Daniel Craig

Classically trained actor Daniel Craig had earned a reputation in Britain for his gritty character roles but was virtually unknown elsewhere - until legendary producer Barbara Brocolli offered him the iconic role of James Bond.

Born in Chester on March 2, 1968, to parents Tim Craig, a former merchant seaman turned pub landlord and art teacher Carol, Daniel Wroughton grew up in Liverpool after his parents split up in 1972. Just six when he caught the acting bug, he was soon appearing in school plays, encouraged by his mother who arranged visits to Liverpool's Everyman Theatre.

In his early teens the budding actor had already decided where his career lay and at 16 left Wirral's Hilbre High School to audition for the National Youth Theatre. He was accepted, and moved to London where his proud parents watched his stage debut as Agamemnon in the Shakespearean classic Troilus And Cressida.

After touring Europe and Russia with the Theatre, supplementing his income by working as a waiter, in 1988 he won a place at the Guidhall School of Music and Drama. Fellow classmates during his three-year stint at the prestigious academy were Ewan McGregor and Joseph Fiennes.

A year after graduating he married Scottish actress Fiona Loudon who gave birth to their daughter Ella in 1992. Meanwhile Daniel's film career received a kick-start with a role in The Power Of One. But it was his role as Geordie Peacock in the 1996 TV series Our Friends In The North that really got him noticed.

By then his marriage had broken down, and Craig set his sights on Hollywood with supporting roles in 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider alongside Angelina Jolie and the acclaimed Road To Perdition in 2002, in which he teamed up with Tom Hanks. Two years later he turned in a star turn as the lead in critically acclaimed gangster flick Layer Cake.

But while audiences often remembered the characters he played, few knew anything about the man behind the roles.

That began to change when his love-life suddenly became tabloid fodder. With the demise of his seven-year relationship with German-born actress Heike Makatsch, who played Alan Rickman's secretary in the film Love Actually, rumours surfaced of a fling with his friend Kate Moss

Following a brief affair with Layer Cake co-star Sienna Miller - at the time patching up her relationship his pal Jude Law - Daniel embarked on a long-term romance with Satsuki Mitchell - to whom he was engaged for five years.

But it was the next chapter in his personal life that made headlines. At the end of 2010, it emerged that Daniel and Satsuki had ended their relationship, and the actor was quickly linked to his Dream House co-star Rachel Weisz.

She had announced her split from director fiance - and father of her son - Darren Aronofsky in November. And Daniel and Rachel were spotted celebrating Christmas together the following month.

Then, in June 2011, the silver screen stars shocked fans with the news they had tied the knot. They became husband and wife in a very secret ceremony in New York with only four guests in attendance, including Rachel's son and Daniel's daughter.

Daniel has chosen not to share details of the big day with the public; he is known to be notoriously private and wary of publicity. "Self promotion, for me, is like going to the dentist," he has admitted.

It could be, however, that his complicated love life, as well as his extensive acting work, helped bring him to the attention of the Bond franchise producers looking to cast a new 007 in Casino Royale.

Over a period of two years more than 200 actors, including Hugh Jackman and Clive Owen, were considered for the iconic role before 37-year-old Daniel landed it.

There was mixed reaction over the choice of the ruggedly handsome blonde.

But, before his first effort even hit the screens, Bond producers were impressed enough to offer him a contract to play the spy again.

"It's a huge challenge," he admitted at the time. "Life is about challenges and this is one of the big ones as an actor."

While significant parts in American blockbusters The Jacket and Spielberg's Munich had started to cement his growing star status, the role as James Bond marked a new beginning on the A-list for the determinately un-starry actor.
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