Birth Name: Rupert Everett
Born: May 29, 1959
Birth Place: Norfolk, England
A tall, slender British actor with dark matinee idol looks, Rupert Everett first made his mark on stage in 1982 playing a character loosely based on the notorious spy Guy Burgess in Julian Mitchell's "Another Country". This younger son of a former British army officer turned businessman and his Scottish wife was educated at boarding schools, including Ampleforth, a Catholic all-male institution. While there, he and classmate Julian Wadham were often cast in female roles in school plays. ("He tended to be the glamorous one," Wadham told US in June 1999.) At age 15, he dropped out and enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, but during his second year was expelled. After drifting through the London club scene, the good-looking Everett landed work as a model in Milan. Returning to Great Britain, he landed in Glasgow and began his acting career in earnest with a walk-on role at the Citizens' Theatre. In this early period as a struggling actor, Everett supported himself as a "rent boy" (male prostitute), a fact he disclosed in a 1994 magazine interview in order to head off any possible tabloid rumors.
After establishing his languorous stage presence playing a homosexual college student and incipient spy in "Another Country" (a role he reprised in the 1984 film version), Everett scored as an aristocratic bounder romancing a dance hall manager (Miranda Richardson) in "Dance with a Stranger" (1985) the based-on-fact tale of the last female to be executed in England. The actor also attempted to cross-over to the American market with appearances in the TV miniseries "Princess Daisy" (NBC, 1983, as Lindsay Wagner's lecherous half-brother) and "The Far Pavilions" (HBO, 1984). The actor's career suffered setbacks in 1986, however, when he turned down the role of Cecil Vyse in the Merchant Ivory production "A Room with a View" to play a young Orson Welles in the Welles-directed "The Cradle Will Rock" but the director's untimely death scuttled that project. Everett did work with his lifelong idol Julie Andrews, though, in the uneven "Duet for One" (1986). But much of his subsequent work in the remaining years of that decade were spent in European productions that, however prestigious on paper, did little to raise his profile in Tinseltown. He also had a short-lived career as a pop singer, a role he undertook in the disastrous feature "Hearts of Fire" (1987).
In 1989, Everett publicly disclosed his homosexuality but that, too, had little impact on the roles he landed. Although he came off as a bit stiff as half of a British couple who fall prey to psychotic expatriates in Venice in "The Comfort of Strangers" (1990), he was perfectly believable playing a heterosexual. Periodically, the performer would return to the theater, as in 1991 when he acted in a revival of Noel Coward's "The Vortex" in Los Angeles and donned drag to star as the female lead in Tennessee Williams' "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" in 1995. In between, Everett wrote the amusing novels "Hello Darling, Are You Working?" (1991) and "The Hairdressers of St. Tropez" (1994). After a turn as a zombie hunter in Michele Soavi's well-made thriller "Cemetery Man/Dellamorte Dellamore" (filmed 1994; released in USA in 1996), he reinvented his remote, almost icy screen persona with back-to-back comedy roles. In Robert Altman's "Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Porter)", he was the schemer out to sell fashion empire out from under his mother while in "The Madness of King George" (both 1994), he proved amusing as the dense and ambitious Prince of Wales. Everett even managed to hold his own with a simian co-star in the awful "Dunston Checks In" (1996).
Those roles, however, were only warm-ups for his scene-stealing supporting turn as the acerbic magazine editor and confidante to Julia Roberts in the romantic comedy "My Best Friend's Wedding" (1997). In the original cut of the film, Everett appeared in fewer scenes but test audiences praised his chemistry with co-star Roberts and several additional scenes were shot and edited in. While the much-speculated supporting Oscar nomination failed to materialize, Everett became an actor in demand. Following his cameo as Bard rival Christopher Marlowe in "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), he lent his patrician bearing and plummy tones to the role of Oberon in Michael Hoffman's adaptation of "William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream" followed in succession by an acclaimed turn as Lord Goring (generally accepted as the authorial stand-in) in director Oliver Parker's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" (both 1999); he would reteam with Parker for a second, less-successful Wilde outing in "The Importance of Being Ernest" (2002).
Everett turned villainous as The Claw in the live-action cartoon "Inspector Gadget" (1999), and, taking full advantage of his burgeoning fame, went on to polish the script (with writing partner Mel Bordeaux) and co-star with Madonna in "The Next Best Thing" (2000), in which he played a gay man who fathers a child with a friend. Building further on his writing career, he has finished two other scripts he hopes to see produced: "P.S. I Love You", about a homosexual James Bond-like spy, and "Martha and Arthur", in which he and Roberts would reteam as a closeted actor and the beauty he marries to protect his "secret" from his fans.
Everett then took a sabbatical from the Hollywood spotlight, occasionally appearing in low-profile fare and European productions while sometimes lending his distinctive vocal caress to characters in the animated films "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" (2002) and as Prince Charming in the CGI sequel "Shrek 2" (2004).