Yesterday was the birthday of my absolute favorite Mr. Darcy: Matthew Macfadyen.
Matthew is now 47 and in my opinion every bit as fine as when I first saw him walking into the Meryton Assembly in Pride and Prejudice. Matthew was 28 when filming the movie, which is exactly the age Mr. Darcy is in the novel. Since that movie catapulted him to stardom, Matthew has acted in dozens of roles in cinema and the theater, as well as lending his uniquely smooth timbre to commercials and more. He still remains one of my favorite actors, although I am a bit behind on some of his most recent work. I need to get caught up!
Join me in wishing Matthew Macfadyen a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
David Matthew Macfadyen was born on October 17, 1974 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to Meinir Owen, a drama teacher and actress, and Martin Macfadyen, an oil executive. He is of Scottish and Welsh descent. Because of his father’s career, he spent at least part of his childhood in Indonesia, before finishing his education back in England. He attended RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) from 1992 to 1995. He won critical acclaim in the UK with his work with the stage company Cheek By Jowl in the 1990s and was well established as a stage actor when he made his first TV appearance in Wuthering Heights (1998). More TV roles followed but it was his role as Tom Quinn, head of Section D, in the hit BBC series MI-5 (2002) that really made his name in the UK. A steady stream of TV and film work followed, and with his performance as Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice (2005), he firmly established his name worldwide.
He met his wife, Keeley Hawes, while working on MI-5. Matthew is now the stepfather of Miles, Keeley Hawes’ son from a previous marriage, and with Hawes, he is the father of Maggie Liberty (born December 2004) and Ralph Owen (born September 2004).
Below is a filmography and some information on Matthew’s major roles.
There are more, but this blog would go on forever if I gave them all
or attempted to touch on his theater work.
Operation Mincemeat (2022) … Charles Cholmondeley … Depicts the events surrounding the World War II plan Operation Mincemeat, a deception effort to keep the Allied invasion of Sicily hidden. The Warner Brothers movie, starring Colin Firth, is scheduled for a January 2022 release in the UK. Netflix has bought the US rights for a later 2022 release date yet to be announced.
Quiz (2020) … Charles Ingram … A 3 episode ITV mini-series. Quiz tells the story of Charles Ingram, a former British army major, who caused a major scandal after being caught cheating his way to winning £1 million on the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Matthew stars alongside Micheal Sheen. Rated 7.3 on IMDB, there are limited options to watch in the US but it is available.
Succession (2018-2019) … Tom Wambsgans … TV series on HBO. I have yet to watch this, primarily because I do not have HBO and that seems to be the only way to view it. I have it on top of my “must see” list because by all accounts, including lots of Emmy buzz, it is a terrific series.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) … Mr. Stahlbaum … Disney theatrical movie, also starring Keira Knightley! I really enjoyed this movie, so much so I bought the DVD. Matthew’s part is relatively small, however, but he looked great with a beard.
Howards End (2017) … Henry Wilcox … TV mini-series. Based on E.M. Forster’s classic novel, the miniseries adaptation is a portrayal of England at the turn of the 20th century told through the lens of three families. I really enjoyed this series. Luckily, it is available in the US but not easily to come by without paying or having a premium subscription.
The Current War (2017) … J.P. Morgan … Theatrical movie recounting the dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas A. Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world. Macfadyen plays tycoon J.P. Morgan, a smaller part apparently, although I have yet to watch this movie. Like others, it is available in the US but at a minimal cost.
Ripper Street (2012-2016) … Detective Inspector Edmund Reid … TV series set in the Whitechapel area of London a few months after the last murder by Jack the Ripper. The series went well past those events, and is based on a true person. From start to finish a superb series that I’ve watched at least three times now. Originally a BBC series, the third season onward was produced by Amazon Prime.
The von Trapp Family: A Life of Music (2015) … Captain Georg von Trapp … TV movie retelling the classic A Sound of Music from the point of view of daughter Agathe von Trapp. Nice version (although nothing can quite compare to the classic) and more realistic from a historical perspective, which I appreciate.
The Enfield Haunting (2015) … Guy Playfair … A 3 episode TV mini-series based on real-life events that took place in an ordinary North London home in 1977 when, during the autumn of that year, novice paranormal researcher Maurice Grosse hears of a family reported to be terrorized by supernatural forces. I haven’t seen this one and as a hater of horror-type stories I doubt I ever will. Sorry Matthew!
Lost in Karastan (2014) … Emil Forester … Theatrical movie about a filmmaker from England who is hired to direct an epic production in the Caucasus region of Europe. Reviews seem mixed on this one and I’ve not seen it so can’t offer an opinion.
Anna Karenina (2012) … Prince Stepan “Stiva” Arkadyevich Oblonsky … Theatrical movie by Joe Wright, based on the timeless classic by Leo Tolstoy. Starred Keira Knightley as Anna, with Matthew this time as her brother Stiva. Such a heartbreaking story, but as with most that Wright has done, it was brilliant.
