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Cary Elwes

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Title: Cary Elwes  
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Subject: Brad Follmer, The Princess Bride (film), Maschenka, The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, Providence (The X-Files)
Collection: 1962 Births, 20Th-Century English Male Actors, 21St-Century English Male Actors, British Expatriate Male Actors in the United States, English Male Film Actors, English Male Stage Actors, English Male Television Actors, English Male Voice Actors, English Memoirists, English People of Croatian-Jewish Descent, English People of Scottish Descent, English People of Serbian Descent, English Roman Catholics, Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute Alumni, Living People, Male Actors from London, People Educated at Harrow School, People from Westminster, People of Anglo-Irish Descent, Sarah Lawrence College Alumni
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Cary Elwes

Cary Elwes
Elwes in June 2014.
Born Ivan Simon Cary Elwes
(1962-10-26) 26 October 1962
Westminster, London, England, UK
Nationality British
Occupation Actor
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) Lisa Marie Kurbikoff (m. 2000); 1 child
Parents Dominick Elwes
Tessa Kennedy
Relatives Cassian Elwes (brother), Damian Elwes (brother)

Ivan Simon Cary Elwes (; born 26 October 1962),[1][2] known professionally as Cary Elwes, is an English actor and best-selling author.[3]

Elwes appeared off-Broadway in plays during college and moved from England to the United States in the early 1980s. He is best known for his roles in The Princess Bride, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Quest for Camelot, and as Dr. Lawrence Gordon in Saw and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter. He appeared in Days of Thunder, Hot Shots!, Twister, Liar, Liar and New Year's Eve.[4] He has had recurring roles in television series such as The X-Files playing Brad Follmer and Psych playing Pierre Despereaux.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Film 2.1
    • Television 2.2
    • Voiceovers 2.3
    • Theatre 2.4
    • Literature 2.5
  • Personal life 3
  • Filmography 4
  • Books 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Elwes was born in Westminster, London, England. He is the youngest of three boys born to portrait-painter Dominic Elwes[5] and interior designer and socialite Tessa Kennedy. His brothers are Damian Elwes, an artist,[6] and Cassian Elwes, a producer and agent. He was the stepson of Elliott Kastner, an American film producer.[5] Elwes' paternal grandfather was painter Simon Elwes,[6] whose father was the diplomat and tenor Gervase Elwes (1866–1921).[7] His other great-grandfathers were diplomat Rennell Rodd, 1st Baron Rennell, Sir John Macfarlane Kennedy, and Croatian industrialist Ivan Rikard Ivanović. Elwes' ancestry is English, Irish, Scottish, Croatian Jewish (later Catholic converts), and Serbian (the latter two through his maternal grandmother, Daška McLean, born Daška Marija Ivanović-Banac; her brother, Elwes' great-uncle, was diplomat Vane Ivanović). One of Elwes' ancestors is John Elwes, who is alleged in some sources to have been the inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (1843)[8] (Elwes played five roles in the 2009 film adaptation of the novel).[8]

He was brought up as a Roman Catholic and was an altar boy at Westminster Cathedral, although he did not attend denominational schools, unlike most of the men on his father's side of the family, including his own father.[9]

Elwes attended Harrow School in London[6] and then the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.[10] His paternal forbears include such clerics as Dudley Charles Cary-Elwes (1868–1932), the Roman Catholic Bishop of Northampton (1921-32), as well as Abbott Columba Cary-Elwes (Ampleforth Abbey, Saint Louis Abbey), and Father Luke Cary-Elwes (Fort Augustus Abbey). He discussed some of this background in an interview while he was filming the 2005 CBS television film, Pope John Paul II, in which Elwes played the young priest Karol Wojtyła, many years before he was elected pontiff in 1978.

His parents divorced when he was four years old. In 1975, when Elwes was thirteen, his father committed suicide.[11] In 1981, he moved to the United States to study acting at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.[12] While living in New York, Elwes studied acting at both the Actors Studio[12] and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.[10]

Elwes worked as a production assistant on the films Octopussy and Superman, where he worked for a week assigned to Marlon Brando. When Elwes introduced himself, Brando told him he was lying and that his (Elwes') name was actually Rocky.[13]



Elwes made his acting debut in 1984 with Marek Kanievska's film Another Country. He played James Harcourt, a young and sentimental homosexual student from an English boarding school.[6] He went on to play Guilford Dudley in the British film Lady Jane, co-starring Helena Bonham Carter. He was cast as a stable boy turned swashbuckler Westley in Rob Reiner's fantasy-comedy The Princess Bride, based on the novel of the same name by William Goldman. It was a modest box office success,[14] but received critical acclaim, earning a score of 96% on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.[15] Since being released on home video and television it has become a cult classic.[14] In an interview around the film's DVD release in 2001, Elwes said, "The studio didn't know how to sell it – as an adventure, fantasy, comedy or love story, it had to rely on word of mouth". He also acknowledged the film's cult following saying, "Many people tell me they have it in their video collection, it's a family film but also a cult film in a way, being passed down to other generations".[16]

