Happy birthday, Daniel Day-Lewis! The actor, hailed as one of the greatest of our time, celebrates his 55th today.
Day-Lewis, son of Anglo-Irish poet laureate Cecil Day-Lewis and actress Jill Balcon, started working on the British stage after graduating from the Bristol Old Vic theatre school, which he chose to attend over an apprenticeship in carpentry, his competing passion during secondary school. He first garnered attention in film for his 1985 portrayal of Johnny, a gay man in an interracial relationship, in "My Beautiful Laundrette." He then played Cecil, the cultivated fiance of Helena Bonham Carter in the adaptation of the E.M. Forster novel "A Room With A View." The films premiered in New York simultaneously, wowing critics who hailed Day-Lewis' impressive range.
Day-Lewis is known for his somewhat extreme preparation for his roles. For example, he spent two days and nights in a prison cell without food or water to prepare for the role of Gerry Conlon in "In the Name of the Father." He told The Independent:
My preference is that, that day when someone sticks a tripod in front of you with a camera on the top, it is not day one. It begins way before, with the work before you start filming -– and there is no limit to the amount of time that you take to discover a whole life; it could take six months, a year, or a lifetime.
Day-Lewis went on to garner critical and popular acclaim and numerous awards, such as an Oscar for his performance in "My Left Foot" in 1989. He has said his real interest, however, lies in "[telling] American stories," such as "The Last of the Mohicans," or his more recent roles in "Gangs of New York" and "There Will Be Blood," which earned him another Academy Award.
Day-Lewis currently resides in Ireland with his wife Rebecca Miller and their two children (he has another son from a previous relationship with actress Isabelle Adjani).
Check out the slideshow below for clips from some of Daniel Day-Lewis's memorable performances, as well as interviews and photos from across the years:
Daniel Day-Lewis's break-out role as punk Johnny in "My Beautiful Laundrette" (1985). Originally shot for British television, the film was later released in cinemas and became an international success. When Day-Lewis auditioned for the role, he had just finished playing Dracula on stage where he appeared with his hair dyed blond. He later let his hair grow out to give Johnny his frosted "punk look".
Interview with Daniel Day-Lewis on his role as Cecil Vyse in "A Room With A View," taken from the special edition A Room with a View DVD (1985).
In 1990, Day-Lewis won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Irishman Christy Brown in <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/34071/My-Left-Foot/overview" target="_hplink">"My Left Foot"</a>. Brown overcame cerebral palsy to become an author and artist by using his left foot, the one part of his body not afflicted by the disease.
Day-Lewis received the <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000358/awards" target="_hplink">British Actor of the Year award at the London Critics Circle Film Awards</a> for his performance as Hawkeye in "The Last of the Mohicans."
Daniel Day-Lewis is interviewed by Juliette Hohnen on the late MTV movie program The Big Picture in 1993 about <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107207/" target="_hplink">"In the Name Of The Father"</a>.
The couple were married in 1996, <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/daniel-day-lewis-9268727?page=2" target="_hplink">after meeting on the set of "The Crucible"</a> (Miller is the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller, author of "The Crucible").
Day-Lewis received an Academy Award nomination in 2003 (Best Actor in a Leading Role) for his portrayal of Bill "The Butcher" in "Gangs of New York".
Italian Premiere of "Gangs Of New York" (2003)
Daniel Day-Lewis poses with the trophy during the 80th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2008.
Rob Marshall, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren, Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, Marion Cotillard, and Fergie speak on working with the 'incomparable' Daniel Day-Lewis.
(From left) British actor Daniel Day-Lewis, British actress Dame Judi Dench, Australian actress Nicole Kidman, US director Rob Marshall, Spanish actress Penelope Cruz and US actress Kate Hudson pose as they arrive for the world premiere of the film "Nine" at the Odeon cinema on December 3, 2009 in central London.
The Briliant Daniel Day Lewis being interviewed by Parkinson.