One of the British theatre’s most famous faces, Daniel Craig, who waited tables as a struggling teenage actor with the National Youth Theatre, has gone on to star as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015), and No Time to Die (2020).
He was born Daniel Wroughton Craig on March 2, 1968, at 41 Liverpool Road, Chester, Cheshire, England. His father, Timothy John Wroughton Craig, was a merchant seaman turned steel erector, and then became landlord of the “Ring O’Bells” pub in Frodsham, Cheshire. His mother, Carol Olivia (Williams), was an art teacher. Craig is of English, as well as Welsh, Scottish, and Irish, ancestry. His parents split up in 1972, and young Daniel was raised with his older sister, Lea, in Liverpool, then in Hoylake, Wirral, in the home of his mother. His interest in acting was encouraged by visits to the Liverpool Everyman Theatre arranged by his mother. From the age of 6, Craig started acting in school plays, making his debut in the Frodsham Primary School production of “Oliver!”, and his mother was the driving force behind his artistic aspirations. The first Bond movie he ever saw at the cinema was Roger Moore’s Live and Let Die (1973); young Daniel Craig saw it with his father, so it took a special place in his heart. He was also a good athlete and was a rugby player at Hoylake Rugby Club.
At age 14, Craig played roles in “Oliver”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Cinderella” at Hilbre High School in West Kirby, Wirral. He left Hilbre High School at age 16 to audition at the National Youth Theatre’s (NYT) troupe on their tour in Manchester in 1984. He was accepted and moved down to London. There, his mother and father watched his stage debut as Agamemnon in Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida”. As a struggling actor with the NYT, he was toiling in restaurant kitchens and as a waiter. Craig performed with NYT on tours to Valencia, Spain, and to Moscow, Russia, under the leadership of director Edward Wilson. He failed at repeated auditions at the Guildhall, but eventually his persistence paid off, and in 1988, he entered the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at the Barbican. There, he studied alongside Ewan McGregor and Alistair McGowan, then later Damian Lewis and Joseph Fiennes, among others. He graduated in 1991, after a three-year course under the tutelage of Colin McCormack, the actor from the Royal Shakespeare Company. From 1992-1994, he was married to Scottish actress Fiona Loudon, their daughter, named Ella Craig (born 1992).
Craig made his film debut in The Power of One (1992). His film career continued on television, notably the BBC2 serial Our Friends in the North (1996). He shot to international fame after playing supporting roles in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Road to Perdition (2002). He was nominated for his performances in the leading role in Layer Cake (2004), and received other awards and nominations. Craig was named as the sixth actor to portray James Bond, in October 2005, weeks after he finished his work in Munich (2005), where he co-starred with Eric Bana under the directorship of Steven Spielberg. Craig’s reserved demeanor and his avoidance of the showbiz-party-red-carpet milieu makes him a cool 007. He is the first blond actor to play Bond, and also the first to be born after the start of the film series, and also the first to be born after the death of author Ian Fleming in 1964. Four of the past Bond actors: Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan have indicated that Craig is a good choice as Bond.