British actor Jude Law was born on 29th December 1972 in South East London to parents Peter and Maggie. Maggie initially taught English to the children of refugees, but eventually enrolled in a course at drama school to become a director, while Peter was a schoolteacher. With both parents into amateur dramatics, this is perhaps where Jude Law got his acting chops from. Certainly, as soon as he started to show an interest in acting, his parents encouraged him, frequently taking him to the theatre and taking the time to discuss the performances with him afterwards.
Law joined the National Youth Music Theatre just as he entered his teens and took part in a number of musicals, including ‘Joseph and His Technicolored Dreamcoat.’ When he was 16, his parents moved to France and he decided to stay behind in the UK. With a few TV appearances already under his belt, he won the part of a teenage tearaway in Families, a soap opera that followed the lives of two families in Manchester and Australia. However, Jude Law’s early success was to be in the theatre rather than on the television or in film.
One of the most successful moves in his early career was to take on a starring role in ‘Les Parents Terribles’ in 1995 in London. He made such an impression that he was the only member of the cast who was asked to go to the US to star in the Broadway production of the play, entitled ‘Indiscretions,’ for which he received a Tony Award nomination. However, based on his early television success, Law’s aim was to break into the film industry rather than continue to build on his stage career.
His early foray into the film world was not as successful as he could have hoped. His first film role (outside of TV films) was in the UK crime drama, ‘Shopping,’ in which he appeared alongside Sadie Frost, his future wife. Further appearances in films such as ‘Gattaca,’ ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ and ‘Music From Another Room’ in the late nineties didn’t do particularly well. However, he still managed to make his mark as an actor, both because of his classic good looks and his acting skills, which was to bode him well in the next stage of his career.
It was really his role as Dickie Greenleaf in ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ that brought Jude Law to the attention of the movie-going public. Patricia Highsmith’s thriller was brought to life through his work, alongside Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow. He went on to star in a number of prominent Hollywood films, including ‘Cold Mountain,’ ‘I Heart Huckabees,’ ‘The Aviator’ and ‘The Holiday.’ In 2003-4 in particular, it seemed as though Jude Law was appearing in every other film that came out – although not all of them did well in the box office. ‘Alfie’ and ‘The Sky Captain of Tomorrow’ in particular received a lot of criticism.
There is little doubt that Jude Law is a hard-working actor, even throughout the lean times, and it is this that has cemented his place in Hollywood. The icing on the cake in recent years was winning the role of Dr John Watson alongside Robert Downey Jr in the Sherlock Holmes films, which have appealed to viewers on both sides of the Atlantic and further afield. He has also showed his versatility by performing as Karenin in ‘Anna Karenina,’ alongside Keira Knightley. More films are in the pipeline, including ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and ‘Dom Hemingway.’
With the number of film credits to his name, it is hard to believe that Jude Law has time to have a personal life. However, he has been married, had a high profile romance and has four children. He married British actress Sadie Frost, his co-star in ‘Shopping,’ in 1997, a marriage that attracted a lot of attention because Frost was several years older. They had three children together, Rafferty, Rudy and Iris, but sadly, the marriage came to an end in 2003. Law then began a rocky relationship with Sienna Miller, but despite an engagement in 2005, that relationship also came to an end in 2011. Finally, he had a brief relationship with model Samantha Burke in 2008 that culminated in the birth of his fourth child, Sophia.
No matter what the future brings for Jude Law, it seems likely that he will remain a household name for many years to come.