Cowes, Isle of Wight, England, September 19, 1948.

He grew up in the village of St. Helens.

Attended Sherbourne School in Dorset, England.
Attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in England.

Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Southampton Solent University in England.

Assistant stage manager
House-cleaner for Domestics Unlimited
“Busker” (singing and playing guitar outside movie theatres)

Social Worker


1971: Made stage debut in “Hay Fever” with Bristol Old Vic company; company member for three years
1973: London stage debut as John the Baptist in “Godspell,” Round House Theatre (later at Wyndham’s Theatre for two years)
1975: TV debut as Franz Liszt in BBC miniseries “Notorious Woman” (shown on PBS’s “Masterpiece Theatre” November-December of same year)
1979: Breakthrough TV role, Charles Ryder in “Brideshead Revisited”
1980: Film debut as Mikhail Fokine in “Nijinsky”
1984: Broadway debut in “The Real Thing”
1985: Directed video for Carly Simon’s song “Tired of Being Blonde”
1988: Breakthrough screen role, played twins in David Cronenberg’s “Dead Ringers”
1990: Earned acclaim and a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Claus von Bulow in “Reversal of Fortune”


  • Nijinsky (1980) Mikhail Fokine
  • The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981) Charles Smithson/Mike
  • Moonlighting (1982) Nowak
  • Betrayal (1983) Jerry
  • Swann in Love (1984) Charles Swann
  • The Wild Duck (1984) Harold
  • The Mission (1986) Father Gabriel
  • A Chorus of Disapproval (1988) Guy Jones
  • Dead Ringers (1988) Beverly Mantle/Elliot Mantle
  • Australia (1989) Edouard Pierson
  • Reversal of Fortune (1990) Claus von Bulow – Won the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards
  • Kafka (1991) Franz Kafka
  • Waterland (1992) Tom Crick
  • Damage (1992) Stephen Fleming
  • M. Butterfly (1993) Rene Gallimard
  • The House of the Spirits (1993) Esteban Trueba
  • The Lion King (1994) Voice of Scar
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) Simon Gruber
  • Stealing Beauty (1996) Alex
  • Chinese Box (1997) John
  • Lolita (1997) Humbert Humbert
  • The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) Aramis
  • Dungeons & Dragons (2000) Profion
  • The Fourth Angel (2001) Jack Elgin
  • The Time Machine (2002) Uber Morlock
  • And Now…Ladies and Gentlemen (2002) Valentin Valentin
  • Callas Forever (2002) Larry Kelly 2003
  • Broadway the Golden Age: By the Legends Who Were There (2003) Himself
  • Mathilde (2004) Col. De Petris
  • The Merchant of Venice (2004) Antonio
  • Being Julia (2004) Michael Gosselyn
  • Kingdom of Heaven (2005) Tiberias
  • Casanova (2005) Cardinal Pucci
  • Inland Empire (2006) Kingsley Stewart
  • Eragon (2006) Brom
  • Appaloosa (2008) Randall Bragg
  • The Pink Panther 2 (2009) Alonso Avellaneda
  • Margin Call (2011) John Tuld
  • The Words (2012) The Old Man
  • Trashed (2012) as Himself
  • Beautiful Creatures (2013) Macon Ravenwood
  • Night Train to Lisbon (2013) Raimund Gregorius
  • High-Rise (2015) Anthony Royal
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) G. H. Hardy
  • Race (2016) Avery Brundage
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Alfred Pennyworth
  • The Correspondence (2016) Ed Phoerum
  • Assassin’s Creed (2016) Alan Rikkin
  • Their Finest (2016) Secretary of War
  • Justice League (2017) Alfred Pennyworth
  • Monumental (2017) Garrison Curtis
  • An Actor Prepares (2017) Atticus


  • The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (1971) George
  • The Pallisers (1974) Frank Tregear
  • Notorious Woman (1974) Franz Liszt
  • Churchill’s People (1975) Samuel Ross
  • Love for Lydia (1977) Alex Sanderson
  • Langrishe Go Down (1978) Otto Beck
  • The Voysey Inheritance (1979) Edward Voysey
  • Brideshead Revisited (1981) Charles Ryder
  • The Captain’s Doll (1983) Captain Alex Hepworth
  • The Dream (1989)
  • Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World (1989) William Smith
  • Saturday Night Live (1991) Host
  • Tales from Hollywood (1992) Odon Von Horvath
  • Mirad (1997) Djuka
  • Ohio Impromptu (2000) Reader/Listener
  • Longitude (2000) Rupert Gould
  • Last Call (2002) F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do (2003) Professor Snape in Harry Potter and the Chamberpot of Azerbijan
  • Dame Edna Live at the Palace (2003) Himself
  • Elizabeth I (HBO Version) (2005) Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester – Won Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy Award
  • Who Do You Think You Are? (UK Version) (2006) Himself
  • The Colour of Magic (2008) Patrician
  • Georgia O’Keeffe (2009) Alfred Stieglitz
  • The Borgias (2011) Rodrigo Borgia/Pope Alexander VI
  • Law and Order: SVU (2011) Dr. Cap Jackson in episodes “Mask” and “Totem”
  • The Simpsons (2012) voice of Bar Rag
  • The Hollow Crown: Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 (2012) King Henry IV


