Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor

McGregor in 2012
Born Ewan Gordon McGregor
(1971-03-31) 31 March 1971
Perth, Perthshire, Scotland
Residence Los Angeles, California
Nationality Scottish
Citizenship British
Occupation Actor
Years active 1993–present
Spouse(s) Eve Mavrakis (m. 1995)
Children 4[1]
Relatives Denis Lawson (uncle)

Ewan Gordon McGregor OBE (/ˌjuːən məˈɡrɛɡər/; born 31 March 1971)[1] is a Scottish actor. His first professional role was in 1993, when he won a leading role in the Channel 4 series Lipstick on Your Collar.[2] He is best known for his roles as heroin addict Mark Renton in the drama Trainspotting (1996), the young Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999–2005), poet Christian in the musical film Moulin Rouge! (2001), and Dr. Alfred Jones in the romantic comedy-drama Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011).

He received Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy for both Moulin Rouge! and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. McGregor has also starred in theatre productions of Guys and Dolls (2005–07) and Othello (2007–08). He was ranked number 36 on Empire magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list in 1997.[3] In a 2004 poll for the BBC, McGregor was named the fourth most influential person in British culture.[4][5] He has been involved in charity work and has served as an ambassador for UNICEF UK since 2004.

Early life

McGregor was born in Perth, Scotland and brought up in Crieff.[6][7][8] His mother, Carol Diane (née Lawson), is a retired teacher of Crieff High School and latterly deputy head teacher of Kingspark School in Dundee.[9][10] His father, James Charles Stewart "Jim" McGregor, is a retired physical education teacher and careers master of Morrison's Academy, Crieff.[11][12][13] He has an older brother, Colin (b. 1969), who is a former Tornado GR4 pilot in the Royal Air Force.[14] He is the nephew of actor Denis Lawson[2] (who also appeared in the Star Wars franchise, as Rebel Alliance pilot Wedge Antilles) and actress Sheila Gish, and the step-cousin of actress Lou Gish on his mother's side of the family. McGregor attended the independent Morrison's Academy in Crieff. After leaving school, at the age of 16, he worked as a stagehand at Perth Repertory Theatre and studied a foundation course in drama at Kirkcaldy College of Technology,[15][16] before moving to London to study drama at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama when he was 18 years old.[2]


Film and television

McGregor at the premiere of The Men Who Stare at Goats at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2009

In 1993, six months prior to his graduation from Guildhall, McGregor won a leading role in Dennis Potter's six-part Channel 4 series Lipstick on Your Collar.[2] The same year, he starred in the BBC adaptation of Scarlet and Black with a young Rachel Weisz, and made his film debut in Bill Forsyth's Being Human.[17] In 1994, McGregor performed in the thriller Shallow Grave, for which he won an Empire Award,[18] and which marked his first collaboration with director Danny Boyle.[2] His international breakthrough followed in 1996 with the role of heroin addict Mark Renton in Boyle's Trainspotting, an adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel of the same name.[2][17]

McGregor played the male romantic lead role in the 1998 British film Little Voice. 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.[2] His uncle, Denis Lawson, had played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy.[19] In 2001, he starred in Moulin Rouge! as the young poet Christian, who falls in love with the terminally-ill courtesan Satine, played by Nicole Kidman. McGregor reprised his role of Obi-Wan Kenobi for the subsequent prequel Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones in 2002. In 2003, he starred alongside Renée Zellweger in Down With Love.[2][20] He also portrayed the younger Edward Bloom in the critically acclaimed film Big Fish alongside Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, Alison Lohman and Billy Crudup. During that year, he also received critical acclaim for his portrayal of an amoral drifter mixed up with murder in the drama Young Adam, which co-starred Tilda Swinton.[21][22]

In 2005, McGregor appeared for the final time as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. He took very special care—especially in Revenge of the Sith—to ensure that his portrayal of Obi-Wan's mannerisms, speech timings and accents closely resembled Alec Guinness' version.[23] That same year, McGregor voiced two successful animated features; he played the robot Rodney Copperbottom in Robots, which also featured the voices of Halle Berry and Robin Williams,[24] and he voiced the lead character in Gary Chapman's Valiant, alongside Jim Broadbent, John Cleese and Ricky Gervais.[25] Also in 2005, McGregor played two roles—one a clone of the other—opposite Scarlett Johansson in Michael Bay's science fiction action thriller film The Island. He also headlined Marc Forster's 2005 film Stay, a psychological thriller co-starring Naomi Watts and Ryan Gosling.[26][27]

