Timothy Simon Roth
14 May 1961
Timothy Simon Roth (born 14 May 1961) is an English actor. After his television debut in Made in Britain, he starred in his film debut The Hit (1984), for which he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Roth was among a group of prominent British actors of the era, the "Brit Pack". He gained more attention for his performances in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), Vincent & Theo (1990), and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990).
Roth earned international recognition for starring in Quentin Tarantino's films, such as Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Four Rooms (1995) and The Hateful Eight (2015). For his performance in Rob Roy, Roth won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He made his directorial debut with The War Zone (1999), for which he received numerous accolades.
He played Cal Lightman in the Fox series Lie to Me and Jim Worth / Jack Devlin in the Sky Atlantic series Tin Star. Roth also portrays the character Emil Blonsky / Abomination in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Roth was born in Dulwich, London, the son of Ann, a painter and teacher, and Ernie, a Fleet Street journalist and a painter. His father was born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, to a family of Irish descent. Although he was not of Jewish background, he changed his surname from "Smith" to the German/Yiddish "Roth" in the 1940s, as "an act of anti-Nazi solidarity".
Roth is a survivor of child sexual abuse, committed by his paternal grandfather, who he has stated sexually abused him from childhood until his early teen years. He first revealed that he was a victim of sexual abuse during press for his 1999 directorial debut, The War Zone, a film which dealt with the topics of incest and sexual violence within a family, but declined to name the perpetrator at that time. In December 2016, he gave an interview to the British newspaper The Guardian in which he revealed that his abuser was his grandfather, who had also sexually abused Roth's own father when he was a child.
Roth attended school in Lambeth, before switching to Croydon Technical School due to bullying. Roth attended the Strand School in Tulse Hill. As a young man, he wanted to be a sculptor and studied at London's Camberwell College of Arts.
Roth played a white supremacist skinhead in the 1982 television film Made in Britain. He played an East End character in King of the Ghetto, a controversial drama based on a novel by Farukh Dhondy set in Brick Lane and broadcast by the BBC in 1986. He played a shy young man in Mike Leigh's film Meantime.
In 1985, he appeared in the television film Murder with Mirrors. He played an apprentice hitman in Stephen Frears' The Hit, earning an Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Newcomer. In 1989, he had a supporting role as the buffoonish lackey Mitchell in Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. In 1990, he starred as Vincent van Gogh in Vincent & Theo, and Guildenstern in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. During the late 1980s, Roth, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Daniel Day-Lewis, Bruce Payne and Paul McGann, were dubbed the Brit Pack. Roth collaborated with Quentin Tarantino on each films, including Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Four Rooms. Roth played Archibald Cunningham in Rob Roy. He won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe.
In 1996, he starred in Woody Allen's musical comedy Everyone Says I Love You. Roth played "Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon 1900" in The Legend of 1900, and co-starred in the film Gridlock'd. He made his directorial debut in 1999 with The War Zone, a film version of Alexander Stuart's novel. In 2001, he played General Thade in Planet of the Apes. For the Harry Potter film series, Roth declined the role of Severus Snape, which went to Alan Rickman.
He was considered for the part of Hannibal Lecter in the 2001 film Hannibal, before Anthony Hopkins returned to reclaim the role. He appeared in Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth and Michael Haneke's Funny Games, then starred as Emil Blonsky / Abomination, a Russian-born officer in the United Kingdom's Royal Marines Commandos, in The Incredible Hulk. Hulk director Louis Leterrier was a fan of Roth's work, with the director telling Empire magazine, "it's great watching a normal Cockney boy become a superhero!".
From 2009 to 2011, he starred in Lie To Me as Cal Lightman, an expert on body language who assists local and federal law organisations in the investigation of crimes. A fan of Monty Python since his youth, in 2009 he appeared in the television documentary, Monty Python: Almost the Truth (Lawyers Cut). In 2010, Roth appeared on the cover of Manic Street Preachers' 2010 studio album, Postcards from a Young Man.
In 2012, he was announced as the President of the Jury for the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. He starred as FIFA President Sepp Blatter in United Passions, a film about football's governing body, released in 2014, to coincide with FIFA's 110th anniversary, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In 2015, he starred in the film Chronic which received a limited release in 2016. He later received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead nomination. Roth played Oswaldo Mobray in the ensemble western film The Hateful Eight. In 2019, Roth was to appear in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but his scenes were cut. He reprised his role as Emil Blonsky / Abomination in the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) as well as in the upcoming Disney+ series She-Hulk (2022), both set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Roth has three sons. Jack Roth, born to Lori Baker in 1984, is also an actor. In 1993, Roth married Nikki Butler. They have two sons, Timothy Hunter (born 1995) and Michael Cormac (born 1996).
Roth is a supporter of the Green Party of England and Wales. Roth endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Main article: Tim Roth filmography