Stuart Townsend

Not to be confused with Stuart Townend.
Stuart Townsend

Townsend at the Beverly Hills special screening of Battle in Seattle – 22 September 2008.
Born Stuart Peter Townsend
(1972-12-15) 15 December 1972
Howth, County Dublin, Ireland
Residence Costa Rica
Nationality Irish
Occupation Actor, director
Partner(s) Charlize Theron (2001–2010)
Children 1
Parent(s) Peter Townsend
Lorna Townsend

Stuart Peter Townsend (born 15 December 1972) is an Irish actor and director. His most notable portrayals are of the characters Lestat de Lioncourt in the 2002 film adaptation of Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned, and Dorian Gray in the 2003 film adaptation of Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Early life and career

Townsend was born in Howth, County Dublin, the son of Lorna Hogan, an Irish model, and Peter Townsend, an English professional golfer.[1][2]

He attended the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin where he made his non-professional stage debut in the school's 1993 production of Colin Teevan's Tear Up The Black Sail.[3] His professional stage debut was in 1994's True Lines, directed by John Crowley. True Lines was first performed in Kilkenny; it later moved to the Dublin Theatre Festival and on to the Bush Theatre in London.

Townsend's early film roles were in Irish short films such as "Godsuit" and "Summertime". His first part in a feature length film was Trojan Eddie, a 1996 Anglo-Irish co-production. In 1997 he landed a lead role in the British film Shooting Fish.

After his appearance as the seducer in the title role of About Adam, he started to be noticed in the United States by critics and the public alike. In mid-2000, he briefly returned to the London stage in the Tennessee Williams play Orpheus Descending, starring as Val Xavier, alongside Helen Mirren as Lady Torrance. He appeared in big budget films, including Queen of the Damned, as the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as Dorian Gray.

Townsend was hired to play the part of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, but was replaced by Viggo Mortensen the day before principal photography began.[4] According to Townsend:[4]

I was there rehearsing and training for two months, then was fired the day before filming began. After that I was told they wouldn't pay me because I was in breach of contract due to not having worked long enough. I had been having a rough time with them, so I was almost relieved to be leaving until they told me I wouldn't be paid. I have no good feelings for those people in charge, I really don't. The director wanted me and then apparently thought better of it because he really wanted someone 20 years older than me and completely different.

In 2005, he starred alongside Gabrielle Union in Night Stalker, the remake of the 1974 ABC TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He played the part of Carl Kolchak, an investigative reporter looking into his wife's murder. Night Stalker was abruptly cancelled by ABC after six episodes due to bad viewing figures. He was cited as "too young" by many reviewers and fans of the original series comparing him to Darren McGavin in the original series.

The same year, he played a guest starring role on NBC's Will & Grace as the pansexual pastry chef of Karen Walker who seduces her, Will Truman, and later Karen's maid Rosario. He also made an uncredited cameo in 2005's live-action Æon Flux film. Townsend starred alongside Ryan Reynolds in the 2007 comedy Chaos Theory.

He made his directorial debut with the 2007 film Battle in Seattle which is a portrayal of the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 World Trade Organisation which was undermined by anti-globalisation protesters. The film's cast included Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta and Woody Harrelson, but enjoyed only limited release and no blockbuster support.

He was set to play Fandral in Kenneth Branagh's Thor, but was replaced in January 2010, due to unspecified creative differences.[5]

Townsend also starred in the ABC thriller, Betrayal and starred in the second season of Salem.[6]

Personal life

Townsend's father, Peter, was a golfer, who played in the 1969 and 1971 Ryder Cups.[7]

Townsend has a brother, Dylan Townsend, and sister, Chloe Townsend, from his father's first marriage to Lorna Townsend, who died in 1994 of a brain haemorrhage.[8] Townsend's father has two children, Hugo and Ella, by his Swedish wife, Sofia.[9]

