Ewan McGregor is a Scottish actor, humanitarian, and director who is best known for his work in Trainspotting
(1996), the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and Moulin Rouge
(2001). In the course of a career spanning over two decades, McGregor has been nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards, voted the fourth most influential person in British culture in a BBC poll, and awarded the prestigious Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal. He has also acted in numerous high-profile theatre productions such as The Real Thing, Guys and Dolls, and Othello. McGregor has served as the ambassador for UNICEF UK since 2004, and for his active involvement in charity work, he was bestowed the BAFTA Britannia Humanitarian Award in 2016.
Ewan Gordon McGregor was born in Perth, Scotland to Carol Diane and James Charles Stewart McGregor, both of whom were teachers. McGregor`s elder brother Colin is a former pilot in the Royal Air Force. After attending the Morrison`s Academy, McGregor joined the Perth Repertory Theatre as a stagehand at the age of 16. At 18, he moved to London to pursue his acting ambitions and joined the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In 1995, McGregor married Greco-French production designer Eve Mavrakis
after meeting her on the sets of the British TV series Kavanagh QC. The couple have four daughters, one of whom is adopted. The family currently resides in Los Angeles, having relocated from London. In a 2016 interview with The Daily Beast, McGregor admitted that he`s not a particularly religious person, going on to add that though he was born a Christian, his involvement with religion has more to do with the Jewish faith of his wife and daughters.
In a 2007 episode of the British TV chat show Parkinson, McGregor confessed to struggling with alcohol addiction at a certain point in his life, but stated that he had not had a drink since he quit in 2000.
McGregor made his movie debut with the comedy-drama Being Human (1994). In the same year, he starred alongside Kerry Fox and Christopher Eccleston in the Danny Boyle crime thriller Shallow Grave, which earned him an Empire Award for Best British Actor. McGregor reunited with Boyle in 1996 with Trainspotting
, which proved to be a landmark film in their career. The black comedy crime drama, which recounts the story of a group of drug-addicted youngsters, was met with critical acclaim, and McGregor was named Best Actor by the London Film Critics Circle and the Empire Magazine. Between Trainspotting and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
, McGregor starred in a slew of movies across various genres that proved his versatility as an actor. Notable among these were Velvet Goldmine (1998) where he starred alongside Christian Bale
, the period film Emma (1996), the comedy-drama Brassed Off (1996), and the musical Little Voice (1998).
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which was released in 1999, made the actor a global star. The movie raked in over $1 billion at the box office, and McGregor`s portrayal of a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, which was portrayed by Alec Guinness in the original trilogy, was well-received. In 2001, he starred alongside Nicole Kidman
in the Baz Luhrmann musical Moulin Rouge. The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won two. Moulin Rouge
also won big at the Golden Globes and BAFTA, and for his portrayal of the lovelorn English writer Christian in the movie, McGregor won a Satellite Award for Best Actor. Critical acclaim and commercial success continued to favour the actor with the Tim Burton
fantasy Big Fish
(2003), Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). In the same year, McGregor also voiced two animated features - Robots and Valiant - both of which were commercially successful.
In 2006, McGregor reunited with his Down With Love (2003) co-star Renee Zellweger
in the biopic Miss Potter
, which was based on the life and times of children`s author Beatrix Potter. The movie was well-received. Veteran filmmaker Woody Allen
`s dramatic thriller Cassandra`s Dream was McGregor`s sole release in 2007, and the movie opened to mixed reviews. In 2009, McGregor appeared in a pivotal supporting role in Ron Howard`s mystery thriller Angels and Demons
, which was based on Dan Brown`s novel of the same name and had Tom Hanks
in the leading role. The movie was a blockbuster despite the mixed reviews from critics, and raked in $485 million worldwide.
McGregor played the leading role in Roman Polanksi`s much-feted political thriller The Ghost Writer
in 2010, and for his portrayal of the unnamed titular character, he won a Best Actor award at the European Film Awards. In the same year, he starred alongside Christopher Plummer
and Melanie Laurent
in the romantic comedy-drama Beginners, coming up with a performance to match Plummer`s Academy Award-winning act. The offbeat British comedy-drama Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011), which was based on a 2007 novel of the same name, earned McGregor further mileage both in terms of critical acclaim and commercial success.
In 2012, McGregor starred in the Spanish disaster drama The Impossible, which was based on the real-life story of a Spanish family who survived the 2004 Tsunami while vacationing in Thailand. The film was an international hit, and was lauded for its realistic depiction of the disaster and its aftermath. The ensemble comedy-drama August: Osage Country (2013) was the actor`s next big release, where he appeared alongside a star-studded cast that included Meryl Streep
, Julia Roberts
, Benedict Cumberbatch
, Margo Martindale
and Chris Cooper
. The movie won the Ensemble of the Year award at the Hollywood Film Festival. Supporting roles in the Johnny Depp
starrer Mortdecai and the Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead (directed by and starring Don Cheadle) accompanied an uncredited voice cameo (as Obi-Wan Kenobi) in Star Wars Episode VII: Force Awakens in 2015.
In 2016, McGregor made his directorial debut with American Pastoral, which was based on a 1997 novel of the same name by Philip Roth. The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and opened to mixed reviews. A sequel to the iconic Trainspotting (1997), titled T2 Trainspotting
is the actor`s first offering in 2017, where he will be seen reprising the role of Mark Renton. The Disney romantic fantasy musical Beauty and the Beast
is another high-profile project he has been attached to, where McGregor appears as Lumiere. In 2020 he played one of the leading roles in the DC film Birds of Prey.
McGregor started out on television, with the 1993 mini-series Lipstick on Your Collar. In the same year, he co-starred alongside Rachel Weisz in a television adaptation of the Stendhal novel Scarlet and Black. After a brief hiatus following his movie debut, McGregor returned to television through guest roles in ER (1997), Kavanagh QC (1995) and Tales from the Crypt (1996).
In 2004, McGregor starred alongside Charley Boorman in the critically acclaimed travel/adventure documentary series Long Way Round, which followed the duo on a motorcycle trip around the world. The sequel to the series, Long Way Down, was aired in 2007 and was equally well-received. The actor`s latest TV outing comes in the third season of the black comedy crime-drama Fargo, where he stars alongside Carrie Coon.