|Intro||English film, television and stage actor|
|A.K.A.||Laurence Paul Fox|
|Is||Actor Television actor Stage actor Film actor Singer|
|Field||Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music|
|Birth||26 May 1978, Yorkshire, United Kingdom|
Laurence Paul Fox (born 26 May 1978) is an English actor, singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for playing the lead role of DS James Hathaway in the British TV drama series Lewis from 2006 to 2015. His debut album, Holding Patterns, was released in February 2016.
Early years and education
Laurence Fox was born in 1978 in Yorkshire, the third of the five children of James Fox and Mary Elizabeth Piper. His father James was the son of Robin Fox, a theatrical agent, who married Angela Muriel Darita Worthington, daughter of the playwright Frederick Lonsdale.
Fox's siblings are Tom (born 1975), Robin (born 1976), Lydia (born 1979), and Jack (born 1985); Lydia and Jack are actors. Lydia Fox is married to actor Richard Ayoade. His uncles are the actor Edward Fox and the theatrical and film producer Robert Fox. The actors Emilia and Freddie Fox are his first cousins, being the children of Edward Fox.
At the age of 13 he was enrolled at Harrow School at which point he was, as he later recalled, "shy around women, sensitive and a bit naïve". Although he made friends and liked the drama teacher, he hated the school's strict regimen and felt despised and out of place among pupils with titles and wealth. Constantly in trouble for smoking, fighting, going into town and seeing girls, he was expelled a few weeks before his A-levels. According to him, "It was something to do with a girl at a dance. I went back to take the exams, but I wasn't allowed to speak to anyone." With hindsight, Fox has said that his experience at Harrow enabled him to portray "toffs" – the upper-class boys looking down on him and whom he disliked – with a rare blend of insight and cynicism.
He later told an interviewer that despite doing well in his A-level examinations he was unable to obtain a place at any university, because of a report about him from Harrow. After working as a gardener for two years, and a stint as an office worker which he loathed, he discovered that he preferred acting and enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). During his time there he appeared in numerous theatre productions, including the lead roles of Gregers Werle in Ibsen's The Wild Duck, Marcus Andronicus in Titus Andronicus, and Stephen Daedalus in an adaptation of James Joyce's novel Ulysses. However, he was disappointed to find that, as an "Old Harrovian", he was treated "like a nonce". He made himself more unpopular by being outspoken and taking on stage and movie roles in his second and third years despite this practice being banned by the academy. One of these was his first break into film – the horror-thriller The Hole (2001). Fox feels that in landing the role his name "probably helped – it's a combination of timing, luck and contacts". Nonetheless, "the name opens some doors, but then you have to show you can do the job".
Fox, who graduated from RADA on 1 July 2001, followed up The Hole by appearing in Robert Altman's film Gosford Park (2001). He then donned uniforms in a slew of film and television features, including roles as a German airman in Island at War (2004), an SS officer in The Last Drop (2005), and as British soldiers in the 2002 films Deathwatch and Ultimate Force, and in Colditz (2005). In the last made-for-television film, Fox played Capt. Tom Willis who, after an unsuccessful attempt to break out of a prisoner-of-war camp, is brought to Oflag IV-C in Colditz Castle, one of the most infamous German POW camps for officers in World War II. Actor Kevin Whately caught Fox's performance in the last ten minutes of the film, which he characterised as "this young English boy going bonkers and wandering out to be shot", and thought "He's interesting." The next day, at a lunch meeting with "all the powers that be" regarding a new project, Whately mentioned that Fox "would be worth taking a look at".
As a result, Fox was cast in the ITV detective drama Lewis as Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, a Cambridge-educated former trainee priest who becomes the partner of Detective Inspector Robert Lewis, played by Whately. The pilot of this spin-off from Inspector Morse (1987–2000), was ITV's highest rated drama of 2006.
