British actor Jamie Bamber was already a favorite for television audiences on both sides of the Atlantic before he stepped into the role of Lee "Apollo" Adama on "Battlestar Galactica" (The Sci Fi Channel, 2005-09). He had distinguished himself in dramatic roles in "Hornblower" (ITV, 1998-2003) and "Band of Brothers" (HBO, 2001), but neither was adequate preparation for the overwhelming fan response generated by the re-imagined version of the campy 1978-79 television series. In fact, the program's popularity eventually allowed him to cross over to other American network programs and features.
One of seven children - six boys and a girl - born to his American father, Ralph Griffith, and his Irish wife, Elizabeth, Jamie St. John Bamber Griffith was born on April 3, 1973 in Hammersmith, London and raised in Paris. He got his first taste of performing by playing the Wicked Witch of the West in a production of "The Wizard of Oz" directed by his mother. With this unique debut, he soon graduated to juvenile roles in television commercials.
Dividing his academic time at Cambridge University between studying French and Italian - and receiving the highest recognition of First Degree MA Honours in Modern Languages - as well as enjoying the rough-and-tumble of rugby, Bamber ultimately decided to pursue acting full-time. He attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, soon landing his first television job as Midshipman (and later Lieutenant) Archie Kennedy on "Hornblower," which made a star of fellow Brit, Ioan Gruffudd. Bamber appeared in five of the eight feature-length episodes of the series, and the exposure led to other roles on historically-based series, including "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (BBC, 1999-2000) and "Poirot" (1989-2013). In 2001, he graduated to the mid-twentieth century in the Steven Spielberg-produced "Band of Brothers," appearing in the acclaimed cable miniseries as real-life WWII British lieutenant, Jack Foley.
That same year, Bamber joined the cast of the medical series "Peak Practice" (ITV, 1993-2002) in its final year, before moving on to the military action-drama "Ultimate Force" (ITV 2002-2006), which concerned a tough unit of the Special Air Service. Bamber's character, Lt. Dotsy Doheny, departed with much of the original cast at the beginning of the show's second season - with his Doheny resigning over a botched operation that resulted in the death of a soldier - when the program underwent considerable changes. He then made his theatrical feature debut in the low-budget horror film, "The Devil's Tattoo" (a.k.a. "Ghost Rig," 2003), and around the same time, married actress Kerry Norton, with whom he had three daughters.
That same year, Bamber was hired to play Apollo in The Sci Fi Channel's revamp of "Battlestar Galactica." The two-part miniseries proved to be one of the network's highest rated original programs, thus dictating a television series be launched to appease fans. With that, Bamber adopted an impressive American accent and darkened his hair to play Apollo, son of the Galactica's commander, Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos) and one third of a deeply emotional triangle that includes his father and fighter pilot Kara "Starbuck" Thrace. Because Starbuck was responsible for his brother's death during flight training, Apollo harbors a deep-seated animosity for his fellow pilot. Their relationship improves after several adventures - most notably the retrieval of Starbuck after her ship crashes - and even blossoms into romance, but the coupling soon crashes and burns, with both parties marrying other people. The impact of the failed love affair affects his ability to command, but he later saves his father when the Galactica comes under heavy fire by the villainous Cylons. Apollo later finds himself deeply involved in the trial of traitorous Gaius Baltar, and briefly resigns from flight duty to serve as legal counsel in the case. In a subsequent battle, he is the first to discover Starbuck, who had been presumed dead in an accident, and the first to learn that she knows the colonists' ultimate goal - how to reach Earth. With all the tangled, passionate goings-on, Bamber rose the occasion, becoming a major fan favorite on the show.
In between seasons of "Galactica," Bamber's increased profile allowed him to log guest shots on several popular American and British series, including "Ghost Whisperer" (CBS, 2005-10) and "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003-10). In 2007, he returned to "Galactica" to play Apollo for its highly anticipated fourth and final season; the following year, he was top-billed in an American horror film, "Pulse 2."
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
While still attending Cambridge, made film debut in "Shifting Sands"
Landed breakthrough role as Midshipman Archie Kennedy in ITV miniseries "Horatio Hornblower"
Made U.S. TV debut in A&E/BBC adaptation "The Scarlet Pimpernel"
Reprised role of Archie Kennedy on two additional episodes of "Horatio Hornblower"
Co-starred in A&E/ITV adaptation of Agatha Christie's "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd"
Cast in small role in HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers"
Cast as Lee "Apollo" Adama in Sci Fi Channel miniseries reboot of "Battlestar Galactica"
Reprised role on Sci Fi Channel series "Battlestar Galactica"
Co-starred on ITV's "Law & Order: U.K."
Returned to U.S. TV with role as top neurosurgeon Tyler Wilson on TNT medical drama "Monday Mornings"