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Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (born Jonathan Michael Francis O’Keeffe; 27 July 1977) is an Irish film and television actor. He is best known for playing King Henry VIII in the Showtime cable television drama The Tudors and for his androgynous appearance. His looks and distinct style allow him to also work as a model, most notably for Club Monaco, Versace, and Hugo Boss.

Biography

Early life

Rhys Meyers was born Jonathan Michael Francis O’Keeffe in Dublin, Ireland, the son of Geraldine Meyers and musician John O'Keeffe. His stage name is derived from his mother's maiden name, Meyers.

Rhys Meyers was born with a serious heart problem and was baptized shortly after his birth, as it was feared he would not survive long enough for a traditional baptism ceremony. He spent the first few months of his life in the hospital. Rhys Meyers still lives in County Cork, Ireland where his family moved when he was a few months old. He has three younger brothers named Jamie, Alan and Paul, who are all professional musicians. .

When Rhys Meyers was three years old, his parents separated. His mother raised Jonathan and his brother Alan, while his other two brothers went to live at their grandmother's house with their father. They had spoken every day for several years.

Career

Rhys Meyers was expelled from the North Monastery Secondary School at age 16, and spent much of his time hanging out in pool halls namely the Victoria Sporting Club on Patricks Quay and the Coliseum Leisure Centre on McCurtain Street. Casting agents looking for Irish boys to appear in War of the Buttons spotted Rhys Meyers at a Cork pool hall, the Victoria Sporting Club, and invited him to audition. Although he was passed over for War of the Buttons, the casting agents encouraged him to pursue a career in acting. His first film role came soon afterward, in A Man of No Importance (1994). In 1996 he appeared in Michael Collins, as Collins' assassin.

Rhys Meyers has starred in television series including Gormenghast (2000) and in the CBS 4-hour mini-series Elvis (2005) as Elvis Presley alongside Rose McGowan as Ann-Margret. The latter earned him an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe win. He is currently starring in the Showtime cable series The Tudors (2007) as young King Henry VIII. He was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Drama in 2007 for the role.

His film roles range from a David Bowie-inspired glam rock star in Velvet Goldmine (1998) to a dedicated girls' football coach in Bend It Like Beckham (2002). He appeared in Vanity Fair (2004) alongside Reese Witherspoon. In 2005, Rhys Meyers starred in Woody Allen's film Match Point, for which he received a Chopard Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2006, he appeared in Mission: Impossible III. Other projects include August Rush (2007) and "The Children of Huang Shi" (2008). He is rumored to be appearing in Danny Glover's Haitian epic Toussaint (2008) and signed on to star as Lee Falk's comic strip hero Mandrake the Magician in an upcoming movie directed by Jay Russell. Upcoming projects include Shelter, co-starring Julianne Moore, and From Paris With Love, co-starring John Travolta.

Rhys Meyers, a self-taught singer and guitarist, has appeared in a number of musical roles. His first such role was that of rock star Brian Slade in Velvet Goldmine; two of the songs he sang ("Baby's On Fire" and "Tumbling Down") are on the film's soundtrack. He sang briefly in the TV miniseries version of The Magnificent Ambersons, performed in studio scenes of the miniseries Elvis and played the flute on several occasions in Gormenghast. In the 2007 music drama August Rush, Rhys Meyers performed on-screen as singer-songwriter Louis Connelly and is credited for four songs on the soundtrack - "Break", "Moondance", "Something Inside" and "This Time". Of the four, "This Time" and "Break" were considered in the Best Original Song category of the 80th Academy Awards "This Time" was not released as a single but peaked at #84 of the Canadian Hot 100 .

Rhys Meyers was chosen as the face for the Versace men's collection of Autumn/Winter 2006 and Spring 2007, and he has also been the face of the Hugo Boss men's fragrance range since 2005. He is signed to Independent Models in London.

Rhys Meyers recently added philanthropy to his already impressive CV. In February of 2008 he became a celebrity ambassador for The Hope Foundation This Cork-based charity aims to provide shelter and supplies to Calcutta's impoverished street children. Rhys Meyers hopes that lending his name to the organization will help raise awareness of the issue. As Ambassador he is expected to visit India and record a TV documentary for the charity.

