14 August 1968
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Occupation(s)||Actor, writer, director|
Adrian Anthony Lester CBE (born Anthony Harvey; 14 August 1968) is an English actor, director and writer. He is the recipient of a Laurence Olivier Award, an Evening Standard Theatre Award and a Critics' Circle Theatre Award for his work on the London stage.
Lester was born in Birmingham, the son of Jamaican immigrants, Monica, a medical secretary, and Reginald, a manager for a contract cleaning company. From the age of nine, Lester sang as a boy treble in the choir of St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham. At 14, he began acting with the Birmingham Youth Theatre. After leaving Archbishop Masterson RC School, he attended Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College for one year, before completing three years of training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Lester received an Ian Charleson Award commendation and a Time Out Award for his 1991 performance as Rosalind in Cheek by Jowl's all-male production of As You Like It. In 1993, he played Anthony Hope in the National Theatre's production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He has also appeared on stage as Robert in the musical Company, for which he won an Olivier Award, and in the title role of Hamlet (Carlton TV Theatre Award).
In 2003, Lester played the title role in Henry V at the National Theatre.
In 2010, he played the part of Brick in Tennessee Williams' play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello Theatre in London.
In 2012, Lester appeared as Ira Aldridge in the play Red Velvet, written by his wife Lolita Chakrabarti.
Lester played the part of Othello in the Shakespeare play of the same name in 2013 alongside Rory Kinnear as Iago at the National Theatre. Both actors won the Best Actor award in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for their roles; the award is traditionally given to only one actor, but the judges were unable to choose between the pair.
In 2021, Lester appeared in the live-streamed production of Hymn written by his wife Lolita Chakrabarti for the Almeida Theatre. The play co-starred Danny Sapani and was performed with social distancing in place in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions. 
Lester made his Broadway debut in the 2021 production of The Lehman Trilogy, directed by Sam Mendes.
In 1997, Lester starred in an episode of Silent Witness. It was in a two-part episode of series two entitled "Cease upon the Midnight", where he played the part of Danny Morris.
Lester is known for playing a big-time con artist named Michael "Mickey Bricks" Stone on the BBC television series Hustle between 2004 and 2012. The character was written out of the fourth series and replaced by Ashley Walters, although Lester returned from the fifth series (2009) onwards.
On American television, Lester appeared on the sitcom Girlfriends from 2002 to 2003, as Ellis Carter, a film star who dated Tracee Ellis Ross's character, Joan Clayton.
In late 2005, Lester had a major guest-starring role in Channel 4's police drama The Ghost Squad.
In 2008, Lester starred on the BBC drama Bonekickers, a programme focusing on a team of archaeologists.
He also played the character Myror on the British television drama Merlin.
Lester played campaign manager Henry Burton in Mike Nichols' film Primary Colors (1998), based on the novel by Anonymous (Joe Klein). His character is believed to represent George Stephanopoulos. This part earned him a Chicago Film Critics Association award nomination for "Most Promising Actor".
Lester appeared in Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost, a musical adaptation of the William Shakespeare play, set in the 1930s. The film itself was poorly received, but Lester received a British Independent Film Awards nomination for his performance.
In The Day After Tomorrow, Lester had a minor role as Simon, one of the three researchers who drink a toast of "twelve-year-old Scotch" shortly before freezing to death.
Lester filmed scenes for Spider-Man 3 (2007), as a research scientist who is sought after by the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) to find a cure for his ailing daughter. He was seen in one teaser trailer for the film; however, his scenes were cut from the final theatrical version.
In 2010, Lester appeared in the documentary When Romeo Met Juliet together with his wife Lolita Chakrabarti as acting mentors to the pupils of two Coventry schools involved in a production of Romeo and Juliet.
Lester recorded Alpha Force: Survival, an audio book written by Chris Ryan.
In 1997 Lester married actress and writer Lolita Chakrabarti, whom he met while they were both students at RADA. They live in south east London with their two daughters, Lila and Jasmine.
In 2007, Lester took part in Empire's Children, a Channel 4 documentary exploring the journey taken by the "Windrush Generation" to the United Kingdom. Lester's grandfather, Kenneth Nathaniel Lester, was to be included in the documentary, but was unwell during filming in Jamaica and could not be interviewed. Kenneth died soon after the documentary completed filming and never saw the programme aired.
