Real name: Robert Carlyle
Birthdate: April 14, 1961
Partner: Anastasia Shirley
Robert Carlyle OBE (born April 14, 1961) is an acclaimed Scottish film actor best known for his performances as psychopaths or killers.
Carlyle was born in Glasgow. He was raised by his father, Joseph, after his mother left when he was four years old. His father worked as a painter and decorator. Inspired by Arthur Miller's The Crucible, he enrolled in acting class at the Glasgow Arts Centre at the age of 21.
In 1991, he and four friends founded an acting company and guest starred in The Bill. He first came to the attention of the public as a murderer in an episode of Cracker (in which he killed the character, DCI David Bilborough, played by Christopher Eccleston). He soon landed the role of Highland policeman Hamish Macbeth in the eponymous BBC comedy-drama.
In 1996 and 1997, he appeared in what are arguably the two most high-profile roles of his career to date: that of the psychopathic Francis Begbie in Trainspotting and Gaz, the leader of a group of amateur male strippers, in The Full Monty.
Known for his commitment to roles, Carlyle has often altered his lifestyle and physical appearance to better understand a character. Examples include:
- Before playing a homeless character in Antonia Bird’s Safe, he went to live in the Waterloo area of London where the film was set.
- For his role as a bus driver in Ken Loach’s Carla’s Song, he passed the test for a licence to carry passengers in a Glasgow Routemaster bus.
- For the role of Hitler, he listened to all the works of Richard Wagner, Hitler's favorite composer. As a result, Carlyle is now a committed fan.
- For 28 Weeks Later in the rage virus consumption scene, Carlyle banged his head against a toughened glass window so hard and so often during shooting that he suffered splitting headaches for three days.
In 1997, Carlyle married make-up artist Anastasia Shirley. In 2002, she gave birth to their first child, daughter Ava. In 2004, their second child, Harvey, was born. The Carlyles' third child, Pearce Joseph, was born in 2006.
Carlyle, unlike his most famous character, Begbie, who supports Hibernian FC, is a supporter of Rangers FC.