Hugh John Mungo Grant (born 9 September 1960) is an English actor and film producer. He has received a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and an Honorary César. His films have earned more than US$2.4 billion from 25 theatrical releases worldwide. Grant achieved international success after appearing in the Richard Curtis-scripted Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). He used this breakthrough role as a frequent cinematic persona during the 1990s, delivering comic performances in mainstream films like Mickey Blue Eyes (1999) and Notting Hill (1999). By the turn of the 21st century, he had established himself as a leading man skilled with a satirical comic talent. Grant has expanded his oeuvre with critically acclaimed turns as a cad in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), About a Boy (2002), and American Dreamz (2006). He later played against type with multiple cameo roles in the epic sci-fi drama film Cloud Atlas (2012).
Within the film industry, Grant is cited as an anti-star who approaches his roles like a character actor, and attempts to make his acting appear spontaneous. Hallmarks of his comic skills include a nonchalant touch of irony/sarcasm and studied physical mannerisms as well as his precisely-timed dialogue delivery and facial expressions. The entertainment media’s coverage of Grant’s life off the big screen has often overshadowed his work as an actor. He has been outspoken about his disrespect for the profession of acting, and in his disdain towards the culture of celebrity and hostility towards the media. In a career spanning 30 years, Grant has repeatedly claimed that acting is not a true calling but just a job he fell into.
Grant was born at Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith, London, the second son of Fynvola Susan MacLean (b. Wickham, Hampshire, 11 October 1933; d. Hounslow, London, July 2001) and Captain James Murray Grant (b. 1929). Grant’s grandfather, Major James Murray Grant, DSO was decorated for bravery and leadership at Saint-Valery-en-Caux during World War II. Genealogist Antony Adolph has described Grant’s family history as “a colourful Anglo-Scottish tapestry of warriors, empire-builders and aristocracy.” A few of his notable ancestors include William Drummond, 4th Viscount Strathallan, Dr. James Stewart, John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl, Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Nottingham, Sir Evan Nepean, and a sister of former Prime Minister Spencer Perceval.
Grant’s father was trained at Sandhurst, Berkshire and served with the Seaforth Highlanders for eight years in Malaya, Germany and Scotland. He ran a carpet firm, pursued hobbies such as golf and painting watercolours, and raised his family in Chiswick, west London, where the Grants lived next to Arlington Park Mansions on Sutton Lane. In September 2006, a collection of Capt. Grant’s paintings was hosted by the John Martin Gallery in a charity exhibition, organised by his famous son, called “James Grant: 30 Years of Watercolours.” His mother worked as a schoolteacher and taught Latin, French and music for more than 30 years in the state schools of west London. She died at the age of 65, 18 months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Grant’s accent is an inheritance from his mother; and, on Inside the Actors Studio in 2002, he credited her with “any acting genes that might have.” Both his parents were children of military families, but, despite his parents’ backgrounds, Grant has stated that his family was not always affluent while he was growing up. Grant spent his childhood summers shooting and hunting with his grandfather in Scotland. Grant has an older brother, James, living in Portugal.
Grant is also the second cousin, once removed, of British actor and musician Thomas Brodie-Sangster, whom he appeared alongside with in the 2003 film Love Actually. His grandmother and Sangster’s great-grand mother were sisters.
Grant has expressed boredom with playing the celebrity in the press and is known in popular media for his guarded privacy. On probing of his personal life, he has remained incredibly steadfast in “offering a dead bat to any question he feels is not general enough.” Grant has described himself as a reluctant actor, has called being a successful actor a mistake and has repeatedly talked of his hope that film stardom would just be “a phase” in his life, lasting no more than ten years.
A 2007 Vogue profile of Grant referred to him as a man with a “professionally misanthropic mystique”. Grant has expressed distaste for focus groups, market research, and emphasis on opening weekend box-office numbers, saying: “It’s so destructive to the filmmaking process. What was wrong with the way they used to release films, more slowly, let them build?” The director Mike Newell has said: “There is at least as much of Hugh that is charismatic, intellectual, and whose tongue is maybe too clever for its own good as there is of him that’s gorgeous and kind of woolly and flubsy.” Filmmaker Paul Weitz, said that Grant is funny and that “he perceives flaws in himself and other people, and then he cares about their humanity nonetheless.” British newspapers regularly refer to him as grumpy.
Grant is a self-confessed “committed and passionate” perfectionist on a film set. The American film critic Dave Kehr has written that Grant “is known in the film industry as a meticulous performer who takes his time to prepare a role — someone who works hard to make it look easy — though that isn’t a trait he admires in himself.” Grant is noted by co-workers for demanding endless takes until he achieves the desired shot according to his own standard.
Grant dropped his agent in 2006, ending a 10-year relationship with CAA. Grant has proclaimed in interviews that he does not listen to external views on his career: “They’ve known for years that I have total control. I’ve never taken any advice on anything.”