Happy Birthday to Irish actor James Nesbitt, who turns 49 today!
James, or Jimmy, Nesbitt was born on January 15, 1965 in the town of Ballymena. Growing up with his three older sisters in the countryside of Northern Ireland, he aspired to be a teacher just like his father. At age 13, he made his acting debut as the Artful Dodger in the play Oliver. In order to pursue his dream of teaching, he spent a year studying French at Ulster Polytechnic. It didn’t take long before he realized that this was not the right path for him to take. He then moved to London to attend the Central School of Speech and Drama from which he graduated from at the age of 22.
For almost ten years, he took on various theatre roles. One of his first big breaks outside of theatre was in 1996 when he auditioned for and landed the male lead role in the TV series Cold Feet. This television comedy ran from 1998-2003 and won him a British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Actor in 2000.
In 2002, he starred as Ivan Cooper in the moving television drama, Bloody Sunday, which won him a Best Actor award in the Stockholm International Film Festival. The following year, he played an undercover police detective in Murphy’s Law.
James Nesbitt is no stranger to wigs and prosthetics! It took over one hour each day to transform him into his character, Mr. Hyde, in Jekyll (yet another gem from Steven Moffat). This role led to a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television” in 2008.
Jimmy has been a UNICEF UK ambassador since 2005. His work mainly revolves around HIV, AIDS, and providing aid to former child soldiers in Africa. In addition, he has supported various cancer foundations as well as advocating to reduce public education cuts in Northern Ireland.
After accepting his role as Bofur the Dwarf, Jimmy moved his whole family down to New Zealand for the two years it took to film The Hobbit. This included his two daughters, Peggy and Mary, who were later cast in the film as well. You can see them both playing Bard’s daughters, Sigrid and Tilda, in the second two installments of the trilogy.
The Middle-earth News Team is pleased to wish Jimmy a very Happy Birthday!