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Jonathan James Cake (born 31 August 1967) is an English actor who has worked on various TV programmes and films. His notable screen roles include Jack Favell in Rebecca (1997), Oswald Mosley in Mosley (1997), Japheth in the NBC television film Noah's Ark (1999), Tyrannus in the ABC miniseries Empire (2005) and Det. Chuck Vance on the ABC drama series Desperate Housewives (2011–2012).

Jonathan Cake
Jonathan James Cake

(1967-08-31) 31 August 1967 (age 52)
Worthing, Sussex, England
Years active1992–present

Early lifeEdit

Cake was born in Worthing, Sussex. His father was a glassware importer and his mother a school administrator.[1] He is the youngest of three sons. When he was four years old, he was invited on stage during a traditional British pantomime for children. This exposure ignited his interest in the performing arts. By the age of eight, Jonathan had taken drama classes and took part in plays. As a teenager, he toured Britain with London's National Youth Theatre. After leaving school, Cake studied English at Cambridge University. He became a rugby player in college and graduated in 1989. He attended a two-year training programme at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and then trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company.[2]

Acting careerEdit

In 1992, Jonathan Cake appeared in William Shakespeare's play As You Like It, a Royal Shakespeare Company production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. He also performed the play at the Barbican Theatre in London in 1993. Also that year, he appeared in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great. He then appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Wallenstein, The Odyssey and Beggar's Opera.

In 1995, Cake acted in the Shared Experience Theatre Company production of George Eliot's novel The Mill on the Floss at London's Lyric Theatre. Cake branched out to the screen when he landed a guest spot in the British TV comedy series Press Gang in 1993. He made his first television film appearance alongside Jasper Carrott and Ann Bryson in BBC's Carrott U Like in 1994 and broke into the film business the following year with a small role in the American film First Knight.

After appearing in episodes of Frank Stubbs Promotes and Goodnight Sweetheart, Cake was cast as Gareth in the BBC series Degrees of Error (1995), opposite Beth Goddard, Julian Glover and Phyllida Law. He then played Ewan in two episodes of the series Grange Hill (1996), Nat in two episodes of Cold Lazarus (1996), and Hattersley in the TV miniseries adaptation of Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996). He was also cast in the TV films Nightlife (1996, with Katrin Cartlidge and Jane Horrocks), The Girl (1996) and Wings the Legacy (1996, with Una Stubbs). Also in 1996, Cake was in True Blue, a British sports film based on the book True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny by Daniel Topolski and Patrick Robinson, and in an episode of The Thin Blue Line.

Cake next worked in Cows (1997), played Jack Favell in the 1997 Anglo-German miniseries Rebecca, based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, and portrayed Peter Templer in a TV miniseries adaptation of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (1997), which starred James Purefoy, Simon Russell Beale and Paul Rhys. He also guest starred in Jonathan Creek (1997). The next year, he starred in Mosley, which was based on the life of British fascist Oswald Mosley. He also portrayed Regan Montana in the TV film Diamond Girl and co-starred with Adrian Dunbar and Susan Vidler in the TV series The Jump (both 1998). The actor closed the decade portraying Japheth in the NBC TV film Noah's Ark (1999). He also worked with Maria Aitken and Leslie Grantham in the British TV film The Bench (1999).

In 2000, Cake played Andrew Pryce-Stevens in Honest. He revisited the stage with work in Baby Doll (2000), an adaptation of the film of the same name by Tennessee Williams, and was handed the Barclays Best Actor Award for his performance. The play performed first at the Royal National Theatre and then in London's West End.

Cake next appeared as Randolph Cleveland in an episode of Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible (2001), co-starred with Lara Belmont and Teresa Churcher in the television thriller The Swap (2002), starred as Jack Wellington in the short-lived Fox series The American Embassy (2002), and was cast as Andrea in the British film The One and Only (2002). Still in 2002, Cake made his Broadway debut in the leading role of Jason in Medea a play by Euripides.

Next up for Cake, the actor appeared in the Canadian television film Riverworld (2003), portrayed Dr. Mengele in the Showtime TV film Out of the Ashes (2003), and portrayed John Christow in the 2004 episode "The Hollow" of Agatha Christie's Poirot. He then starred as Jason Shepherd in the film Fallen (2004), appeared as Dr. Malcolm Bowers in an episode of NBC's Inconceivable called "Sex, Lies and Sonograms" (2005) and portrayed Alastair Campbell in the TV film The Government Inspector (2005). He was also cast as a gladiator named Tyrannus in the ABC historical TV series Empire, which ran from 28 June 2005 to 26 July 2005.

