Daniel Radcliffe is an English actor who rose to international stardom as Harry Potter in the series of films based on the hugely popular books by J.K. Rowling.
Updated: Jul 6, 2020
Who Is Daniel Radcliffe?
Daniel Radcliffe’s parents initially refused to let him audition for the role of Harry Potter, but a chance meeting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus led to an audition. The books‘ legions of fans seemed to agree that Radcliffe was perfect as the boy wizard, and he starred in each installment of the immensely successful eight-part film series. Moving on from Harry Potter, the actor performed on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and showed his versatility via films like Kill Your Darlings and Imperium.
Early Life and Career
The only child of a literary agent and a casting director, Daniel Radcliffe achieved international stardom for his work in the Harry Potter films, adaptations of the beloved best-sellers by J. K. Rowling.
Radcliffe made his acting debut in the 1999 television movie David Copperfield, playing the young version of the title character. He soon landed a role on the big screen in 2001’s spy thriller The Tailor of Panama, with Pierce Brosnan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
But even before this film’s release, Radcliffe made headlines when he was cast as the lead in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The 11-year-old actor joined fellow unknown performers Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry’s friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, in one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2001.
‘Harry Potter’ Fame
Released in November 2001, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone proved to be a box-office smash. Audiences adored Radcliffe as the lead character, an orphaned boy who attends a special school for wizards in training. And the fever surrounding the series simply seemed to grow with each new film.
The eight-film series spanned more than a decade of Radcliffe’s life, showing him growing from a tween to a young man. And they provided him with the opportunity to work with many distinguished actors, including Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter. Radcliffe found Oldman’s and Rickman’s careers particularly inspiring, telling Backstage that “They never, ever stop trying to get better and working with people they think are going to bring something new out of them.”
While some may wonder whether he lost a part of his youth to the fame and success of Harry Potter, Radcliffe seems to have no regrets about the nearly all-consuming project. “They’ve been great. For the most part I’ve been happy every single day. And all the times I’ve been unhappy, it’s never been anything to do with Potter,” he told Details magazine.
In later interviews, however, Radcliffe admitted that he had a drinking problem during his teens and occasionally went to film scenes as Harry Potter still drunk from the night before. He has been sober since 2010.
In 2011, the Harry Potter series ended its run with the then-record-breaking Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which brought in roughly $168 million during its opening weekend. But with this final film came some sad goodbyes. Radcliffe told Time Out New York what he would miss most about no longer playing Harry Potter: “It’s very rare in your career that you get to play an action hero. I’m not the natural frame and stature of an action hero, so I may not get to play one again.” He also lamented that the film series did not receive more critical recognition, especially in terms of Academy Award nominations.
Film, TV and Stage Roles
‘Equus,’ ‘How to Succeed in Business’
Striving to break free of the Harry Potter typecasting, Radcliffe poked fun at his image in Ricky Gervais’ comedy series Extras in a 2006 special spot. The following year, Radcliffe showed his dramatic acting chops and more than just a bit of skin on the Broadway stage in Equus, playing a disturbed teenager. In 2011, he took on a very different part—an ambitious young man—in the musical comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
‘The Woman in Black,’ ‘A Young Doctor’s Notebook’
After hosting Saturday Night Live in early 2012, Radcliffe headlined in the gothic horror thriller The Woman in Black as a widowed lawyer and father who gets mixed up in supernatural trouble. Late that year he starred in the British TV show A Young Doctor’s Notebook, his title character shadowed throughout each episode by an older version of himself, played by Jon Hamm. The series was such a success with audiences that it was renewed for a second season.
‘Kill Your Darlings,’ ‘Victor Frankenstein’
Continuing to shed his wizard boy image, Radcliffe portrayed famed Beat poet Allen Ginsberg during his younger years in Kill Your Darlings (2013), alongside Elizabeth Olsen, Michael C. Hall and Ben Foster. In 2014, he took on the role of Ignatius Perrish, the prime suspect in the rape and murder of his girlfriend, in the supernatural thriller Horns. He also starred opposite Zoe Kazan in the rom-com What If, before playing the loyal assistant Igor to the titular doctor of Victor Frankenstein the following year.
‘Now You See Me 2,’ ‘Imperium’
A trio of films released in 2016 showcased Radcliffe’s desire to push his range as an actor: He played a corpse-turned-best friend of a suicidal castaway in Swiss Army Man; appeared as a conniving tech executive in Now You See Me 2; and starred as an FBI agent attempting infiltrate a white supremacist group in Imperium. That year the actor also returned to the stage in the off-Broadway production of Privacy.
‘Jungle,’ ‘Miracle Workers’
Along with starring in the 2017 survival thriller Jungle, Radcliffe remained immersed in the theater community with roles in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in 2017 and The Lifespan of a Fact in 2018. In 2019, he returned to the small screen with a leading role in the anthology comedy series Miracle Workers, playing a low-level angel assistant to God in its first season.
Radcliffe has been dating actress Erin Darke since the two met while filming Kill Your Darlings in 2012.
- Name: Daniel Radcliffe
- Birth Year: 1989
- Birth date: July 23, 1989
- Birth Country: England
- Gender: Male
- Best Known For: Daniel Radcliffe is an English actor who rose to international stardom as Harry Potter in the series of films based on the hugely popular books by J.K. Rowling.
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- Article Title: Daniel Radcliffe Biography
- Author: Biography.com Editors
- Website Name: The Biography.com website
- Url: https://www.biography.com/actors/daniel-radcliffe
- Access Date:
- Publisher: A&E; Television Networks
- Last Updated: July 6, 2020
- Original Published Date: April 2, 2014