A remarkable actor who brings a vibrant intensity to his performances, Christopher Eccleston is widely held to be one of the most talented British actors of the 1990s. Primarily known for his portrayals of working-class men, Eccleston, who possesses a lanky, stone-faced physical appeal, has won international attention for his work in such films as Jude and Elizabeth.
A product of the Northwestern English town of Salford, where he was born on February 16, 1964, Eccleston enjoyed a happy working-class upbringing. A poor student with a love of television, he initially wanted to be a professional soccer player. At the age of 19, however, he realized that acting was his calling, and enrolled in London's Central School of Speech and Drama. As an actor, his early influences had been Ken Loach's Kes and Albert Finney's performance in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but he soon found himself interpreting the classics, performing the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Molière. At the age of 25, he made his professional stage debut in the Bristol Old Vic's production of A Streetcar Named Desire.