Tom Hardy, in full Edward Thomas Hardy, (born September 15, 1977, London, England), British actor who was known for his striking good looks, idiosyncratic personality, and cerebral performances in both cult films and mainstream blockbusters.
Hardy’s childhood and early adulthood gave little indication that he would one day become a movie star. He was expelled from school, was arrested for joyriding while in possession of a gun, and became addicted to drugs and alcohol while still a teenager. In 1998 he won a televised modeling competition, which led to an industry contract. He began his acting studies at Drama Centre London but was again expelled. Nevertheless, in 2001 he earned small roles in the television miniseries Band of Brothers and in the film Black Hawk Down. Hardy’s career failed to truly take off, however, until after he entered a drug rehabilitation program in 2003 following a crack-induced collapse on a London street.
Hardy then appeared in a number of plays and British TV miniseries, notably Oliver Twist (2007; as Bill Sikes) and Wuthering Heights (2009; as Heathcliff). His first major film role was in RocknRolla (2008), in which he played Handsome Bob, a homosexual gangster, but his breakthrough came that same year with his next film, Bronson, a fictionalized biography of Charles Bronson, a man known as Britain’s most notorious and violent prisoner. Hardy’s tour de force performance, which featured him frequently stripping down both literally and emotionally, was widely praised and led to his return to Hollywood with scene-stealing roles in the films Inception (2010) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).