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Ewan McGregor

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Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor at Venice Film Festival on September 7, 2009
Born Ewan Gordon McGregor
Occupation Actor
Years active 1993–present
Spouse(s) Eve Mavrakis (1995–present)

Ewan Gordon McGregor (born 31 March 1971) is a British actor who has had success in mainstream, indie and art house films. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Mark Renton in the 1996 film Trainspotting, the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the romantic penniless writer Christian in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!

In 2009, he appeared in the films I Love You Phillip Morris and Amelia, and portrayed Camerlengo Patrick McKenna in the film adaption of Angels & Demons. Apart from his film work, McGregor has starred in theatre productions of Guys and Dolls. He also appeared in television series such as The Scarlet and the Black, Lipstick On Your Collar, Tales from the Crypt, and ER. He was ranked No. 36 in Empire magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.

Early life

McGregor was born in the Perth Royal Infirmary, was brought up in the nearby small town of Crieff, and went to the independent fee-paying school Morrison's Academy. His mother, Carol Diane (née Lawson), is a teacher and school administrator, and his father, James Charles Stuart McGregor, is a physical education teacher. His mother is the sister of actor Denis Lawson, the sister-in-law of the late actress Sheila Gish, and the step-aunt of the late Lou Gish. McGregor attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1988 to study drama. Six months before graduating, he won a leading role in Dennis Potter's six-part Channel 4 series Lipstick on Your Collar, and has been working steadily ever since then.



McGregor made his feature film debut in 1993 in Bill Forsyth's Being Human. The following year, he earned widespread praise and won an Empire Award for his performance in the thriller Shallow Grave, which marked his first collaboration with director Danny Boyle. His major international breakthrough soon followed with the role of heroin addict Mark Renton in Boyle's film version of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting.

McGregor at the premiere of The Men Who Stare at Goats, during the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.

McGregor has been featured as the male romantic lead in Hollywood films such as Moulin Rouge! and Down With Love, and in the British film Little Voice. He received excellent reviews for his performance as an amoral drifter mixed up in murder in the British film Young Adam (2003), which co-starred Scottish actress Tilda Swinton. McGregor was one of many actors rumoured to have been offered the lead role as James Bond in the 2006 reboot Casino Royale, along with Gerard Butler, Sam Worthington, Orlando Bloom and Hugh Jackman but he turned it down because he feared becoming typecast. The role went to Daniel Craig.

McGregor is one of the few major male actors to repeatedly do full-frontal nudity in many of his films, including Trainspotting, Velvet Goldmine, The Pillow Book, and Young Adam. He also played gay and bisexual characters in Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book, Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine, British film Scenes of a Sexual Nature, and now recently in the new film with Jim Carrey, I Love You Phillip Morris.

In 2005, McGregor lent his voice to two successful animated features; the robot Rodney Copperbottom in Robots, which also featured the voices of Halle Berry and Robin Williams; and the lead character in Gary Chapman's Valiant, alongside Jim Broadbent, John Cleese and Ricky Gervais. Additionally in 2005, McGregor played two roles (one a clone of the other) opposite Scarlett Johansson in Michael Bay's The Island and then appeared in Marc Forster's Stay, a psychological thriller co-starring Naomi Watts and Ryan Gosling.

McGregor has narrated the STV show JetSet, a Scottish series following the lives of student pilots and navigators at RAF Lossiemouth as they undergo a gruelling six-month course learning to fly the Tornado GR4 — the RAF's primary attack aircraft.

McGregor appears opposite Colin Farrell in the Woody Allen film Cassandra's Dream, and will co-star with Daniel Craig in Dan Harris' upcoming film adaptation of Glen Duncan's novel I, Lucifer. He also appeared in 2003's Big Fish and alongside Jim Carrey in 2009's I Love You Phillip Morris. McGregor appeared opposite Renée Zellweger in the film Miss Potter (2006) as Norman Warne, publisher.

Star Wars

In 1999, McGregor starred in the blockbuster Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, a role originally made famous by Sir Alec Guinness in the original Star Wars trilogy. He reprised his role for the subsequent prequels Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). McGregor took very special care (especially in Revenge of the Sith) in his portrayal to ensure that Obi-Wan's mannerisms, speech timings, and accents closely resemble Obi-Wan's "Alec Guinness Self". In appearing in the Star Wars films, he was continuing a family tradition of sorts: his uncle, Denis Lawson, had played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy.


McGregor starred alongside Jane Krakowski, Douglas Hodge, and Jenna Russell in the original Donmar Warehouse production of Guys and Dolls in London at the Piccadilly Theatre. He played the leading role of Sky Masterson, made famous by Marlon Brando in the film, and he received the award for Best Actor in 2005. He was also nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

From December 2007 to February 2008, he starred as Iago in Othello at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello and Kelly Reilly as Desdemona. He reprised the role on BBC Radio 3 in May 2008.


McGregor narrated the Fulldome production Astronauts created for the National Space Centre in England, released in 2006.

Personal life

McGregor at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival

On 22 July 1995, in a village in France, McGregor married Eve Mavrakis, a French production designer, whom he met while filming a guest appearance on the British television series Kavanagh QC. They have two daughters together, Clara Mathilde (born February 1996) and Esther Rose (born 7 November 2001), and McGregor has a Heart and Dagger tattoo of their names on his right arm. In April 2006, McGregor and his wife adopted Jamiyan, a four-year-old girl from Mongolia (born June 2001). The family currently reside in Los Angeles, California.

McGregor refuses to talk about his family in interviews; "because it's private." During the "fly-on-the-wall" filming of preparation for the Long Way Round and Long Way Down journeys, McGregor went to great lengths to keep his children — and information that could reveal the location of his home — away from the cameras. Unlike travelling companion Charley Boorman, whose daughters often appeared in front of the cameras, McGregor did not have his children present at the send-off or other filmed parts of either adventure, but they were filmed at the end when his family greeted him at the end of the journey.

A keen motorcyclist since his youth, McGregor undertook a marathon motorcycle trip with his best friend Charley Boorman and cameraman Claudio von Planta in 2004. From mid-April to the end of July, they travelled from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Russia (including Siberia), Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Canada on BMW R1150GS Adventure motorcycles, for a cumulative distance of 22,345 miles (35,960 km). The trip formed the basis of a television series and a best-selling book, both called Long Way Round. En route the Long Way Round team took time out to see some of UNICEF's work in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. The Long Way Round team reunited in 2007 for another motorcycle trip from John o' Groats in Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa. The journey, entitled Long Way Down lasted from 12 May until 5 August 2007.

McGregor's brother, Colin, was a Tornado GR4 pilot in the Royal Air Force. Colin joined the motorcycle team during the early stages of the Long Way Down journey. His father Jim McGregor also rode on sections of both Long Way Round and Long Way Down, while his mother Carol surprised him in the latter stages of his African journey, serving him a can of Coca-Cola at a lodge in Malawi.

On 5 September 2010, in the Mail on Sunday magazine, Ewan's friend Charley Boorman said that the third installment of the Long Way series is planned for 2011, riding up through South America.

In an episode of Parkinson in 2007, McGregor said that he has given up alcohol after a period where he was arguably a functioning alcoholic, and that he has not had a drink in seven years. In 2008, he had a cancerous mole removed from underneath his right eye.

Charity work

McGregor is involved in a large amount of charity work, including with UNICEF and GO Campaign, and he has hosted the annual Hollywood gala for GO Campaign for the past two years. In 2007 he and friend, Charley Boorman, did work for UNICEF in Africa. He and Eve are Patrons of the Zoological Society of London.


