Lloyd Owen (born 14 April 1966) is a British actor of Welsh descent. Trained at the National Youth Theatre and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, he is probably best known for his portrayal of Indiana Jones's father Professor Dr. Henry Jones, Sr. in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles between 1992 and 1993 and for playing Paul Bowman-MacDonald in the BBC Scotland television series Monarch of the Glen from 2002 to 2005. He played the role of solicitor William Heelis in the film Miss Potter (2006).
However, his first love has always been the theatre. His first break on stage was the role of Nick in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1996. Other highlights of his stage career include playing Dan in Closer in 1998 and George in The York Realist in 2002. His most recent role was as Saint Peter in Paul (2005).
Biography[edit | edit source]
Richard Lloyd Owen was born on 14 April 1966 at the Charing Cross Hospital in London, England. He was brought up in the nation's capital, although both of his parents were Welsh – his father, actor Glyn Owen (1928–2004), was from Caernarfon, Gwynedd, in Northwest Wales, while his mother, actress Patricia Mort, was from Morriston in Swansea, South Wales.
As an alumnus of Highgate School, Owen is a member of the Old Cholmeleian Society and Old Cholmeleian Sports Club, both named after the school's founder Sir Roger Cholmeley, because his father was an actor his teachers thought that he could act too. However, at first he was not interested. "I was always made to read plays at school but I never wanted to. Then I was made to take part in a school play and I didn't want to do that either but I started to get approval for my acting. I was reasonably academic, good at sport, but somehow with the acting, people said 'that was fantastic'. So I thought 'maybe that's what I'll do then'. It went from there."
Growing up in a theatrical family, as a child Owen met many icons who were his father's friends, including John Conteh, Tommy Cooper, Ken Dodd, Ronnie Fraser, Richard Harris, Danny La Rue and Peter O'Toole. On one occasion, he met Albert Finney and told him he wanted to be an actor. Finney advised him: "Keep your head down and work hard."
At 16, Owen went straight from school to the National Youth Theatre, and subsequently received some formal training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. While there he managed to get an acting job and an Equity card, but when he told the principal of RADA he needed a term off, the request was denied and he was expelled from the Academy after just a year. Fortunately, Owen landed a job with Cheek by Jowl and followed the theatre company on tour around the world performing Shakespeare plays. Owen has said that he wished he had gone to university, and that he had been "in too much of a rush.
His first big break was clinching the role of professor Dr. Henry Jones, Sr., father of Indiana Jones, in eight episodes of the TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in 1992 and 1993. Subsequently, he appeared in 25 episodes of the popular BBC Scotland series Monarch of the Glen as Paul Bowman-MacDonald between 2002 and 2005
According to Mrs. Elsie Orme, a former assistant stage manager interviewed for the Theatre Archive Project who is a friend of Owen and once his landlady, Owen did not particuarly like acting in Monarch of the Glen but did it because it brought in considerable income, which enabled him to take on projects that he really wanted to do for probably very little money.
He also played Professor Jon Ford in the BBC Northern Ireland series The Innocence Project (2006–2007); however, due to poor reviews and falling viewership, the series was pulled from the schedules in the middle of the first season and no further seasons will be filmed, A BBC spokeswoman said the remaining episodes will "definitely be shown", but that it was not yet known when.
Owen's film career has included appearances in short films, and supporting roles in The Republic of Love (2003) (as Peter), which was based on a novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carol Shields, and in Miss Potter (2006) (as a solicitor named William Heelis who married children's author Beatrix Potter).
However, Owen's first love has always been the theatre. Early in his professional career he was involved in the Cheek by Jowl productions of Philoctetes and the Shakespeare plays Macbeth, The Tempest and Twelfth Night. Owen's break on stage was playing Nick in Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962), directed by Howard Davies, at the Almeida Theatre in London in 1996. Owen studied the play during his A-levels, and it is his favourite play. Other highlights of his stage career include playing Dan in Closer by Patrick Marber in 1998 and George in The York Realist by Peter Gill in 2002. Critics praised his performance in the latter play as "astonishing in its power, throttled fury and sadness" and "superb, richly voiced", and called him "a fast-rising star".
Owen has said, "My screen work often funds my theatre career – that's the way I think of it. Theatre is where my heart and soul is, where I feel absolutely vocational. Creatively, theatre is the most democratic forum for an actor because you have near total control over your performance. It's also where the playwright can never be censored and, as such, that makes it a truly democratic forum for debate. And the communal experience, the chemistry that you get between actors and audience can be extraordinary. It can move you in a way that film can't. That's the power of theatre at its best." The role that he would most like to play is Macbeth; other roles on his wish-list include Iago in Othello, Brick in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Lenny in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, and Hamlet "as long as no one gives it to me because it's completely daunting".
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Owen is married to actress and artist Juliette Mole and they have two children, Maxim and Mimi. In October 2006, the Sunday Post Magazine Online reported that Maxim was aged 15 and Mimi eight. They currently reside in Battersea, Wandsworth, in southwest London.
To relax, Owen plays sports such as football and tennis. He also runs frequently, finding it quite meditative. Like many Welsh people, he enjoys watching Rugby union matches.