Daniel Wroughton Craig was born in 1968 to Olivia, an art teacher, and Timothy, who worked in the Navy but also took on various other work whilst he was ashore.
When Craig was nine, the family moved to the Wirral where he attended Hilbre High School and enjoyed playing rugby and taking part in school plays. It was Olivia’s background, attending Art College and winning a place at RADA (which she didn’t take), that was to have the biggest influence on Daniel when his parents divorced.
Academically, Craig wasn’t a natural and after spending his childhood in Liverpool, he decided to move to London when he was 16 to join the National Youth Theatre. He worked mostly in restaurant kitchens to finance his studies at the NYT. Despite the hardship of working endless hours, he reveled in the theatre’s tours to Valencia and Moscow and made his first proper stage debut in 'Troilus and Cressida'.
After the NYT, Craig went for a place at drama school, which proved more of a challenge than anticipated as he continually failed audition after audition and it seemed his wish may go unfulfilled. But, he was finally accepted at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1988 and for the next three years he received the education he’d always longed for, being tutored by the Royal Shakespeare Company in classes with names such as Ewan McGregor and Rhys Ifans.
Craig’s career began promisingly when he was cast in the film 'The Power of One' before he had even graduated. 1992-1993 would be a busy year in his acting CV when several of the roles he’d filmed were released in quick succession. Parts in the 'Young Indiana Jones' series and 'Drop the Dead Donkey' were enough to pay the bills, but not to attract any significant attention from the critics.
Nevertheless things continued to look good, as a stream of steady parts continued to roll in and, having met and married Scottish actress Fiona Loudon in the midst of his career rise, Craig became a father for the first time when Fiona gave birth to a daughter, Ella. The couple’s relationship soon broke down though and they divorced two years later in 1994.
Craig continued to work onstage as well as on television, appearing at the Royal National Theatre in the original London production of 'Angels in America', which would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize.
In 1996, his hard work finally paid off when he landed a part in the hugely successful TV series, 'Our Friends in the North'. The drama followed four Newcastle friends - Craig, Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee and Mark Strong from 1964, through the Thatcher years, right up to a reunion in 1995. The series’ success helped notch up Craig’s status in the critics’ eyes but he was adamant he would take on as many challenging roles as possible and establish himself as a ‘serious’ actor with potential beyond television.
Andrew Davies' high-profile television adaptation of 'The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders' was to earn Craig more screen time but he grew a little irritated by the press honing in on his sex symbol potential and stopped giving interviews in protest.
Craig's final appearance of 1996 would be in 'Saint-Ex', a biopic of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the French author of 'The Little Prince' and a daring pilot for the French postal service and air force, before and during World War II. Craig starred as Saint-Exupery's best friend, Guillaumet, alongside Miranda Richardson and Janet McTeer. Reviews earned comparisons with the acclaimed movie 'The English Patient', which was released the same year.
After a one episode spot in the erotic vampire series 'The Hunger', Craig returned to the stage in 'Hurlyburly' at the Old Vic in London. One show had to be interrupted by a bomb scare and the cast, much to the delight of the critics, performed the last 20 minutes on the green outside.
More importantly for Craig’s off-screen life though, was his role in the 1997 film 'Obsession', where he was to meet German actress Heike Makatsch (known to many as the secretary who seduces Alan Rickman in the film 'Love Actually'). Makatasch and Craig would be together for seven years, finally splitting in 2004.
1998 would be one of Craig’s best years yet. He enjoyed a starring role in the big budget film 'Elizabeth', playing a monk alongside Oscar-nominated Cate Blanchett. Another less recognised but impressive turn came in 'Love is the Devil' about the artist Francis Bacon; Craig starred as Bacon’s lover to David Jacobi’s Bacon and had to engage in several sado-masochistic sex scenes. The following year, Craig continued a steady run of roles which allowed him to showcase his talent as an actor in films such as the World War I saga, 'The Trench'. Craig was now concentrating on films rather than television.
A blip on the fame game plan occurred in 2001 when Craig appeared in 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' with Angelina Jolie, the film adaptation of the famous computer game. A huge leap from his previous declaration to be seen as a serious actor, the film was a commercial flop but more annoyingly for Craig, it contained endless special effects rather than any concrete story line and he considered it a waste of his time.
Luckily, reparation came in the form of Sam Mendes who had seen Craig on stage and made a note to cast him in his next film, 'Road to Perdition'. Starring alongside Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, the success of the film had the desired effect of elevating Craig’s audience-pull and seducing a league of film critics worldwide.
