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Martin Freeman

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Martin Freeman
Freeman in February 2019
Martin John Christopher Freeman

(1971-09-08) 8 September 1971 (age 52)
Alma materRoyal Central School of Speech and Drama
Years active1997–present
PartnerAmanda Abbington (2000–2016)

Martin John Christopher Freeman (born 8 September 1971) is an English actor. Among other accolades, he has won two Emmy Awards, a BAFTA Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Freeman's most notable roles are that of Tim Canterbury in the mockumentary series The Office (2001–2003), Dr. John Watson in the British crime drama series Sherlock (2010–2017), young Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit film trilogy (2012–2014), Lester Nygaard in the first season of the dark comedy-crime drama series Fargo (2014), and Chris Carson in The Responder. He has also appeared in films including the romantic comedy Love Actually (2003), the horror comedy Shaun of the Dead (2004), the sci-fi comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), the action comedy Hot Fuzz (2007), the semi-improvised comedy Nativity! (2009), and the sci-fi comedy The World's End (2013). Since 2016, he has portrayed Everett K. Ross in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in the films Captain America: Civil War (2016), Black Panther (2018), and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), and the Disney+ series Secret Invasion (2023).[1]

Early life

Martin John Christopher Freeman[2] was born on 8 September 1971 in Aldershot, Hampshire,[3] the youngest of five children. His parents, Philomena (née Norris) and naval officer Geoffrey Freeman, separated when he was a child.[specify] His father died of a heart attack when Freeman was 10 years old.[4]

Freeman's paternal grandfather, Leonard W. Freeman, was a medic in the British Expeditionary Force during World War II and was killed in action at Dunkirk just a few days before the Dunkirk evacuation.[5] Leonard's father, Richard, was born blind and worked as a piano tuner and organist.[5]

Freeman was raised in his mother's Catholic faith, and attended the Salesian School in Chertsey, Surrey, before attending Brooklands College in nearby Weybridge for media studies.[6] His older brother, Tim, became a singer with the group Frazier Chorus.


Freeman filming Sherlock in May 2011

Freeman attended the Central School of Speech and Drama[6] and has appeared in at least 18 TV shows, 14 theatre productions, and several radio productions. He became notable for his role as Tim Canterbury in The Office (2001–2003), a role which, he said in 2004, "cast a very long shadow" for him as an actor.[7] He appeared in the sitcom Hardware (2003–2004). He also appeared in several films, including Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Love Actually (2003).[6]

He began to move into more serious dramatic roles on television with his appearance as Lord Shaftesbury in the 2003 BBC historical drama Charles II: The Power and The Passion. He made a brief appearance in the first episode of the second series of This Life. He starred in the BBC television series The Robinsons, and had a cameo in Episode 1 of Black Books. In 2007, he appeared in The All Together written and directed by Gavin Claxton, and in the Bill Kenwright theatre production of The Last Laugh. He is featured in the video for Faith No More's cover of "I Started a Joke".[8] In May 2009, he starred in Boy Meets Girl, a four-part drama that charts the progress of characters Veronica and Danny after an accident which causes them to swap bodies.[9]

He played Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC contemporary adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Its first episode, "A Study in Pink", was broadcast on 25 July 2010 to critical acclaim. For the role, Freeman won the 2011 BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.

Freeman played lead character Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's three-part The Hobbit film series.[10][11] For his performance in the first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Freeman won Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards[12] and Best Actor at the 18th Empire Awards.[13]

Freeman at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, The Royal Albert Hall, April 2016

Freeman appeared in all three films of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's comedic Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, commencing with a brief non-speaking role in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne's boyfriend, Declan, followed by a brief cameo in Hot Fuzz as a police officer. He was a main cast member in the 2013 finale to the trilogy, The World's End. On 5 October 2013, he was presented with a fellowship bearing his name by the members of University College Dublin's Literary & Historical Society. In April 2014, he played insurance salesman Lester Nygaard in the dark comedy-crime drama series Fargo,[14] for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award,[15] a Golden Globe Award,[16] and a Critics' Choice Television Award.[17] He opened in the title role in Shakespeare's play Richard III in July 2014 at Trafalgar Studios.[18]

In 2015, Freeman starred as producer Milton Fruchtman in the television film The Eichmann Show, based on blacklisted TV director Leo Hurwitz's filming of the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. It intercut dramatic scenes with historical footage from the trial. The Daily Telegraph described it as "absolutely enthralling".[19][20] Freeman also played Everett K. Ross,[21] a Central Intelligence Agency agent in Captain America: Civil War, which was released in May 2016.[22]

In 2017, Freeman starred in Cargo, a feature-length remake of a 2013 short film of the same name, which premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival on 6 August 2017.[23][24] Later that year he appeared opposite Tamsin Greig in Labour of Love, a political comedy by James Graham, at the Noël Coward Theatre.[25] Freeman portrayed fictional Labour MP David Lyons, whose modernising ideas pit him against the traditional left-wing constituency agent Jean Whittaker (Greig).[25]

In 2018, he reprised his role as Everett K. Ross in Black Panther, which was set around two weeks after the event in Captain America: Civil War, making it his second appearance in Marvel Cinematic Universe.[26][27] Between May 2017 and July 2019, he starred in numerous adverts for Vodafone.

