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Gary Oldman was born Leonard Gary Oldman in London, England in 1958. Oldman says his father was an abusive alcoholic who left when he was seven (and this may explain why Oldman has been repeatedly drawn to portray so many dark and disturbed characters!). He excelled in singing and piano as a child, but gave that up in favor of acting. He graduated from college in 1979 and then spent 8 years mostly on the English stage. In 1986, he starred in Sid & Nancy as Sid Vicious, and it surely is one of the finest film performances ever. He followed with many other excellent portrayals, and the ones that stand out most for me were in JFK (as Lee Harvey Oswald), True Romance (as one of the baddest bad guys ever!), Leon (aka The Professional), and Immortal Beloved (as Ludwig van Beethoven). But Oldman has never delivered a bad performance, and he manages to look and sound completely different in every single role! In 1997, he also wrote and directed Nil By Mouth, a semi-autobiographical look at his growing up. He has had a turbulent private life, having been married four times since 1988, and he had a major alcohol and drug problem for many years, but is now sober, thanks to AA. Oldman is one of those incredibly gifted actors who can truly inhabit the people he portrays. When I watch him, I have no sensation I am watching him portray someone else, but rather I feel as though I am actually watching the person he is portraying, a remarkable achievement!
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