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Mark Rylance, Award Winner –

Rylance as Cromwell in WOLF HALL.

Mark Rylance:
Best Supporting Actor, 2015:

About Mark Rylance (1960 – )

rylance Bridge of Spies (Drama – Rated PG-13)

Mark Rylance won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the 2015 Steven Spielberg-helmed film Bridge of Spies

At the height of the Cold War, lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is recruited by the CIA as the lead negotiator in a high-profile international effort to trade US pilot Francis Gary Powers, captured by the Soviets after his U2 spy plane was shot down in Soviet airspace, for KGB intelligence officer Rudolf Abel (Rylance), who had been arrested and convicted of espionage in the US.

David Mark Rylance Waters was born in Ashford, Kent, the son of Anne (née Skinner) and David Waters, who were English teachers. Both his grandfathers were POWs of the Japanese during World War II. Rylance has a sister, Susannah, who is an opera singer and author, and a brother, Jonathan, who works as a sommelier. His parents moved to the U.S. in 1962, first to Connecticut and then to Wisconsin in 1969, where his father taught English at the University School of Milwaukee. Rylance attended this school. He starred in most of the school's plays with the theatre's director, Dale Gutzman, including the lead in a 1976 production of Hamlet.

Rylance took the stage name of Mark Rylance because his original choice, Mark Waters, had already been taken by another Equity actor. At the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London he trained from 1978–80 under Hugh Cruttwell, and with Barbara Bridgmont at the Chrysalis Theatre School in Balham, London. In 1980 he earned his first professional work at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre. In 1982 and 1983, he performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon and London.

In 1988, Rylance played Hamlet with the RSC in Ron Daniels' production that toured Ireland and Britain for a year before running in Stratford-upon-Avon. Hamlet then toured the United States for two years. In 1990, Rylance and Claire van Kampen (later his wife) founded their own theatre company, "Phoebus' Cart".

When Rylance played the lead in Gillies Mackinnon's film The Grass Arena (1991), he won the Radio Times Award for Best Newcomer. In 1993, he starred in Matthew Warchus' production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Queen's Theatre, produced by Thelma Holt. His Benedick won him an Olivier Award for Best Actor. He took the leading role as British weapons expert David Kelly in Peter Kosminsky's The Government Inspector (2005), an award-winning Channel 4 production for which he won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in 2005.

In 2007, Rylance performed in Boeing-Boeing in London, reprising the role on Broadway a year later and winning Drama Desk and Tony Awards for his performance. In 2009, Rylance won the Critics' Circle Theatre Award Best Actor, 2009 for his role of Johnny Byron in Jerusalem written by Jez Butterworth at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

In 2010, Rylance starred in a revival of David Hirson's verse play La Bête, which ran first at London's Comedy Theatre before moving to the Music Box Theatre on Broadway. Also in 2010, he won another Olivier award for best actor in the role of Johnny Byron in Jerusalem. In 2011, he won his second Tony Award for playing the same role on Broadway.

He played Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall (2015), BBC Two's adaptation of Hilary Mantel's historical novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, for which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.

Rylance co-starred in Steven Spielberg's biographical drama Bridge of Spies, released in October 2015 and starring Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan and Alan Alda. The film tells the story of the 1960 U2 spy plane shoot down by the Soviets and the arrest and conviction of Soviet spy Rudolf Abel – and the exchange of Abel for U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. Rylance plays Abel and has won unanimous universal acclaim for his performance. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch critic wrote, "As the deeply principled Donovan, Hanks deftly balances earnestness and humor. And Rylance’s spirited performance is almost certain to yield an Oscar nomination" (it did -- and more).

Back in 1995, Rylance became the first artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, a post he held until 2005. He directed and acted in every season, in works by Shakespeare and others, including an all-male production of Twelfth Night, in which he played Olivia, and in Richard II, in the title role. Under his direction, new plays were also performed at the Globe, the first being Augustine's Oak by Peter Oswald, the writer-in-residence, which was performed in 1999. A second play by Oswald came in 2002: The Golden Ass or the Curious Man.

In 2005, Oswald's third play written for the Globe was first performed: The Storm, an adaptation of Plautus' comedy Rudens (The Rope) – one of the sources of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Other historical first nights were organized by Rylance, including Twelfth Night, and Measure for Measure. In 2013, Shakespeare's Globe brought two all-male productions to Broadway, starring Rylance as Olivia in Twelfth Night and in the title role in Richard III, for a limited repertory run. He won his third Tony Award for his performance as Olivia and was nominated for his performance as Richard III.

In September of 2007 Rylance and Derek Jacobi unveiled a Declaration of Reasonable Doubt relating to the authorship of Shakespeare's work, after the final matinée of I am Shakespeare, a play performed in Chichester, Sussex.

