Full Name: Damian Watcyn Lewis
Nickname: Dammo Childhood: Damage
Date of Birth: 11 February 1971
Place of Birth: St. John’s Wood, London, England
Parents: Charlotte Mary Bowater and John Watcyn Lewis
Siblings: Gareth Lewis, William Russell, Amanda Yaxley
Ancestry: English and Welsh
Languages: English, American accent
Astrological Sign: Aquarius
Avocation: Football, cricket, golf, tennis, biking, ping-pong, piano, guitar, singing, reading and Shakespeare
Music Interests: Jazz, Blues and ProgRock-Elvis, Supertramp
Quote: “My heroes were all in the theatre.”
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Damian Watcyn Lewis, OBE is a British actor and producer. He was born on February 11, 1971 in St. John’s Wood, London, England, to Charlotte Mary (Bowater) and John Watcyn Lewis, a city insurance broker whose own parents were Welsh. Damian is a descendant of a number of prominent London citizens, including Ian Frank Bowater, his maternal grandfather, who served as Lord Mayor. He was raised on Abbey Road in London until the age of 8 with his siblings Gareth, William and Amanda. Beginning in 1979, he attended Ashdown House Boarding School in Forest Row, East Sussex and went on to Eton College where, at the age of 16, he formed his own theater company The Chameleons. After Eton, he took a year to travel in Africa and upon his return studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama between 1990 and 1993. He began his work as a stage actor at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in Romeo and Juliet and Rope soon after he graduated from drama school. Damian did Moliere’s School for Wives at the Almeida, played the Dane himself in Hamlet at the Open Air Theatre and made his Broadway debut as Laertes to Ralph Fiennes’ Hamlet in 1995. Damian then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company until 1999 and received the Ian Charleson Award, rewarded annually to the best classical stage performances in Britain by actors under age 30, for his portrayal of Borghejm in Henrik Ibsen’s Little Eyolf. Damian got his first major television break in the Warriors, followed by his portrayal of U.S. Army Officer and decorated war veteran Major Richard “Dick” Winters in the HBO/BBC miniseries Band of Brothers (2001), which earned him critical acclaim and his first Golden Globe nomination. He went on to do several other major projects in the next decade, including The Forsyte Saga and Life on the small screen, Keane, The Escapist, An Unfinished Life and more on the big screen, and Five Gold Rings, Pillars of the Community and The Misanthrope on stage. His equally notable role as U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicolas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland earned him a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. His performance as Henry VIII in BBC/PBS miniseries Wolf Hall earned him his third Primetime Emmy nomination and fourth Golden Globe nomination. Damian returned to stage in the last couple of years in two modern American plays, David Mamet’s American Buffalo and Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? His recent film credits include The Silent Storm, Queen of the Desert and Our Kind of Traitor. Damian is currently playing Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series Billions.
Damian married acclaimed British actress Helen Elizabeth McCrory on July 4, 2007 at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office in London. They have a daughter, Manon (born 8 September 2006) and a son, Gulliver (born 2 November 2007). The family resides in a Victorian townhouse located in Tufnell Park in North London. He has a family farmhouse in West Wales.
Damian and his talented brother and business partner Gareth Lewis have produced joint projects together under their former production company Picture Farm, Ltd., including The Baker, The Escapist and Warriors. Their recent collaborations, The Money Run and Falling Stars, are currently in development and will be produced by their new, independent production company Flare Pictures, Ltd.
Since 2000, Damian has donated his valuable time serving as an Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust. In 2005, he became a Trade Justice Ambassador for Christian Aid and in 2006, traveled to Bolivia to bring awareness to the inequality and survival of the people and communities where the natural resources are being sold off to private interests. In 2006 he played golf for Europe in the All Star Cup. In 2006, 2010 and 2016, Damian was a player for England as part of the UNICEF charity program Soccer Aid. In 2013, he was a featured guest in the official opening of the restored historic medieval Aberglasney Mansion and Garden at Llangathen in Carmanthenshire, West Wales. In 2016, he attended a fundraising event for the Rainforest Fund to support communities of indigenous people in Brazil. In 2017, he attended the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund fundraiser in support of ex-prisoners and their families starting a new life. Also, in 2017 he donated a self-made drawing to Anno’s Africa to help raise funds for children’s arts education in Kenya. In 2018, Damian served as a Bicentenary Ambassador for the Old Vic Theatre’s 200th anniversary, which included a variety of initiatives in raising awareness of its education and community programmes that serve 10,000 young people each year. Damian is heavily involved with charity work, particularly as a patron of the Sohana Research Fund, raising funds for Epidermolysis Bullosa research and the London children’s organization Scene & Heard, a charity that provides mentoring for inner-city school children. He consistently participates in Red Nose Day and continues to broker support on ICAP Charity Day to bring awareness to Epidermolysis Bullosa and on behalf of the Cancer Research Foundation.
1) Damian once worked as a telemarketer selling car alarms.
2) His wife Helen McCrory urged him to take the role in the film Keane.
3) As a child, Damian made several trips to the U.S. to visit relatives during summertime.
4) Damian wore women’s thong underwear to immerse himself into his character “Rizza” for the film The Escapist.
5) In 2014, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
6) Damian can play sports, and sports might have been another career choice for him. He can play golf, football, cricket and of course, ping-pong. When asked what his fantasy job would be he replied, “Liverpool No. 10.”
7) Speaking of football, Damian plays for a team in King’s Cross called Anvil FC.
8) Damian is quite musical. He can sing, dance, and play instruments like the piano and guitar. He quite enjoys singing showtunes.
9) While playing Laertes in a production of Hamlet, Damian was injured near his eye during the sword fight scene, which resulted in 6 stitches.
10) It’s all in the family. The film The Baker, also known as Assassin in Love, was written and directed by Damian’s talented brother and business partner Gareth Lewis, a joint project produced under their production company Picture Farm, Ltd. with partner Adrian Sturges. At the world premiere of The Baker at Canada’s Tremblant Film Festival, Gareth Lewis was named Best Director. Damian Lewis and Adrian Sturges also produced the Gareth Lewis written and directed short film Normal for Norfolk featuring Damian’s wife Helen McCrory.
11) Damian is happiest when he’s driving golf balls in his pajamas on summer nights.
12) His most treasured possession is a Swiss Army penknife.
13) His favorite writers are Hemingway, Wodehouse, Garcia Marquez and Bulgakov.
14) Damian’s favorite hero of fiction is Raskolnikov.
15) His guilty pleasures are butter-pecan ice cream and ice cream sundaes with extra cream.
16) Damian is a BAMBassador for Books Are My Bag (BAMB), a nationwide campaign in the UK and Ireland, and the biggest collaboration between publishers, bookstores and authors to date, to celebrate bookstores.
17) His mother gave him two pieces of advice: get married before the age of 35 and don’t marry an actor. Damian married fellow British actor Helen McCrory, whom he met when he was 36.
18) A cricket ball broke Damian’s nose when he was young. Before he had it operated on, he used to perform on stage with his mouth slightly open.
19) If Damian could be stranded in any one place in the world, it would be on Black Mountain in Wales. It’s the only place he’s been “…where the air tastes even better than it smells.”
For more information about Damian Lewis, contact his London agent Pippa Markham: