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Alfred Molina

Alfred Molina is an accomplished London-born character actor whose diverse and distinguished gallery of performances has led to a lengthy and triumphant career in films, television and the stage. In 2002, Molina won rave reviews and nominations for the British Academy Award (BAFTA), the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Broadcast Film Critics prize and the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for his Best Supporting Actor turn as the hedonistic Mexican artist Diego Rivera in Frida, the docudrama about the life of Frida Kahlo starring Oscar nominee Salma Hayek. Upcoming screen roles include The Lodger; Pink Panther 2, opposite Steve Martin; An Education, alongside Emma Thompson, Peter Sarsgaard and Orlando Bloom; and Marble City.

Following Molina's education at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, he quickly gained membership in England's prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, where he performed both in classics like Troilus and Cressida and new original works like Frozen Assets and Dingo. In 1979, he won acclaim (and a Plays and Players Award as Most Promising New Actor) as The Maniac in Accidental Death of an Anarchist at London's Half Moon Theatre.

Two years later, Molina found himself on the big screen in an auspicious, albeit brief, debut as the devious, traitorous guide, Satipo, who betrays Indiana Jones in the exciting opening sequence of Steven Spielberg's landmark adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Molina's Mediterranean heritage (Spanish father, Italian mother) has allowed the dark-haired, dark-eyed talent the versatility to play a wide range of nationalities, which he put to great use in his early screen appearances in the ‘80s. Molina played distinctive characters like the Russian sailor in Chris Bernard's Letter to Brezhnev (1985) and the young Greek in Peter Yates' Eleni (1986). During the decade, he also co-starred in Mike Leigh's Meantime (1983), Richard Donner's Ladyhawke (1985) and Dusan Makavejev's Manifesto (1989). He won great notices for his portrait of a vengeful, murderous Kenneth Halliwell, playwright Joe Orton's gay lover, in Stephen Frears' 1987 drama, Prick Up Your Ears.

Molina's career continued to soar in the following decade, with roles as an unhappy upper class husband in Mike Newell's Enchanted April, the joyous painter Titorelli in David Jones' 1993 adaptation of Kafka's novel The Trial and the duplicitous Persian spouse in Not Without My Daughter. He reteamed with director Donner in the comic western Maverick and played the small but pivotal role of a crazed drug dealer in Paul Thomas Anderson's Oscar-nominated Boogie Nights (1997). Molina joined Anderson once again for his epic ensemble drama Magnolia (1999), collecting SAG nominations for both as part of the films' ensemble casts. He also continued to display his ability to embody a variety of nationalities, playing a Cuban immigrant in Mira Nair's The Perez Family (1995) and a Greek-American lawyer in Barbet Schroeder's drama Before and After (1996). Other films over this ten-year span include Roger Donaldson's sci-fi thriller Species, Jon Amiel's comic thriller The Man Who Knew Too Little, Bernard Rose's Anna Karenina, Woody Allen's Celebrity and Stanley Tucci's The Impostors.

During the current decade, Molina collected his third SAG Ensemble Cast nomination for Lasse Hallström's whimsical, Oscar-nominated romantic comedy Chocolat and reunited with Hallström opposite Richard Gere in The Hoax. He also turned heads as the villainous Dr. Otto Octavius, a.k.a. Dr. Octopus, in Sam Raimi's blockbuster sequel, Spider-Man 2. Molina co-starred in such films as Identity, Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes, Ron Howard's adaptation of one of the most popular books of all time, The Da Vinci Code, Isabel Coixet's My Life Without Me, Eric Till's biographical drama Luther, the bilingual suspense thriller Crónicas, Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare adaptation As You Like It, François Girard's Silk and John Irvin's The Moon and the Stars.

On television, Molina starred in two CBS sitcoms. He played a washed-up writer sought out by his estranged daughter in Bram and Alice (2002), and Jimmy Stiles in Ladies' Man, on which he also served as one of the producers. His other television work includes the acclaimed 1983 miniseries Reilly: Ace of Spies, Miami Vice, the BBC telefilm Revolutionary Witness, Granada TV's El C.I.D., the BBC miniseries Ashenden (based on Peter Mayles' bestseller, A Year in Provence), the Hallmark Channel's Joan of Arc (as narrator), and guest appearances on Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit and Monk.

Despite his thriving film and television career, Molina has never wandered far from the stage for long. He returned to the RSC to give a much-praised performance as Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew (1985) and earned an Olivier nomination for his work in the British production of David Mamet's Speed the Plow. In his Broadway debut as the good-natured Yvan in Yasmina Reza's Art (1998, starring with Alan Alda and Victor Garber), Molina collected the first of his two Tony Award nominations (for Best Actor in a Dramatic Play). He made his Broadway debut as the Irish chatterbox Frank Sweeney in Brian Friel's play Molly Sweeney (1995-96), and most recently triumphed as Tevye in the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof, for which he earned his second Tony nod (Best Actor in a Musical).

Note: This profile was written in or before 2008.
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Alfred Molina Facts

BirthdayMay 24, 1953 (70)
BirthplaceLondon, England, United Kingdom
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is Alfred Molina compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Boogie Nights
Monsters University
Secret in Their Eyes
Spider-Man 2
Justice League Dark
Strange Magic
Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures
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