Rylance and Jacobi proposed that the actual author of Shakespeare's works could in fact be one of the following historical figures: Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere or Mary Sidney (Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke). The declaration cited 20 prominent doubters of the past, including Mark Twain, Orson Welles, John Gielgud, Charlie Chaplin, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Leslie Howard, and was made by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition, signed online by 300 people to start new research.

Rylance started dating director, composer and playwright Claire van Kampen in 1987 while working on a production of The Wandering Jew at the National Theatre, and they married in Oxfordshire in December 1989. Through this marriage, he became a stepfather to her two daughters from a previous marriage, actress Juliet Rylance and filmmaker Nataasha van Kampen. Nataasha died in July 2012 at the age of 28, after which Rylance withdrew from his planned participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, to be replaced by Kenneth Branagh.

Rylance has been a supporter of the indigenous rights organization Survival International for many years. He is the creator and director of "We Are One", a fundraiser that took place at the Apollo Theatre in April 2010.

Rylance is a patron of Peace Direct and of the Stop the War Coalition. He performed the life and words of Henri, a man living in war-torn eastern Congo, during a presentation in New York City in 2011. He is also patron of The Outside Edge Theatre Company, which works from the perspective of creating theatre and drama with people affected by substance abuse. It provides theatre interventions in drug and alcohol treatment and general community facilities throughout Britain, as well as producing professional public theatre productions in theaters, studio theaters, and art centers.

Mark Rylance's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
1985 The McGuffin Gavin
1987 Hearts of Fire Fizz
1991 The Grass Arena John Healy
1991 Prospero's Books Ferdinand
1995 Institute Benjamenta Jakob von Gunten
1995 Angels & Insects William Adamson
2000 William Shakespeare Artistic Director
2001 Intimacy Jay
2008 The Other Boleyn Girl Thomas Boleyn
2011 Blitz Bruce Roberts
2011 Anonymous Henry Condell
2013 Days and Nights Stephen
2015 The Gunman Cox
2015 Bridge of Spies Rudolf Abel
2016 The BFG The BFG

Mark Rylance's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
1985 Wallenberg: A Hero's Story Nikki Fodor
1993 Love Lies Bleeding Conn
1995 Loving Charlie Raunce
1995 Hamlet Hamlet
1997 Henry V King Henry V
2001 Changing Stages Himself
2003 Leonardo Leonardo da Vinci
2003 Richard II Richard II
2005 The Government Inspector David Kelly
2014 Bing Flop (Voice of)
2015 Wolf Hall Thomas Cromwell

Nominations/Awards won by Mark Rylance include...

Year Movie Award
2015 Bridge of Spies Best Supporting Actor

Memorable Quotes by Mark Rylance

“You know, I don't think you need to be educated to be a great actor.”

“Well, my wife always says to me, and I think it's true, it's very difficult for us to understand the Elizabethan understanding and enjoyment and perception of form as it is to say... it would be for them to understand computers or going to the moon or something.”

“Great actors try to dismiss all ideas from their conscious mind in order to provide an experience that is real.”

“Moments are incredible, but in my fantasy mind I see a Globe company which is renowned throughout the world for what it does with pure storytelling. So that people come and say: it's not just the building, it's the only place you can hear this kind of work.”

“And it is a very beautiful idea, and possibly true, that a common man from Stratford with a common education was able to write these plays.”

“And people do enjoy the plays at completely different levels. And, likewise, they enjoy the authorship question... at completely different levels.”

Things You May Not Know About Mark Rylance

His family moved to the US in 1962, when his father was hired to teach at the Choate School, in Connecticut. They moved to Milwaukee in 1969, where his father was in charge of upper-level English at the University School.

In July 2011, Mark gave the Tony Award he had earned in "Jerusalem" to Mickey Lay, a 71-year-old builder and resident of Pewsey, a small village west of London. Lay had inspired and helped him to create the Gypsy character he played in his acclaimed Broadway role.

He was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actor of 2002 for his performance in Twelfth Night performed at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

In 1989, played both Hamlet and Romeo in repertoire for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Starred as "Robert" in the 2007 London revival of "Boeing, Boeing"

Was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a play in 2008 for his performance as Robert in "Boeing Boeing".

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Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall (2015).
Rylance in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008).
With Sean Penn in The Gunman (2015).
Rylance in (and as) Richard II (2003).
Rylance with John Gielgud and Isabelle Pasco in Prospero's Books (1991).
In Jerusalem (2009).
In Intimacy (2001).
In the star-studded but critically reviled Days and Nights (2013).
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Rylance as Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Spielberg's Bridge of Spies (2015)...
With Tom Hanks in pictures two, three, six and eight.
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Mark Rylance in Angels and Insects (1995).