Paul Freeman (actor) : biography
Freeman began his career in advertising and teaching, and landed small roles in the theatre, appearing in productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet. He then went on to play starring roles in the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and later co-founded his own theatre group, the Joint Stock Theatre Company, in 1974 together with director Max Stafford-Clark.
In 1977, he co-starred in The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It with John Cleese.
In 1978, he made his television début in the acclaimed serial Life of Shakespeare (1978). Freeman also acted in the ATV docudrama Death of a Princess, a controversial film about the execution of Misha’al bint Fahd al Saud of Saudi Arabia. In 1980 Freeman began his feature film career when he appeared in The Long Good Friday alongside Bob Hoskins and The Dogs of War (1981). In 1981, he starred in the TV show Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years.
In the same year, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas chose Freeman to play French archaeologist René Belloq, the rakish arch rival to Dr. Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The film was a springboard for Freeman in Hollywood and he continued to play the villain in Hollywood and his native Britain, using his uncanny talent for foreign accents. Armed with another accent, this time German, he played the conniving wine baron Gustav Riebmann in the fourth season of Falcon Crest, airing in 1984/85.
In 1988, he played Professor Moriarty in Without a Clue, starring Michael Caine as Sherlock Holmes and Ben Kingsley as Watson, and in 1995 was Ivan Ooze in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.
Freeman guest-starred in hit shows such as Monarch of the Glen, ER, Falcon Crest and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. He also played in several mini-series, including Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story (1989) and The Final Cut (1995). In 2004, Freeman played Angus, Bobby Jones’ caddie, in Bobby Jones: A Stroke of Genius. During 2006 and 2007, he starred in the BBC legal drama New Street Law as the main protagonist, alongside John Hannah. Also in 2007, he played Rev. Philip Shooter of Sandford in Hot Fuzz, alongside Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. He is also featured in several 2007-09 Travelers Insurance television commercials.
Among his television work, Freeman appeared in an episode of Midsomer Murders entitled "Down Among the Dead Men". He also appeared in the television crime drama Waking The Dead, in the episode "Straw Dog", and played Adam Kingsley in the BBC TV adaptation of Minette Walters’ The Dark Room.
He recently received acclaim as George Aaranow in the 2008 London revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.
In 2012 he played Thomas Erpingham in the BBC adaption of William Shakespeare’s Henry V from The Hollow Crown series.