Ben Whishaw is an accomplished English actor who has taken his talents to the stage, as well as film and television. The star of Paddington is widely recognized for the myriad of roles he has portrayed on screen and his guy-next-door charm that has endeared him to millions of fans across the world. Despite the reach of his popularity, Whishaw insists on leading a normal life and doesn’t understand why people ascribe celebrity status to him just because he has been in a few movies.
As far as the Paddington actor is concerned, he is simply doing a job just like everyone else, and the fact that his job happens to play out on big and small screens all over the globe does not make that much of a difference to him. Whishaw is not in the habit of answering personal inquiries that might provide needed insight into his life, and this air of mystery has only helped to grow the public’s interest in him.
Ben Whishaw’s Bio
The actor was born Benjamin John Whishaw on October 14, 1980. He spent most of his early life in Clifton, Bedfordshire before his family relocated to Langford. He and his fraternal twin brother, James, were born to Jose Whishaw and Linda Hope. His parents work in sports and cosmetics respectively. Although he is English by birth as well as through his mother, his father has a mix of Russian, French, and German ethnicity.
From a very young age, Whishaw was enamored with acting and soon established himself as a prominent member of the Bancroft Players Youth Theatre and Hitchin’s Queen Mother Theatre. He completed his early education at Henlow Middle School before heading to Samuel Whitbread Community College. Afterward, he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he graduated from in 2003.
His professional career began on the stage where he featured in productions of If This Is a Man and Hamlet. By 2005 when Whishaw made the shift to television and film, he was already a well-known name in the world of theatre. On the big and silver screen, he has appeared in Layer Cake, My Brother Tom, Nathan Barley, Stoned. In 2006, he beat Orlando Bloom and Leonardo DiCaprio to land the lead role as Jean Baptiste Grenouille in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. He went on to star in I’m Not There, Brideshead Revisited, Bright Star, Criminal Justice, and The Hour.
You might also recognize Whishaw for the roles he portrayed in the James Bond movies Skyfall and Spectre, as well as in The Hollow Crown, Enduring Love, Richard II, Lilting, The Lobster, A Very English Scandal, Suffragette, and Paddington.
He has won several awards for his performances such as the Independent Spirits Award, Royal Television Society Programme Awards, British Independent Film Awards, Sochi International Film Festival Awards, International Emmy Awards, British Academy Television Awards, Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and the Golden Globe Awards. Ben Whishaw is considered one of the most distinguished and prolific actors of his generation.
6 Things To Know About The Paddington Actor
1. His family’s original name is not Whishaw
The Whishaws used to be known as Stellmacher, as they were originally from Germany. However, Ben’s paternal grandfather, Jean Vladimir Stellmacher decided to adopt Whishaw as his last name after World War II ended having served as a spy for the British while serving in the German army.
2. Ben has been nominated for the prestigious Olivier Award
It is no secret that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of the most demanding characters to embody and many extremely talented performers have struggled to fully realize the role. However, Whishaw’s 2004 performance as Hamlet received critical acclaim and four award nominations including one of the highest honors in theatre, the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor.
3. He’s the youngest actor to play Q in the James Bond franchise
Since the character first appeared in the franchise, he has been portrayed by an older gentleman usually well past their 50s, but Whishaw was only 32 when he took on the role to the delight of audiences everywhere.
4. Ben Whishaw has a deep love for visual arts
When he’s not studying a script or filming a movie, the Paddington actor prefers to spend his time painting. His other hobbies include writing, gardening, and reading.
5. He cares about animals
On several occasions, Whishaw has welcomed stray cats into his home, taking them off the streets and ensuring they have food to eat, a roof over their heads, and a loving family to care for them.
6. He has given up the dream of ever playing Doctor Who
Although Ben Whishaw thinks the character is one of the finest that any actor can portray, he no longer believes he can ever take on the role now that he has starred as Q in James Bond. According to him, it’d be a bit wrong to do so.