Name at birth: David Mark Rylance WatersMark Rylance is the celebrated British stage actor who won an Academy Award for playing Russian spy Rudolf Abel in the 2015 movie Bridge of Spies. Television fans know him for his portrayal of Thomas Cromwell in the series Wolf Hall (2015, based on the historical novel by Hilary Mantel). Mark Rylance was born in England but grew up in America, first in Connecticut and then in Wisconsin. Already smitten with acting, he entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at age 18, in 1978; four years later he made his debut with the Royal Shakespearian Company. He rose quickly, playing a variety of roles in London and in touring companies; he won the coveted Olivier acting award as Benedick in a 1993 production of Much Ado About Nothing. Rylance was artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater from 1995-2005, won a Tony award for the 2008 Broadway production of the raucous comedy Boeing-Boeing, and wowed both London and Broadway with his performance as Olivia in an all-male production of Twelfth Night in 2013. He won wider acclaim with his performance as Thomas Cromwell, crafty minister to King Henry VIII, in the BBC mini-series Wolf Hall; The Telegraph called him “the most moving and intuitive actor in Britain.” The same year he played Soviet agent Rudolf Abel in the Steven Spielberg film Bridge of Spies (with Tom Hanks), winning the Oscar as best supporting actor. His other films include Prospero’s Books (1991), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008, with Scarlett Johansson) and The Gunman (2015). Rylance has publicly expressed his doubts that William Shakespeare wrote all the plays attributed to him. His play I Am Shakespeare, an exploration of the authorship debate, was published in 2012.
Mark Rylance married the director and playwright Claire van Kampen on 21 December 1989… He chose the stage name of Mark Rylance because his preferred choice, Mark Waters, was already claimed by another Equity actor… His nomination for Bridge of Spies was his first Oscar nomination.
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