Though actor Stephen Moyer was recognizable to U.K. audiences thanks to 15 years of steady television work, it was not until Alan Ball of "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05) fame cast him as a 173-year-old Confederate vampire on his HBO drama "True Blood" (2008-14) that he was catapulted into the American spotlight. Thanks in part to the palpable chemistry shared with co-star Anna Paquin - whom Moyer would date and eventually marry in 2010 to the delight of fans - the show became the network's most watched series since "The Sopranos" (1999-2007). The role of the undead Bill Compton provided Moyer the chance to show his sculpted physique in some of the steamiest sex scenes on TV while playing the kind of courtly, haunted protector women loved to fantasize about. Thanks to his American success on "True Blood," the actor made the transition to features with supporting roles in "Priest" (2010) and "The Double" (2010). Armed with solid acting chops gained from years spent in the theater, Moyer had found the perfect vehicle to launch him onto the American pop culture radar.
Born Stephen John Emery on Oct. 11, 1969, Moyer grew up in blue-collar Essex County, England. After serving as head choir boy in the local church, Moyer began singing in school plays and realized he wanted to be an actor. But first, one snafu: He was forced to change his name when another Stephen Emery applied for his Actor's Equity card the same week he did. Newly named Stephen Moyer formed his own theatre company, "The Reject Society," and eventually graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After working with the National Theatre of Wales, Moyer spent two years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, touring the world as Romeo in the Oxford Stage Company's production of "Romeo and Juliet." He also appeared in the world premiere of Pete Townshend's rock opera "The Iron Man" at The Young Vic Theatre in London in 1993.
Moyer made the transition to television with the situation comedy "Conjugal Rites" (1993-94) and went on to act in numerous BBC series, including "Castles" (1995), "The Grand" (1997), "Life Support" (1999), "Lilies" (2007), and Channel Four's "NY-LON" (2004) opposite Rashida Jones. At the same time, he made guest appearances on popular U.K. shows such as "Cold Feet" (1999), "Midsomer Murders" (1999), and "Waking the Dead" (2005), as well as starring in British TV movies including "Men Only" (2001), "Menace" (2002), "The Final Quest" (2004), and "Empathy" (2007). In a foreshadowing of things to come, he played a vampire for two episodes of the 1998 British television series "Ultraviolet." On a funny note, unlike the other actors, he did not require prosthetic fangs for the role, as his real canines were unusually sharp.
Moyer made his big screen debut playing the title character in "Prince Valiant" (1997) with Katherine Heigl. Other film roles included the Oscar nominated "Quills" (2000) with Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet, "Undiscovered" (2005), "88 Minutes" starring Al Pacino, and "Restraint" (2008). Moyer began making inroads on the American side of the Atlantic with the TV movie "Princess of Thieves" (2001) with Keira Knightley; the NBC miniseries "Uprising" (2001) with David Schwimmer, Hank Azaria and Donald Sutherland; and the USA Network's series "The Starter Wife" (2007) with Debra Messing.
But his American breakthrough would not arrive until "True Blood" (HBO, 2008-14), a series created by Alan Ball based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by best-selling author, Charlaine Harris. The first season premiered in September 2008 and won an Emmy for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series (and a Golden Globe for series' star Anna Paquin). The premiere of the second season on June 14, 2009, was viewed by 3.7 million, making it HBO's most watched program on since the series finale of "The Sopranos" in 2007. An average of 12.4 million a week watched the second season, making it destination television.
Like the couple in the "Twilight" film series - which also made its debut in 2008 - Moyer's vampire falls in love with a human, the telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Paquin). But in marked contrast to the chaste "Twilight" teens, the "True Blood" lovers enjoyed graphic sex. Moyer even joked that "Twilight" character Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) was "the Slim-Fast, Diet Coke of vampires" but apologized when hordes of outraged "Twilight" fans complained throughout the blogosphere. In August 2009, Moyer and Paquin, who had fallen in love on set, confirmed they were engaged. In 2010, as rapper Snoop Dogg released the Paquin tribute single "Oh Sookie," Moyer made headlines discussing how he was unperturbed by his fiancée's bisexuality. In August 2010, the couple tied the knot with much of the "True Blood" cast in attendance. As season six was about to begin in 2012, the couple announced they were pregnant.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made his TV debut on the British show "Conjugal Rites"
Made screen debut as "Prince Valiant" opposite Katherine Heigl
First played a vampire on the British series "True Blood and Ultraviolet"
Landed supporting role opposite Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet in "Quills"
Featured in the NBC miniseries "Uprising" with David Schwimmer and Donald Sutherland
Co-starred with Keira Knightley in ABC TV-movie "Princess of Thieves"
Appeared on the British drama series "NY-LON" opposite Rashida Jones
Appeared in Jon Avnet's "88 Minutes" opposite Al Pacino
Played a homeless beach bum who romances Debra Messing in the USA Network original miniseries "The Starter Wife"
Landed breakthrough role opposite Anna Paquin in Alan Ball's vampire drama "True Blood" (HBO)