Daniel Jacob Radcliffe (born 23 July 1989) is an English actor and producer best known for his role as the titular protagonist in the Harry Potter film series, based on the novels by J. K. Rowling.
Born and raised in London, Daniel Radcliffe made his acting debut at 10 years of age in BBC One’s 1999 television film David Copperfield, followed by his cinematic debut in 2001’s The Tailor of Panama. At age 11, he was cast as Potter in the series’ first film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and starred in the series for 10 years, starring in the lead role in all eight films culminating with the final film in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, released in 2011. Radcliffe became one of the highest paid actors in the world during the filming of the Potter films, earned worldwide fame, popularity, and critical acclaim for his role, and received many accolades for his performance in the series.
Following the success of Harry Potter, his recent notable films and roles include lawyer Arthur Kipps in the Edwardian horror film The Woman in Black (2012), famed beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the independent film Kill Your Darlings (2013), Victor Frankenstein’s assistant Igor in the science fiction fantasy Victor Frankenstein (2015), Manny, a sentient corpse in the comedy-drama Swiss Army Man, technological prodigy Walter Mabry in the heist thriller film Now You See Me 2, and FBI agent Nate Foster in the critically acclaimed thriller Imperium (all 2016). Radcliffe began to branch out to stage acting in 2007, starring in the London and New York productions of Equus for which he received immense praise from critics and audiences alike, and in the 2011 Broadway revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
He has contributed to many charities, including the Demelza Hospice Care for Children, and The Trevor Project for suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth, which gave him its Hero Award in 2011, and is heavily involved in LGBTQ activism.
Radcliffe was born in Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, Hammersmith, London, England. He is the only child of Marcia Jeannine Gresham (née Jacobson) and Alan George Radcliffe. His mother is Jewish and was born in South Africa and raised in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.His father was raised in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland, in a “very working-class” Protestant family.Radcliffe’s maternal ancestors were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia.Radcliffe’s parents had both acted as children. His father is a literary agent. His mother is a casting agent and was involved in several films for the BBC, including The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Walk Away and I Stumble.
Radcliffe first expressed a desire to act at the age of five, and in December 1999, aged 10, he made his acting debut in BBC One’s televised two-part adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield, portraying the title character as a young boy. He was educated at three independent schools for boys: Redcliffe School, a day school in Chelsea’s Redcliffe Square, Sussex House School, a day school in Chelsea’s Cadogan Square, and the City of London School, a day school on the North Bank of the River Thames in London’s financial district (known as the City of London).
As his acting career began to consume his schedule, Radcliffe continued his education through on-set tutors. He admitted he was not very good at school, considering it useless and finding the work “really difficult.” He achieved A grades in the three AS-level exams that he took in 2006, but decided to take a break from education and did not go to college or university. Part of his reasoning was that he already knew he wanted to act and write, and that it would be difficult to have a normal college experience.
In 2008, Radcliffe revealed that he has a mild form of the neurological disorder developmental coordination disorder. The motor skill disorder sometimes prevents him from doing simple activities, such as writing or tying his own shoelaces. In August 2010, he stopped drinking alcohol after finding himself becoming too reliant on it.
In November 2007, Radcliffe published several poems under the pen name Jacob Gershon – a combination of his middle name and the Jewish version of his mother’s maiden name Gresham – in Rubbish, an underground fashion magazine. He has a close friendship with his Harry Potter co-stars Tom Felton and Emma Watson, and is close to his family, whom he credits for keeping him grounded.
Sources disagree about Radcliffe’s personal wealth; he was reported to have earned £1 million for the first Harry Potter film and around £15 million for the sixth. Radcliffe appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2006, which estimated his personal fortune to be £14 million, making him one of the richest young people in the UK. In March 2009 he was ranked number one on the Forbes “Most Valuable Young Stars” list, and by April The Daily Telegraph measured his net worth at £30m, making him the 12th richest young person in the UK. Radcliffe was considered to be the richest teenager in England later that year. In February 2010, he was named the sixth highest paid Hollywood male star and placed at number five on Forbes’s December list of Hollywood’s highest-grossing actors with a film revenue of US$780 million, mainly due to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows being released that year.
Radcliffe maintains a home in the West Village of Lower Manhattan in New York City. As of July 2018, Radcliffe has been dating American Erin Darke, whom he met on the set of Kill Your Darlings, since 2013. There were rumours and stories of a possible engagement in mid-2014, but Darke’s father Ian Darke denied there were any such plans in December 2014.
In a 2012 interview, Radcliffe stated: “There was never [religious] faith in the house. I think of myself as being Jewish and Irish, despite the fact that I’m English.” He has stated: “We were Christmas tree Jews”, and that he is “very proud of being Jewish”.