A wickedly debonair blend of Cary Grant and Joan Crawford, British actor Rupert Everett almost single-handedly conquered Hollywood with his turn as the man who dances off into the sunset with Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding. As the handsome, elegant, and gay George, Everett (who had been openly gay for some years) ushered in a different kind of gay sensibility in Hollywood, one that, rather than begging audiences for acceptance, flatly told them to get over it.
Born in Norfolk, England, to a wealthy family on May 29, 1959, Everett was sent away for schooling at the age of seven. Taught by Benedictine monks at Amplesforth College, he was a good student and trained to be a classical pianist. After he discovered acting at the age of 15, he dropped out of school and ran off to London, where he supported himself as a prostitute for a couple of years (something he admitted in a 1997 interview with US magazine) and eventually enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Unfortunately, Everett clashed frequently with instructors and eventually dropped out, choosing to flee to Scotland. It was there that he got his first professional job as an apprentice with the Citizen's Theatre of Glasgow, and in the early '80s, his career began to bud. In 1982, he created the role of Guy Bennett for the West End production of Another Country, which also featured a very young Kenneth Branagh. Everett won raves for his portrayal of the younger version of real-life spy Guy Burgess, and in 1984 re-created the role for the play's film version. The following year, he starred with Miranda Richardson in Dance With a Stranger, turning in a strong performance in the critically acclaimed film. Although it seemed Everett's career was on the rise, the actor unfortunately opted for near-nonentity status with his 1987 U.S. film debut in Hearts of Fire, a rock & roll drama co-starring Bob Dylan. Following this flop, Everett disappeared for a while, taking up residence in Paris and writing a semi-autobiographical novel, Hello, Darling, Are You Working?.