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Mark Rylance

Given his low profile in Hollywood it may come as a surprise to some that many regard Mark Rylance the best actor of his generation. With a long career in theater, film and television, Rylance can range effortlessly from Shakespeare to Steven Spielberg. Best known for his stage work, he appeared in over a dozen Shakespeare's plays at the Globe Theater in London between 1996 and 2012 gaining wide acclaim. This year he is a double nominee for this year’s Golden Globes, garnering nods for his supporting role in Bridge of Spies, in which he plays a soviet spy, as well as for playing Thomas Cromwell in the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (Best Performance By An Actor In A Limited Series).In Bridge of Spies Rylance’s character is a key element in the true story about the 1962 exchange of convicted Soviet spy Rudolf Abel for American pilot Francis “Gary” Powers, whose U2 spy plane was shot down over Russian soil. Rylance is brilliant as Abel, the cultured and philosophical Soviet spy whose poise and smooth mannerism more closely resembles that of a priest than a Soviet informant at the peak of the cold war. Rylance stars alongside Tom Hanks who plays James B. Donovan, the smart Brooklyn insurance lawyer who eventually made the Abel-for-Powers exchange on a bridge between East and West Berlin. And even though Hanks is powerful in his performance, Rylance may be the one you remember in the story. The same happens in Wolf Hall: his performance as Thomas Cromwell is true to how the character is written in Hilary Mantel’s books: hard to read yet impossible to put down. He is simply a delight to see.Born in 1960 in Ashford, Kent, England, Rylance spent most of his childhood and youth in the U.S., living for some years in Connecticut, before moving with his family to Wisconsin in 1969. Once there he attended the University School of Milwaukee, where his father held a teaching post. Rylance became involved with Shakespeare – and with acting – during his teen years. At age 16 he participated in his school’s Shakespeare festival, playing the title role in Hamlet. A short while later, at another local Shakespeare celebration, he was praised for his performance as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.After graduating from the University School in 1978, Rylance returned to England with a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. He stayed at RADA for two years and then joined the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1980.Between 1996 and 2006, Rylance served as the first Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and in 2007, he wrote his first play, I Am Shakespeare, which premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre.During his career, Rylance has acted in 52 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, with iconic performances including Olivia in Twelfth Night and the title role in Richard III. He earned a Tony Award for his debut Broadway performance in Boeing-Boeing in 2009. He returned to Broadway twice during the 2010-2011 season, in La Bete and Jerusalem, for which he earned his second Tony Award for his role of Rooster.Besides his duties as actor, Rylance is an honorary bencher of the Middle Temple Hall in London; trustee of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust; an ambassador of Survival International, the movement for tribal peoples; and a patron of Peace Direct, working for non-violent resolution of conflict.Rylance's onscreen credits include: Days and Nights, Anonymous, The Government Inspector, The Grass Arena, Love Lies Bleeding, Intimacy, Angels and Insects, Nocturne, among others. But now, with Bridge of Spies, he has received his first Golden Globe nomination with a role made for film, and also his first for a television role with Wolf Hall.Mario Amaya