Award-Winning Actor Tom Wilkinson, a Master of Both Drama and Humor, Dies at 75

Wilkinson received a Bafta award for his performance in the 1997 film "The Full Monty.". He then portrayed the character Gerald again in a Disney+ streaming series that returned the characters after a span of 26 years.


In total, he garnered six Bafta nods and two Oscar nominations, specifically for his roles in Michael Clayton and In the Bedroom.


According to a statement, he passed away unexpectedly at his residence in the presence of his wife and family.


George Clooney, who co-starred with Wilkinson in the 2007 courtroom thriller Michael Clayton, commended the actor as "the embodiment of grace and refinement.".


In homage, he expressed to Variety magazine, "Tom enhanced the quality of every endeavor." Elevated the performance of each performer.


"He exemplified elegance, and his absence will be deeply felt by everyone."


Wilkinson has amassed over 130 film and TV credits, showcasing his versatility in both historical dramas such as Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Belle (2013), as well as portraying criminal masterminds in films like Rush Hour (1998) alongside Jackie Chan and Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla (2008).


In addition, he received an Emmy award for his portrayal of Benjamin Franklin, a prominent US political figure, in the 2008 mini-series John Adams. Furthermore, he was nominated for an Emmy as Joe Kennedy, the father of John F. Kennedy, in The Kennedys. In the 2014 film Selma, he portrayed the character of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Additionally, he had roles in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Girl with a Pearl Earring.


The confirmation of his death on Saturday was conveyed through a statement issued by his agency on behalf of his family.


According to the Encyclopaedia of British Film, Wilkinson was a prominent character actor known for his exceptional ability to express deep emotional suffering.


Robert Carlyle, who co-starred with Wilkinson in The Full Monty, praised him as an exceptional actor, a formidable talent, and one of the greatest actors of his time and beyond.


On X, previously known as Twitter, British actor Phil Davis paid homage to him, describing him as "potent, refined, and exceptionally intelligent—among the most outstanding individuals." Similarly, singer and actor Will Young referred to him as "a member of the British acting elite.".


Scott Derrickson, a US filmmaker, praised Wilkinson as an exceptional talent and recounted an incident on the set of The Exorcism of Emily Rose where the actor unexpectedly kissed him on the lips.

Having been born in Leeds and subsequently relocating to Canada and later Cornwall during his adolescence, he discovered his true vocation at the age of 18, when he was entrusted with the task of directing a theatrical production.


"I began engaging in an activity that I possessed prior knowledge and expertise in," he expressed.


"I came to the realization that being an actor wasn't limited to individuals from the southern middle class; it could potentially include people similar to myself." Upon gaining knowledge, my perspective remained unwavering.


He received his education at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) before pursuing a career in both theater and television. In 1986, he secured his inaugural significant movie role in the mini-series "First Among Equals," which was adapted from Jeffrey Archer's highly successful novel.


Diana Hardcastle was his playing partner. The pair wed in 1988 and subsequently portrayed a married couple in The Kennedys in 2011 and the 2014 action flick Good People. The couple had a pair of daughters named Alice and Molly.


While playing the role of Pecksniff in Martin Chuzzlewit for the BBC in 1994, Wilkinson expressed, "Upon reflection, I concluded that my performance could not be improved any further." The outcome precisely matched my intended expression. It received several awards, and I confidently believed in my acting abilities without any doubt.


After three years, he was selected to play the role of a former manufacturing foreman who joins other jobless colleagues in organizing a strip performance in the film The Full Monty.


"I was presented with the opportunity to play the main role in a television series and also had the chance to potentially be cast in a low-budget film," he said to The Guardian.


"I recall making a phone call to a friend, and he explicitly instructed me to acquire possession of the television by saying, 'Take the TV, take the TV'." However, I disregarded his counsel, and the television ultimately proved to be of poor quality.


Surprisingly, the low-budget picture emerged as the most financially successful British movie to date, propelling the filmmaker's career to new heights in both the United Kingdom and the United States.


Wilkinson garnered significant critical praise for his performance as a grieving father in Todd Field's 2001 American domestic drama film, "In the Bedroom." He received an Oscar nomination for best actor.


According to his subsequent statement, he had expectations that the picture would fulfill two specific purposes for him. "Firstly, I would like to demonstrate my ability to portray the main character in a film." Additionally, I am capable of portraying a prominent American character. And it accomplished both of those tasks.


The actor received his second nomination for an Academy Award for his supporting performance in Tony Gilroy's 2007 legal thriller film, Michael Clayton, which starred George Clooney.


Wilkinson's filmography encompasses notable works such as Batman Begins, The Patriot, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Gathering Storm, Black Knight, Valkyrie, The Lone Ranger, and Denial.


Additionally, he lent his voice to the portrayal of the fox in the television adaptation of the popular children's book The Gruffalo.


In interviews, his long-term agent, Lou Coulson, has characterized him as "one of the most exceptional individuals."


Wilkinson was noted for his unpretentious nature and preference for maintaining a rather inconspicuous public image. During the conversation, he expressed his preference for visiting Waitrose without being acknowledged.


Wilkinson was bestowed the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2005 New Year Honours in recognition of his contributions to the field of drama.


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