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James Frain

James Frain

English stage and screen actor
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro English stage and screen actor
A.K.A. James Dominic Frain
Countries United Kingdom
Occupations Actor Stage actor Film actor
Gender male
Birth 14 March 1968 (Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, Yorkshire and the Humber)
Spouse: Marta Cunningham
Height: 1.8288 m
Education Central School of Speech and Drama, University of East Anglia
The details

James Dominic Frain (born 14 March 1968) is an English stage and screen actor. His best known roles include those of Thomas Cromwell in the TV series The Tudors (2007–09), vampire Franklin Mott in season three of the HBO drama True Blood, as Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, in the BBC drama serial The White Queen (2013), as Ferdinand in Orphan Black (2015) and as Theo Galavan/Azrael in Season 2 of Gotham.

Frain played leading roles in the BBC dramas Armadillo (2001), The Buccaneers (1995) and The Mill on the Floss (1997) and the films Hilary and Jackie (1998) and Elizabeth (1998). He also appeared as Chief Magistrate Gérard de Villefort in The Count of Monte Cristo and Bassianus in Titus.

Early life

Frain was born in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, and brought up in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, the eldest of eight children of a teacher mother and a stockbroker father. He was educated at Newport Free Grammar School, studied English, Film and Drama at the University of East Anglia and trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.


While in his final year of drama school, he made his film debut in Shadowlands (1993) after being spotted by Richard Attenborough. He was nominated for Best Actor at the 1995 Venice Film Festival for his performance as a Northern Irish terrorist in Thaddeus O'Sullivan's film, Nothing Personal (1995), and for Best Supporting Actor at the Genies in Toronto for his performance in István Szabó's Sunshine (1999).

He has been a regular on the stage in the United Kingdom, appearing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Court Theatre, as well as on the West End. He has also appeared on Broadway and was a recipient of the 2008 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performances along with the rest of the cast of The Homecoming (2007).

He has appeared in a number of television series, such as Armadillo (2001); 24 (2005); Invasion (2006); and The Closer (2006). His more recent roles include Thomas Cromwell in Showtime's The Tudors; the villainous billionaire 'Chess' in the NBC superhero/crime drama series The Cape; heroic Templar Sir Gregory in the Syfy original film Dark Relic (2010); and vampire Franklin Mott in the HBO drama series True Blood. In season 2 of Grimm, Frain joined the cast as a mysterious recurring character named Eric Renard.

He starred in the second season of Gotham as Azrael. In January 2017, it was announced that he will portray Sarek, the father of Spock on the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery TV series.

Personal life

In 2004, Frain married Emmy nominated director Marta Cunningham; they have two children. In his spare time, he is an amateur artist.

Selected filmography


  • Shadowlands (1993) – Peter Whistler
  • Nothing Personal (1995) – Kenny
  • An Awfully Big Adventure (1995) – John Harbour
  • Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996) – Prince Felix Yusupov
  • Loch Ness (1996) – Adrian Foote
  • Robinson Crusoe (1997) - Defoe's Publisher
  • Elizabeth (1998) – Spanish Ambassador Álvaro de la Quadra
  • Hilary and Jackie (1998) – Daniel Barenboim
  • Sunshine (1999) – Gustave Sonnenschein
  • Titus (1999) – Bassianus
  • Where the Heart Is (2000) – Forney Hull
  • Reindeer Games (2000) – Nick
  • Armadillo (2001) - Lorimer Black
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) – J.F. Villefort
  • Path to War (2002) - Richard N. Goodwin
  • Into the Blue (2005) – Reyes
  • The Front Line (2006) – Eddie Gilroy
  • Everybody's Fine (2009) – Tom
  • Tron: Evolution (video game) (2010) – Zuse
  • Tron: Legacy (2010) – Jarvis
  • Water for Elephants (2011) – Rosie's Caretaker
  • Transit (2012) – Marek
  • The Lone Ranger (2013) – Barret


  • Prime Suspect: Series 3 (1993 miniseries) – Jason Baldwin
  • The Buccaneers (1995 miniseries) – Julius Folyat, The Duke of Trevenick
  • Tales from the Crypt (1996) – Elliot (episode: "Report from the Grave")
  • Macbeth on the Estate (TV film) (1997) - Macbeth
  • Arabian Nights (2000) – Schahzenan/Harun al-Rashid
  • The Vice (2001) (TV series)(Series 4 Episode 1: Trade) - Gordon Ellis
  • Spartacus (TV film) (2004) – David
  • Empire (2005) – Marcus Junius Brutus
  • 24 (2005) – Paul Raines
  • Threshold (2005) (episode title: "Revelations" - Reverend Lavery)
  • Invasion (2006) – Eli Szura
  • The Closer (2006) – (episode title: "Critical Missing" - Paul Andrews)
  • The Tudors (2007–09) – Thomas Cromwell
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2008) (Episode title: "Vanishing Act"; Dean Holiday)
  • Fringe (2008) (Episode title: "Safe"; Salmon Kohl)
  • In Plain Sight (2009) (Episode title: "Once a Ponzi Time"; Philip Ashmore/Roy Murray)
  • Grey's Anatomy (2009) (Episode title: "I Always Feel Like Someone Is Watchin' Me"; Tom)
  • Lie to Me (2009) (Episode title: "Grievous Bodily Harm"; Lance McClellan)
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2009) (Episode title: "Users"; Martin Gold)
  • Californication (2009) (Episode title: "Mia Culpa"; Paul)
  • FlashForward (2009–10) – Dr. Gordon Myhill
  • Leverage (2010) (Episode title: "The King George Job"; John Douglas Keller)
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2010) (Episode title; "Sin City Blue"; Jeffrey Hughes)
  • CSI: Miami (2010) (Episode title: "Sudden Death"; Richard Ellison)
  • True Blood (2010) – Franklin Mott
  • The Cape (2011) – Peter Fleming/Chess
  • Burn Notice (2011) (Episode title: "Eye for an Eye"; James Forte)
  • The Mentalist (2012; episode "At First Blush")
  • Grimm (2012–13) – Eric Renard
  • The White Queen (2013) – Lord Warwick, "the Kingmaker"
  • Sleepy Hollow (2013) – Rutledge
  • The Tunnel (2013) – John Sumner
  • Shameless (2013) – Frank's doctor (Season 3 Finale)
  • Intruders (2014) – Richard Shepherd
  • Agent Carter (2015) - Leet Brannis
  • Orphan Black (2015-2017) - Ferdinand
  • True Detective (2015) - Kevin Burris
  • Gotham (2015–2016) - Theo Galavan/Azrael
  • Star Trek: Discovery (2017-) - Sarek
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