In 2006, he narrated the Fulldome production Astronaut, created for the National Space Centre.[28] That same year, he also narrated the STV show JetSet, a six-part series following the lives of trainee 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.[29] In 2007, McGregor starred opposite Colin Farrell in the Woody Allen film Cassandra's Dream.[17][30] In 2009, he co-starred with Jim Carrey in I Love You Phillip Morris and appeared in Amelia alongside Hilary Swank. Also in 2009, he portrayed Camerlengo Patrick McKenna in Angels & Demons, the film adaptation of Dan Brown's novel of the same name. McGregor is scheduled to co-star with Daniel Craig in Dan Harris' upcoming film adaptation of Glen Duncan's novel I, Lucifer.[31] At the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival, he was awarded with the SIFF Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting.[32]

In 2012, he was named as a member of the Jury for the Main Competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[33] At the San Sebastián International Film Festival, he was awarded the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award and became the youngest recipient of the award.[34]

In 2015, he starred in the action comedy film Mortdecai, alongside Johnny Depp, Olivia Munn, and Paul Bettany. Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph felt the film was "psychotically unfunny".[35] On 21 April 2015, it was announced that McGregor would play Lumiere in the live-action version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon. He joins a cast that includes Emma Watson (Belle), Dan Stevens (Beast/Prince), Luke Evans (Gaston), Josh Gad (Lefou), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Kevin Kline (Maurice) and Audra McDonald (Garderobe). Filming began in May 2015 at Shepperton Studios in London. The film is scheduled to be released in March 2017.[36]

In 2016, he made his directorial debut with American Pastoral. In 2017, he will reprise his role as Mark Renton in T2: Trainspotting 2.[37]


From November 1998 to March 1999, McGregor starred as Malcolm Scrawdyke in a production of David Halliwell's Little Malcolm and His Struggles Against the Eunuchs, directed by his uncle, Denis Lawson. The play was first staged at the Hampstead Theatre before transferring to the Comedy Theatre in London's West End.[38] In November 2001, McGregor made a cameo appearance in The Play What I Wrote.[39]

From June 2005 to April 2007, McGregor starred alongside Jane Krakowski, Douglas Hodge and Jenna Russell in the original Donmar Warehouse production of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.[40] He played the leading role of Sky Masterson, made famous by Marlon Brando in the film of the same name. McGregor received the LastMinute.com award for Best Actor for his performance in 2005,[41] and he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 2007.[42]

From December 2007 to February 2008, McGregor starred as Iago in Othello at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello and Kelly Reilly as Desdemona.[43][44] He reprised the role on BBC Radio 3 in May 2008.[43]

Motorbike journeys

Main articles: Long Way Round and Long Way Down

A motorcyclist since his youth, McGregor undertook a marathon international motorbike 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, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Canada and the United States on BMW R1150GS Adventure motorbikes, for a cumulative distance of 22,345 miles (35,960 km).[45] The trip included visits to several UNICEF programs along the route, and formed the basis of a television series and a best-selling book, both called Long Way Round.[46]

The Long Way Round team reunited in 2007 for another motorcycle trip from John o' Groats in Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.[46] The journey, entitled Long Way Down, lasted from 12 May until 5 August 2007.[46] McGregor's brother Colin joined the motorcycle team during the early stages of the Long Way Down journey,[46] and his father Jim also rode on sections of both Long Way Round and Long Way Down.[47][48]

McGregor appeared in a two-part BBC documentary in April 2012 entitled Ewan McGregor: Cold Chain Mission in which he travels by motorbike, boat, plane and foot to deliver vaccines to children in remote parts of India, Nepal and the Republic of Congo. The trip was part of his work as a UNICEF Ambassador.

In a June 2015 interview, McGregor indicated that a long discussed South American trip with Boorman was still in the planning stages, but he expected that an excursion through the Baja California Peninsula would take place first.[49]

Personal life

McGregor has been married since 1995 to Eve Mavrakis,[1] a Greek-French production designer, whom he met on the set of Kavanagh QC.[2] Together, they have four daughters, with one of them adopted from Mongolia.[1][50][51][52] McGregor has a heart and dagger tattoo of the names of his wife and daughters on his right arm.[20][53] The family currently resides in Los Angeles, California after relocating there from London.[54] With his children raised in his wife's Jewish faith, McGregor has said, "my involvement in religion has more to do with the Jewish faith now and not the Christian faith, which I was very vaguely brought up in."[55]

McGregor is involved in charity work, including with UNICEF UK (since 2004) and GO Campaign. During the Long Way Round journey in 2004, McGregor and his travelling companions saw some of UNICEF's work in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Mongolia,[46] and during the Long Way Down trip in 2007, he and Charley Boorman did work for UNICEF in Africa. McGregor hosted the annual Hollywood gala for GO Campaign in 2009 and 2010. He has also worked with the Children's Hospice Association Scotland, as featured in Long Way Down. In 2012, he travelled with UNICEF immunisation workers to remote parts of India, Nepal and the Republic of Congo for a BBC2 documentary entitled Ewan McGregor: Cold Chain Mission.