Elwes on the Hollywood Walk of Fame attending the unveiling of Mel Brooks' star in April 2010

He continued working steadily, varying between dramatic roles, as in The Bride (1985) with Sting and Jennifer Beals, to the Academy Award-winning Glory (1989), and comedic roles, as in Hot Shots! (1991). In 1993, he starred as Robin Hood in Mel Brooks's comedy, Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Elwes also appeared in such films as Francis Coppola's adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Crush, Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, Twister, Liar Liar, and Kiss the Girls. In 1999, he portrayed famed theatre and film producer John Houseman for Tim Robbins in his ensemble film based on Orson Welles's musical, Cradle Will Rock. And months after that he traveled to Luxembourg to work with John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe in the Academy Award Nominated Shadow of the Vampire. In 2001, he traveled to Berlin to work on Peter Bogdanovich's The Cat's Meow portraying the doomed movie mogul Thomas Ince.

In 2004, he starred in the Jane Fonda. Two years later he appeared in Robert Zemeckis’s motion capture adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol portraying five roles. That same year he was chosen by Steven Spielberg to appear in his motion capture adaptation of Belgian artist Hergé's popular comic strip The Adventures of Tintin.

Elwes returned to the Saw franchise in Yellow Submarine;[19] however in May 2011, Disney withdrew from the project.[20] In 2011, he was selected by Ivan Reitman to star alongside Natalie Portman in No Strings Attached. That same year, Elwes and Garry Marshall teamed up again in the romantic comedy New Year’s Eve.

In 2012, Elwes appeared in the independent drama The Citizen.[21] In 2013 Elwes joined Selena Gomez for the comedy ensemble, Behaving Badly directed by Tim Garrick. This year he has completed four movies: John Herzfeld's comedy Reach Me opposite Sylvester Stallone; the ensemble drama, Sugar Mountain directed by Richard Gray; and the dramas H8RZ, directed by Derrick Borte, and The Greens Are Gone, opposite Catherine Keener.

On 13 December 2012, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Elwes would be making his directorial debut in an independent film about the life of Kit Lambert, manager of the iconic rock group The Who, working with a script by Pat Gilbert, a former editor of the British music magazine Mojo.[22] The film is based on interviews and recordings with Lambert made by journalist Jon Lindsay, and is being produced by Orian Williams.


In 1996, Elwes made his first television appearance as David Lookner on the sitcom Seinfeld. In 1998, he played astronaut Michael Collins in the Golden Globe Award-winning HBO miniseries From the Earth To the Moon. The following year Elwes was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for his portrayal of Colonel James Burton in The Pentagon Wars directed by Richard Benjamin. In 1999, he guest starred as Dr. John York in an episode of the television series The Outer Limits. Shortly afterward he received another Golden Satellite Award nomination for his work on the ensemble NBC Television movie Uprising opposite Jon Voigt directed by Jon Avnet. Elwes had a recurring role in the final season (from 2001 to 2002) of The X-Files as FBI Assistant Director Brad Follmer.

In 2004, he portrayed serial killer Ted Bundy in the A&E Network film The Riverman, which became one of the highest rated original movies in the network’s history and garnered a prestigious BANFF Rockie Award nomination. The following year, Elwes played the young Pope John Paul II in the CBS television film Pope John Paul II opposite Jon Voigt again. The TV film was highly successful not only in North America, but also in Europe, where it broke box office records in the late pope's native Poland and became the first film ever to break $1 million (GBP588,200) in three days.[23]

In 2007, he made a guest appearance on the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Dependent" as a Mafia lawyer. In 2009, he played the role of Pierre Despereaux, an international art thief, in the fourth season premiere of Psych.[24] In 2010, he returned to Psych, reprising his role in the second half of the fifth season, and again in the show's sixth season.[25] In March 2011, Elwes was selected to appear as Henry Detmer in the pilot episode of NBC's Wonder Woman.[26] However, the show was never picked up for a series.[27] Elwes recently completed work on the USA Network TV movie, Horizon, produced by Gale Anne Hurd. In 2014, Elwes began playing Hugh Ashmeade, the CIA Director, in the second season of the BYUtv series, Granite Flats.


Elwes' voice-over work includes the narrator in James Patterson's audio book The Jester,[28] as well as characters in film and television animations such as Quest for Camelot, Pinky and The Brain, Batman Beyond, and the English versions of the Studio Ghibli films, Porco Rosso, Whisper of the Heart and The Cat Returns. For the 2004 video game The Bard's Tale, he served as scriptwriter, improviser, and voice actor of the main character The Bard. In 2009, Elwes performed the English voice over for Indian film, Delhi Safari.[29] The following year Elwes portrayed the part of Gremlin Gus in Disney's video game, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.


