Personal detailsName: Bill Nighy
Born: 12 December 1949 (Age: 64)
Where: Caterham, England
Height: 6' 2"
Awards: Won 2 BAFTAs and 1 Golden Globe
All about this star
For most movie fans, Bill Nighy was a sudden revelation. Seizing attention as the cynical and flamboyant ex-rock star Billy Mack in 2003's Love Actually, he quickly won a Golden Globe as the spin doctor paralyzed by his own lies in Stephen Poliakoff's Gideon's Daughter, then struck worldwide as the ruthless, tentacle-faced Davey Jones in the Pirates Of The Caribbean series. His range was clearly immense, his talent undeniable, yet he was well into his fifties. How could he have remained unnoticed for so long?
The answer's simple. Most actors find themselves in the same Catch-22 position; you're not given lead roles until you've proven yourself in a lead role. Nighy suffered years of frustration due to this. Before he broke through in the movies, though, he had enjoyed a fantastically rich career. Onstage, he'd done Shakespeare, Pinter, Chekhov, Tennessee Williams and a mass of more contemporary, often contentious pieces, enjoying big hits alongside Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench. On TV, he'd appeared with Dench, Peter Ustinov, Faye Dunaway, Hugh Grant and Imelda Staunton; in films with Diane Keaton, Richard Harris, Robin Williams and Peter O'Toole. And he'd been underground, deep underground. In his early days he was a political firebrand, surrealist agitator and cosmic japester, being involved in some of the most revolutionary, challenging and downright crazy theatre Britain has ever produced. His story is fascinating.
He was born William Francis Nighy on December 12th, 1949, in Caterham, Surrey, a southern suburb of London. His father, Alfred Martin Nighy hailed from a Croydon family of chimney sweeps, Alfred's father having left the business to become a horse dealer. At the time of Bill's birth, Alfred was running a garage, the family living in a flat above that came with the job. Bill's mother, Catherine Josephine (nee Whittaker) had married Alfred in 1938. Born into a family of ten kids in Cork (the family later left for Glasgow "under a cloud"), she was a psychiatric nurse and found work in the many hospitals and asylums in the Croydon area. Alfred and Catherine would leave a big gap between kids, Bill arriving years after brother Martin and sister Anna.
Typically, being of part-Irish stock, Bill would be raised a Catholic, serving as an altar boy. He was an extremely shy boy, his condition made all the worse by his inheriting the condition Dupuytren's Contracture. Here the ring finger and little finger of each hand bend inward towards the palm, the condition getting worse with age. As a youth he'd be given two nicknames, Nerve and Knucks, the first being short for Nervous, the second referring to his misshapen knuckles.