Real people that Fox has portrayed include Prince Charles, in Whatever Love Means (2005); Wisley, one of Jane Austen's suitors, in Becoming Jane (2007); and Sir Christopher Hatton, the Lord Chancellor of England in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, also released in 2007. In addition, in that year Fox was seen on ITV as Cecil Vyse in Andrew Davies' adaptation of A Room with a View based on E.M. Forster's 1908 novel. He has expressed a desire to appear in a western, and to star as James Bond; the closest he has got to the latter was losing the role of villain Gustav Graves in Die Another Day (2002) to Toby Stephens.
On stage, Fox appeared in Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw at the Strand Theatre (now the Novello Theatre) in London in 2002, and John Ford's 17th-century play 'Tis Pity She's a Whore in 2005. Between 2006 and 2007 he starred in Treats by Christopher Hampton with his future wife, Billie Piper. In April 2007, Fox lost his temper with a paparazzi photographer outside the Garrick Theatre in London where he was performing in Treats and was arrested for assault. He was later released after receiving a police caution. Newspaper reports stated that the caution would remain on his record for three years and might prevent his obtaining a visa to perform in the US. In 2013, Fox played Guy Haines in Strangers on a Train at London's Gielgud Theatre. On 9 May 2015 he portrayed a wartime soldier composing a letter at VE Day 70: A Party to Remember in Horse Guards Parade, London that was broadcast live on BBC1.
When filming, Fox often plays the jester to amuse the cast and crew. He has said, "I'd just rather have a good time than I would be Daniel Day-Lewis. There ain't no method to my acting."
In March 2016, Fox apologised for swearing at a member of the audience who had been muttering audibly in the front row during a performance of The Patriotic Traitor at London's Park Theatre on 8 March. The audience saw Fox step out of character – that of French statesman Charles de Gaulle – and chastise the heckler with robust language. "If someone is hell-bent on heckling, they are ruining it for everybody," he explained to Sarah Montague on the Today programme on 10 March 2016. "It becomes an un-performable play, the play stops at that moment."
In 2018, Fox joined the cast of the ITV series Victoria, playing Lord Palmerston, for its third season, which first aired on PBS in January 2019.
Laurence Fox is signed to Fox Cub Records where he is the Director and sole named officer. Laurence has claimed was banned from producing a song called "MeToo" by the record label, where he is the director.
Fox dated British actress Billie Piper in 2006 while they performed together in the stage play Treats. On 31 December 2007 Fox married Piper in the 12th century parish church of St. Mary's in Easebourne, West Sussex. During a 21 February 2008 interview on ITV breakfast show GMTV, Fox revealed that after a "drunken lunch" during their honeymoon in Mexico he and Piper got matching tattoos to celebrate their marriage. His tattoo, on his forearm, reads "Mrs Fox 31 December 2007," while hers states "Mr Fox." As of 2007 Fox and Piper lived in a country cottage in the market town of Midhurst in West Sussex. In March 2008 it was reported that Piper had expressed to family and friends a desire to adopt children as well as to have children of her own with Fox. On 27 April 2008 The Sun, quoting an unnamed source, announced that Piper was three months pregnant and that she and Fox were "absolutely over the moon". On 21 October 2008, Piper gave birth to a son, Winston James Fox, by emergency Caesarean section. Piper gave birth to their second son, Eugene Pip, on 5 April 2012. On 24 March 2016, Fox announced on his Facebook page that the pair had split after eight years of marriage. He stated that no third party was involved in the separation. On 12 May 2016, it was announced that Fox and Piper had divorced.
In January 2020 he attracted controversy for comments which he made in several media appearances, arguing that the depiction of a Sikh soldier in the film 1917 was "forced diversity", stated that Meghan Markle was not a victim of racism, and branding as racist an individual who had called him a "white privileged male". He also stated that he would not date "woke" women or women below the age of 35 because their views were too politically correct. In March 2020, the actor's union, Equity, which had heavily criticised Fox for the latter, withdrew said criticism and apologised for it.
- Holding Patterns (2016)
- A Grief Observed (2019)
- "Gunfight" (2012)
- "So Be Damned" (2013)
- Sorry for My Words EP (2013)
- "Headlong" (2015)
- "Rise Again" (2016)