Craig didn’t let the new found attention go straight to his head and instead of immediately winging his way to Hollywood, he continued to embark on a series of film roles that would best test his skills and appeal not only to the commercial critics, but also to an indie audience.
Examples of these more ‘challenging’ roles included 'Ten Minutes Older: The Cello' (2002), where eight directors were given ten minutes to express a vision of time with Craig appearing in Michael Radford's segment; and 'Addicted to the Stars', where he played a spaceman who returns to Earth after 80 years having aged only ten minutes.
Craig's next role was in 'Sylvia', the film biopic of Sylvia Plath, where he played the poet Ted Hughes. Sylvia, which featured Gwyneth Paltrow in the title role, would follow the couple from their college meeting to her eventual suicide. Despite it not being a huge box office success, it once again marked Craig as a powerful screen presence.
2004 would see Craig back onscreen and continuing to vary his roles. First would come the violent 'Layer Cake', directed by Matthew Vaughn, producer of 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'. Following Layer Cake would come 'Enduring Love', which reunited Craig with director Roger Mitchell ('The Mother', 2003), and old Guildhall peer, Rhys Ifans. The film’s plot revolved around conflicting obsessions and was emotionally disturbing yet earned rave reviews.
Craig’s private life began to create headlines in 2004. Having split from Heike Makatsch in January that year, he was seen out several months later with supermodel Kate Moss. Claims also circulated linking him to Sienna Miller (his Layer Cake co-star), whose relationships automatically sparked furore due to her on-off links to Jude Law.
The press hounded Craig, forcing him to endure the kind of attention he loathed as it centred on his personal life rather than his acting career. Vowing not to make the headlines in the tabloid gossip pages ever again, he was eventually seen with Satsuki Mitchell, an executive producer he'd met while filming his next Hollywood film, 'The Jacket', and he proposed to her late in 2007.
2005 would bring continued success for Craig, particularly with regard to 'The Jacket', starring Adrien Brody, and Steven Spielberg’s much-hyped 'Munich'. But it was the rumour mill surrounding the James Bond franchise that would spark the most interest in Craig that year. After Pierce Brosnan stepped down from the role, the inevitable whispers began to fly as to who would fill those big spy shoes. Brits Clive Owen and Dougray Scott were named as contenders but it was in October 2005 that Craig was officially announced as the next 007, having signed a three-film contract.
Initially, there was a clash of opinion between die-hard Bond fans and fans of Craig independently. The fact that Craig would be the first blonde Bond caused a public backlash and there was talk of boycotting the new film but when several of the previous Bond actors stepped forward to support Craig, the tantrums appeared to die down.
The first film with Craig at the helm was released on 14 November 2006. 'Casino Royale' took a total of $594 million at the box office, making the film the highest grossing Bond film ever and proving the sceptics wrong. Craig's performance was highly acclaimed and he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actor and won the Best Actor award at the Evening Standard British Film Awards - both firsts for an actor in the James Bond role.
In October 2007, it was revealed that Craig had signed on for four more Bond films and after several months of speculation as to the release date, producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli officially announced that the follow-up to Casino Royale would be released in November 2008.
Like Timothy Dalton before him, Craig stands by the fact he is an actor first and Bond second and is adamant he will maintain an identity outside the famous character. To support this, Craig took the part of Lord Asriel in what will be the first of an intended trilogy of Philip Pullman’s bestselling books. Based on the first novel, 'The Golden Compass' was released late in 2007 with an all-star cast including Craig’s former Bond girl co-star, Eva Green.
'The Invasion' (2007), a science fiction horror film, saw Craig team up with Nicole Kidman in a project that failed both critically and financially. This was followed up with another disappointment in 2008 British drama 'Flashbacks of a Fool', which won Craig praise for his acting while the movie’s scripting was criticised.
However, the run of bad luck and box office failures was brought to an end with Craig’s second portrayal of Bond in his next outing as the spy in the 22nd 007 film. Released in 2008, 'Quantum of Solace' performed well at the box office and earned Craig an Empire Award nomination for best actor. While the movie was not praised as much as Casino Royale, it was well-received by audiences and broke the UK opening weekend record.
True to his promise not to let Bond’s character define his roles, Craig went on to star in 'Defiance', a 2008 World War II film set during the occupation of Belarus by Nazi Germany. It opened to mixed reviews from critics and just about broke even commercially.
Throughout 2011, Craig appeared in 'The Adventures of Tintin', 'Dream House', 'Cowboys & Aliens' and 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', and his third Bond film, 'Skyfall' was released in 2012 to great acclaim.
In June 2011, Craig married actress Rachel Weisz, whom he had worked together with on 'Dream House.'