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Laurence Fox

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Laurence Fox
Fox during the filming of Lewis in Oriel College, Oxford, 2008
Personal details
Laurence Paul Fox

(1978-05-26) 26 May 1978 (age 42)
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
(m. 2007; div. 2016)
ParentsJames Fox
Mary Piper
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
  • Actor
  • singer-songwriter
  • guitarist

Laurence Paul Fox (born 26 May 1978) is an English actor and political activist. He is best known for playing the supporting role of DS James Hathaway in the British TV drama series Lewis from 2006 to 2015. A member of the Robin Fox family, Fox attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and graduated in 2001. He first appeared in The Hole (2001), and has since appeared in numerous films, television features, and theatre productions. Fox is also a singer-songwriter and guitarist with his debut album, Holding Patterns, released in February 2016.

Early years and education

The Old Schools of Harrow School

Laurence Fox was born in 1978 in Leeds,[1][2] the third of the five children of James Fox and Mary Elizabeth Piper.[3] His father, James, was the son of Robin Fox, a theatrical agent, who married Angela Muriel Darita Worthington, daughter of the playwright Frederick Lonsdale.[3]

Fox's siblings are Tom (born 1975), Robin (born 1976), Lydia (born 1979), and Jack (born 1985); Lydia and Jack are actors. Lydia Fox is married to actor Richard Ayoade.[4] His uncles are the actor Edward Fox and the theatrical and film producer Robert Fox. The actors Emilia and Freddie Fox are his first cousins, being the children of Edward Fox.[3]

At the age of 13, he was enrolled at Harrow School.[5] He was expelled a few weeks before his A-levels. He was unable to obtain a place at any university, because of a report about him from Harrow.[6] After working as a gardener[6] and as an office worker,[5] he discovered that he preferred acting and enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). During his time there, he appeared in numerous theatre productions, including the lead roles of Gregers Werle in Ibsen's The Wild Duck, Marcus Andronicus in Titus Andronicus, and Stephen Daedalus in an adaptation of James Joyce's novel Ulysses.[7] His first break into film was the horror-thriller The Hole (2001).

Acting career

Fox, who graduated from RADA on 1 July 2001,[8] followed up The Hole by appearing in Robert Altman's film Gosford Park (2001). He then donned uniforms in a slew of film and television features, including roles as a German airman in Island at War (2004), an SS officer in The Last Drop (2005), and as British soldiers in the 2002 films Deathwatch and Ultimate Force, and in Colditz (2005). In the last made-for-television film, Fox played Capt. Tom Willis who, after an unsuccessful attempt to break out of a prisoner-of-war camp, is brought to Oflag IV-C in Colditz Castle, one of the most infamous German POW camps for officers in World War II. Actor Kevin Whately caught Fox's performance in the last ten minutes of the film. The next day, at a meeting regarding a new project, Whately mentioned that Fox "would be worth taking a look at".[9]

As a result, Fox was cast in the ITV detective drama Lewis as Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, who becomes the partner of Detective Inspector Robert Lewis, played by Whately. The pilot of this spin-off from Inspector Morse (1987–2000), was ITV's highest rated drama of 2006.[10]

Fox has also portrayed Prince Charles, in Whatever Love Means (2005);[1][11] Wisley, one of Jane Austen's suitors, in Becoming Jane (2007); and Sir Christopher Hatton, the Lord Chancellor of England in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, also released in 2007. In addition, in that year Fox was seen on ITV as Cecil Vyse in Andrew Davies' adaptation of A Room with a View based on E.M. Forster's 1908 novel.

