Jonathan Rhys Meyers Jonathan Rhys Meyers was born Jonathan Michael Francis O’Keeffe in Dublin, Ireland, the son of Geraldine Meyers and musician John O’Keeffe. His stage name is derived from his mother’s maiden name, Meyers. Rhys Meyers was born with a serious heart problem and was baptized shortly after his birth, as it was feared he would not survive long enough for a traditional baptism ceremony. He spent the first few months of his life in the hospital. Born in Dublin, he moved to Cork City at one year old and was raised there. He has three younger brothers named Jamie, Alan and Paul, who are all professional musicians.
When Rhys Meyers was three years old, his parents separated. His mother raised Jonathan and his brother Alan, while his other two brothers went to live at their grandmother’s house with their father. Career Rhys Meyers was expelled from the North Monastery Secondary School at age 16, and spent much of his time hanging out in pool halls, namely the Victoria Sporting Club on Patrick’s Quay and the Coliseum Leisure Centre on McCurtain Street. Casting agents looking for Irish boys to appear in War of the Buttons spotted Rhys Meyers at a Cork pool hall, the Victoria Sporting Club, and invited him to audition.
Although he was passed over for War of the Buttons, the casting agents encouraged him to pursue a career in acting. His first film role came soon afterward, in A Man of No Importance (1994). In 1996, he appeared in Michael Collins, as the title character’s assassin. In 1999, he appeared in Ride with the Devil as psychopathic guerrilla fighter Pitt Mackeson. Rhys Meyers has starred in television series including Gormenghast (2000) and in the CBS 4-hour mini-series Elvis (2005) as Elvis Presley alongside Randy Quaid as Colonel Tom Parker and Rose McGowan as Ann-Margret.
The latter earned him an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe win. He is currently starring in the Showtime cable series The Tudors (2007) as the young Henry VIII. He was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Drama in 2007 for the role. His film roles range from a David Bowie-inspired glam rock star in Velvet Goldmine (1998) to a dedicated girls’ football coach in Bend It Like Beckham (2002). He appeared in Vanity Fair (2004) opposite with Reese Witherspoon. His co-starred opposite with Colin Farrell in Oliver Stone’s epic Alexander (2004).
In 2005, Rhys Meyers starred in Woody Allen’s film Match Point, for which he received a Chopard Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2006, he appeared in Mission: Impossible III. Other projects include August Rush (2007) and The Children of Huang Shi (2008). He is rumored to be appearing in Danny Glover’s Haitian epic Toussaint (2008) and signed on to star as Lee Falk’s comic strip hero Mandrake the Magician in an upcoming movie directed by Chuck Russell. Upcoming projects include Shelter, co-starring Julianne Moore, and From Paris With Love, co-starring John Travolta.
He also has several films in pre-production, including Mary Mother of Christ and Mandrake, both set for release in 2010. Rhys Meyers, a self-taught singer and guitarist, has appeared in a number of musical roles. His first such role was that of rock star Brian Slade in Velvet Goldmine; two of the songs he sang (“Baby’s On Fire” and “Tumbling Down”) are on the film’s soundtrack. He sang briefly in the TV miniseries version of The Magnificent Ambersons, performed in studio scenes of the miniseries Elvis and played the flute in Gormenghast.
In the 2007 music drama August Rush, Rhys Meyers performed on-screen as singer-songwriter Louis Connelly and is credited for four songs on the soundtrack – “Break”, “Moondance”, “Something Inside” and “This Time”. Of the four, “This Time” and “Break” were considered in the Best Original Song category of the 80th Academy Awards. “This Time” was not released as a single but peaked at #84 of the Canadian Hot 100. Rhys Meyers was chosen as the face for the Versace men’s collection of Autumn/Winter 2006 and Spring 2007, and he has also been the face of the Hugo Boss men’s fragrance range since 2005.
Currently, Rhys Meyers is the face of Hugo Boss’ newest fragrence, HUGO Element. He is signed to Independent Models in London. In February 2008, he became a celebrity ambassador for The Hope Foundation. This Cork-based charity aims to provide shelter and supplies to Calcutta’s impoverished street children. Rhys Meyers hopes that lending his name to the organization will help raise awareness of the issue. As Ambassador he is expected to visit India and record a TV documentary for the charity. On 5 October 2008, Rhys Meyers received an Honourary Patronage from the Trinity College Philosophical Society in Dublin, Ireland.
Interestingly, he has played the father of both Freddie Highmore (in August Rush) and Sarah Bolger (on The Tudors); Bolger and Highmore played siblings in The Spiderwick Chronicles film.  Personal life Rhys Meyers owns houses and apartments in Nichols Canyon, Dublin, London and Morocco, splitting his time between Los Angeles and London when not working. He also owns a horse named Belle and a Chihuahua named Boo Boo. In May 2005, Rhys Meyers checked into rehab facility Promises in California seeking treatment for alcohol abuse.
On 24 April 2007, the Associated Press reported that Rhys Meyers returned to treatment. The actor’s representative Meredith O’Sullivan confirmed the news to People magazine citing his need to take a break from his busy schedule in order to maintain sobriety. On 18 November 2007, Rhys Meyers was arrested in Dublin Airport and charged with being drunk and in breach of the peace. He was later released on bail to appear at the Dublin District Court on 5 December 2007. He was in Dublin to promote his new movie August Rush on the Irish television programme Tubridy Tonight. The charges were later dropped.
On 27 February 2009, the actor checked into rehab a third time, seeking help for his alcohol addiction. Rhys Meyers was believed to be in an English treatment facility this time. He checked out on 15 March 2009. On 20 June 2009, Rhys Meyers was arrested after allegedly attacking a number of staff at a bar in Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris and then threatening to kill them. He was bailed to appear before magistrates on charges of “willful violence, outrage, hitting and threatening death”, and will appear before the Correctional Tribunal in Bobigny, in September 2009.
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