The Full Monty actor Tom Wilkinson dies | Arts & Arts News

The actor, who won a BAFTA for his role in The Full Monty, also starred in Batman Begins and Shakespeare in Love.

By James Robinson, Sky News Correspondent @thejournojames

Saturday 30 December 2023 18:46, UK

British Oscar-nominated actor Tom Wilkinson, best known for his role in The Full Monty, has died aged 75, his family has announced.

The Yorkshire-born star played Gerald Cooper in the 1997 comedy, which tells the story of an all-male group of laid-off steelworkers from Sheffield on their journey to set up a striptease act.

Wilkinson received a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

He appeared in 1998's Shakespeare in Love, The 2005. Christopher Nolan Blockbuster Batman Begins, and co-starred Dame Judi DenchDame Penelope Wilton, and Bill NighyAll British ensemble cast of the 2011 comedy drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Wilkinson was at home with his wife and family when he died suddenly on Saturday, his family said in a statement.

Robert Carley, Tom Wilkinson, Hugo Speer, Steve Huison and Paul Barber in The Full Monty 1997 Image: 20thC.Fox/Everett/Shutterstock

Tom Wilkinson in The Full Monty: MovieStore/Shutterstock

„It is with great sadness that the family announced that Tom Wilkinson died suddenly at home on December 30, with his wife and family at his side,” his agent shared on behalf of the family in a statement.

Peaky Blinders and Dunkirk actor Aneurin Barnard, who starred opposite Wilkinson in Dead in a Week (One Your Money Back), paid tribute to the star, describing her as a „legend”.

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„I'm so saddened to hear of Tom Wilkinson's passing. I really enjoyed getting to know and work with him,” she wrote in a post on X.

„One of our wonderful legends we say goodbye to. Bye Tom for now.”

The Strays and All About Eve star Michael Warburton described Wilkinson as a „superb actor”.

„Very sad news that one of our greats has left us at the age of 75. RIP Tom Wilkinson,” he wrote on X.

Singer Will Young also paid tribute to a „friend” and „British acting royalty”.

„Goodbye friend. Funny, witty wit, (Diana Hardcastle) helped me with auditions and what an amazing actor,” he wrote on Instagram.

„British acting royalty. I salute you, dear Tom.”

Award winning actor

In an illustrious career that spanned nearly 50 years, Wilkinson won numerous acting awards and two Oscar nominations.

He starred in the 2011 British comedy drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel alongside Dame Judi Dench and Bill Nighy. Image: FoxSearch/Everett/Shutterstock

He received his first award for Best Actor for his performance in the 2001 drama Bedroom.

He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 2007 legal thriller Michael Clayton starring George Clooney.

Wilkinson won a Golden Globe and Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Benjamin Franklin in the 2008 HBO series John Adams.

Tom Wilkinson won a Golden Globe Award for the 2008 HBO series John Adams

From Yorkshire to Hollywood

Born the son of farmers in the Yorkshire valley of Wharfedale in 1948, Wilkinson moved with his family to Canada as a boy, but returned five years later.

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He studied English and American literature at the University of Kent, where he developed a keen interest in acting after being asked to direct a play.

He then trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

Wilkinson got her first break in acting in 1976, appearing in several British television shows – most notably the 1986 political drama, First Among Equals, which was based on Geoffrey Archer's novel of the same name.

Tom Wilkinson in Shakespeare in Love

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But it was his role in The Full Monty that brought him fame and critical acclaim, playing Gerald Arthur Cooper – a steel factory foreman who tries to hide his layoff from his wife.

After seeing Cooper's wife at a dance class, the two main characters, Cas and Dave, played by Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy, recruit her to help them learn to dance for their Chippendale-style striptease act.

High-profile acting credits followed his BAFTA-winning performance in film, including mobster Carmine Falcone in the 2005 Hollywood blockbuster, Batman Begins.

Wilkinson was awarded an OBE for acting in the 2005 New Year's Honors List

Later in his career, Wilkinson starred in several high-profile American plays, including John Adams, while he was awarded an OBE for services to drama in the 2005 New Year's Honors List.

For his final screen credit, he reunited with his The Full Monty co-stars Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy in the 2023 Disney+ series of the same name.

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Away from the screen, Wilkinson married co-star Diana Hartcastle in 1988. The couple had two daughters.

Wilkinson starred in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with his wife – although Hardcastle played a supporting role, they did not star in the film.

However, the pair played husband and wife in the 2014 American thriller Good Peep.

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