The Three Musketeers (2011) … Athos … Theatrical movie. Another terrific adaptation of the classic 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas. Personally I believe the one starring Keifer Sutherland and Oliver Platt from 1993 is better, but this one was very fun and starred many great actors. Worth watching for sure!
Any Human Heart (2010) … Logan Mountstuart … TV mini-series. Matthew Macfadyen, Jim Broadbent and Sam Claflin all play the lead role of fictional writer Logan Mountstuart in this adaptation of William Boyd’s best-selling novel revolving around Logan’s intimate journals, spanning his full life from 1906 to 1991. An enjoyable watch with many great actors.
The Pillars of the Earth (2010) … Prior Phillip … TV mini-series. Based on the masterpiece novel by Ken Follett set in the 12th century. Emerging from the war-torn shadows of England’s Dark Ages, an idealistic mason (Eddie Redmayne) sets out on a quest of erecting a glorious Cathedral. A phenomenal 12-hour series I highly recommend. Unfortunately, it too is a bit hard to find without paying extra but well worth the cost and trouble.
Little Dorrit (2008) … Arthur Clennam … TV series, screenplay written by Andrew Davies and based on Charles Dickens’s serial novel published between 1855 and 1857. Claire Foy, who went on to play Queen Elizabeth II in the marvelous The Crown, plays the title character in this series as well. A bit dark and sad, as is typical for Dickens, but an outstanding adaptation that depicts life in England during this period to perfection. Probably my second favorite role for Matthew, after Mr. Darcy of course.
Frost/Nixon (2008) … John Birt … Theatrical movie directed by Ron Howard. A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost (Michael Sheen) and former president Richard Nixon (Frank Langella). I loved this movie for many reasons beyond Matthew. As an American, this was a fascinating slice of political history I knew little about and despite what may seem like a boring topic for a whole movie, it was superbly done and included a stellar cast. I was also supremely fortunate to view the movie in Hollywood as part of a special premiere with Ron Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan. I blogged about the experience in Wild Women in Beverly Hills and also wrote an extensive movie review here: Frost/Nixon
Death at a Funeral (2007) … Daniel … Theatrical movie directed by Frank Oz. Chaos ensues when a man tries to expose a dark secret regarding a recently deceased patriarch of a dysfunctional British family. I love this movie SO much! Yes, there is a bit of “potty” humor I could have lived without, but aside from a couple of those scenes, it is a LOL movie from start to finish. Also starring the hilarious Alan Tudyk, whom I adore, Peter Dinklage, and Matthew’s real-life wife Keeley Hawes. I loved this movie so much that is also got a full blog review from me: Death at a Funeral
Pride and Prejudice (2005) … Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy … Theatrical movie by Joe Wright. My absolute passion for this movie is legendary so I really don’t need to say much more, do I? LOL!
In My Father’s Den (2004) … Paul Prior … Theatrical movie. Set in New Zealand, this amazing story is described as: A disillusioned war journalist’s return home is blighted when he becomes implicated in the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl he has befriended. I have this on DVD and have watched it so many times I may soon need a new copy. Absolutely brilliant! Difficult to watch in some respects as it is a heartbreaking story, but one that simply cannot be missed by a true Matthew Macfadyen fan… or a fan of good storytelling and cinema, for that matter. For some reason I will never understand, this incredible movie is still not available for online viewing or in a US format on DVD, but can be purchased on Amazon and watched on a computer or Region 2 DVD player.
MI-5 (2002-2004) … Tom Quinn … TV mini-series. Matthew was in the first two seasons, and then reappeared for one episode in 2011. I never watched beyond the third season, although it truly is a great show, and with Rupert Penry-Jones (Captain Wentworth) and Richard Armitage in it too there is incentive! Somewhat hard to find here in the US but is currently on Amazon Prime with a “BritBox” subscription.
The Way We Live Now (2001) … Sir Felix Carbury … TV four-part mini-series written by Andrew Davies for the BBC, an adaptation of the Anthony Trollope 1875 novel. This is such a terrific series, and watching a very young Matthew play the absolute cad Sir Felix is pure delight. Also difficult to find for us poor Americans, but is on Amazon’s BritBox.
- Is allergic to cats… and to most dogs!
- Attributes his unique voice to smoking. He has since quit, but has said he misses smoking.
- He has one sibling, a brother named Jamie.
- Matthew is 6 foot, 3 inches tall.
- He has appeared in 17 plays, all in England.
- In 2010 he won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Criminal Justice.
- Matthew has been nominated for 6 other acting awards, including a 2020 Emmy for his role in Succession.
- He is an accomplished cook, according to wife Keeley Hawes, who calls him the “Ruler of the Kitchen.”
- His role as Tom in Succession is the first American he’s ever played.
- The real Charles Ingram said Matthew was “too good looking” to play him in Quiz.
- His net worth in 2021 is reported by Forbes as $3 million. Good job!