Cake then had the recurring role of Roy in the ABC short lived drama series Six Degrees (2006–07). He also appeared in an episode of Extras called "Sir Ian McKellen" (2006) and played Marshall Crawford in the TV film The Mastersons of Manhattan (2007). Meanwhile, on stage, Cake played Father Flynn in John Patrick Shanley's play Doubt (2005) at the Pasadena Playhouse. He then performed in Coriolanus (2006) at London's Shakespeare's Globe, and was cast in Cymbeline (2007) at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York City.

In 2008, Cake played Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited. He also had a two episode role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The next year, he appeared as Bishop in the ABC TV film Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas, starring Jodelle Ferland, Charlie McDermott and Hal Holbrook. He played Cole Barker in two episodes of the NBC series Chuck called "Chuck Versus the Beefcake" and "Chuck Versus the Lethal Weapon". Cake appeared as Marcus Woll in the Law & Order episodes "Boy Gone Astray" and "For the Defense".

In 2010, Cake teamed up with Pedro Miguel Arce in the American film Krews, by Hilbert Hakim. The same year, he also played Mark Easterbrook in the TV film Marple: The Pale Horse, starring Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple. Cake is currently[when?] appearing as Mark Antony in the Royal Shakespeare Company's latest production of Antony and Cleopatra. In 2017 he played the Duke in the Theatre for a New Audience production of Measure for Measure[3]

Personal lifeEdit

On 24 September 2004, Cake married American actress Julianne Nicholson in Italy. The couple have two children, a son Ignatius Cake, born September 2007 and a daughter, Phoebe Margaret Cake, born 30 April 2009.[4] Cake was previously engaged to British actress Olivia Williams; the relationship ended after seven years.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Girl Ned Ridley TV film
1997 Rebecca Jack Favell Miniseries
1997 Jonathan Creek Hippy Protester Episode: 'No Trace of Tracy'
1997 A Dance to the Music of Time Pete Templer Episodes: 'The War', 'The Thirties' and 'The Twenties'
1998 Mosley Oswald Mosley Main character
1998 Diamond Girl Reagan Montana TV film
1998 The Jump George Brunos Season 1 Episodes: 1–4
1999 Noah's Ark Japheth TV film
1999 The Bench Wayne TV film
2000 Honest Andrew Pryce-Stevens Film
2002 The Swap Charles Anderson 2 episodes
2002 The American Embassy Jack Wellington Cancelled
2003 Out of the Ashes Dr. Josef Mengele TV film
2003 Riverworld Lucius Domitus Ahenobarbus TV film / Pilot
2004 Agatha Christie's Poirot John Christow 'The Hollow'
2005 Empire Tyrannus 6 episodes
2006–2007 Six Degrees Roy 5 episodes
2007 Extras Steve Sherwood Season 2 Episode 5: 'Sir Ian Mckellen'.
2008 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Colin Ledger Episodes: 'Last Rites' and 'Neighborhood Watch'.
2009 Chuck Cole Barker 2 episodes
2009 Law & Order Marcus Woll Episodes: 'For the Defense' and 'Boy Gone Astray'.
2011–2012 Desperate Housewives Chuck Vance 12 episodes
2011 Rizzoli & Isles Ian 1 episode
2012 The Killing David Ranier Episode: 'Sayonara, Hiawatha'
2013 Death in Paradise Daniel Morgan Season 2, Episode 4
2016 Law and Order Special Victims Unit Monsignor Mulregan Season 17, Episode 18
2016 Camping Adam 6 episodes
2016–2017 The Affair Furkat Season 3 Episodes 2, 7 & 10
2018 Legends of Tomorrow Edward "Blackbeard" Teach Season 3 Episodes 12 & 18
2018 SEAL Team Xeon Tactical Security Chief Executive Officer Alan Cutter Season 1, recurring


  1. ^ Profile at, 29 March 2011.
  2. ^ "The Jonathan Cake Picture Pages".
  3. ^ "TFANA 16-17 Season: Measure for Measure". Theatre for a New Audience. 13 July 2016.
  4. ^ Yeap, Sue (1 December 2005). "Icing on Cake's career". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  5. ^ Costa, Maddy (9 January 2008). "Maddy Costa talks to actor Olivia Williams". The Guardian. London.

External linksEdit