Feature films

Year Film Role Notes
1993 Being Human Alvarez
1994 Shallow Grave Alex Law Empire Award for Best British Actor
1995 Blue Juice Dean Raymond
1996 Trainspotting Mark Renton BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Empire Award for Best British Actor
London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actor of the Year
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
The Pillow Book Jerome
Emma Frank Churchill
Brassed Off Andy Barrow
1997 Nightwatch Martin Bells
The Serpent's Kiss Meneer Chrome
A Life Less Ordinary Robert Lewis Empire Award for Best British Actor
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Dance Sequence (shared with Cameron Diaz)
1998 Desserts Stroller
Velvet Goldmine Curt Wild
Little Voice Billy Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1999 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Obi-Wan Kenobi Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor
Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Action/Science Fiction
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Fight(shared with Liam Neeson and Ray Park)
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Rogue Trader Nick Leeson
Eye of the Beholder The Eye
2000 Nora James Joyce Nominated — Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor
2001 Moulin Rouge! Christian Empire Award for Best British Actor
London Critics Circle Film Award for British Actor of the Year
MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Sequence (shared with Nicole Kidman)
Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — IF Award for Best Actor
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Nicole Kidman)
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Black Hawk Down SPC John Grimes Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2002 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Obi-Wan Kenobi
Solid Geometry Phil
2003 Down with Love Catcher Block
Young Adam Joe Taylor BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor In A Leading Role
Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Empire Award for Best British Actor
Faster Narrator (voice)
Big Fish Young Edward Bloom
2005 Robots Rodney Copperbottom (voice)
Valiant Valiant (voice)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Island Lincoln Six Echo/Tom Lincoln
Stay Dr. Sam Foster
2006 Scenes of a Sexual Nature Billy
Miss Potter Norman Warne
Stormbreaker Ian Rider
2007 Cassandra's Dream Ian Blane
2008 Deception Jonathan McQuarry
Incendiary Jasper Black
2009 Angels & Demons Camerlengo Patrick McKenna
The Men Who Stare At Goats Bob Wilton
Amelia Gene Vidal
2010 Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang Mr. Green cameo appearance
The Ghost Writer GhostWriter European Film Award for Best Actor
I Love You Phillip Morris Phillip Morris
Perfect Sense TBA filming
Jackboots on Whitehall Chris (voice) filming
2011 Beginners Oliver post-production
Haywire post-production
The Impossible Henry post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Lipstick on Your Collar PVT Mick Hooper Six episodes, main character
The Scarlet and the Black Julien Sorel Mini-series
1995 Kavanagh QC David Robert Armstrong "Nothing But the Truth"
1996 Karaoke Young Man "Tuesday"
Tales from the Crypt Ford " Cold War"
1997 ER Duncan Stewart " The Long Way Around"
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Drama Series
2002 The Polar Bears of Churchill with Ewan McGregor Himself Documentary series
2004 Long Way Round Himself Documentary series
2006 Race To Dakar Himself (LAUNCH/END ONLY) Documentary series
2007 Long Way Down Himself Documentary series
2010 The Battle of Britain Himself Documentary
2011 Long Way Up Himself Documentary


  • "Choose Life" by PF Project (from the Trainspotting soundtrack), 1996 - single (November 1997) - UK #6
  • "Gimme Danger" single (Soundtrack for movie Velvet Goldmine Cover version of original song by The Stooges - 1998)
  • "TV Eye" single (Soundtrack for movie Velvet Goldmine Cover version of original song by The Stooges - 1998)
  • " Come What May" Single (Duet with Nicole Kidman - October 2001) - UK #27
  • " Your Song" single (Duet with Alessandro Safina - UK #105 (September 2010)
  • "Elephant Love Medley" single (Duet with Nicole Kidman - October 2001)
  • "Here's To Love" (Duet with Renee Zellweger - Soundtrack for movie Down With Love - 2003)
  • "The Sweetest Gift" (Single recording from Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars - 2006)
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