Tom Wilkinson, a 75-year-old British actor best known for roles in Shakespeare in Love, The Full Monty, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, passed away.
After winning a Bafta for The Full Monty in 1997, Wilkinson returned to the character of Gerald for a Disney+ streaming series that followed the characters 26 years later.
In addition to two Oscar nominations for Michael Clayton and In The Bedroom, he was nominated for six Baftas overall.
According to a statement from his wife and family, he passed away unexpectedly at home.
With over 130 credits in film and television, Wilkinson was equally at home playing criminal masterminds in Rush Hour (1998), costarring Jackie Chan, or Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla (2008), as he was in historical dramas like Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Belle (2013).
In addition, he received an Emmy nomination for The Kennedys as John F. Kennedy’s father Joe and an Emmy for portraying US politician Benjamin Franklin in the 2008 miniseries John Adams. In addition to his roles in Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Grand Budapest Hotel, he portrayed President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 2014 film Selma.
His agent sent a statement on his behalf on Saturday, confirming his death.
Memorable film roles for actor Tom Wilkinson
The Encyclopaedia of British Film describes Wilkinson as “a major character star, with a remarkable gift – one among several – for conveying inner pain”.
Actor and musician Will Young referred to him as “British acting royalty” in a tribute on X, formerly Twitter, while British actor Phil Davis hailed him “powerful and delicate and hugely intelligent – one of the very best”.
US director Scott Derrickson described Wilkinson as “an amazing talent” and recounted an incident in which the actor kissed him unexpectedly while filming The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
He was born in Leeds and spent his early years in Canada and Cornwall before realizing his true destiny at the age of eighteen, when he was asked to direct a play.
“For the first time in my life, I started doing something I knew how to do,” he stated.
“I realized that individuals like me might be the ones who become actors instead of just these middle-class, southern sorts. And I never made up my mind after learning.”
After completing his training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada), he took the usual route to employment in theater and television. His first significant on-screen appearance was in the 1986 miniseries First Among Equals, which was adapted from the best-selling book by Jeffrey Archer.
Diana Hardcastle was playing with him. The married in 1988. They then starred as husband and wife in the 2011 action movie The Kennedys and the 2014 picture Good People. The two girls of the couple were named Alice and Molly.
“I looked at it and I thought, I can’t get it any better than that,” Wilkinson remarked, recalling his 1994 BBC portrayal of Pecksniff in Martin Chuzzlewit. It turned out precisely how I intended it to. After it took home a few awards, I felt confident that I could handle the situation.”
Three years later, he landed a role in The Full Monty as a former manufacturing foreman who puts on a strip show with his jobless coworkers.
“I was simultaneously offered the lead in a TV series and a possible part in a low-budget movie,” he stated to The Guardian.
“I recall telling a friend to “take the TV, take the TV” when I called him. However, I disregarded his counsel, and the TV
ended up being garbage.”
In the meantime, the low-budget film elevated his career to new heights on both sides of the Atlantic and ended up becoming the highest-grossing British film to that moment.
Todd Field’s 2001 US domestic drama In the Bedroom, in which Wilkinson portrayed a grieving parent, won him a lot of critical praise. He received a best actor nomination for the Oscar.
He later stated that he thought the movie would accomplish two goals for him. “1. Show that I could play the main character in a film. Two, I might be the lead American actor. And it carried out those two actions.”
The actor was nominated for a second Academy Award for his supporting performance in Michael Clayton, Tony Gilroy’s 2007 judicial thriller George Clooney plays the lead role.
Batman Begins, The Patriot, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Gathering Storm, Black Knight, Valkyrie, The Lone Ranger, and Denial were among Wilkinson’s other credits.
In the television version of the children’s best-selling book The Gruffalo, he also gave the fox’s voice.
He’s been referred to as “one of the best” in interviews by his longtime agent Lou Coulson.
Off screen, Wilkinson maintained a low profile and was renowned for being practical. In one interview, he stated, “I like to go to Waitrose and not be recognised.”
Wilkinson was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2005 New Year’s Honours for his contributions to drama.