In April 2013, Lester appeared on the Cultural Exchange feature of Front Row on BBC Radio 4, a feature of the programme where people had to choose a piece of art that meant a great deal to them. He chose "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley.
Lester holds a second degree black belt in Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo.
|1997||Les Soeurs Soleil||Isaac Nelson|
|1997||Up on the Roof||Scott|
|1998||Primary Colors||Henry Burton|
|2000||Love's Labour's Lost||Dumaine|
|2002||The Final Curtain||Jonathan Stitch|
|2004||The Day After Tomorrow||Simon|
|2006||As You Like It||Oliver De Boys|
|2006||Scenes of a Sexual Nature||Peter Brian "Pete" Maxwell|
|2007||Spider-Man 3||Dr. Wallace||Scenes deleted|
|2007||Starting Out in the Evening||Casey Davies|
|2013||Jimi: All Is by My Side||Michael X|
|2017||Grey Lady||Julius Johnson|
|2018||Mary Queen of Scots||Lord Randolph|
|1987||A Sort of Innocence||Dave||1 episode|
|1988||Boon||Fast Eddie's Staff Member||Episode: "Beef Encounter"|
|1991||For the Greater Good||Young Gay Man||Episode: "Member"|
|1992||Touch and Die||Lute||TV film|
|The Bill||Dotun Konchella||Episode: "Just Send Some Flowers"|
|1995||The Affair||Ray||TV film|
|1996||Soldier Soldier||Mokete Malange||Episode: "Divided Loyalties"|
|1997||Silent Witness||Danny Thomas||Episode: "Cease Upon the Midnight"|
|2000||Storm Damage||Danny||TV film|
|Jason and the Argonauts||Orpheus||Mini-series|
|2002||The Tragedy of Hamlet||Hamlet||TV film|
|2002–2003||Girlfriends||Ellis Carter||9 episodes|
|2004–2012||Hustle||Mickey Stone||Series regular|
|2005||Afterlife||D.I. Felix George||Episode: "Lower Than Bones"|
|The Ghost Squad||D.I. Gus Philips||Episode: "Colour Blind"|
|2006||Beyond||Morris Fitch||TV film|
|2007||Ballet Shoes||Mr. Sholsky||TV film|
|2008||Being Human||Herrick||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2009||Merlin||Myror||Episode: "The Once and Future Queen"|
|Sleep With Me||Richard||TV film|
|2013||Robot Chicken||Bow/Lego Man||Episode: "Eaten by Cars"|
|2014-2015||Red Band Society||Dr. Naday||4 episodes|
|2015||London Spy||Professor Marcus Shaw||Mini-series|
|2017||Riviera||Robert Carver||10 episodes|
|2019||Curfew||Simon Donahue||2 episodes|
|The Rook||Conrad Grantchester||Series regular|
|2020||Staged||Adrian Lester||Episode: "Ulysses"|
|Life||David Aston||Series regular|
|2022||Trigger Point||Joel Nutkins||1 episode|
|The Undeclared War||Andrew Makinde||6 episodes|
|TBA||The Ballad Of Renegade Nell||Earl of Poynton|
Lester was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours, both for services to drama.
In July 2013, he received an honorary degree from the University of Warwick.
In July 2019, Lester was made an Honorary Doctor of Arts at De Montfort University, Leicester.
|1994||Laurence Olivier Awards||Best Supporting Performance in a Musical||Sweeney Todd||Nominated|||
|1995||Best Actor||As You Like It||Nominated|||
|1996||Best Actor in a Musical||Company||Won|||
|1999||Chicago Film Critics Association Award||Most Promising Actor||Primary Colors||Nominated|||
|2000||British Independent Film Award||Best Actor||Love's Labour's Lost||Nominated|||
|2012||Evening Standard Theatre Award||Best Actor||Red Velvet||Nominated|||
|Critics' Circle Theatre Award||Best Actor||Won|||
|2013||Evening Standard Theatre Award||Best Actor||Othello||Won|||
|2016||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actor||Red Velvet||Nominated|||
|2022||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play||The Lehman Trilogy||Nominated|||
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Play||Nominated|||