Frequently cast as a working-class hard man, British actor Ray Winstone gained his first dose of international recognition for his brutal portrayal of an abusive, alcoholic family patriarch in Gary Oldman's Nil by Mouth (1997).
Born in Hackney, London, on February 19, 1957, Winstone spent much of his youth as an amateur boxer. He first stepped into the ring at the age of 12 and over the course of the next several years won over 80 medals and trophies. Reportedly deciding to give acting a try because he was tired of getting hit, Winstone studied drama for a couple of years at the Corona School. He got his first break when director Alan Clarke cast him in the BBC's televised production of Scum (1977), a harsh depiction of life in a Borstal for young offenders. Due to its content, the film was banned before being released theatrically two years later. Winstone began appearing in other films that same year, notably the Who's Quadrophenia.