On stage, Fox appeared in Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw at the Strand Theatre (now the Novello Theatre) in London in 2002,[12] and John Ford's 17th-century play 'Tis Pity She's a Whore in 2005.[13] Between 2006 and 2007 he starred in Treats by Christopher Hampton with his future wife, Billie Piper.[14] In April 2007, Fox received a police caution after he was arrested for assault when he punched a photographer outside the Garrick Theatre in London where he was performing in Treats;[15] newspapers reported that the caution would remain on his record for three years and might prevent his obtaining a visa to perform in the US.[16] In 2013, Fox played Guy Haines[17] in Strangers on a Train at London's Gielgud Theatre.[18] On 9 May 2015 he portrayed a wartime soldier composing a letter at VE Day 70: A Party to Remember in Horse Guards Parade, London that was broadcast live on BBC1.[citation needed]

In 2018, Fox joined the cast of the ITV series Victoria, playing Lord Palmerston, for its third season, which first aired on PBS in January 2019.[19]

He is signed to Fox Cub Records[20] where he is the Director and sole named officer.[21] Laurence Fox has said he was banned from producing a song called "MeToo" by the record label, where he is the director.[22][23][24]

In November 2020, Fox said that he had been dropped by his agent as a result of his public political statements.[25]

Political views

In January 2020, Fox attracted media attention for stating that the depiction of a Sikh soldier in the film 1917 was "forced diversity", in spite of the fact that Sikh soldiers were in the army.[26] Fox later apologised for the "clumsy way" in which he had expressed himself.[27] Appearing as a panellist on the BBC's political debate programme Question Time in the same month, he said that Meghan Markle was not a victim of racism and described as racist an individual in the audience who had called him a "white privileged male".[28] In March 2020, the actors' union, Equity, which had criticised Fox for his views, withdrew the criticism and apologised for it.[28]

In September 2020, Fox said that he had been "cancelled" by fellow actor Rebecca Front, because she had blocked him on Twitter over his use of the All Lives Matter counter-slogan in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Fox later apologised for revealing this through tweeting a private text conversation between the two performers, in which Front had explained her reasons for blocking him.[29][30]

In September 2020, Fox was reported to have attracted funding for a new political party, provisionally called Reclaim,[31][32] and dubbed "UKIP for culture".[33] It emerged in October 2020 that the party name had yet to be successfully registered with the Electoral Commission and that there was a naming conflict with the "Reclaim Project" of Manchester, an established charity in Manchester endeavouring to give opportunities to working-class children.[34]

In October 2020, Fox announced he would be boycotting Sainsbury's because they "support racial segregation and discrimination" in reference to the store establishing safe spaces for black employees, and asked others to do the same. Sainsbury's later clarified that the safe spaces were online support groups established in response to Black Lives Matter and promoted as part of supporting Black History Month.[35] Feeling "falsely smeared as a racist", he replied to a number of tweets reacting to that announcement by calling their authors "paedophiles". Two of those people, RuPaul's Drag Race UK contestant Crystal and Simon Blake, deputy chair of the LGBT rights charity Stonewall, both gay men, later announced they would be suing Fox for defamation. Fox deleted the tweets and explained in further tweets that he wanted to teach people a lesson in calling people something which they are not.[36]

Personal life

Fox and actress Billie Piper started dating in 2006 while performing together in the stage play Treats.[5] On 31 December 2007, they married.[37][38] They have two sons, born in 2008 and 2012.[39][40] On 24 March 2016, Fox announced that the couple had separated and that no third party was involved in the split.[41] On 12 May 2016, it was announced that Fox and Piper had divorced.[42]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 The Hole[43] Geoff Bingham
2001 Gosford Park Lord Rupert Standish
2002 Deathwatch Capt. Bramwell Jennings
2003 Al sur de Granada (South from Granada) Ralph Partridge
2005 The Last Drop Obergruppenführer Kessler
2007 Becoming Jane Mr Wisley
2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age Sir Christopher Hatton
2011 W.E. King George VI
2019 The Professor and the Madman Philip Lyttelton Gell

Some information in this table was obtained from Laurence Fox: Filmography, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 16 March 2008.


