Tom Wilkinson – OBITUARY

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Tom Wilkinson - OBITUARY
Tom Wilkinson 1948 - 2023

Perhaps not a household name but Tom Wilkinson had a face that was a well known one perhaps best so for The Full Monty but he was a consistent performer with two Oscar nominations and six BAFTA nominations to his name nominations and six BAFTA nominations to his name.

Born on 5th February 1948 in Leeds his family moved to Canada before moving back to the UK where he lived in Cornwall where he developed an interest in drama at 18 years of age. Training at RADA he began work in theatre and in 1975 began working on TV dramas getting his first major role in the 1986 TV adaptation of Jeffery Archer’s First Among Equals. He starred alongside Diana Hardcastle and the pair married in 1988 ironically going on to play another real life couple in 2011’s ‘The Kennedys’.

Much of his early work was in TV but it was the early 1990’s when he began working in earnest on films working with directors as varied as Antonia Bird (Priest), Ang Lee ( Sense & Sensibility) but really came to the public’s attention in 1997’s The Full Monty for which he won his only BAFTA out of the 5 nominations he would eventually earn). It was a role he would reprise in the 2023 TV series which would be his final on screen appearance. The film would become, at that point in time , the highest-grossing British film and boosted his career  on both sides of the Atlantic.

He would land roles in  ‘Shakespeare in Love’, Mel Gibson’s ‘The Patriot’, and most significantly 2001’s ‘In the Bedroom’ for which he received his first Oscar nomination where he played a bereaved father. It proved that he could play a lead role and that he could also pass off a convincing American accent. He would follow up with another Oscar nominated performance in 2007’s ‘Michael Clayton’ with George Clooney.

But he would appear in acclaimed crowd pleasers too that included Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman Begins’ to Guy Ritchie’s ‘RocknRolla’ to ‘Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol’ but perhaps most beloved was his voicing the TV version of The Gruffalo

2005 saw him awarded an OBE but despite his prolific  output with over 130 TV drama and films he maintained a low profile happy not to be recognised

He died suddenly at home surrounded by his family. He was 75 years of age.

related feature : Tom Wilkinson stars as a hitman in  ‘Dead in a Week (or your money back) – REVIEW

related feature : ‘One Life’ stars Anthony Hopkins in a true life story. Director James Hayes chats to us…

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