Geoffrey Roy Rush is an Australian actor and film producer. Rush is the youngest amongst the few people who have won the “Triple Crown of Acting”: the Academy Award, the Primetime Emmy Award and the Tony Award. He has won one Academy Award for acting (from four nominations), three British Academy Film Awards (from five nominations), two Golden Globe Awards and four Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Rush is the founding President of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts and was named the 2012 Australian of the Year. He is also the first actor to win the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics’ Choice Movie Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for a single performance in film for his performance in Shine (1996).
Geoffrey Rush Background
Rush was born in Toowoomba, Queensland, the son of Merle (Bischof), a department store sales assistant and Roy Baden Rush, an accountant for the Royal Australian Air Force. His father was of English, Irish and Scottish ancestry while his mother was of German descent. His parents divorced when he was five and his mother subsequently took him to live with her parents in suburban Brisbane. Before he began his acting career, Rush attended Everton Park State High School and graduated from the University of Queensland with a bachelor’s degree in Arts. While at university, he was talent-spotted by Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) in Brisbane. Rush began his career with QTC in 1971, appearing in 17 productions.
In 1975, Rush went to Paris for two years and studied mime, movement and theatre at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, before returning to resume his stage career with QTC. In 1979, he shared an apartment with actor Mel Gibson for four months while they co-starred in a stage production of Waiting for Godot.
Geoffrey Rush Stage Career
Rush made his theatre debut in the QTC’s production of Wrong Side of the Moon. He worked with the QTC for four years, appearing in roles ranging across classical plays and pantomime, from Juno and the Paycock to Hamlet on Ice. Following these, Rush left for Paris where he studied further.
Rush’s acting credits include Shakespeare’s plays, The Winter’s Tale (with the State Theatre Company of South Australia in 1987 at The Playhouse in Adelaide), Troilus and Cressida (at the Old Museum Building in 1989). He also appeared in an ongoing production of Oscar Wilde’s. The Importance of Being Earnest as John Worthing (Ernest) (in which his wife, Jane Menelaus, appeared as Gwendolen).
In September 1998, Rush played the title role in the Beaumarchais play The Marriage of Figaro for the QTC. This was the opening production of the Optus Playhouse at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre at South Bank in Brisbane. A pun on Rush’s name (and the circumstances) was used in the opening prologue of the play with the comment that the “Optus Playhouse was opening with a Rush”.
Rush has appeared on stage for the Brisbane Arts Theatre and in many other theatre venues. He has also worked as a theatre director. In 2007, he starred as King Berenger in a production of Eugène Ionesco’s Exit the King at the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne and Company B in Sydney, directed by Neil Armfield. For this performance, he received a Helpmann Award nomination for best male actor in a play.
Rush made his Broadway debut in a re-staging of Exit the King under Malthouse Theatre’s touring moniker Malthouse Melbourne and Company B Belvoir. This re-staging featured a new American cast including Susan Sarandon. The show opened on 26 March 2009 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Rush won the Outer Critics Circle Award, Theatre World Award, Drama Desk Award, the Distinguished Performance Award from the Drama League Award and the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.
In 2010, Rush played Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone on its Australian tour.
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In 2011, Rush played the lead in a theatrical adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s short story The Diary of a Madman at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Rush won for this role Helpmann Award and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award.
From November 2011, Rush played the role of Lady Bracknell in the Melbourne Theatre Company production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Other actors from the 1988 production include Jane Menelaus, this time as Miss Prism and Bob Hornery, who had played Canon Chasuble as the two butlers.
Geoffrey Rush Film Career
Rush made his film debut in the Australian film Hoodwink in 1981. His next film was Gillian Armstrong’s Starstruck, the following year. In the coming years, he appeared in small roles on television dramas, including a role as a dentist in a 1993 episode of the British television series Lovejoy. He made his breakthrough performance in 1996 with Shine, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. That same year, James L. Brooks flew him to Los Angeles to audition for the part of Simon Bishop in As Good as It Gets and offered him the role but Rush declined it
In 1998, he appeared in three major films: Les Misérables, Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love for which he received his second Academy Award nomination as Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 1999, Rush took the lead role as Steven Price in the horror film House on Haunted Hill. In 2000, he received his third Academy Award nomination, for Quills, in which he played the Marquis de Sade and he voiced the role of Bunyip Bluegum in The Magic Pudding.
