Tom Wilkinson

Born Dec. 12, 1948, in Leeds, England, Tom Wilkinson worked as a character actor in television and film throughout the 1980s and '90s in movies such as In the Name of the Father and Sense and Sensibility. He went largely unnoticed until hitting it, er, big in 1997's The Full Monty.

A slew of higher-profile parts soon followed, beginning with Shakespeare in Love (1998) and The Patriot (2000) before In the Bedroom (2001) garnered Wilkinson an Oscar nomination for his stunning portrayal of a grieving father. He later wowed critics and earned an Emmy nod as a Midwesterner who wants to undergo a sex change in the made-for-cable drama Normal (2003).

Wilkinson's impressive résumé includes a number of other noteworthy films: Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), Batman Begins (2005), The Last Kiss (2006) and Michael Clayton (2007), which landed him an Oscar nomination. Another Emmy nod came with his turn in the HBO drama Recount, and his portrayal of Benjamin Franklin in the miniseries "John Adams" brought him his first Emmy and Golden Globe wins.