In June 2015, McGregor read Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl" for the children's fairytales app GivingTales in aid of UNICEF, together with other British celebrities, Roger Moore, Stephen Fry, Joan Collins, Joanna Lumley, Michael Caine, David Walliams, Charlotte Rampling and Paul McKenna.[56]

In 2007, on an episode of Parkinson, McGregor stated that he had given up alcohol after a period where he was arguably a functioning alcoholic, and that he had not had a drink in seven years.[57] In 2008, he had a cancerous mole removed from underneath his right eye.[58]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Being Human Alvarez
1994 Shallow Grave Alex Law
1995 Blue Juice Dean Raymond
1996 Trainspotting Mark Renton
1996 Pillow Book, TheThe Pillow Book Jerome
1996 Emma Frank Churchill
1996 Brassed Off Andy Barrow
1997 Nightwatch Martin Bells
1997 Serpent's Kiss, TheThe Serpent's Kiss Meneer Chrome
1997 Life Less Ordinary, AA Life Less Ordinary Robert Lewis
1998 Velvet Goldmine Curt Wild
1998 Little Voice Billy
1999 Desserts Stroller Short film
1999 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Obi-Wan Kenobi
1999 Rogue Trader Nick Leeson
1999 Eye of the Beholder Stephen Wilson/The Eye
2000 Nora James Joyce
2001 Moulin Rouge! Christian
2001 Black Hawk Down SPC John Grimes
2002 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Obi-Wan Kenobi
2002 Solid Geometry Phil
2003 Down with Love Catcher Block
2003 Young Adam Joe Taylor
2003 Faster Narrator Voice
2003 Big Fish Edward Bloom (young)
2005 Robots Rodney Copperbottom Voice
2005 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan Kenobi
2005 Valiant Valiant Voice
2005 Island, TheThe Island Lincoln Six Echo/Tom Lincoln
2005 Stay Dr. Sam Foster
2006 Stormbreaker Ian Rider
2006 Scenes of a Sexual Nature Billy
2006 Miss Potter Norman Warne
2007 Cassandra's Dream Ian Blane
2008 Incendiary Jasper Black
2008 Deception Jonathan McQuarry
2009 Angels & Demons Camerlengo Patrick McKenna
2009 I Love You Phillip Morris Phillip Morris
2009 Men Who Stare at Goats, TheThe Men Who Stare at Goats Bob Wilton
2009 Amelia Gene Vidal
2010 Ghost Writer, TheThe Ghost Writer The Ghost Writer
2010 Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang Rory Green
2010 Jackboots on Whitehall Chris Voice
2010 Beginners Oliver Fields
2011 Perfect Sense Michael
2011 Fastest Narrator Voice
2011 Haywire Kenneth
2012 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Dr. Alfred Jones
2012 Impossible, TheThe Impossible Henry Bennett
2013 Jack the Giant Slayer Elmont
2013 August: Osage County Bill Fordham
2014 A Million Ways to Die in the West Cowboy at Fair
2014 Son of a Gun Brendan Lynch
2015 Mortdecai Inspector Alistair Martland
2015 Last Days in the Desert Jesus / Satan
2015 Miles Ahead Dave Brill
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Obi-Wan Kenobi Voice[59]
2016 Jane Got a Gun John Bishop
2016 Our Kind of Traitor Peregrine "Perry" Makepeace
2016 American Pastoral Seymour "Swede" Levov Also director
2017 Beauty and the Beast Lumière Post-production
2017 T2: Trainspotting Mark Renton Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Lipstick on Your Collar PTE Mick Hopper 6 episodes
1993 Scarlet and Black Julien Sorel Mini-series
1995 Kavanagh QC David Robert Armstrong Episode: "Nothing But the Truth"
1996 Karaoke Young Man Episode: "Tuesday"
1996 Tales from the Crypt Ford Episode: "Cold War"
1997 ER Duncan Stewart Episode: "The Long Way Around"
2002 Polar Bears of Churchill with Ewan McGregor, TheThe Polar Bears of Churchill with Ewan McGregor Himself Documentary series
2004 Long Way Round Himself Documentary series
2007 Long Way Down Himself Documentary series
2010 Battle of Britain, TheThe Battle of Britain Himself Documentary
2012 Ewan McGregor: Cold Chain Mission Himself Documentary
2012 Bomber Boys Himself Documentary
2013 Corrections, TheThe Corrections Chip Lambert Unaired pilot
2013 Hebrides: Islands on the Edge Himself (voice) Documentary series
2017 Fargo Emmit Stussy/Ray Stussy [60] Starring Role


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2014 The Real Thing Henry American Airlines Theatre [61]

Awards and nominations

McGregor was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to drama and charity.[1][62][63]



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