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Jim Carter (1948)

Type :  

  Summary  

Jim Carter is an English actor.

  Biography  

 early life
Carter was born in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. His father worked for the Air Ministry and his mother was a land girl and later a school secretary. Carter attended Ashville College, Harrogate, where he was head boy in his final year, and the University of Sussex where he studied law and became a leading light of the fledgling Drama Society, playing Sgt Musgrave in the first student production at the newly built Gardner Arts Centre theatre. He dropped out of university after two years to join a fringe theatre group in Brighton.

 acting career
Carter's film credits include Top Secret! , A Month in the Country , The Madness of King George , Richard III , Brassed Off , Shakespeare in Love , The Little Vampire , Ella Enchanted , and Detective Victor Getz in The Thief Lord . He plays John Faa in The Golden Compass , the first film in the adaptation of the His Dark Materials trilogy, and also stars in House Of 9 as The Watcher, and the executioner in "Alice in Wonderland".

His television credits include Lipstick on Your Collar , Cracker, , The Way We Live Now , The Singing Detective , Arabian Nights , The Chest , Red Riding , A Very British Coup and the Hornblower episode "Duty" and in "Midsomer Murders" episode "The Fisher King" as Nathan Green. He also plays Captain Brown in the five-part BBC series Cranford and Mayor Waldo in the US miniseries Dinotopia . In September 2010 he made his first appearance as the butler, Mr Carson in the ITV period drama Downton Abbey .

Began acting professionally in "the early 1970s."

His answer to the question: "If you hadn't become an actor, what would you have done professionally?" Answer: "I wouldn't have pursued law - I'd actually dropped out of law into English, I'd even changed my course. But when the offer came from this fringe theatre group, the Brighton Combination, to leave university and join them for five quid a week, it was like a door opening, and there wasn't a moment's hesitation. I walked through that door and never looked back. I have never earned a penny from doing anything apart from acting. I have never had another job."

His first paid job for ₤5 a week with free board and lodging was in a play called Gum and Goo by Howard Brenton for The Brighton Combination. Howard Brenton's Gum and Goo was first produced by the Brighton Combination in 1969.

Appeared in Howard Brenton's Winter Daddykins in July 1968 for the Brighton Combination. It was directed by Barry Edwards and Carter performed with Fiona Baker and Lily Sue Todd. This is probably the play referred to in Jenny Harris' website that took place on July 9, 1968 in the Brighton Combination's cafe. Jenny Harris was one of the initiators of the Brighton Combination. Jim Carter mentioned her in one interview as one who started the Brighton Combination. She was then head of the National Theatre's education department.

In 1970, he performed in the show Come Together at London's Royal Court Theatre together with The Brighton Combination and the Ken Campbell Roadshow along with other theatre personalities and groups. The Royal Court's Come Together Festival was on the cover page of Plays and Players magazine issue of December 1970. Scenes from this festival are also featured in this issue. The Come Together festival opened at the Royal Court Theatre on October 21, 1970 and contributed to one of the Royal Court's best years. The festival brought the avante-garde like the Brighton Combination and Ken Campbell into the Court. The Brighton Combination presented "The NAB Show", a politically oriented account of the National Assistance Board.

He first worked at The Combination Theatre Company in Brighton. Later he joined the Newcastle University Theatre where he played, among other parts, Estragon in Waiting for Godot. From 1974 to 1976 he toured America with the Ken Campbell Roadshow and on his return joined the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester. In 1977 he joined the National Theatre Company where he appeared as Dom Fiollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Cottesloe Theatre. In 1978 he became a member of the Young Vic Company appearing as Stephano in The Tempest, Buckingham in Richard III and Mephistopheles in Faust. In 1978 he went to America to study in a circus school where he learned juggling, unicycling and tightrope walking. In May 21-June 29, 1980 he played Trebonius/Marullus/Poet in a Julius Caeasar production of Riverside Studios directed by Peter Gill. He performs magic acts in cabarets. The Young Vic's Richard III production in 1978, which featured James Carter with, among others, Bill Wallis and Michael Attwell, was directed by Michael Bogdanov. He also performed in the Young Vic production of Bartholomew Fair in 1978. It was also directed by Michael Bogdanov.

