Christian Bale is one of the few actors in Hollywood whose child stardom has successfully translated to steady and respectable adult employment. With a wistful handsomeness to complement his impressive, sometimes underrated talent, Bale has become something of a quiet sensation, netting choice roles in a number of unconventional, critically acclaimed films.
Born January 30, 1974, in Pembrokeshire, Wales, Bale was raised in England, Portugal, and the U.S. The product of a creative family (his mother was a dancer and both of his grandfathers were part-time actors), Bale made his stage debut at the age of ten, playing opposite British comedian Rowan Atkinson in The Nerd. In 1986, he debuted on television as Alexis in the miniseries Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna. His film debut came the following year with the lead role in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of J.G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun. Although the film met with very mixed reviews, Bale received almost ubiquitous praise for his portrayal of a young boy interned in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. Following a starring role in a Swedish film, Mio min Mio, Bale next appeared in Kenneth Branagh's celebrated 1988 adaptation of Henry V and in 1990, starred opposite Charlton Heston in a highly-regarded cable adaptation of Treasure Island.