his portrayal of new wave and punk rock musician Ian Dury in the biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010).
Serkis portrayed Ulysses Klaue in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Black Panther (2018), as well as the Disney+ series What If…? (2021). He has played Alfred Pennyworth in The Batman (2022).
Serkis has his own production company and motion capture workshop, The Imaginarium in London, which he used for Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. He made his directorial debut with Imaginarium's 2017 film Breathe. He directed Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021), which is set in Sony's Spider-Man Universe (SSU).
Serkis was born on 20 April 1964 in Ruislip Manor in Middlesex (now within Greater London). He grew up in both Ruislip and Baghdad, Iraq. His mother, Lylie Weech, was half Iraqi and half English, and taught disabled children; his father, Clement Serkis, was an Iraqi-Armenian gynecologist.
His parents are Catholic. His ancestors' original surname was "Sarkisian". His father often worked abroad in the Middle East, while Serkis and his siblings were raised in Britain, with regular holidays in the Middle Eastern cities of Tyre, Sidon, Damascus, and Baghdad.
Serkis was educated at St Benedict's School, Ealing. He studied visual arts and theatre as part of his degree at Lancaster University and graduated in 1985. Serkis was a member of The County College and part of the student radio station Bailrigg FM. He joined the Nuffield Studio, getting involved in designing and producing plays.
Having agreed to act in a couple of productions towards the end of his first year, Serkis played the lead role in Barrie Keeffe's play Gotcha as a rebellious teenager holding a teacher hostage.
As a result, he changed his major subject to acting, constructing his Independent Studies Degree around acting and set design, studying Konstantin Stanislavski and Bertolt Brecht, and including minor modules in art and visual graphics.
In his final year at Lancaster, he adapted Raymond Briggs's graphic novel The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman, a satire about the Falklands War, as a one-man show, which he performed to acclaim.
In his third year at university, Serkis joined the backstage team at the local Duke's Playhouse to earn his Equity card. On graduating, although advised to take a one-year post-graduate acting course, he joined Dukes as an actor.
Under director Jonathan Petherbridge, who used workshops based on the methods of Augusto Boal, he spent 18 months acting in a broad range of productions from Brecht, Shakespeare, and modern British playwrights.
After 16 months, and having gained his Equity card, Serkis joined a series of touring companies, including productions of Bouncers opposite Hull Truck; Florizel in The Winter's Tale; and The Fool in King Lear with director Max Stafford-Clark. In the early 1990s, he settled in London and took a role in April de Angelis' Hush (Royal Court) as Dogboy.
Serkis also developed a career in television, appearing in small roles such as Greville in an episode of The Darling Buds of May (1992) and a criminal called Maxwell in an episode of Pie in the Sky (1994).
Serkis joined director Mike Leigh's ensemble for two film productions and appeared in the romantic comedy Loop (1997) alongside Susannah York. Serkis portrayed Victorian choreographer John D'Auban in Topsy-Turvy, a 1999 film about Gilbert and Sullivan's creation of The Mikado. In 1999, Serkis played Bill Sikes in ITV's adaptation of Oliver Twist.