Thomas William Hiddleston is an English actor.
He was born 9 February 1981. Hiddleston was born in Westminster, London, the son of Diana Patricia (née Servaes) Hiddleston, an arts administrator and former stage manager, and James Norman Hiddleston, a physical chemist. His father is from Greenock, Scotland and his mother is from Suffolk. His younger sister, Emma, is also an actress, whilst his older sister, Sarah, is a journalist in India. Through his mother, he is a great-grandson of Vice Admiral Reginald Servaes and a great-great-grandson of food producer Sir Edmund Vestey.
Hiddleston was raised in Wimbledon in his early years, and later moved to a village near Oxford. He started boarding at Windlesham House School at the age of seven, moving to the Dragon School in Oxford a year later. His parents divorced when he was 12.
At the age of 13, Hiddleston started at Eton College, again as a boarder. He continued on to Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge, where he earned a double first in Classics. During his second term at Cambridge, he was seen in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire by talent agent Lorraine Hamilton of Hamilton Hodell. He proceeded to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, from which he graduated in 2005.
One of the highest profile actors in contemporary British popular culture, in 2015 he was named British Film Institute’s first official founding ambassador.
While still doing student plays, Hiddleston began appearing on television, landing parts in Conspiracy (2001), and as Randolph Churchill, the son of Winston Churchill, in the BBC/HBO drama The Gathering Storm (2002). Upon graduating from RADA, Hiddleston was cast in his first film role, playing Oakley in Unrelated (2006). His sister Emma also appeared in the film as Badge. Hiddleston had leading roles in Declan Donnellan’s company Cheek by Jowl’s productions The Changeling (2006), and Cymbeline (2007). His Donmar Warehouse credits include Cassio in Michael Grandage’s production of Shakespeare’s Othello (2008) and Lvov in the West End revival of Chekhov’s Ivanov (2008).
Hiddleston is well-known for his portrayal of Loki in the 2011 Marvel Studios film Thor. He was invited to audition by Kenneth Branagh, the film’s director, after having previously worked with Branagh on Ivanov and Wallander. He originally auditioned for the role of Thor. Hiddleston was given six weeks to bulk up, so he went on a strict diet and gained twenty pounds of muscle. Branagh ultimately decided he was more suitable as the antagonist and cast him as Loki. In 2011, Hiddleston portrayed novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris. He then played the noble Captain Nicholls in War Horse, a film based on the 1982 novel by Michael Morpurgo, directed by none other than Steven Spielberg. The same year he starred as Freddie Page, a RAF pilot in the drama The Deep Blue Sea, alongside Rachel Weisz. In 2012, he reprised his role as the supervillain Loki in The Avengers.
On television in 2012, Hiddleston appeared in the BBC Two series The Hollow Crown, portraying Prince Hal opposite Jeremy Irons as Henry IV in the adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I and Part II. He later appeared as King Henry V in the television film Henry V. In 2013, Hiddleston played Loki again in Thor: The Dark World, following which he played a vampire in Jim Jarmusch’s film Only Lovers Left Alive with Tilda Swinton and Mia Wasikowska.
Hiddleston replaced Benedict Cumberbatch in the gothic horror film Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo del Toro. He starred as Robert Laing in High-Rise (2015). He appeared as Jonathan Pine in the 2016 television mini-series The Night Manager based on the espionage and detective novel of the same name by John le Carré. In early 2017, Hiddleston expressed his will to take a long break from work, and his desire to work again in theater. Later the same year, he starred in Kong: Skull Island. In September 2017, he played the title character in a limited run of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet directed by Kenneth Branagh. The production ran for three weeks at a 160-seat theater, with the tickets given out by lottery system to raise money for RADA. He reprised the role of Loki in Thor: Ragnarok, released on 3 November 2017, and also appeared in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). In 2019, he starred as Robert from 5 March to 8 June in a revival of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre, directed by Jamie Lloyd. In August 2019, he made his Broadway debut reprising the role of Robert in Betrayal, as the production transferred to Broadway for a 17-week limited engagement at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
On 8 November 2018, it was announced that Hiddleston would be reprising his role as Loki in a new Marvel limited series centered on the character which will air on Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+. He is also set to voice the same character in the animated series What If…? In February 2020, it was announced that he is set to star in Netflix political thriller series White Stork. Hiddleston is in talks to reprise his role in a second series of The Night Manager. He is attached to star in a Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s comic book mini-series Hard Boiled produced by Warner Bros and in a James Ivory’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard II as the eponymous character. In March of 2021 it was announced that Hiddleston had joined the cast of the Apple TV+ Drama Series The Essex Serpent, based on the novel of the same name, by Sarah Perry.
Hiddleston has donated items for auction and has supported several charities, including the Small Steps Project, Starlight Children’s Foundation, Cure EB, Comic Relief, Red Nose Day USA, Thomas Coram Foundation for Children, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Amnesty International and Chance to Shine.
He is a UK ambassador of the humanitarian and developmental assistance fund group UNICEF. He travelled to Guinea in early 2013 to raise awareness about hunger and malnutrition, and to South Sudan in early 2015 and late 2016 to report the results of the ongoing civil war on the lives of vast numbers of children across the country. Hiddleston identifies as a feminist. In February 2018, he was named one of the donators by Justice and Equality Fund, the UK version of the Time’s Up initiative. He is also an ambassador of the Illuminating BAFTA campaign, an action which aims to provide opportunities to those who otherwise wouldn’t have been given a chance in the film, games and television industries.