Tim Robbins

Son of folksinger Gil Robbins of ‘The Highwaymen’, the young Tim was surrounded by politics and theatre while growing up in New York’s Bohemian Greenwich Village. He returned to California to study drama at UCLA and, after his graduation in 1981, founded the ‘Actors Gang’, a politically radical and experimental avant-garde theatre troupe.

After TV work in the early 1980s, it wasn’t till his performance as a doltish pitcher in Ron Shelton's 1988 baseball comedy ‘Bull Durham’ that Robbins achieved real notice, while an off-screen romance with co-star Susan Sarandon blossomed into one of Hollywood's most prominent couplings.

In 1992, he starred in Robert Altman's showbiz satire, ‘The Player’, winning Best Actor honours at the Cannes Film Festival. That same year, he wrote, directed, starred and performed the music in ‘Bob Roberts’, a mocumentary brutally parodying right-wing politics.

He is perhaps best-known for his portrayal of Andy Dufresne in 1994's 'Shawshank Redemption', a film based on a short story by Stephen King and co-starring Morgan Freeman.

Despite failing to set the box-office alight, the film was nominated for no less than seven Academy Awards and has been lauded by both critics and fans alike.

His most acclaimed directorial project to date was 1995's ‘Dead Man Walking’, an emotive examination of the death penalty, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director; Sean Penn, portraying a death row inmate, garnered a Best Actor nomination, while Sarandon won Best Actress honours.

After a three-year break from acting, Robbins returned to the screen in 1997 with the comedy ‘Nothing to Lose’.

No stranger to controversy and a keen political activist, Robbins has often used his celebrity status to champion his causes. As co-presenters of the Academy Awards in 1993, Robbins and Sarandon seized the opportunity to publicise the plight of Haitian AIDS victims interned by the US at Guantanamo Bay. More recently, Robbins attended the massive anti-war rally, in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, in London on 15 February 2003.

His depiction of a man left traumatised after being molested as a child, in the film 'Mystic River', garnered Robbins a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and a Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) Award.

Robbins has two children from his relationship with Sarandon, John 'Jack' Henry, who was born 15 May 1989, and Miles Guthrie born 4 May 1992.

The end of the couple's relationship was announced in December 2009.

In a recent interview for Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, Robbins described actors as being trapped in a kind of "slavery" whereby they are afraid to speak their mind about social and political concerns.

He said: "I don't believe you are free if you are measured and careful in what you say because you feel that will make you richer or more famous."

Robbins also explained to Radio 4 listeners that the collapse of a film project he was working on, shortly before the breakdown of his relationship with Sarandon, left him feeling as if he was suffering a mid-life crisis.

Despite his disappointment about the film being shelved, he was able to turn the disappointment around and found enough creative inspiration to record an album, which was released in 2010.

In 2011, Robbins played the disapproving father of the villain Hector Hammond in the superhero film 'The Green Lantern'. At six foot five, he is the tallest actor to have ever won an Oscar, as of 2014.

His latest film was welcome to me in 2014.

He is also a big sports fan supporting the New York Mets and the New York Rangers and frequently attending hockey and baseball games. In 1995, he participated in an advertising campaign for the Rangers and has narrated a documentary on the 1969 Mets for SNY. He also takes part in ice hockey games on a regular basis.