In June 2018, Freeman was part of To Provide All People, a BBC Wales drama celebrating 70 years of the National Health Service.[28]

Since March 2020, Freeman has starred in the FX/Sky One comedy series Breeders, of which he is also a creator and executive producer.[29] On 18 May 2020 FX and Sky One renewed it for a second season.[30]

Personal life

Freeman lives in the Belsize Park area of London.[31] He previously lived in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire with actress Amanda Abbington; they were together from 2000 to 2016, and have a son and a daughter.[32] They appeared together in productions such as Sherlock, Swinging with the Finkels, The Debt, The Robinsons, and The All Together. On 22 December 2016, it was reported that they had separated.[33]

Freeman is a former pescetarian[34] who returned to eating red meat in 2024.[35] He is a formerly practising Catholic.[36] He is a close friend of actor Simon Pegg, who is the godfather of his son.[37] Freeman's personal style follows that of British mod subculture, and he cites Paul Weller as one of his heroes and influences on his style.[38][39]

In 2011, Freeman umpired a charity cricket match to raise money for victims of the Christchurch earthquake.[40]

Freeman's brother, singer-songwriter and website designer Jamie Freeman,[41] died of brain cancer in December 2022.[42]


Freeman is a fan of soul, Motown and jazz music, and presented an episode of BBC Two's The Culture Show in 2009 titled "Martin Freeman Goes to Motown".[43] He also selected music for a 2006 Motown compilation, "Made to Measure",[44] and worked on a jazz compilation with his friend Eddie Piller, "Jazz on the Corner"; released on Acid Jazz Records on 23 March 2018, it features tracks by Kamasi Washington and The Brand New Heavies.[45] The pair presented Craig Charles' Funk and Soul Show on 31 March 2018.[46] In 2019, a follow-up album, "Soul on the Corner", was announced, with tracks by Leroy Hutson and Bobby Womack.[47]

Political views

Freeman is a supporter of the Labour Party. As a teenager, he supported the now-defunct political group Militant and volunteered with the Labour Party Young Socialists.[31] In 2015, he appeared in a party political broadcast to endorse the Labour Party ahead of the 2015 UK general election.[48] In August 2015, he supported Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election.[49]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 I Just Want to Kiss You Frank Short film
1999 Exhaust The Car Owner Short film
2000 The Low Down Solomon
2001 Round About Five The Man Short film
Fancy Dress Pirate
2002 Ali G Indahouse Richard Cunningham
2003 Love Actually John
2004 Blake's Junction 7 Vila Short film
Call Register Kevin
Shaun of the Dead Declan Cameo
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Arthur Dent
2006 Confetti Matt Norris
Breaking and Entering Sandy Hoffmann
2007 Dedication Jeremy
The Good Night Gary Shaller
Hot Fuzz Met. Sergeant
Lonely Hearts The Pig Short film
The All Together Chris Ashworth
Rubbish Kevin Short film
Nightwatching Rembrandt van Rijn
2008 Rembrandt's J'Accuse Rembrandt van Rijn Documentary
2009 Nativity! Paul Maddens
Swinging with the Finkels Alvin Finkel
2010 Wild Target Hector Dixon
The Girl is Mime Clive Buckle Short film[50]
2011 What's Your Number? Simon
2012 The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! The Pirate with a Scarf Voice
Animals Albert
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Bilbo Baggins
2013 The World's End Oliver Chamberlain
Svengali Don
Saving Santa Bernard D. Elf Voice
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Bilbo Baggins
The Voorman Problem Dr. Williams Short film
2014 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Bilbo Baggins
2015 Midnight of My Life Steve Marriott Short film
Tubby Hayes: A Man in a Hurry Narrator Documentary
2016 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Iain MacKelpie
Captain America: Civil War Everett K. Ross
2017 Ghost Stories Mike Priddle
Cargo Andy Rose
2018 Black Panther Everett K. Ross
2019 The Operative Thomas
Ode to Joy Charlie
2020 A Christmas Carol Bob Cratchit Voice
2022 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Everett K. Ross
2023 Queen of Bones Malcolm
2024 Miller's Girl Jonathan Miller


