Mark Strong

Mark Strong
Mark Strong

Strong in 2010
Born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia
30 August 1963 (1963-08-30) (age 48)
London, England, UK
Occupation Actor
Years active 1989–present

Mark Strong (born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia; 30 August 1963) is an English actor, with a body of work in both films and television. He has performed in films as varied as Body of Lies, Syriana, The Young Victoria, Sherlock Holmes, RocknRolla, Stardust, and Kick-Ass. He often depicts villains or antagonists, such as Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes, Prince Septimus in Stardust, Frank D'Amico in Kick-Ass, and Sir Godfrey in Robin Hood.


Early life

Strong was born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia in London, to an Italian father and an Austrian mother.[1] His father left the family soon after his birth, and he was raised by his mother, who worked as an au pair. His English name is not a stage name; it was changed by deed poll by his mother when he was a boy to help him fit in with his peers.[2] He was baptized a Catholic, though, according to The Guardian, "it has never meant anything to him".[3] He speaks fluent German and some Italian.[4][5] Strong attended Wymondham College in Norfolk. His original ambition was to become a lawyer, but after studying for a year at University in Munich, Germany he decided to change his direction in life and returned home to London.[6] He knows[clarification needed] Gerard Butler who also originally intended to be a lawyer before they were both actors. Later they co-starred in RocknRolla. In London, he studied English and Drama at Royal Holloway, and later attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.[7][8]


Strong at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival (2011)

Strong is a familiar face on British television. He appeared in two Prime Suspect serials for ITV as Inspector (later Detective Chief Superintendent) Larry Hall, in Prime Suspect 3 (1993) and Prime Suspect 6 (2003). He also had starring roles in two BBC Two drama serials, Our Friends in the North (1996) and The Long Firm (2004) for which he earned a BAFTA nomination. He also played the villainous Colonel Brand in Sharpe's Mission (1996). He played the romantic lead, Mr. Knightley, in the ITV adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Emma, with Kate Beckinsale in the title role.

In feature films, one of Strong's roles was Steve in the 1997 adaptation of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch, opposite Colin Firth, and Strong was also featured in Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist (2005). He played Mussawi in the film Syriana, and in 2005 appeared in Revolver, where he played Sorter, a nerveless, steely assassin "who never misses". In 2006, Strong portrayed the traitorous Wictred in Tristan & Isolde, showing his talent with swordplay. The following year he played Pinbacker in the science-fiction film Sunshine. He had to spend six hours a day in the makeup chair to create the character's facial scars. Coincidentally, Strong appeared in a 1999 film also entitled Sunshine.

He was one of the last two actors considered for the part of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem's role) in No Country for Old Men, despite the persistence of rumours he was never offered the part.[9] In Body of Lies, he played Hani Salaam, head of Jordanian Intelligence. In most of Strong's films he is virtually unrecognizable because he changes his look for each character; in Stardust and Tristan + Isolde, he has long hair, in RocknRolla and The Long Firm he sports a receding hairline, in Kick-Ass he is completely bald, in Body of Lies and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day he has a full head of hair, and in Sunshine he was subjected to hours of make-up to create the antagonist Pinbacker. His characters in Low Winter Sun, Heartlands and Fever Pitch, however, most resemble his true self.

In his theatre career, Strong was nominated in 2003 for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for his role in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at the Donmar Warehouse in 2002. He has a lead part in the Channel 4 film Endgame (2009).[10]

Since 2006, Strong has provided the narration in the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?.

In Sherlock Holmes, he plays Lord Blackwood, the main antagonist. Strong played Thaal Sinestro in the 2011 superhero film, Green Lantern.[11]

Mark Strong also voices the character Captain Titus of the Ultramarines Chapter in the video game Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine.

Personal life

Strong lives in north-west London with his wife Liza Marshall and sons Gabriel and Roman (born October 5, 2007).[12][13] He is a longtime friend of actor Daniel Craig, who is the godfather of Strong's younger son Roman.


Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Buddha of Suburbia Second TV Producer TV serial
1993 Prime Suspect 3 Insp. Larry Hall TV film
1993 Century Policeman
1994 Captives Kenny
1996 Our Friends in the North Terry 'Tosker' Cox TV Serial
1996 Sharpe's Mission Brand TV film
1996 Emma Mr. Knightley TV film
1997 Fever Pitch Steve
1998 Spoonface Steinberg Father TV film
1998 The Man with Rain in His Shoes or Twice Upon a Yesterday Dave Summers
1999 Trust Michael Mitcham TV film
1999 Births, Marriages and Deaths Terry TV film
1999 In the Name of Love Chris Monroe TV film
1999 Elephant Juice Frank
1999 Sunshine Istvan Sors
2000 Bomber Col. Chris Forsyth TV film
2000 Anna Karenina Oblonsky TV mini-series
2001 To End All Wars Dusty Miller
2001 Hotel Ferdinand
2001 The Martins Doug
2001 Superstition Antonio Gabrieli
2002 Fields of Gold Dr. Tolkin TV film
2002 Heartlands Ian
2002 Falling Apart Pete TV film
2003 Some Place Safe Dad short film
2003 It's All About Love Arthur
2003 Henry VIII Duke of Norfolk TV serial
2003 Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness Det. Chief Supt. Larry Hall TV film
2004 The Long Firm Harry Starks TV film
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
2005 Revolver Sorter
2005 Oliver Twist Toby Crackit
2005 Walk Away and I Stumble Andy Spader TV film
2005 Syriana Mussawi
2006 Tristan + Isolde Wictred
2006 Low Winter Sun Det. Sgt. Frank Agnew TV film
2006 Scenes of a Sexual Nature Louis
2007 Sunshine Pinbacker
2007 Stardust Septimus
2008 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Nick
2008 Flashbacks of a Fool Mannie Miesel
2008 Babylon A.D. Finn
2008 RocknRolla Archy
2008 Body of Lies Hani Salaam Nominated – London Critics Circle Film Award for Best British Supporting Actor
2008 Good Philipp Bouhler
2009 Endgame Dr. Niel Barnard
2009 The Young Victoria Sir John Conroy
2009 Sherlock Holmes Lord Henry Blackwood Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Fight
Shared with Robert Downey, Jr.
2010 Kick-Ass Frank D'Amico Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Fight
Shared with Chloë Grace Moretz
2010 Robin Hood Sir Godfrey
2010 The Way Back Khabarov
2011 The Story Of Earth Narrator
2011 The Guard Clive Cornell
2011 The Eagle Guern
2011 Green Lantern Thaal Sinestro
2011 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Jim Prideaux
2011 Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Captain Titus Gaming/Voice Acting
2011 Black Gold Amar
2012 Welcome to the Punch Jacob Sternwood post-production
2012 John Carter Matai Shang filming


  1. ^ Mark Strong Speed-the-plow Times interview
  2. ^ Olga Craig (20 December 2009). "Mark Strong: how I put the fear factor into Sherlock Holmes". The Telegraph (London). 
  3. ^ Vincent, Sally (16 April 2005). "Hard man, soft heart". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 June 2010. "He was christened a Catholic" 
  4. ^ Day, Elizabeth (9 May 2010). "Robin Hood star Mark Strong: 'Real knights would have needed tea breaks'". The Observer (London). Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Griffin, Susan (13 May 2010). "Interview: Mark Strong". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  6. ^ John Preston (18 February 2009). "Mark Strong: the strong, violent type". The Telegraph (London). 
  7. ^ "Interview: Why actor Mark Strong is an accidental anti-hero". The Independent (London). 19 October 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Strong, Mark (9 May 2009). "'Your acting technique should be hidden". The Guardian (London). 
  9. ^ "Mark Strong refutes No Country casting rumour". Total Film. 
  10. ^ Hemley, Matthew (26 March 2008). "C4 season to feature apartheid thriller Endgame". The Stage. Retrieved 17 April 2008. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "Interview: Why actor Mark Strong is an accidental anti-hero". The Independent (London). October 19, 2007. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 
  13. ^ Preston, John (February 18, 2009). "Mark Strong: the strong, violent type". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved November 18, 2010. 

External links

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