Beginning his performing path in the famous Webber Douglas Academy, Hugh Bonneville started playing professionally in 1986. His stage career thrived for almost 10 years, as well as in the mid-1990s Bonneville started a transition to TV and movies. His first movie role was in Kenneth Branagh’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in 1994, and he appeared in a sequence of movies to round out the decade. TV became Bonneville’s actual wheelhouse, though, and he made more than 50 television appearances before getting the part which has come to identify him: that of Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, on Downton Abbey.
Produced Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams on November 10, 1963, in Blackheath, London, England, actor Hugh Bonneville was prepared in the Sherborne School after which at Corpus Christi College in the University of Cambridge. He started serious performing attempts using the National Youth Theatre and studied theology at Cambridge before embracing performing for good and continuing on to the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Bonneville made his professional acting debut with a small part in A Midsummer’s Night Dream in the Open Air Theatre in 1986, additionally serving as an understudy for Ralph Fiennes’s Lysander. One noteworthy part Bonneville took on during this interval was the challenging character of Laertes in Hamlet, opposite Kenneth Branagh.
In the mid-1990s, Bonneville enlarged his oeuvre while staying securely in the spectacular universe, co-creating Beautiful Thing and cowriting Half Time, which he also directed onstage. He also started to garner notice for his acting work, earning a nomination for the Ian Charleson Award, a British theatre award recognizing the top performances by performers underneath the age of 30.
He went to appear in 15 British TV movies and show prior to the conclusion of the decade, among them EastEnders, The Veteran and Wed for Life, and lots of big screen launches, including the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Notting Hill (1999), and Mansfield Park (1999).
Despite on-going movie work, Hugh Bonneville never wandered far from TV, appearing over and over on British shows like The Cazalets, Midsomer Murders and Daniel Deronda (miniseries) and in TV movies like Madame Bovary (2000), The Gathering Storm (2002) and Doctor Zhivago (2002). In 2008, he took Best Actor in the Monte Carlo Film Festival for his performance in French Film. Even with his movie work, all told, Bonneville played upwards of 40 TV characters from 2000 until 2010, when the character of a life came along.
In 2010, Bonneville got the part of Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, on ITV’s Downton Abbey. Whether or not he understood it’d be a game-changer in his profession, it was, as the show went on to international success. After three seasons on the air, Downton Abbey continues to be as huge a success with critics as it’s been with the viewing audience, winning two BAFTAs, nine Emmys and two Golden Globes. Bonneville himself has been nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy because of his performance, as well as the cast won Best Ensemble in the 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Bonneville has also had a part on Twenty Twelve, a BBC comedy, which won Best Situation Comedy in the British Comedy Awards 2011 and earned Bonneville Greatest Comedy Performer nominations in 2011 and 2012.