In 2003, he performed in the Bob Balaban–directed Off-Broadway play The Exonerated in New York during its 18–23 March, week run.[30]


In October 2014, Touchstone (Simon & Schuster) published Elwes' memoir of the making of The Princess Bride, entitled As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, which Elwes co-wrote with Joe Layden. The book is filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, Fred Savage and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner. The book debuted on The New York Times Best Seller list.[31][32]

Personal life

Elwes met still photographer Lisa Marie Kurbikoff in 1991 at a Malibu chili cook-off and became engaged in 1997.[33] They married in 2000 and have one child.[34]

In August 2005, Elwes filed a lawsuit against Evolution Entertainment, his management firm and producer of Saw. He said he was promised a minimum of one percent of the producers' net profits of the film and did not receive the full amount.[35] The case eventually was settled out of court. In 2010, he reprised his role in Saw 3D.[36]


Year Title Role Notes
1979 Yesterday's Hero Disco Dancer
1984 Another Country James Harcourt
Oxford Blues Lionel
1985 Bride, TheThe Bride Captain Josef Schoden
1986 Lady Jane Guilford Dudley
1987 Maschenka Ganin
Princess Bride, TheThe Princess Bride Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts
1988 Never on Tuesday Tow Truck Driver Uncredited
1989 Glory Major Cabot Forbes
1990 Days of Thunder Russ Wheeler
1991 Hot Shots! Lieutenant Kent Gregory
1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula Lord Arthur Holmwood
Kurenai no buta Curtis aka Porco Rosso
Voice English version
Leather Jackets Dobbs
1993 Robin Hood: Men in Tights Robin Hood
Crush, TheThe Crush Nick Eliot
1994 Jungle Book, TheThe Jungle Book Captain William Boone
Chase, TheThe Chase Steve Horsegroovy
1995 Whisper of the Heart Baron Humbert von Jikkingen Voice English version
1996 Twister Dr. Jonas Miller
1997 Kiss the Girls Detective Nick Ruskin/Casanova Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Best Supporting Actor
Informant, TheThe Informant Lieutenant David Ferris
Liar Liar Jerry
1998 Quest for Camelot Garrett Voice
1999 Cradle Will Rock John Houseman
2000 Shadow of the Vampire Fritz Arno "Firtzy" Wagner
2001 Cat's Meow, TheThe Cat's Meow Thomas H. Ince
2002 Wish You Were Dead Mac "Macbeth" Wilson
The Cat Returns Baron Humbert von Gikkingen Voice English version
Comic Book Villains Carter Direct-to-video
2004 Saw Dr. Lawrence Gordon Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Frightened Performance
Ella Enchanted Sir Edgar
The River Man Ted Bundy
American Crime Albert Bodine Direct-to-video
2005 Edison Reigert aka Edison Force
Neo Ned Dr. Magnuson
National Lampoon's Pucked Norman aka National Lampoon's The Trouble with Frank
Saw II Dr. Lawrence Gordon Uncredited; Archive Sound
2006 Factory Girl Sam Green Uncredited
2007 Walk the Talk Erik
Georgia Rule Arnold
2008 Alphabet Killer, TheThe Alphabet Killer Capt. Kenneth Shine
2009 A Christmas Carol Portly Gentleman #1/Dick Wilkins/Mad Fiddler/Guest #2/Business Man #1
2010 Psych 9 Dr. Clement
Flying Lessons Steven Jennings
As Good as Dead Ethan Belfrage
Little Murder Barry Fitzgerald
Saw 3D Dr. Lawrence Gordon
2011 No Strings Attached Dr. Metzner
Delhi Safari English voiceover
The Adventures of Tintin Pilot
New Year's Eve Stan's doctor
The Story of Luke Uncle Paul Released
Camilla Dickinson Rafferty Dickinson
Hellgate Jeff Mathews
2012 The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure Bobby Wobbly
The Citizen Miller
2013 Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Orin/Arthur Curry/Aquaman Voice
2014 Reach Me Kersey
2014 Teen Lust
Year Title Role Notes
1996 Seinfeld David Lookner Episode: "The Wait Out"
1998 Pentagon Wars, TheThe Pentagon Wars Lt. Col. James Burton HBO television film
From the Earth to the Moon Michael Collins Episodes: "Can We Do This"
"Mare Tranquilitatis"
Pinky and the Brain Director/Hamlet Voice
"Brainie the Poo/Melancholy Brain"
"Whatever Happened to Baby Brain/Just Say Narf"
Hercules Paris of Troy Voice
Episode: "Hercules and the Trojan War"
1999 Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits Dr. John York Episode: "Ripper"
Batman Beyond Paxton Powers Episode: "Ascension"
2000 Race Against Time Burke Television film
2001 Night Visions Gerald Episode: "Quiet Please"
Uprising Dr. Fritz Hippler Television film
2001–2002 X-Files, TheThe X-Files FBI Assistant Director Brad Follmer Episodes:
"Nothing Important Happened Today"
"Nothing Important Happened Today II"
2004 Riverman, TheThe Riverman Ted Bundy Television film
2005 Pope John Paul II Young Karol Wojtyla TV mini-series
2006 Haskett's Chance Television film
2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sidney Truex Episode: "Dependent"
2009–2014 Psych Pierre Despereaux Episodes:
"Extradition: British Columbia"
"Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part"
"Indiana Shawn and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy, Rusty Old Dagger"
"Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels and Burton Guster's Goblet of Fire"
2011 Wonder Woman Henry Detmer Pilot episode (Unsold pilot)
2012 Leverage Scott Roemer Episode: "The (Very) Big Bird Job"
2012 Perception British Intelligence Officer Episode: "Cipher"
2013 The Anna Nicole Story E. Pierce Marshall Television film
2014 Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Edmond Halley, Robert Hooke Voice
Episode "When Knowledge Conquered Fear"
2014 Granite Flats Hugh Ashmead Episodes:
"Put Away Childish Things"
"The Stories We Tell......"
"Cor Unum, Corambis"
"Project Madman"