Year Title Role Notes
1997 The Bill Craig Parnell Episode: "Mantrap"
This Life Stuart Episode: "Last Tango in Southwark"
1998 Casualty Ricky Beck Episode: "She Loved the Rain"
Picking up the Pieces Brendan Episode: "1.7"
2000 Bruiser Various roles 6 episodes
Lock, Stock... Jaap 2 episodes
Black Books Doctor Episode: "Cooking the Books"
2001 World of Pub Various roles 5 episodes
Men Only Jamie Television film
2001–2003 The Office Tim Canterbury 14 episodes
2002 Helen West DC Stone 3 episodes
Linda Green Matt Episode: "Easy Come, Easy Go"
2003 Charles II: The Power and The Passion Lord Shaftesbury Miniseries
The Debt Terry Ross Television film
Margery and Gladys D.S. Stringer
2003–2004 Hardware Mike 12 episodes
2004 Pride Fleck Television film
2005 The Robinsons Ed Robinson 6 episodes
2007 Comedy Showcase Greg Wilson Episode: "Other People"
The Old Curiosity Shop Mr. Codlin Television film
2008 When Were We Funniest? Himself 4 episodes
2009 Boy Meets Girl Danny Reed Miniseries
Micro Men Chris Curry Television film
2010–2017 Sherlock Dr. John Watson 13 episodes
2014 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern Young Brian Pern Episode: "Jukebox Musical"
Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Martin Freeman/Charli XCX"
2014–2015 Fargo Lester Nygaard / Narrator 11 episodes
2015 The Eichmann Show Milton Fruchtman Television film
Robot Chicken Reverend Parris Voice, episode: "Zero Vegetables"
Toast of London Himself Episode: "Global Warming"
Stick Man Stick Man Voice, television film
2016–2017 StartUp Phil Rask 20 episodes
2017 Carnage: Swallowing the Past Jeff Television film
2018 To Provide All People Consultant Cardiologist
2019 A Confession Det. Supt. Steve Fulcher 6 episodes
2020 Talking Heads Graham Episode: "A Chip in the Sugar"
2020–2023 Breeders Paul Worsley Also creator & executive producer
2021 DuckTales Poe De Spell Voice, episode: "The Life and Crimes of Scrooge McDuck!"
2022 Angelyne Harold Wallach
2022– The Responder Chris Five-part drama[51]
2023 Secret Invasion Everett K. Ross / Everett K. Ross Skrull 2 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Work Award Category Result
2002 The Office British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Actor Nominated
2004 The Office (for "The Office Christmas Specials") BAFTAs Best Comedy Performance Nominated
British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actor Nominated
Love Actually Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Cast Nominated
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award Best Ensemble Cast Won
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
Hardware Rose d'Or Best Male Comedy Performance Won
2011 Sherlock BAFTAs Best Supporting Actor Won
2012 Nominated
Sherlock (for "A Scandal in Belgravia") Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
Gold Derby TV Awards TV movie/Miniseries Supporting Actor Won
Sherlock Crime Thriller Awards Best Supporting Actor Won
Online Film Critics' Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
PAAFTJ Awards Best Cast in a Miniseries or TV Movie Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie Nominated
Tumblr TV Awards Hottest Male Character in a TV Show Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Won
Best Male Character in a TV Series Nominated
Best Cast in a TV Show Won
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Total Film Hotlist Awards Hottest Actor Nominated
2013 Empire Awards Best Actor Won[13][52]
Saturn Award Best Actor Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Scared-as-S**t Performance Nominated[53]
Best Hero Won[12]
SFX Awards Best Actor Nominated
Shorts Awards Visionary Actor Won
New Zealand Movie Awards Hero of the Year Nominated
Constellation Awards Best Male Performance In A 2012 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-Series Nominated
Tumblr Movie Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
Best Ship Nominated
Online Film Critics' Awards Most Cinematic Moment Nominated
Stella Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Won
The World's End Alternative End of Year Film Awards Best Ensemble Cast Won
2014 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Empire Awards Best Actor Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Nominated
Constellation Awards Best Male Performance In A 2013 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, Or Mini-Series 2nd Place
YouReviewers Awards Best Hero Nominated
Stella Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Won
Online Film Critics' Awards Most Cinematic Moment Nominated
CinEuphoria Awards Best Ensemble Nominated
Fargo Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
Online Film Critics' Awards Best Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
Crime Thriller Awards Best Actor Nominated[54]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Won
Online Film Critics' Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
The World's End MTV Movie Awards Best Fight Nominated
2015 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Nominated
Favorite British Artists of the Year Favourite Actor in a Motion Picture Nominated
Fargo Favourite Actor in a Television Series Nominated
Richard III The Mousetrap Awards Best Male Performancer Won
2016 Stick Man British Animation Awards Best Voice Performance Won
2018 Labour of Love WhatsOnStage Awards Best Actor in a Play Nominated
2019 Black Panther Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
2023 The Responder British Academy Television Awards Best Actor Nominated
International Emmy Awards Best Actor Won


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  47. ^ "Acid Jazz Records | Martin Freeman & Eddie Piller present Soul On The Corner". www.acidjazz.co.uk. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
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  49. ^ Wylie, Catherine (28 August 2015). "Sherlock star Martin Freeman backs Jeremy Corbyn as 'most impressive'". Belfast Telegraph. Belfast. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
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External links