Was a member of The Madhouse Company of London, a comedy troupe which performed in Boston in the 1970s; together with the late Marcel Steiner (1931-1999), Marc Weil, and Tommy Shands. Ken Campbell was also associated with the group. The Madhouse Co. was an offshoot of the Ken Campbell's Roadshow that came to New York and Boston. It broke up eventually and Steiner and Carter returned to England. The Madhouse Co. was in Cambridge, Mass. in August 1976. The Madhouse Company of London was mentioned and its shows advertised and reviewed in several New York magazine issues from April 1974 to March 1975.
Marc Weil created The Madhouse Company of London in 1973.

In June to August 2005, he appeared in The President of an Empty Room at the National Theatre . When he did this he had not done theatre in 14 years. He considers his appearance in Richard Eyre's 1982 National Theatre revival of Guys and Dolls a significant moment. It was when he met his future wife, Imelda Staunton, who also appeared in this play. He considers Richard Eyre and Howard Davies two of his favourite directors. He left university to join the fringe theatre group Brighton Combination "for five quid a week." He has been acting since then and has "never earned a penny from doing anything apart from acting." He also taught magic and juggling and does magic acts in cabaret circuits. At the Young Vic he was earning ₤65 a week. He was with the Brighton Combination still when it moved to London and opened a theatre called the Albany in Deptford. In his own words: "The Brighton Combination moved to London and started a theatre called the Albany in Deptford, and I was with them then."

In the early 1970s, the Brighton Combination, a touring fringe theatre group, became resident in the Albany Institute in Deptford, South East London. This was considered one of the great achievements of The Albany's then director Paul Curno. By fusing community work and the arts, Director Paul Curno and "The Combination" transformed The Albany's fortunes. This fusion still drives The Albany to this day. The Brighton Combination Company moved to become resident at The Albany in SE London in 1972 with a brief to set up community action and arts development projects. It combined artistic and cultural works with social activism.

Performed in the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London in Jean Cocteau's The Infernal Machine (with Maggie Smith and with Simon Callow directing, 1986-1987). Photos and a review of this play appeared in Plays and Players magazine in January 1987.

He is said to have also performed in William "Bill" Bryden's The Passion at the National Theatre in 1985. Performed in The Mysteries: The Nativity, The Passion and Doomsday at the Cottesloe Theatre for the National Theatre in 1984 and 1985. Both performances were directed by Bill Bryden.

Also appeared in Doug Lucie's Fashion in May-June 1990 at the Tricycle Theatre, directed by Michael Attenborough.

In the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Wizard of Oz production, wife Imelda Staunton played Dorothy while he was the Cowardly Lion. Considers playing a baddie dressed in black in the cowboy movie Rustlers' Rhapsody filmed in southern Spain one of the top highlights of his career. The Wizard of Oz was directed by Ian Judge; it opened on December 17, 1987 at the RSC's Barbican Theatre. It played in repertory through February 27, 1988.

His National Theatre performances :
1. as Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Cottesloe Theatre, December 20, 1977-January 14, 1978)
2. as Daui a fugitive/Guard/Second Cook in The Romans in Britain (Olivier Theatre, October 10, 1980-March 24, 1981)
3. as Nawadaha the storyteller in Hiawatha (Olivier Theatre, November 25, 1980-December 1983)
4. as Henry Straker in Man and Superman (Olivier Theatre, January 17-October 1981)
5. as Rebolledo a soldier in The Mayor of Zalamea (Cottesloe and Olivier Theatre, August 4, 1981, Jim Carter performed at the Olivier, December 1981-July 1982)
6. as Chorus in The Oresteia (Olivier Theatre, November 20, 1981- )
7. as Big Julie in Guys and Dolls (Olivier Theatre, February 26, 1982-October 1983)
8. as Hitler/SS Man Muller in Schewyk in the Second World War (Olivier Theatre, September 16, 1982-March 1983)
9. as Don Jose, the cigar taster in The President of an Empty Room (Cottesloe Theatre, June 28, 2005-August 27, 2005)

