Mark Rylance (born 18 January 1960) is an English actor, theatre director and playwright.
As an actor, Rylance found success on stage and screen. For his work in theatre he has won Olivier and Tony Awards among others, and a BAFTA TV Award. His film roles include Ferdinand in Prospero's Books (after a play by William Shakespeare), Jay in Intimacy (after a novel by Hanif Kureishi) and Jakob von Gunten in Institute Benjamenta (after a novel by Robert Walser).
He was the first Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe in London, from 1995 to 2005.
Rylance was born David Mark Rylance Waters in Ashford, Kent, the son of David and Anne (Skinner) Waters, both English teachers (as an adult, he took the stage name of Mark Rylance because the name Mark Waters was already taken by someone else registered with Actors Equity). In 1962, when he was two, his parents moved to Connecticut in the United States and in 1969, to Wisconsin, where his father was headmaster at a prestigious preparatory school, the University School of Milwaukee. Rylance later attended the school, where he began acting. His first notable role was Hamlet in a 1976 production (with his own father as the First Gravedigger),
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