Tom Wilkinson, Prolific Oscar-Nominated Actor, Dies at 75
Very sad film news to close out 2023: Tom Wilkinson, a prolific British actor who appeared in many great films, shows, and on the stage for decades has died. According to the BBC, Wilkinson “died suddenly at home with his wife and family.” He was 75 years old.
In his lifetime, Wilkson appeared in over 130 films and television shows, receiving two Academy Award nominations: One for Best Actor for 2001’s In the Bedroom and one for Best Supporting Actor for 2007’s Michael Clayton. Although he never won an Oscar, Wilkinson did win a BAFTA for his supporting role in one of the biggest U.K. box-office hits of its era: 1997’s The Full Monty, about a crew of unemployed blue-collar workers who decide to make ends meet by becoming exotic dancers.
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Wilkinson began working as an actor in the mid-1970s, but he first gained attention in the United States in the late ’90s, when he appeared in films like The Full Monty, Shakespeare in Love, and Rush Hour. He soon carved out a niche as a character actor, often playing sinister but compelling villains. He may be best known to ScreenCrush readers as mob boss Carmine Falcone in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
But Wilkinson had so many memorable roles during the 2000s. You might also remember him as the doctor who wipes Jim Carrey’s memory of his relationship with Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Michael Clayton was a critical hit in 2007 but its reputation has only grown over time — and Wilkinson’s performance is a huge part of the film’s success.
Wilkinson’s filmography goes on and on like that; one great role after another. He also appeared in Ride With the Devil, The Patriot, Girl With a Pearl Earring, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Valkyrie, The Green Hornet, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, Selma, and Snowden. On television, he appeared in David Copperfield, The Kennedys, and as Benjamin Franklin in HBO’s John Adams miniseries — which earned him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor on a television series. He was the sort of actor you were always excited to see pop up, sometimes unexpectedly, in a film. You knew he would always deliver something interesting.
Wilkinson leaves behind an incredible body of work that will be remembered for decades to come. It’s such a shame that he’s left us so soon, and so suddenly.