  • The Winter’s Tale (1969) as Florizel, at the Bristol Old Vic
  • Hay Fever (1969) as Simon, Bristol Old Vic
  • What the Butler Saw (1969) as Nick, Bristol Old Vic
  • Major Barbara (1969) , Bristol Old Vic
  • A Servant of Two Masters (1969) , Bristol Old Vic
  • Macbeth (1969) , Bristol Old Vic
  • The Boy Friend (1969) , Bristol Old Vic
  • As You Like It (1970) , Bristol Old Vic
  • Oh! What a Lovely War (1970) , Bristol Old Vic
  • The School for Scandal (1970) , Little Theatre Bristol
  • Godspell, (Nov. 1971-1973) as John/Judas, Roundhouse and Wyndham’s Theatre
  • The Diary of a Madman (1973) as The Madman, Act Inn
  • Much Ado About Nothing ( ) as Don Pedro, Young Vic
  • The Caretaker (1974) as Mick, Young Vic
  • The Taming of the Shrew (1975) as Petruchio, Roundhouse 1975
  • Wild Oats (1976 and 1977) as Harry Thunder, RSC Stratford and Piccadilly Theatre
  • The Rear Column (1978) as Jameson, Globe Theatre – Won the Clarence Derwent Award for this role
  • The Real Thing (1984) as Henry Boot, Schoenfeld Theatre in New York City – Won the Tony Award for Best Actor
  • The Winter’s Tale (1986) as Leontes, Royal Shakespeare Theatre Stratford
  • The Rover (1986) as Willmore, RSC Swan Theatre and Mermaid Theatre
  • Richard II (1986 and 1987) as Richard II, RSC Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Barbican Theatre
  • A Little Night Music (2003) as Fredrik Egerman, Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, New York City
  • Camelot (August 14, 2005 – a one night performance) as King Arthur at The Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles
  • Celebration (2005) as Russell, a Pinter staged reading, Gate Theatre, Dublin/Albery Theatre
  • Embers (2006) as Henrik, Duke of York’s Theatre, London
  • Never So Good (2008) as Harold Macmillan, National Theatre Lyttleton
  • Drama Queens (2008)  one-off play at Bristol Old Vic Theater
  • Impressionism (2009) as Thomas Buckle, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, NYC
  • The Gods Weep (2010) as Colm, Hampstead Theatre
  • Camelot (June 6, 2011 one night only) as King Arthur at The Shubert Theatre
  • Seduction, Smoke and Music (August 4, 2011) as Frederic Chopin at the Tuscan Sun Festival, Teatro Signorelli in Cortona, Italy
  • Long Day’s Journey into Night (2016) as James Tyrone at The Bristol Old Vic


Received Clarence Derwent Award for “The Rear Column” (1978).
Received Tony for Best Actor in a Play for “The Real Thing” (1984).
Received New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for “Dead Ringers” (1988).
Received Genie for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for “Dead Ringers” (1988).
Received Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor for “Reversal of Fortune” (1990).
Received Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama for “Reversal of Fortune” (1990).
Received National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor for “Reversal of Fortune” (1990).

Received Oscar for Best Actor for “Reversal of Fortune” (1990).

Received Emmy for Outstanding Voiceover Performance for “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century–War Without End” (1996/97). shared award with Rik Mayall cited for “Willows in Winter”.

Received European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award (1998).

Received an honorary Cesar Award in France (2002)

Received Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie for “Elizabeth I” (2006)

Received Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor for “Elizabeth I” (2007)

Received Screen Actors’ Guild Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor for “Elizabeth I” (2007)

Received Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Southampton Solent University in U.K.  – (2008)

Received an Emmy for Outstanding Narrator for “Game of Lions” – (2014)

Father: Paul Dugan Irons. (died 1983)
Mother: Barbara Anne Irons (nee Sharpe). (died 2000)
Son: Samuel James Brefni Irons. Photographer. Born September 16, 1978; mother, Sinead Cusack.
Son: Maximilian Paul Diarmuid Irons. Actor. Born October 17, 1985; mother, Sinead Cusack.

Sister:  Felicity (older) lives in England.

Felicity can be seen in Jeremy’s episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” from 2006.

Brother:  Christopher (older) lives in Australia. (D.O.B. 24 December 1942)

Wife: Julie Hallam. Married 1969; divorced.
Wife: Sinead Cusack. Actor. Married March 28, 1978 – present


Read more about the dogs Jeremy has owned, over the years, on the Jeremy’s Dogs tab of this website.

Smudge – Jeremy’s dog, adopted from the Battersea Dogs & Cats home in December 2014.


Horse “Paddy” (The Earl of Newport) (in Ireland)

Jeremy’s horse Paddy

Sheep (kept in Ireland)

Donkeys (kept in Ireland)


Jeremy’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? from 2006 –