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Celebrity Inter view Ray Winstone


Successful English fi lm and television actor Ray Winstone is renowned for his troubled hard man roles.


Most recently he is working on a fi lm about the Hatton Garden robbery with Michael Caine and Jim Broadbent, due for release this year.


Despite being made bankrupt twice over unpaid taxes, celebritynetworth.com claims he is now worth $5m.


Aged 12, Ray joined the Repton Amateur Boxing Club. Over the next 10 years he won 80 out of 88 bouts. He was London schoolboy champion on three occasions, fi ghting twice for England. Boxing provided a fi rm grounding when tackling his acting career. “If you can get in a ring with 2,000 people watching and be smacked around by another guy, then walking onstage isn’t hard,” he told boxrec. com.


Deciding to pursue drama, Winstone enrolled at the £900


a term Corona Stage Academy in


Hammersmith. Little did he anticipate that this would be the start of a career that would see him becoming the darling of ITV. He landed his fi rst major role in What a Crazy World at the Theatre Royal, Stratford. His allegedly poor singing and dancing in this production apparently led his usually supportive father to say, “Give it up, while you’re ahead.” One of his fi rst TV appearances came in the 1976 Loving Arms episode of ITV’s The Sweeney starring alongside John Thaw. He played a minor part as an unnamed young thug and was credited as Raymond Winstone.


His role in Scum, the 1979 crime drama about life inside a borstal pigeon holed Ray into countless further roles as a tough or violent man. However, he does have a softer side as seen in Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence where he played a comic part. In Fanny and Elvis, he played the romantic lead.


But it was his portrayal of King Henry VIII in the 2003 32


hit ITV series that won him a whole new audience. It took him weeks of tough physical training to get in shape. “People always think of Henry as this fat bloke, but in his younger days he was very fi t,” Ray told the Radio Times. “So, I was on a special diet to get my weight down. No drink, down the gym, that kind of thing.” It was a really challenging role though because having lost all that weight he then had to pile on the pounds for the king’s later years. “They had me in one of them fat suits. That was a fi rst for me.” He admitted that the most diffi cult part of the role was mastering the King’s voice. “When my Henry comes into the room and says, ‘I am the King of England,’ I want to make sure people hear the sound of a warrior ready for war... not some poncey bloke with a bunch of jewels on his head,” added Ray.


In 2005, he appeared opposite Suranne Jones, in Vincent, the ITV drama about a team of private detectives. He provided the voice for Mr. Beaver in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Ray then appeared in Martin Scorsese’s 2006 fi lm The Departed as Mr. French, an enforcer to Jack Nicholson’s Irish mob boss.


Five years later Ray starred in The Hot Potato, a comedy thriller about two men who come into possession of a lump of uranium. The fi lm, which is set in the East End of London in the 1960s, also stars Jack Huston, Colm Meaney and David Harewood as well as Ray’s eldest daughter Lois Winstone.


In 2015, Ray played the role of ex-criminal Jimmy Rose in The Trials of Jimmy Rose, a three-part drama for ITV.


Married since 1979, he has three children.


Interview by Tim Saunders, author, journalist and businessman.


To advertise in thewire t. 07720 429 613 e. fi ona@thewireweb.co.uk


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