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Ultimate Force Cpl. Mick Sharp "Something to Do with Justice"
"Natural Selection"
2003 Foyle's War Simon Walker Episode: "War Games"
2004 Island at War Airman Bernhardt Tellemann
2004 AD/BC: A Rock Opera Townsfolk
2005 Colditz[44] Capt. Tom Willis
2005 Jericho Peter Bridgewater Episode: "The Killing of Johnny Swan"
2005 Egypt
Leonard "The Search for Tutankhamun"
"The Curse of Tutankhamun"
2005 Whatever Love Means[1][11] Charles, Prince of Wales
2006–2015 Lewis[10][45][46] D.S. James Hathaway
2006 Agatha Christie's Marple: The Sittaford Mystery James Pearson
2007 A Room with a View Cecil Vyse
2008 Wired Philip Manningham
2011 Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me Jonathan Donald
2015 Bear Grylls: Mission Survive Himself, contestant
2015 The Frankenstein Chronicles Frederick Dipple
2017 Frankie Drake Mysteries Greg Mills
2019 Victoria Lord Palmerston
2020 White Lines David

Some information in this table was obtained from Laurence Fox: Filmography, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 16 March 2008.


Year Title Role Venue
19–28 October 2000 Kit's Play[47] by Howard Brenton The DG/Earl of Northumberland Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, London, England
[While at RADA] The Wild Duck (1884) by Henrik Ibsen Gregers Werle
[While at RADA] Titus Andronicus (1584 – early 1590s) by William Shakespeare Marcus Andronicus
[While at RADA] Ulysses based on the James Joyce novel first published in its entirety in 1922 Stephen Daedalus
[While at RADA] The Wild Goose Chase (1652) by John Fletcher Belleur
[While at RADA] The Provoked Wife (17th century) by John Vanbrugh Constant
8–17 February 2001 Hobson's Choice[48] (first performed 1916) by Harold Brighouse Fred Beanstock Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, London, England
2002 Mrs Warren's Profession (1893)[12] by George Bernard Shaw Frank Gardner Strand Theatre, London, England
2005 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (first performed 1629–1633)[13] by John Ford Soranzo Southwark Playhouse, London, England; and United Kingdom tour
2006–2007 Treats (1975)[14] by Christopher Hampton Patrick Garrick Theatre, Richmond Theatre, Royal Court Theatre and Southwark Playhouse, London, England
2012 Our Boys (1993)[14] by Jonathan Guy Lewis Joe Duchess Theatre, London, England
2013–2014 Strangers on a Train[17] Guy Haines Gielgud Theatre, London, England
2016 The Patriotic Traitor Charles de Gaulle Park Theatre, London, England

Some information in this table was obtained from the following websites: Laurence Fox, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, archived from the original on 3 February 2008, retrieved 18 March 2008; Laurence Fox: Other works, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 16 March 2008.


  • "Gunfight" (2012)
  • "So Be Damned" (2013)[53]
  • Sorry for My Words EP (2013)[54]
  • "Headlong" (2015)
  • "Rise Again" (2016)