  • He was magic adviser, not one of the performers, in The Cherry Orchard (Cottesloe Theatre, December 3, 1985- )

His Royal Shakespeare Company performances include:
1. as the Judge in The Balcony (Barbican Theatre, July 15, 1987- )
2. as Zekel, Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz (Barbican Theatre, Dec. 17, 1987-Feb. 27, 1988)

Summary of James "Jim" Carter's stage works:
1. Winter Daddykins
2. Gum and Goo
3. Come Together festival (for the Brighton Combination, Royal Court Theatre, October 1970- )

4. Waiting for Godot
5. The Madhouse Company of London shows in New York and Massachusetts, 1974-1976
6. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (for the National Theatre, Cottesloe Theatre, Dec. 1977-Jan. 1978)
7. The Tempest
8. Richard III
9. Faust
10. Bartholomew Fair
11. Julius Caesar (Riverside Studios, May-June 1980)
12. The Romans in Britain (for the National Theatre, Olivier Theatre, Oct. 1980-March 1981)
13. Hiawatha (for the National Theatre, Olivier Theatre, Nov. 1980-Dec. 1983)
14. Man and Superman (for the National Theatre, Olivier Theatre, Jan.-Oct. 1981)
15. The Mayor of Zalamea (for the National Theatre, Olivier Theatre, Dec.1981-July 1982)
16. The Oresteia
17. Guys and Dolls (for the National Theatre, Olivier Theatre, Feb. 1982-Oct. 1983)
18. Schweyk in the Second World War (for the National Theatre, Olivier Theatre, Sept. 1982-March 1983)
19. The Mysteries: The Nativity, The Passion, and Doomsday (for the National Theatre, Cottesloe Theatre, 1984-1985)
20. The Infernal Machine (Lyric Hammersmith, 1986-1987)
21. The Balcony
22. The Wizard of Oz (for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Barbican Theatre, Dec. 1987-Feb. 1988)
23. Fashion (Tricycle Theatre, May-June 1990)
24. The President of an Empty Room (for the National Theatre, Cottesloe Theatre, June-Aug. 2005)

 personal life
Jim Carter and British actress Imelda Staunton met in January 1982 during rehearsals of Richard Eyre's Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre. Carter was 34, Staunton was 26 and she considered him already old. According to Staunton, "we worked together for a year and it was a slow burn rather than a heady rush of passion." In November 2008, they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. Staunton was 37 when she had her only child, Bessie. Bessie is to enroll at the National Youth Theatre in 2010. Staunton says of Carter's acting: "He has never been the sort of actor who yearns to play Hamlet. Maybe it's because he came to acting from performing in the circus. He has always done just what he wants to do."

Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton married in 1985 and have one daughter, Bessie, born in 1993. Staunton would later proudly claim that after 21 years of marriage, she and Carter had been apart for only three weeks. They celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary in the autumn of 2011. They have a little dog named Molly.

Carter is also currently the chairman of Hampstead Cricket club. On September 18, 2011 he organised the Hampstead Cricket Club Celebrity Cricket Match. It was HCC's third annual charity celebrity cricket match.

He has been a keen cyclist for 55 years , frequently riding for charity causes. On September 30, 2011 Carter traveled with 25 other riders to Ghana for a 10-day trip which included six days of cycling to raise money for clean water in the small impoverished town of Tafo. He has a web page for this event to receive sponsors and donations: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/jimcarter. This was his tenth charity ride. The previous nine (Jordan, Costa Rica, Laos, Vietnam, India, Namibia, Chile, Argentina, and London to Paris-twice) were to raise money for the National Deaf Children's Society. He intended to raise a minimum of ₤2,750 but ended up with ₤8,670.

Carter lives in West Hampstead, north London.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Jim Carter (actor)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.