David Thewlis Biography

David Thewlis, also known as David Wheeler, is a highly versatile English actor who has made a significant impact on both the big screen and stage. Renowned for his portrayal of ‘Professor Remus Lupin’ in the iconic ‘Harry Potter’ series, Thewlis has also captivated audiences with his compelling performance as the antihero ‘Johnny Fletcher’ in the film ‘Naked.’ Beyond acting, Thewlis has showcased his multifaceted talents by lending his voice to animated movies and video games, as well as writing and directing short films. With his diverse range of skills and accomplishments, Thewlis continues to leave a lasting impression in the world of entertainment.

Quick Facts

  • British Celebrities Born In March
  • Also Known As: David Wheeler
  • Age: 60 Years, 60 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Sara Sugarman (m. 1992 – div. 1994)
    • Father: Alec Raymond Wheeler
    • Mother: Maureen Thewlis Wheeler
    • Children: Gracie Friel
    • Partner: Anna Friel (2001–2010)
  • Born Country: England
  • Actors
  • British Men
  • Height: 6’2″ (188 cm), 6’2″ Males
  • Notable Alumni: Guildhall School Of Music And Drama
  • City: Blackpool, England
  • More Facts
  • Education: Guildhall School Of Music And Drama

Childhood & Early Life

David Thewlis was born on March 20, 1963, in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, to Alec Raymond Wheeler and Maureen Wheeler (nee Thewlis). He attended ‘Highfield High School’ in Blackpool, from where he completed his secondary education. As a teenager, he was interested in music and was the lead guitarist of the punk rock band ‘Doors 66.’ He even moved to London to embark on a career in music but later changed his mind and joined the ‘Guildhall School of Music and Drama’ in London and graduated in 1984.


He made his debut as an actor by portraying minor characters. He started with the role of a mugger in an episode of the sitcom ‘Up the Elephant and Round the Castle,’ titled ‘A Taxing Problem’ (1985). He also played ‘Stew’ in an episode of another popular sitcom, ‘Only Fools and Horses,’ titled ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’ (1985). He played a soldier in two episodes of ‘The Singing Detective’ (1986).

The year 1987 witnessed David acting in films for the first time. He appeared in two movies, as ‘Joey’ in ‘Road’ and as ‘Clive’ in ‘The Short and Curlies.’ The latter was a short film.

Between 1988 and 1992, he took up many roles in movies and TV projects (Including recurring characters). He also appeared in stage productions.

After essaying the character ‘Johnny Fletcher’ in Mike Leigh’s 1993 directorial venture ‘Naked,’ his career witnessed an unprecedented growth. The depiction also brought him several laurels, such as the award of the ‘Best Actor’ at the ‘Cannes Film Festival,’ the ‘Evening Standard British Film Award,’ the ‘London Film Critics’ Circle Award’ the ‘National Society of Film Critics Award’ and the ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award’

The year 1995 saw him venture into writing and directing, with the short film ‘Hello, Hello, Hello,’ earning him the nomination of the ‘Best Short Film’ at the ‘BAFTA Awards.’ The year also saw him collaborating with the then-upcoming actors Leonardo DiCaprio (in ‘Total Eclipse’) and Robert Downey Jr. (in ‘Restoration’).

The year 1996 began with the voice role of ‘Earthworm’ in the fantasy film ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ He then appeared as ‘King Einon’ in ‘Dragonheart,’ another fantasy film. He ended the year with the role of ‘Edward Douglas’ in the horror science-fiction ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau.’

As ‘Peter Aufschnaiter’ in the 1997 movie ‘Seven Years in Tibet,’ he shared the screen with another Hollywood star, Brad Pitt. In the following year, he appeared as ‘Dan Starkey’ in the independent movie ‘Divorcing Jack,’ for which he was nominated for the ‘British Independent Film Award’ for the ‘Best Performance by a British Actor in an Independent Film.’

From the years 1998 to 2002, he appeared in many movies, enacting characters such as ‘Knox Harrington’ in ‘The Big Lebowski,’ ‘Jason Kinsky’ in ‘Besieged,’ ‘Nesbit’ in ‘What happened to Harold Smith?,’ ‘Freddie Mays’ in ‘Gangster No.1,’ and ‘Charlie’s Dad’ in ‘Goodbye Charlie Bright.’

After a hiatus of more than 4 years, he returned to TV and played the role of a dealer in the film ‘Love Story’ and ‘Clov’ in ‘Endgame.’ He also had a voice role as ‘Hamilton Mattress’ in the animated movie ‘Hamilton Mattress.’ The 2002 miniseries ‘Dinotopia’ saw him don the character of ‘Cyrus Crabb’ in six episodes.

His next venture, which he wrote and directed, was ‘Cheeky,’ in which he also portrayed ‘Harry Sankey’ (2003).

In 2004, the role of ‘Professor Remus Lupin’ in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,’ the third installment of the ‘Harry Potter ‘franchise, brought him unprecedented commercial success. The same year, he earned his first voice role for a character in a video game, when he voiced ‘Lord Darius Crowley’ in ‘World of Warcraft,’ a role he reprised in ‘World of Warcraft: Cataclysm,’ the third installment, released in 2010.

The year 2006 may be regarded as a bad phase in his flourishing career, since he was nominated for the ‘Golden Raspberry Award’ for the ‘Worst Supporting Actor,’ for his roles in the movies ‘Basic Instincts 2’ and ‘The Omen.’

However, he made a strong comeback by reprising the role of ‘Remus Lupin’ in ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ in 2007 and ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ in 2009, with the latter winning the ‘Best Ensemble’ at the ‘Scream Awards.’ His portrayal of ‘SS-Obersturmbannführer Ralph’ in the 2008 movie ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ was also a compelling performance.

His debut novel, ‘The Late Hector Kipling,’ was published by ‘Simon & Schuster’ in 2007.

His outstanding contribution to British films was recognized when he was bestowed with the ‘Richard Harris Award’ at the ‘British Independent Film Awards’ in 2008.

With ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince-Part 1’ in 2010 and ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince-Part 2’ in 2011, the magic run of ‘Remus Lupin’ ended.

He portrayed real-life characters Michael Aris in ‘The Lady,’ William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley in ‘Anonymous,’ and Dennis Sciama in ‘The Theory of Everything,’ between 2011 and 2014.

Appearing as ‘Michael Stone’ in ‘Anomalisa,’ he shared the ‘Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ award for the ‘Best Depiction of Nudity, Sexuality, or Seduction’ (2016) with Jennifer Jason Leigh.

’Sir Patrick Morgan/Ares,’ the supervillain in ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Justice League,’ the 2017 superhero films based on ‘DC Comics’ characters, is another commercially successful character played by David. He appeared in 10 episodes of ‘Fargo,’ as ‘V.M. Varga,’ another antagonist, earning nominations for a ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ and a ‘Golden Globe Award.’

The year 2019 will see him in three upcoming projects: ‘Rare Beasts,’ ‘Guest of Honour’ and ‘Eternal Beauty. He has been signed to appear in ‘Avatar 2’ and ‘Avatar 3,’ expected to release in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

Family & Personal Life

David’s parents, Alec and Maureen, were shopkeepers. He was the second of their three children. He married actor and director Sara Sugarman in 1992, but they divorced in 1994. He was in a relationship with British actor Kate Hardie for a brief period. His relationship with Anna Friel lasted for 9 years, from 2001 to 2010, and they have a daughter named Gracie Friel.


David’s role in the movie ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ led to him being banned from entering China. David has often been mistaken for Rhys Ifans.

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