  1. ^ a b c Grice, Elizabeth (16 December 2005), "The young pretender", The Daily Telegraph.
  2. ^ McFerran, Ann (11 July 2004), "Relative Values: James Fox and his son Laurence, actors", The Times
  3. ^ a b c Fordy, Tom (24 January 2020). "Crazy like a Fox: Laurence, James, and the history of a very un-PC acting dynasty". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  4. ^ Petridis, Alex (15 January 2011), "Richard Ayoade: Meet Mr Modest", The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b c Whitworth, Damian (28 December 2007), "The face: Laurence Fox: He's got that luvvy feeling", The Times.
  6. ^ a b Jardine, Cassandra (1 November 2002), "I wished Dad was a hell-raiser", The Daily Telegraph.
  7. ^ Laurence Fox, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, archived from the original on 3 February 2008, retrieved 18 March 2008.
  8. ^ Graduate directory: Fox, Laurence, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, archived from the original on 16 July 2009, retrieved 16 July 2009; Graduate actors – 2001 part 1, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, archived from the original on 25 December 2007, retrieved 19 March 2008.
  9. ^ Gilbert, Gerard (11 January 2006), "Kevin Whately: An inspector calls", The Independent.
  10. ^ a b Laurence Fox interview, ITV, 16 August 2007, archived from the original on 31 March 2008, retrieved 16 March 2008.
  11. ^ a b Peterkin, Tom (28 May 2005), "Royal love stories to be retold on TV", The Daily Telegraph; Anthony, Andrew (1 January 2006), "Even Bragg was boggled [review of Whatever Love Means]", The Guardian.
  12. ^ a b Koenig, Rhoda (15 October 2002), "Mrs Warren's Profession, Strand Theatre, London", The Independent.
  13. ^ a b Coveney, Michael (5 October 2005), "'Tis Pity She's A Whore, Southwark Playhouse, London", The Independent; Spencer, Charles (12 October 2005), "Heady mix of sex and gore", The Daily Telegraph.
  14. ^ a b c Tickets now on sale for Treats at the Garrick Theatre, London Theatre Guide, 28 December 2006, retrieved 16 March 2008; Treats reviews, Albemarle of London, 2007, archived from the original on 7 July 2011, retrieved 17 March 2008; Treats – Richmond Theatre, IndieLondon, 2007, retrieved 16 March 2008; Spencer, Charles (9 March 2007), "Treat yourself to a sick note, Billie", The Daily Telegraph; Billington, Michael (9 March 2007), "Treats, Garrick Theatre, London", The Guardian; Jones, Alice (9 March 2007), "First Night: Treats, Garrick Theatre, London: Billie finds it hard to shine in two dimensions", The Independent; Review round-up: Was Piper treated to good notices?,, 9 March 2007, archived from the original on 22 March 2007, retrieved 17 March 2008; Groskop, Viv (11 March 2007), "The method in Billie's maladies: Despite – or because of? – her turbulent week, Billie Piper's stage debut is a triumph", The Guardian.
  15. ^ Selby, Jenn (11 February 2014). "Laurence Fox branded 'disgusting and appalling' by police after leaving five-year-old son in car". The Independent. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  16. ^ "Fox 'bitterly regrets' assault arrest". 23 April 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2008.[dead link]
  17. ^ a b "Acting dynasties collide in revival of thriller Strangers on a Train". London Evening Standard. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Fatal Attraction and Strangers On A Train head to West End stage". BBC News. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  19. ^ "Lewis actor Laurence Fox joins Victoria as ITV announces new stars for series three". Radio Times. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Laurence Fox: Why the only person I bow down to is my wife".
  21. ^ "FOX CUB RECORDS LIMITED – Officers (free information from Companies House)".
  22. ^ Smith, Julia Llewellyn (17 November 2019). "Laurence Fox interview: Let the hipsters hate me — I won't dance to their politically correct tune" – via
  23. ^ Mararike, Shingi. "Actor Laurence Fox snaps at Rada 'leftism'" – via
  24. ^ Specter, Francesca. "Laurence Fox criticises celebrities for wearing 'erotic' black dresses in support of Time's Up" – via
  25. ^ "Laurence Fox claims he has 'been dropped by his agent' following controversial racism row". Metro. 13 November 202..
  26. ^ "Laurence Fox addresses criticism after saying Sikh soldier in 1917 'forced diversity' on viewers". The Independent. 22 January 2020.
