Jude Law was born on December 29, 1972, in Lewisham, London, England. Raised in South London by his parents, who were both schoolteachers, Law joined the National Youth Music Theatre at age 13, where he acted in such productions as Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. He left school at age 16 after winning a part as a teenage runaway on the British television soap opera Families. Over the next several years, Law won parts on stage, in a touring production of Pygmalion and The Fastest Clock in the Universe in London (both 1992), and on TV in both Britain and the U.S. (a 1990 episode of Sherlock Holmes during the PBS series "Mystery!"). In 1994, Law made his film debut, in the poorly received British film Shopping.
The classically handsome Law initially found a greater measure of success on stage than on screen. He starred in the London production of Les Parents Terribles in 1995, and became the only member of the cast who was invited to reprise his role in the hit Broadway version of the play, Indiscretions. Law earned a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor for his starring role complete with a much-talked-about nude scene opposite Kathleen Turner, as a son involved in an incestuous relationship with his mother.
By contrast, his first several U.S. films met with a less than warm reception, both critically and commercially. In 1997, he had important supporting roles in three major American films: in the futuristic thriller Gattaca, co-starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, he played a genetically-perfect man crippled in an accident; in both Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, directed by Clint Eastwood and co-starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack, and Wilde, he played dangerously tempting objects of homosexual desire. Though all three films did mediocre business, Law received praise for his magnetic screen presence and, inevitably, his sultry good looks. Several more disappointments followed, including the little-seen I Love You, I Love You Not (1997), co-starring Claire Danes, Music From Another Room (1998), and The Wisdom of Crocodiles (1998, released in the U.S. in 2000).
In 1999, Law's production company, Natural Nylon, which he co-founded with Frost and friends and fellow actors Jonny Lee Miller, Ewan McGregor, and Sean Pertwee released its first feature, the unabashedly bizarre eXistenZ, co-starring Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Later that year, Law won raves and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dickie Greenleaf, the carefree playboy at the center of a chilling tale of murderous desire in The Talented Mr. Ripley, co-starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Cate Blanchett.
In addition to his work in film, Law continued his work on stage, appearing in the London production of 'Tis Pity She's a Whore in 1999. In 2001, he starred with Ed Harris and Joseph Fiennes in Enemy at the Gates, a drama set during World War II. That summer, Law played a mechanical love god named "Gigolo Joe" in Steven Spielberg's long-awaited science fiction opus A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, costarring Haley Joel Osment. In 2004, the actor received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Cold Mountain opposite Nicole Kidman. Law also starred in a remake of the romantic comedy Alfie that same year, playing the title role—a part that helped boost Michael Caine's career in the 1960s.
In 2009, Law played another legendary character in Sherlock Holmes. He took on the part of Dr. John Watson, the faithful sidekick to the world's greatest detective (Robert Downey Jr.). The film, directed by Guy Ritchie, proved to be a smash success. The actors teamed up again for the 2011 sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The following year, Law took on another literary role in Anna Karenina. He co-starred as Alexei Karenin, the cuckolded husband of the title character (played by Keira Knightley), in this latest adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy work. Law also lent his voice to the animated film Rise of the Guardians (2012).
In 2014, Law appeared in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and in Paul Feig's Spy (2015).
In 2017, he starred in "The Young Pope" and in 2018 portrayed Albus Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. His highest-grossing release was the superhero film Captain Marvel (2019), in which he played Yon-Rogg.
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