- ° 29 april 1957
- ∧ London, England, UK
Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis was born in London, England, the second child of Cecil Day-Lewis (Poet Laureate of England) and his second wife, Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfather was Sir Michael Balcon, an important figure in the history of British cinema, head of the famous Ealing Studios. His older sister, 'Lydia Tamasin' is a documentary film maker. Daniel was educated at Sevenoaks School in Kent, which he despised, and the more progressive Bedales in Petersfield, which he adored. He studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic School. Daniel made his film debut in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), but then acted on stage with the Bristol Old Vic and Royal Shakespeare Companies and did not appear on screen again until 1982 when he landed his first adult role, a bit part in Gandhi (1982). He also appeared on British TV that year in Frost in May (1982) (TV) and How Many Miles to Babylon? (1982) (TV). Notable theatrical performances include "Another, Country" (1982-83), "Dracula" (1984), and the "Futurists" (1986).
His first major supporting role in a feature film was in The Bounty (1984), quickly followed by My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and A Room with a View (1985). The latter two films opened in New York on the same day, offering audiences and critics evidence of his remarkable range and establishing him as a major talent. The New York Film Critics named him the "Best Supporting Actor" for those performances. In 1986 he appeared on stage in Richard Eyre's "Futurists" and on television in Eyre's production of The Insurance Man (1986) (TV). He also had a small role in a British/French film Nanou (1986). In 1987 he assumed leading man status in Philip Kaufman's The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), followed by a comedic role in the unsuccessful Stars and Bars (1988). His brilliant performance as Christy Brown in Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot (1989) won him numerous awards, including The Academy Award for best actor.
He returned to the stage to work again with Richard Eyre, as Hamlet at the National Theater, but was forced to leave the production close to the end of its run suffering from exhaustion and has not appeared on stage since. He took a hiatus from film as well until 1992, when he starred in The Last of the Mohicans (1992), a film which met with mixed reviews but was a great success at the box office. He worked with American director Martin Scorsese in The Age of Innocence (1993) in 1994. Subsequently, he teamed again with Ireland's Jim Sheridan to star in In the Name of the Father (1993), a critically acclaimed performance which earned him another Academy Award nomination. His next project was the role of John Proctor in Arthur Miller's play The Crucible (1996), directed by Nicholas Hytner.