Tim Roth

Tim RothBest known on the indie film circuit, Tim Roth was born to a journalist father and painter-turned-teacher mother. Frequently bullied in elementary school, high school proved to be equally hellish. Its one high point came when, on a lark, Roth auditioned for the school play ? a musical production of Dracula. Cast as the Count himself, Roth, 16 had a bad case of stage fright and allegedly wet his pants when he walked onstage during the opening-night performance.

After graduation, Roth enrolled at London's Camberwell School of Art to study sculpture, but quit when it became clear that clay and wire paled in comparison to scripts and stages. He continued honing his chosen craft with plays performed in small theaters and pubs. Two years later, in 1983, Roth won his first television role as a skinhead in the BBC movie Made in Britain. The following year he landed his first feature role, portraying a hired killer in director Stephen Frears' The Hit.

After solidifying a reputation for portraying off-kilter chaps, notably in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (1989), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990), and Vincent and Theo (1990), Roth moved to Los Angeles in 1991. There, he made the acquaintance of aspiring director Quentin Tarantino. After a drunken night of bar-hopping, Roth, who as a rule never reads for a role, gave an alcohol-fueled audition that convinced Tarantino to cast him in Reservoir Dogs (1992). Tarantino's directing debut made an art-house star out of Roth, who gave an arresting performance as the fatally-wounded policeman Mr. Orange.

Two years later, Tarantino and Roth collaborated again with Pulp Fiction (1994) in which Roth appeared in the bookend role of a thief in a restaurant diner. He followed Pulp's accolades with his first part in a movie from a mainstream studio, Rob Roy (1995). Directed by pal Michael Caton-Jones, Roth's turn as the scenery-chewing villain opposite Jessica Lange and Liam Neeson won him an Academy Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category. Without hesitation, he returned to independent filmmaking to portray yet another hitman, in Little Odessa (1995), and the plot-connecting bellboy in Four Rooms (1995). Roth then delivered performances as an ex-con seeking reform in No Way Home, as a singing ex-con in the Woody Allen musical Everyone Says I Love You, and as a junkie in Gridlock'd. He continued in a criminal vein with his creditable turn as brutal racketeer Dutch Schultz in 1997's Hoodlum, and as a manipulative Southern blueblood accused of the brutal murder of a prostitute in 1998's Deceiver. That same year he also starred as a mysterious piano player in The Legend of 1900, an heir to a fortune accused of murder in Liar and a despairing cab driver in Animals (and the Tollkeeper). In 1999, he unleashed his directorial debut film, The War Zone. Based on a novel by Alexander Stuart, the film delineates in brooding detail the incest-fueled meltdown of a family. He also appeared in Vatel opposite Gérard Dépardieu and Uma Thurman.