  • Elwes, Cary; Layden, Joe (2014). As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. New York: Touchstone.  


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  2. ^ "World Almanac".  
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Cary Elwes Movie Box Office Results".  
  5. ^ a b Cerio, Gregory (6 February 1995). "A Hero to the Hilt".  
  6. ^ a b c d Kim, Jae-Ha (12 January 1990). "'"British actor takes turn as American in 'Glory.  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ a b Production Notes"Disney's A Christmas Carol" (152KB  
  9. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (4 December 2005). "The spirit moved him".  
  10. ^ a b "Dr Gordon is back in Saw – Cary Elwes's character from the first Saw film is back by popular demand".  
  11. ^ Roger Wilkes (9 September 2000). "Inside story: Stewart's Grove". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Tam Jr, Henry (13 August 1993). "The 'Robin' Who Has Sherwood Forest Chuckling".  
  13. ^ "Mark & Brian w/Cary Elwes on Marlon Brando". YouTube. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Gray Streeter, Leslie (9 December 2007). "'The Princess Bride' Turns 20".  
  15. ^ "Prince Bride (1987)".  
  16. ^ Westbrook, Bruce (6 September 2001). "'Bride' basks in glow of video".  
  17. ^ "Saw (2004)".  
  18. ^ "Cary Elwes Confirmed for 'Saw 3D', Full Synopsis and Cast". Bloody Disgusting. 25 April 2010. Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  19. ^ Messer, Ron (31 October 2010). "Cary Elwes Exclusive Interview: The Saw 3D Star on Bookending the Franchise, Tintin & Yellow Submarine". Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 
  20. ^ Kit, Borys (14 May 2011). """Disney torpedoes Zemeckis' "Yellow Submarine.  
  21. ^ Sneider, Jeff (13 July 2011). "'"4 thesps apply for 'The Citizen. Variety. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 
  22. ^ Cary Elwes to direct biopic about Kit Lambert,; accessed 4 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Pope Picture Breaks Box Office Records". 3 September 2006. 
  24. ^ "First Two Teaser Clips Psych: 9". DreadCentral.  
  25. ^ Slezak, Michael (21 July 2011). "Psych First Look: The Season 6 Scene Everyone Will Be Talking About! Plus, Musical Update!". TVLine. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  26. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (4 March 2011). "'"Cary Elwes Joins NBC's 'Wonder Woman.  
  27. ^ Rice, Lynette (12 May 2011). "'"NBC rejects 'Wonder Woman.  
  28. ^  
  29. ^ "Delhi Safari to feature voice over by Vanessa Williams and Jason Alexander".  
  30. ^ Hernandez, Ernio (18 March 2003). , 18-23 March"Exonerated"Cary Elwes and Brooke Shields Join Off-Broadway's . Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  31. ^ As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride,, 2 November 2014; accessed 18 November 2014.
  32. ^ The Princess Bride'Cary Elwes wrote book about the making of the film, ,, June 2014; accessed 18 November 2014.
  33. ^ "Celebrities – DeGeneres 'Bedding' Talk-Show Guests".  
  34. ^ Silverman, Stephen M.; Jordan, Julie (27 April 2007). "Cary Elwes, Wife Welcome a Girl". People. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 
  35. ^ Mitchell, Peter (20 August 2005). "Not everyone happy with their cut from Saw".  
  36. ^ Gingold, Michael (25 April 2010). Saw VII" Synopsis and Cast Revealed – Including Cary Elwes!""".  

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