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April 29: Daniel Day-Lewis

April 28, 2015

Lew_main_1661547aAcclaimed actor Daniel Day-Lewis was born in London to a Jewish mother (actress Jill Balcon, whose father headed the British filmmaking company Ealing Studios and produced Alfred Hitchcock’s first movies) and an Irish Protestant father (Cecil Day-Lewis, who became Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom) on this date in 1957. He was an unruly adolescent, prone to shoplifting and petty crimes. Day-Lewis became involved in theater and film in the 1980s, and became an international star with his portrayal of the profoundly disabled Irish writer and painter Christy Brown in My Left Foot (1989), where his method acting included forming friendships with several people with disabilities and refusing to break character or arise from his wheelchair during filming. Day-Lewis won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. He has also starred in The Last of the Mohicans (1992), The Crucible (1996), Gangs of New York (2002), There Will Be Blood (2007), and Lincoln (2012), among other films. He is married to playwright Arthur Miller’s daughter, writer and filmmaker Rebecca Miller, and has dual Irish and British citizenship.

“I think a lot about what President Obama is going through at this moment. I look to the extent to which he has aged visibly. I feel I aged visibly just playing the President [Lincoln], so to actually have that responsibility is a burden that one can only explore in one’s imagination. Anyone who has that position of authority must necessarily find themselves very, very alone at certain times. I’m not in any way comparing his work to the work that I do as an actor, but it’s a common theme.” —Daniel Day-Lewis