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Daniel Radcliffe - Biography

The Harry Potter star had a meteoric rise to fame after being cast in J.K.Rowling's fantasy series 

Daniel Radcliffe chatting during an interview. © Getty
Kate Thomas
Lifestyle Managing Editor
Updated: July 6, 2023
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"I'm just going to enjoy it. After all, I might do this film and then disappear. Or something might go horribly wrong and I'll never act again." So said 12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe before the release of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone.

He needn't have worried, of course; within eight years he was one of Britain's wealthiest teenagers and the spell-binding star of the Harry Potter movie franchise. Although he owes much to the boy wizard character created by author JK Rowling, Daniel once admitted that when as a child he read her first two books, he found them hard to get into.

daniel radcliffe revelation baby in spotlight
Daniel Radcliffe has come a long way since his Harry Potter days

Daniel Radcliffe's early career

Born on July 23 1989 in Fulham, London, to literary agent father Alan and casting director mother Marcia, Daniel Jacob Radcliffe was the opposite of the typical extrovert child star. He was put up for the role of the young David Copperfield in a 1999 version of the Dickens classic by his mum, in an effort to boost his confidence. Daniel landed the part and made an impressive debut opposite Bob Hoskins. It was while filming his second acting job in August 2000 Pierce Brosnan flick The Tailor Of Panama, that he heard he'd won the role that would change his life forever.

"I thought it would be really cool just to be able to say I auditioned for the part – I never thought I would get it," he said at the time. Between shooting the four Harry Potter movies he continued to study at the private City of London School, but had little in common with boys his age and academia held little appeal for him. Growing up on screen meant he mingled mainly with adults and in a 2007 interview he admitted his best friend was 40-something Will Steggle, his dresser on set.

At 16 his influence in the world of showbiz was indisputable. He became the youngest non-royal ever to have an individual portrait hung in the National Portrait Gallery. And by 2007 he, along with cast-mates Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, had been recognised on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As the success of the Harry Potter films snowballed, so did Daniel's pay packet, with him reportedly earning £8 million for the fifth film.

DISCOVER: What is Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe’s net worth? 

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Daniel Radcliffe's career after Harry Potter

The down-to-earth actor insisted money had not changed him, though, and he was certainly not tempted by the shopping sprees some young stars indulged in. "Even when I was very young and before any of this had happened, I remember being repulsed by ostentatious displays of wealth," he told one magazine. His decision at 17 to appear as the lead in Peter Shaffer's Equus, before the fifth Potter film was released, was a chance to show the world what he was capable of beyond Hogwarts. "To some people, I will only ever be Harry," he said in an interview with The Sunday Times in February 2007.

"I know that, I don't fight it. I don't want to distance myself from him. I'm proud of that work. But I do want to show them that I am not Harry Potter. I am an actor." Daniel earned rave reviews for his first major stage work, although he admitted the nudity it calls for was terrifying to begin with and that he'd asked his friend and idol Gary Oldman for advice. What the production did make clear was that Daniel was all grown up. His first non-Potter movie, meanwhile, was the Australian film December Boys – about four orphans competing for a family. He also won the role of Rudyard Kipling's tragic son in 2007 ITV drama My Boy Jack.

Well-read, with a passion for poetry and Keats he achieved good AS results but decided not to finish school, choosing instead to focus on his acting. Recognising that he owes his start to the wizarding series, Daniel also acknowledged that Hogwarts school of magic had become an integral part of who he is. He was very emotional when the franchise came to an end, explaining: "Harry Potter has provided my friends, seen me through my exams. I've had my first girlfriend, my first kiss. It's been my life."

Daniel Radcliffe's partner Erin Darke

Daniel Radcliffe and girlfriend Erin Darke pose at the opening night after party for the new hit play "The Lifespan of A Fact" on Broadway at Brasserie 8 1/2 on October 18, 2018 in New York City© Getty Images
Daniel Radcliffe pictured with his long-term partner Erin Darke

Daniel welcomed his first child with longtime girlfriend Erin Darke in April. Daniel has been in a relationship with Erin, 38, since 2012 after they met on the set of Kill Your Darlings, where they also played love interests.They are notoriously private about their relationship but have both collaborated and supported one another's ventures over the years.

While the pair intend to keep their son out of the limelight, the actor has shed some light into what his life as a father has been like thus far. "It's great. It's crazy and intense, but he's wonderful and Erin is amazing – it's a real privilege also to have this time with him," he told ET.

RELATED: Daniel Radcliffe reveals newborn son's latest milestones: 'It's a crazy thing' 

Daniel continued: "I was always going to take some time off, which not everyone is able to do, and so I'm able to kind of just be here with him a lot, which is lovely. So, we're having a great time."

The British star also opened up about the balance of juggling work and fatherhood, revealing he is being selective about what roles he takes in case it means being away from his son. "I'm sure I'm going to probably, for at least a few years, become a little more selective about how much I work just because I really enjoy spending time with him and I'd like to continue doing that," he told E!.

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