Daniel Radcliffe is an English actor who rose to international stardom as Harry Potter in the series of films based on the hugely popular books by J.K. Rowling.
Who Is Daniel Radcliffe?
Daniel Radcliffe’s parents initially refused to let him audition for the role of Harry Potter, but a chance meeting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus led to an audition. The books’ legions of fans seemed to agree that Radcliffe was perfect as the boy wizard, and he starred in each installment of the immensely successful eight-part film series. Moving on from Harry Potter, the actor performed on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and showed his versatility via films like Kill Your Darlings and Imperium.
Early Life and Career
The only child of a literary agent and a casting director, Daniel Radcliffe achieved international stardom for his work in the Harry Potter films, adaptations of the beloved best-sellers by J. K. Rowling.
Radcliffe made his acting debut in the 1999 television movie David Copperfield, playing the young version of the title character. He soon landed a role on the big screen in 2001’s spy thriller The Tailor of Panama, with Pierce Brosnan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
‘Harry Potter’ Fame
Released in November 2001, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone proved to be a box-office smash. Audiences adored Radcliffe as the lead character, an orphaned boy who attends a special school for wizards in training. And the fever surrounding the series simply seemed to grow with each new film.
The eight-film series spanned more than a decade of Radcliffe’s life, showing him growing from a tween to a young man. And they provided him with the opportunity to work with many distinguished actors, including Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter. Radcliffe found Oldman’s and Rickman’s careers particularly inspiring, telling Backstage that “They never, ever stop trying to get better and working with people they think are going to bring something new out of them.”+
In 2011, the Harry Potter series ended its run with the then-record-breaking Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which brought in roughly $168 million during its opening weekend. But with this final film came some sad goodbyes. Radcliffe told Time Out New York what he would miss most about no longer playing Harry Potter: “It’s very rare in your career that you get to play an action hero. I’m not the natural frame and stature of an action hero, so I may not get to play one again.” He also lamented that the film series did not receive more critical recognition, especially in terms of Academy Award nominations.
Film, TV and Stage Roles
‘Equus,’ ‘How to Succeed in Business’
Striving to break free of the Harry Potter typecasting, Radcliffe poked fun at his image in Ricky Gervais’ comedy series Extras in a 2006 special spot. The following year, Radcliffe showed his dramatic acting chops and more than just a bit of skin on the Broadway stage in Equus, playing a disturbed teenager. In 2011, he took on a very different part—an ambitious young man—in the musical comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
‘The Woman in Black,’ ‘A Young Doctor’s Notebook’
After hosting Saturday Night Live in early 2012, Radcliffe headlined in the gothic horror thriller The Woman in Black as a widowed lawyer and father who gets mixed up in supernatural trouble. Late that year he starred in the British TV show A Young Doctor’s Notebook, his title character shadowed throughout each episode by an older version of himself, played by Jon Hamm. The series was such a success with audiences that it was renewed for a second season.