Rush’s career continued at a fast pace, with nine films released from 2001 to 2003. He starred in the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl as Captain Hector Barbossa also appearing in its sequels, Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End, On Stranger Tides, and Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Rush reprised his character’s voice for the enhancements at the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom theme parks, which involved an Audio-Animatronic with Rush’s likeness being installed. He also voiced Nigel the pelican in Finding Nemo.
Rush at the Sydney premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in May 2011
Rush played actor Peter Sellers in the television film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. For this performance, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie. In 2005, he starred in Steven Spielberg’s Munich as Ephraim, a Mossad agent.
In 2006, Rush hosted the Australian Film Institute Awards for the Nine Network. He was the Master of Ceremonies again at the 2007 AFI Awards.
In the beginning of 2009, Rush appeared in a series of special edition postage stamps featuring some of Australia’s internationally recognised actors. He, Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman each appear twice in the series. Rush’s image is taken from Shine.
In 2010, Rush played speech therapist Lionel Logue in The King’s Speech, a part that earned him a BAFTA and nominations for the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actor.
Rush returned as Captain Hector Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, starring Johnny Depp in 2011. Rush is also preparing for a film version of The Drowsy Chaperone, an award-winning stage musical. In addition, he voiced the alien Tomar-Re in the film adaptation of the Green Lantern comic book series.
In 2011, Rush made a cameo in a commercial, The Potato Peeler, for the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)and playing a Polish farmer. He spoke his lines in Polish for the part.
In August 2011, he was appointed the foundation President of the newly formed Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts.
In 2013, Rush starred alongside Jim Sturgess in The Best Offer and the film version of the best-selling novel The Book Thief.
Geoffrey Rush Filmography
- Consumer Capers
- Twelfth Night
- Dad and Dave: On Our Selection
- Mercury Bill Wyatt
- Children of the Revolution
- Oscar and Lucinda
- A Little Bit of Soul
- Les Misérables
- Shakespeare in Love
- Mystery Men
- House on Haunted Hill
- The Magic Pudding
- The Tailor of Panama
- Lantana John Knox
- Frida Leon Trotsky
- The Banger Sisters
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
- Swimming Upstream
- Ned Kelly
- Finding Nemo
- Intolerable Cruelty
- Harvie Krumpet
- The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
- Elizabeth: The Golden Age
- Bran Nue Dae
- Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
- The King’s Speech
- Lowdown Narrator
- The Warrior’s Way
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- Green Lantern
- The Eye of the Storm
- The Best Offer
- The Book Thief
- The Daughter
- Holding the Man Barry
- Who Do You Think You Are?
- Gods of Egypt
- Final Portrait
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
- Land Down Under
- Storm Boy
Geoffrey Rush Awards and Nominations
- Academy Awards
- AACTA / AFI Awards
- BAFTA Awards
- Golden Globe Awards
- Helpmann Awards
- Awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Queensland, in Australia.
- Awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in the 2001 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for his services to the arts especially through a distinguished acting career.
- 1994: Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards
- 2003: Hollywood Film Festival – Supporting Actor of the Year
- 2003: Australian Film Institute Award – Global Achievement Award
- 2004: Brisbane International Film Festival – Chauvel Award
- 2009: Australian Film Institute Longford Life Achievement Award
- 2011: Santa Barbara International Film Festival – Montecito Award
- 2012: Australian of the Year
- Appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2014, Australia’s highest civilian honour, for eminent service to the arts as a theatre performer, motion picture actor and film producer, as a role model and mentor for aspiring artists, through support for and promotion of the Australian arts industry.
- In 2009, as part of the Q150 celebrations, Geoffrey Rush was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for his role as an “Influential Artist”.