Martin John Christopher Freeman (born 8 September 1971) is an English actor. He is best known for his portrayals of Tim Canterbury in The Office, Dr. Watson in Sherlock, and Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy.
Other notable roles including Love Actually, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Nativity!, and the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, most prominently in The World's End.
Early Life[edit | edit source]
Martin Freeman was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, the youngest of five children. His parents, Philomena (née Norris) and Geoffrey Freeman, a naval officer, separated when Freeman was a child, and when Freeman was ten, Geoffrey died of a heart attack. Freeman was raised in a Roman Catholic family and attended the Salesian School, Chertsey before attending Brooklands College for media studies. His elder brother Tim became a musician with the group Frazier Chorus.
Although his family was not strict in their religious practices, his religion had a profound influence on him. As a child, he was asthmatic, and had to undergo a hip operation due to a dodgy leg
Career[edit | edit source]
Freeman joined a youth theatre group at 15, but it was not until he was 17 that his confidence in his acting led to the decision to pursue it as a career. He went on to attend the Central School of Speech and Drama. Freeman has appeared in at least 18 TV shows, 14 theatre productions, and several radio productions. He is notable for his role as Tim Canterbury in The Office. He appeared in the sitcom Hardware. He also appeared in several films, including Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G Indahouse (2002) and Richard Curtis' Love Actually (2003).
He began to move into more serious dramatic roles on television with his appearance as Lord Shaftesbury in the 2003 BBC historical drama Charles II: The Power and The Passion. He can also be seen making a brief appearance in the first episode of the second series of This Life. Freeman also starred in the BBC television series The Robinsons and had a cameo in episode 1 of Black Books. In 2007, he appeared in The All Together written and directed by Gavin Claxton, as well as the Bill Kenwright theatre production of The Last Laugh. He is featured in the video for Faith No More's cover of "I Started a Joke".
In May 2009 he starred in Boy Meets Girl, a four-part drama that charts the progress of characters Veronica and Danny after an accident which causes them to swap bodies.
He currently plays Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, the BBC contemporary adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. He starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, who also went on to perform in The Hobbit films with Freeman. The first episode of Sherlock, "A Study in Pink", was broadcast on 25 July 2010 to critical acclaim. For his performance in the role he won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, 2011 and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. He accepted the role of Bilbo Baggins, the main character in the three-part Peter Jackson film series The Hobbit.
Accolades that his performance in the first part, An Unexpected Journey, garnered him include Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards and Best Actor at the 18th Empire Awards.
Freeman appeared in all three of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, commencing with a brief non-speaking role in Shaun of the Dead as Yvonne's boyfriend, Declan, followed by a brief cameo in Hot Fuzz as a police officer. He is a main cast member in the 2013 finale to the trilogy, The World's End.
On the 5th of October, in 2013, he was presented with a fellowship bearing his name by the members of University College Dublin's Literary & Historical Society.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Freeman lives in Hertfordshire with his partner, actress Amanda Abbington, whom he met on the set of Channel 4’s Men Only in 2000. The couple have a son and daughter, and have since appeared in other productions together, including Swinging with the Finkels, The Debt, The Robinsons, and The All Together. In an edition of Who Do You Think You Are? aired on 19 August 2009, he discovered that his grandfather, Leonard Freeman, was a medic who was killed a couple of days before the Dunkirk evacuation at the beginning of World War II. Leonard's father Richard was born blind and had been a piano tuner and organist at St Andrew's Church, West Tarring and later a music teacher in Kingston upon Hull.
A lifelong fan of Motown music, Freeman interviewed Smokey Robinson for an edition of The Culture Show aired in October 2009. Freeman is a vegetarian. He has struggled with religion, stating "My relationship with my belief has never been easy. Me and God have always been like this."
Freeman is also a keen cricket fan and in 2011 took part in a charity game to raise money for victims of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.