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Robert Carlyle

Robert Carlyle in the 2009 Comic-Con
Born 14 April 1961 (1961-04-14) (age 48)
Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland
Occupation Actor
Years active 1982-present
Spouse(s) Anastasia Shirley (1997-present)[citation needed]

Robert Carlyle, OBE (born 14 April 1961) is a Scottish film and television actor.


Early life

Carlyle was born in Maryhill, Glasgow, the son of Elizabeth, a bus company employee, and Joseph Carlyle, a painter and decorator.[1][2] He was raised by his father after his mother left when Carlyle was four years old.[3][4] He left school at 16 without qualifications and went to work for his father as a painter and decorator, however he continued his education by attending night classes at Cardonald College in Glasgow.[5]


Carlyle became involved in drama at the Glasgow Arts Centre at the age of 21 (having been inspired by reading Arthur Miller's The Crucible), and subsequently graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. In 1991, he and four friends founded an acting company and guest starred in The Bill. He first came to the attention of the public as murderer Albie Kinsella in an episode of Cracker opposite Robbie Coltrane (in which he killed the character DCI David Bilborough, played by Christopher Eccleston). He soon landed the role of Highland policeman Hamish Macbeth in the eponymous BBC comedy-drama.

In 1994, he played the gay lover of Father Greg in the film Priest.

In 1996 and 1997, he appeared in the two most high-profile roles of his career to date: that of the psychopathic Francis Begbie in Trainspotting and Gaz, the leader of a group of amateur male strippers, in The Full Monty. He also starred with Ray Winstone in the 1997 film Face.

Carlyle played the senior Malachy McCourt (father of author Frank McCourt) in the 1999 film adaptation of McCourt's first memoir, Angela’s Ashes, the villainous Renard in the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, a cannibalistic soldier in the 1999 Ravenous, and Adolf Hitler in the 2003 miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil.

Carlyle appeared in the 2002 Oasis promotional music video to "Little By Little". In 2008 he also narrated a BBC audiobook version of The Cutting Room.

In 2007 Carlyle played one of the main characters in the film 28 Weeks Later. He also played the lead role as a marine engineer, attempting to save London from total devastation in the disaster film Flood. That year he also portrayed the role of Father Joseph Macavoy in the film The Tournament.

In 2008, Carlyle was cast as Dr. Nicholas Rush in the television series Stargate Universe.[6][7] His involvement has been described thus, "As [the team fights] to survive, Dr. Rush (Carlyle) works to unlock the mysteries of the ship and return the group home, but evidence of his ulterior motives soon arises." Carlyle was touted by the studio as the "leading role" in Universe.[8] In December 2008, Carlyle appeared in 24: Redemption, a television movie of the popular series 24, starring alongside Kiefer Sutherland. He has also been confirmed doing voice work as Gabriel, the hero from the video game Castlevania: Lords of Shadow alongside Patrick Stewart and Natascha McElhone.

Acting style

Known for his commitment to roles, Carlyle has often altered his lifestyle and physical appearance to better understand a character: before playing a homeless character in Antonia Bird’s 'Safe', he went to live in the Waterloo area of London where the film was set; for his role as a bus driver in Ken Loach’s Carla’s Song, he passed the test for a PSV licence (a licence to drive a bus with passengers) in a Glasgow Leyland Atlantean bus; and for the role of Hitler, he listened to all the works of Richard Wagner, Hitler's favourite composer.[9]

Personal life

Carlyle is the Patron of School For Life Romania, Charity No.1062953.[10]

He is married to the makeup artist Anastasia Shirley with whom he has three children. The family lives in Scotland.

Carlyle is a supporter of Glasgow Rangers Football Club.




Video games

  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (2010) (as Gabriel)

Audio books


  1. ^ "Robert Carlyle Biography". FilmReference. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  2. ^ "Born Equal: Robert Carlyle". BBC Press Office. BBC. 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  3. ^ Pendreigh, Brian (2006-01-29). "Father's death causes Carlyle to quit movie". News. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  4. ^ Smith, Andrew (1999-03-28). "Method man". The Guardian.,,38015,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  5. ^ Armstrong, Stephen (2007-05-20). "On the Move: Robert Carlyle". Timesonline. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  6. ^ Sumner, Darren (2008-12-15). "Robert Carlyle cast in Stargate Universe". GateWorld. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  7. ^ Sumner, Darren (2009-01-15). "Brian J. Smith cast in Stargate Universe". GateWorld. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  8. ^ Sumner, Darren (2008-12-15). "Robert Carlyle cast in Stargate Universe". GateWorld. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  9. ^ Armstrong, Stephen (20 May 2007). "On the Move: Robert Carlyle". Times Online. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  10. ^ "School For Life Romania". Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  11. ^ "In the Loop scoops Scots Baftas". BBC News. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2009. 

External links

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