Robert Carlyle

Robert Carlyle Biography

Robert Carlyle as Renard

Robert Carlyle OBE is a Scottish actor born on April 14, 1961 in Maryhill, Glasgow. Despite leaving school at age 16 without any qualifications, Carlyle pursued his interest in drama and attended night classes at Cardonald College in Glasgow.

He became involved in drama at the Glasgow Arts Centre at age 21 and subsequently graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD).

In 1990 Robert Carlyle won his first roles in TV and film in an episode of Taggart and the film Silent Scream. His breakthrough role came as murderer Albert “Albie” Kinsella in an October 1994 episode of Cracker, opposite Robbie Coltrane and Christopher Eccleston. Shortly after, he landed the lead role of Highland policeman Hamish Macbeth in the BBC comedy-drama Hamish Macbeth, which ran for three seasons from 1995 to 1997.


In 1996 and 1997, Robert Carlyle shot to global fame after starring as psychopathic Francis Begbie in Trainspotting. He later revised the role for T2 Trainspotting in 2017. A year he won a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role as Gaz, the leader of a group of amateur male strippers, in The Full Monty.

Robert Carlyle has played his fair share of villains, starring as Bond villain Renard in the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough and a cannibalistic soldier in the 1999 film Ravenous. He played Adolf Hitler in the 2003 miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil and the villain Durza in Eragon in 2006.

From 2011 to 2018, Robert Carlyle portrayed Rumplestiltskin / Mr. Gold in the fantasy-drama television series Once Upon a Time. In 2019, he portrayed Ogilvy in a three-part television adaption of The War of the Worlds for the BBC, and made an uncredited appearance as John Lennon in the film Yesterday. In 2020, he portrayed Robert Sutherland, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party in Cobra.

Robert Carlyle has also taken on smaller, character-driven projects that tackle important social issues, such as the Scottish drama Carla’s Song (1996) and the British crime drama Dead Fish (2005).

Robert Carlyle has received numerous awards and nominations for his work, including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his role in the 1997 television film The Full Monty. In 2009, Carlyle was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to drama.

Carlyle has been married to make-up artist Anastasia Shirley since 1997. They have three children.