Matt Smith (actor)

Matt Smith
Matt Smith by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Smith at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con
Born
Matthew Robert Smith

(1982-10-28) 28 October 1982 (age 36)
Northampton, England
EducationNorthampton School for Boys
Alma materUniversity of East Anglia
OccupationActor
Years active2003–present

Matthew Robert Smith (born 28 October 1982) is an English actor. He is well known for his roles as the eleventh incarnation of The Doctor in the BBC series Doctor Who and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in the Netflix series The Crown. Smith initially aspired to be a professional footballer, but spondylolysis forced him out of the sport.[1] After joining the National Youth Theatre and studying Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, he became an actor in 2003, performing in plays like Murder in the Cathedral, Fresh Kills, The History Boys, and On the Shore of the Wide World in London theatres. Extending his repertoire into West End theatre, he has since performed in the stage adaptation of Swimming with Sharks with Christian Slater,[2] followed a year later by a critically acclaimed performance as Henry in That Face.[3]

Smith's first television role came in 2006 as Jim Taylor in the BBC adaptations of Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, while his first major role in television came as Danny in the 2007 BBC series Party Animals. Smith, who was announced as the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor in January 2009, is the youngest person to play the character in the British television series.[4] He left the series at the end of the 2013 Christmas Day special, "The Time of the Doctor".[5] He portrayed the physical embodiment of Skynet in Terminator Genisys (2015).[6][7] From 2016 to 2017, he portrayed Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in Peter Morgan's Netflix biographical drama series The Crown for which he earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.[8]

Early life

Matthew Robert Smith was born on 28 October 1982[9] in Northampton, Northamptonshire, where he was raised. He is the son of David and Lynne Smith.[10] He has a sister named Laura Jayne, who was one of the dancers featured in the music video for Eric Prydz's song "Call on Me" (2004).[11]

Smith attended Northampton School for Boys. His grandfather had played professionally for Notts County F.C., and Smith had planned to be a professional football player, having played for the youth teams of Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, and Leicester City,[12] becoming captain of the latter's youth team.[13]

A serious back injury, resulting in spondylosis, meant that he was unable to continue with a footballing career.[13] His drama teacher introduced him to acting by signing him up for theatrical productions without his consent. After failing to participate on the first two occasions,[13] his teacher arranged that he play the tenth juror in an adaptation of Twelve Angry Men. Although he took part in this play, he refused to attend a drama festival for which his teacher had also signed him up, as he saw himself as a football player and did not view acting as socially acceptable.[3] His drama teacher persisted, and eventually persuaded him to join the National Youth Theatre in London.

After leaving school, Smith studied drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, graduating in 2005.[3][14] His first theatre roles as part of the National Youth Theatre were Thomas Becket in Murder in the Cathedral and Bassoon in The Master and Margarita. His role in the latter earned him an agent and his first professional jobs, Fresh Kills and On the Shore of the Wide World. His new professional roles led him to seek an agreement with his university so that he could graduate without attending lectures in his final year.[15]

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