Townsend dated actress Charlize Theron after meeting her on the set of 2002's Trapped. The couple lived together in Los Angeles and Ireland. They said they considered themselves married without an actual marriage. "We didn't have a ceremony," he added. "I don't need a certificate or the state or the church to say otherwise. So no there's no big official story on a wedding, but we are married.... I consider her my wife and she considers me her husband."[10]

Theron split from Townsend when she came back from a holiday in Mexico in January 2010.[11][12]

In May 2015, Townsend's brother claimed that the actor had bought some land, settled down with a woman in Costa Rica and "put acting on the back burner". Townsend is also reportedly expecting the birth of his second child.[13]



Year Film Role Notes
1993 Godsuit John Slattery Main role
1996 Trojan Eddie Dermot Main role
1997 Shooting Fish Jez Main role
Under the Skin Tom Main role
1998 Resurrection Man Victor Kelly Main role
1999 Simon Magus Dovid Bendel Main role
Wonderland Tim Main role
The Venice Project Lark/Gippo the Fool Main role
Mauvaise passe Tom Main role
2000 About Adam Adam Main role
2002 Queen of the Damned Lestat de Lioncourt Main role
Trapped William Jennings Main role
2003 Shade Vernon Main role
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Dorian Gray Main role
2004 Head in the Clouds Guy Malyon Main role
2005 The Best Man Olly Pickering Main role
2005 Aeon Flux Monican Rebel Minor role
2007 Chaos Theory Buddy Endrow Main role
2008 Battle in Seattle As director
2009 Maggie Hill Terrence James Supporting role
2013 A Stranger in Paradise Paul Supporting role


Year Film Role Notes
1995 Summertime Andrew Main role
2005 Will & Grace Edward the pastry Chef 1 episode
2005 Night Stalker Carl Kolchak Main role
2005–2009 Robot Chicken Announcer, Lucky Charms Leprechaun, Ron Weasley 4 episodes
2011–2012 XIII: The Series XIII Main role
2013 Betrayal Jack McAllister Series regular
2015 Elementary Del Gruner Guest Appearance
2015 Salem Dr. Samuel Wainwright 7 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Group Award Result Notes
1998 Fantafestival Best Actor Won Resurrection Man (film)
2003 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a FilmNominated
2008 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Script for FilmNominated Battle in Seattle
2013 WorldFest Best ActorWon XIII: The Series


  1. Wills, Dominic. "Stuart Townsend – Biography". TalkTalk Group. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  2. Murray, Rebecca. "Interview with Stuart Townsend". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  3. "Gaiety School of Acting — News And Events". Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  4. 1 2 Interview with the Vampire, a 22 February 2002 article from Entertainment Weekly
  5. Wigler, Josh (11 Jan 2010). "Stuart Townsend Leaves 'Thor,' Joshua Dallas Will Play Fandral". Retrieved 13 Jan 2010.
  6. Lestat and Xena Heading to Salem! Stuart Townsend, Lucy Lawless, and More Sign Up for Season 2!
  7. Wills, Dominic. "Stuart Townsend Biography". Film biographies. Tiscali. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  8. McQuaile, Jenny (29 July 2004). "Stuart's my big brother and my hero.. He raised us when our mum died; IRISH MODEL DYLAN TOWNSEND ON LIFE WITH HOLLYWOOD COUPLE.". The Mirror (London, England). Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  9. Egan, Barry (14 February 2010). "Stuart finds his life goes on after Theron". Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  10. Chi, Paul. "Stuart Townsend Calls Charlize Theron His Wife:". People Magazine. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  11. Johnston, Max. "Theron ends relationship? Charlize Theron has reportedly split from her partner of nine years.". The Province — Division of Canwest Publishing Inc. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  12. Egan, Barry (February 14, 2010). "Stuart finds his life goes on after Theron". Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  13. Irish actor Stuart Townsend living in Costa Rica and expecting second child, says his brother Dylan
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