On October 5th, 2008, Rhys Meyers received an Honourary Patronage from the Trinity College Philosophical Society in Dublin, Ireland.

Personal life

Rhys Meyers has been romantically linked to several actresses in the past, including his Velvet Goldmine co-star Toni Collette. The pair were together for a year following the completion of the film. Other short relationships include Rachael Leigh Cook (rumoured), Asia Argento (during the filming of B. Monkey), Irish model Glenda Gilson (rumoured), and Estella Warren (rumoured). He and co-star Scarlett Johansson both denied persistent rumors of romantic involvement while working on Match Point. His engagement to Dublin socialite/model Cha Cha Seigne, whom he considers his first true love, ended in separation in 2002. He has also been linked to English socialite Lady Victoria Hervey in the past and dated fashion model Lisa Butcher on and off for a year, beginning in the summer of 2002, where they met in France at a party held for the film The Importance of Being Earnest.

In 2004, Rhys Meyers met Reena Hammer, London-based student and heiress to mother Ruby Hammer's cosmetics line (Ruby & Millie) and father George Hammer, owner of Urban Retreat Spa at Harrods. The relationship has been on and off through the years with frequent rumors of engagements. Ms. Hammer is often by his side for premieres, events, and at the November 2007 funeral of Jonathan's mother. They attended the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala, in New York on Monday, May 5, 2008 and were most recently seen together on June 12, 2008 attending the Monte Carlo Television Festival.

In May 2005, Rhys Meyers checked into rehab facility Promises in California seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. On 24 April 2007, the Associated Press reported that Rhys Meyers returned to treatment. The actor's representative Meredith O'Sullivan confirmed the news to People magazine citing his need to take a break from his busy schedule in order to maintain sobriety. On Sunday 18 November 2007 Rhys Meyers was arrested in Dublin Airport and charged with being drunk and in breach of the peace. He was later released on bail to appear at the Dublin District Court on 5 December 2007. He was in Dublin to promote his new movie August Rush on the Irish television programme Tubridy Tonight. The charges were later dropped.

On November 20, 2007, the actor's mother, Geraldine Meyers-O'Keeffe, died after being admitted to the Mercy Hospital in Cork. She was 50 years old.

He owns houses and apartments in Nichols Canyon, Dublin, London and Morocco, splitting his time between Los Angeles and London when not working.

Filmography

Feature films

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Year Film Role Notes
1994 A Man of No Importance First young man
1996 The Killer Tongue Rudolph
The Disappearance of Finbar Finbar Flynn
Michael Collins Collins' assassin
1997 The Maker Josh Minnell
Telling Lies in America Kevin Boyle
1998 Velvet Goldmine Brian Slade
The Governess Henry Cavendish
B. Monkey Bruno
The Tribe Adam released on TV
1999 The Loss of Sexual Innocence Nic, aged 16
Ride with the Devil Pitt Mackeson
Titus Chiron
2001 Prozac Nation Noah released on TV
Tangled Alan Hammond straight to DVD
Happy Now Mark Wraith
2002 Bend It Like Beckham Joe
2003 The Tesseract Sean straight to DVD
Octane The Father straight to DVD
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead Davey
The Emperor's Wife Chamberlain
2004 Vanity Fair George Osborne
Alexander Cassander
2005 Match Point Chris Wilton
2006 Mission: Impossible III Declan
2007 August Rush Louis Connelly
2008 The Children of Huang Shi George Hogg
A Film with Me in It cameo
2009 Shelter Adam
From Paris With Love filming
Mandrake Mandrake pre-production

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Samson and Delilah Sansone a 14 anni TNT TV movie
2000 Gormenghast Steerpike BBC miniseries
2002 The Magnificent Ambersons George Amberson Minafer A&E miniseries
2003 The Lion in Winter Philip Showtime TV movie
2005 Elvis Elvis Presley CBS miniseries
2007-Present The Tudors King Henry VIII Showtime TV series, third season now in post-production

Awards and nominations

Emmy Awards

Golden Globe Awards

Irish Film & Television Awards (IFTA)

  • Won: Best Lead Actor - Television (2008), The Tudors

Other awards

References

External links

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