  27. ^ "Laurence Fox apologises to Sikhs for 'clumsy' 1917 comments". BBC News. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  28. ^ a b "Laurence Fox: Actors union Equity apologises for 'disgrace' tweets". BBC News. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Rebecca Front blocks Lewis co-star Laurence Fox over All Lives Matter claims". 10 September 2020.
  30. ^ "Laurence Fox apologises to Rebecca Front after Twitter row". Evening Standard. 10 September 2020.
  31. ^ Hope, Christopher (27 September 2020). "Laurence Fox launches a new political party to fight the culture wars". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  32. ^ Heren, Kit (27 September 2020). "Laurence Fox to set up new political party dubbed 'Ukip for culture'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  33. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (27 September 2020). "Laurence Fox to launch new political party described as 'Ukip for culture'". The Independent. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  34. ^ Littlejohn, Georgina (11 October 2020). "Laurence Fox faces legal action from youth charity Reclaim over party name". Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  35. ^ "Laurence Fox boycotts Sainsbury's after it supports Black History Month". The Independent. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  36. ^ "Laurence Fox to be sued by RuPaul's Drag Race star and charity boss over 'paedophile' comments". Sky News. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  37. ^ "Church wedding for Piper and Fox", BBC News, 31 December 2007.
  38. ^ Osborne, Hilary (31 December 2007), "Stars respond to Piper's wedding call", The Guardian; Pidd, Helen (1 January 2008), "Billie Piper goes traditional for her second wedding", The Guardian Borland, Sophie (4 January 2008), "Billie Piper's New Year's Eve wedding", The Daily Telegraph; The things they say 7468,, 2 March 2008, retrieved 16 March 2008
  39. ^ Chris Evans (21 October 2008), Winston James Fox, welcome to Planet Earth, Chris Evans blog, BBC, archived from the original on 24 October 2008, retrieved 22 October 2008; "Billie Piper and Gillian Anderson give birth", The Belfast Telegraph, 22 October 2008.
  40. ^ "Billie Piper names son Eugene Pip Fox". 12 April 2012.
  41. ^ "Billie Piper announces split from Laurence Fox after eight years of marriage". BBC News. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  42. ^ "Billie Piper and Laurence Fox divorce". ITV News. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  43. ^ Fox uneasy working with Knightley,, 29 February 2008, retrieved 16 March 2008.
  44. ^ Rampton, James (24 March 2005), "Dancing out of Colditz", The Independent.
  45. ^ Davies, Serena (23 February 2008), "Lewis: A class double act", The Daily Telegraph. In an interview with TV Choice published in April 2010, Fox expressed amusement at this quote by him: "[M]y Wikipedia page is the most horrific thing in the world. It quotes me as saying, 'There ain't no method to my acting' or something like that!" (Comerford, Mary (27 April 2010), "Interview Extra: Kevin Whately, Lewis", TV Choice, archived from the original on 8 July 2010)
  46. ^ Wilson, Benji (March 2007), "Laurence Fox Q&A", Radio Times.
  47. ^ Autumn 2000 productions, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 2000–2001, archived from the original on 26 December 2007, retrieved 19 March 2008; 2000–2001 final year productions [notes], Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 2000–2001, archived from the original on 18 August 2007, retrieved 19 March 2008.
  48. ^ Spring 2001 productions, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 2000–2001, archived from the original on 26 December 2007, retrieved 19 March 2007; 2000–2001 final year productions [notes], Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 2000–2001, archived from the original on 17 August 2007, retrieved 19 March 2008.
  49. ^ "Laurence Fox – Holding Patterns". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  50. ^ Foster, Alistair (5 February 2016). "Laurence Fox releases first album ... but there's no duet with Billie Piper". Evening Standard. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  51. ^ Hann, Michael (21 January 2020). "Laurence Fox's music career: less Chelsea Hotel than Chelsea Travelodge". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  52. ^ "Laurence Fox". Discogs. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  53. ^ Morris, Andy (26 February 2013), "Lewis be damned: Check out Laurence Fox's emotional new single", GQ, archived from the original on 1 March 2013.
  54. ^ Jones, Alice (21 March 2013). "The fantastic Fox family; and stitching up the critics". The Independent.

Further reading

External links