Whether or not you agree with his recent comments in Playboy, there's no denying Gary Oldman is one of the great actors of our time.
Ever since breaking out in 1986's "Sid and Nancy" as the self-destructing Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, Oldman has transformed himself from one role to the next. A true chameleon, the actor changes his voice for every part and is nearly unrecognizable in films like "True Romance" (1993) and "The Contender" (2000). Despite his enormous influence among fellow actors, Oldman shuns the spotlight and has only once been nominated for an Oscar. Oldman turns in yet another stirring performance (despite limited screen time) in this summer's "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes".
From his famous ex-wife to his rejection from a prestigious drama school, here are 27 things you probably don't know about Gary Oldman.
1. Gary Oldman was born on March 21, 1958 in London, England to Kathleen Cheriton and Leonard Bertram Oldman.
2. His father was a sailor-turned-welder, who left the family when the future actor was only seven years old.
3. Oldman left school at 16 to work in a sports shop.
4. As a child, Oldman also played piano and sang, and had dreams to become a musician -- but all that changed in 1971.
5. Oldman was inspired to become an actor after seeing Malcolm McDowell's performance in "The Raging Moon" (1971). As Oldman told Charlie Rose in a 1995 interview, "Something about Malcolm just arrested me, and I connected, and I said, 'I wanna do that.'"
6. Oldman began studying at the Young People's Theatre in Greenwich. Later, he won a scholarship to Rose Buford College in Kent. He graduated in 1979 with a BA in Acting.
7. Before enrolling at Rose Buford, however, the actor was turned down by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). They even advised him to choose a different profession!
8. While at Rose Buford, he appeared in a production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Oldman played the mischievous spirit Puck.
9. When not honing his craft as an actor, he worked several jobs on the side. Besides selling shoes and working as a porter in an operating theatre, Oldman also beheaded pigs in a slaughterhouse. Considering some of his crazier roles, the gory and unusual job seems oddly fitting.
10. In 1982, Oldman made his film debut in "Remembrance".
11. Shortly after, he would co-star opposite another young and up-and-coming British actor, Tim Roth ("Reservoir Dogs"). They appeared together in "Meantime" (1984), written and directed by Mike Leigh ("Happy-Go-Lucky").
12. A year later, Oldman was awarded the 1985 London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Best Actor. He earned the prestigious award for his performance in "The Pope's Wedding".
13. His big film break came when he portrayed Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in "Sid and Nancy" (1986).
14. The performance earned Oldman the Evening Standard Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer.
15. Throughout his career, Oldman has portrayed several real life figures: Sid Vicious in "Sid and Nancy" (1986), Joe Orton in "Prick Up Your Ears" (1987), Lee Harvey Oswald in "JFK" (1991), and Beethoven in "Immortal Beloved" (1994).
16. Oldman filmed a role in Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line," however, his scenes were cut from the final. This was the case for many acclaimed actors, who jumped at the chance to work with Malick for his comeback film, knowing full well their parts might be deleted from the final cut.
17. He submitted a pre-recorded voice audition for the role of General Grievous in "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" (2005). The role went to Matthew Wood instead.
18. Despite his many critically-acclaimed roles, Oldman has only received one Oscar nomination. He was nominated for Best Actor for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (2011).
19. Empire magazine also named him one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#72).
20. As for his personal life, the actor has been married four times and has three children, all sons. He's spouses include Lesley Manville (1 son), Uma Thurman, Donya Fiorentino (2 sons), and his current wife, Alexandra Edenborough.
21. Oldman and actress Uma Thurman met on the set of "State of Grace" (1990) and were married soon after.
22. After calling it quits with Thurman, the actor was involved with Italian actress Isabella Rossellini for a couple years.
23. In 1991, Oldman was arrested in Los Angeles for drunk driving. His passenger was friend Kiefer Sutherland.
24. Oldman has described himself as a recovering alcoholic and credits Alcoholics Anonymous for helping him beat the addiction.
25. Although he gave up a music to pursue acting, Oldman sang a duet with David Bowie on the track "You've Been Around." The song was featured on the 1995 album "The Sacred Squall of Now," by Reeves Gabrels, Bowie's longtime guitarist.
26. He also appeared in David Bowie's music video "The Next Day" as a priest. Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard was also featured in the video.
27. Recently, Oldman was in hot water over comments he made in a Playboy interview regarding political correctness.
[Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia]