Laurence Fox

Laurence Paul Fox (born 26 May 1978) is an English actor, singer-songwriter, and guitarist. He is best known for playing the lead role of DS James Hathaway in the British TV drama series Lewis from 2006 to 2015. His debut album, Holding Patterns, was released in February 2016. A member of the Robin Fox family, Fox attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and graduated in 2001. He first appeared in The Hole (2001), and has since appeared in numerous films, television features, and theatre productions.

Laurence Fox
Fox during the filming of Lewis in Oriel College, University of Oxford, on 18 September 2008
Laurence Paul Fox

(1978-05-26) 26 May 1978 (age 42)
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
  • Actor
  • singer-songwriter
  • guitarist
Years active2000–present
m. 2007; div. 2016)

Early years and educationEdit

The Old Schools of Harrow School

Laurence Fox was born in 1978 in Yorkshire,[1] the third of the five children of James Fox and Mary Elizabeth Piper.[2] His father, James, was the son of Robin Fox, a theatrical agent, who married Angela Muriel Darita Worthington, daughter of the playwright Frederick Lonsdale.[3]

Fox's siblings are Tom (born 1975), Robin (born 1976), Lydia (born 1979), and Jack (born 1985); Lydia and Jack are actors. Lydia Fox is married to actor Richard Ayoade.[4] His uncles are the actor Edward Fox and the theatrical and film producer Robert Fox. The actors Emilia and Freddie Fox are his first cousins, being the children of Edward Fox.[5]

At the age of 13, he was enrolled at Harrow School at which point he was, as he later recalled, "shy around women, sensitive and a bit naïve".[6] Although he made friends and liked the drama teacher, he hated the school's strict regimen and felt despised and out of place among pupils with titles and wealth. Constantly in trouble for smoking, fighting, going into town and seeing girls, he was expelled a few weeks before his A-levels. According to him, "It was something to do with a girl at a dance. I went back to take the exams, but I wasn't allowed to speak to anyone." With hindsight, Fox has said that his experience at Harrow enabled him to portray "toffs" – the upper-class boys looking down on him and whom he disliked – with a rare blend of insight and cynicism.[7]

He later told an interviewer that despite doing well in his A-level examinations, he was unable to obtain a place at any university, because of a report about him from Harrow.[7] After working as a gardener for two years,[7] and a stint as an office worker which he loathed,[6] he discovered that he preferred acting and enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). During his time there, he appeared in numerous theatre productions, including the lead roles of Gregers Werle in Ibsen's The Wild Duck, Marcus Andronicus in Titus Andronicus, and Stephen Daedalus in an adaptation of James Joyce's novel Ulysses.[8] However, he was disappointed to find that, as an "Old Harrovian", he was treated "like a nonce". He made himself more unpopular by being outspoken and taking on stage and movie roles in his second and third years despite this practice being banned by the academy.[7] One of these was his first break into film – the horror-thriller The Hole (2001). Fox feels that in landing the role his name "probably helped – it's a combination of timing, luck and contacts". Nonetheless, "the name opens some doors, but then you have to show you can do the job".[6]


Fox, who graduated from RADA on 1 July 2001,[9] followed up The Hole by appearing in Robert Altman's film Gosford Park (2001). He then donned uniforms in a slew of film and television features, including roles as a German airman in Island at War (2004), an SS officer in The Last Drop (2005), and as British soldiers in the 2002 films Deathwatch and Ultimate Force, and in Colditz (2005). In the last made-for-television film, Fox played Capt. Tom Willis who, after an unsuccessful attempt to break out of a prisoner-of-war camp, is brought to Oflag IV-C in Colditz Castle, one of the most infamous German POW camps for officers in World War II. Actor Kevin Whately caught Fox's performance in the last ten minutes of the film, which he characterised as "this young English boy going bonkers and wandering out to be shot", and thought "He's interesting." The next day, at a lunch meeting with "all the powers that be" regarding a new project, Whately mentioned that Fox "would be worth taking a look at".[10]

As a result, Fox was cast in the ITV detective drama Lewis as Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, a Cambridge-educated former trainee priest who becomes the partner of Detective Inspector Robert Lewis, played by Whately. The pilot of this spin-off from Inspector Morse (1987–2000), was ITV's highest rated drama of 2006.[11]

Real people that Fox has portrayed include Prince Charles, in Whatever Love Means (2005);[1][12] Wisley, one of Jane Austen's suitors, in Becoming Jane (2007); and Sir Christopher Hatton, the Lord Chancellor of England in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, also released in 2007. In addition, in that year Fox was seen on ITV as Cecil Vyse in Andrew Davies' adaptation of A Room with a View based on E.M. Forster's 1908 novel. He has expressed a desire to appear in a western, and to star as James Bond; the closest he has got to the latter was losing the role of villain Gustav Graves in Die Another Day (2002) to Toby Stephens.[13]

On stage, Fox appeared in Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw at the Strand Theatre (now the Novello Theatre) in London in 2002,[14] and John Ford's 17th-century play 'Tis Pity She's a Whore in 2005.[15] Between 2006 and 2007 he starred in Treats by Christopher Hampton with his future wife, Billie Piper.[16] In April 2007, Fox lost his temper with a paparazzi photographer outside the Garrick Theatre in London where he was performing in Treats and was arrested for assault. He was later released after receiving a police caution. Newspaper reports stated that the caution would remain on his record for three years and might prevent his obtaining a visa to perform in the US.[17] In 2013, Fox played Guy Haines[18] in Strangers on a Train at London's Gielgud Theatre.[19] On 9 May 2015 he portrayed a wartime soldier composing a letter at VE Day 70: A Party to Remember in Horse Guards Parade, London that was broadcast live on BBC1.

When filming, Fox often plays the jester to amuse the cast and crew. He has said, "I'd just rather have a good time than I would be Daniel Day-Lewis. There ain't no method to my acting."[20]

In March 2016, Fox apologised for swearing at a member of the audience who had been muttering audibly in the front row during a performance of The Patriotic Traitor at London's Park Theatre on 8 March. The audience saw Fox step out of character – that of French statesman Charles de Gaulle – and chastise the heckler with robust language. "If someone is hell-bent on heckling, they are ruining it for everybody," he explained to Sarah Montague on the Today programme on 10 March 2016. "It becomes an un-performable play, the play stops at that moment."[21]

In 2018, Fox joined the cast of the ITV series Victoria, playing Lord Palmerston, for its third season, which first aired on PBS in January 2019.[22]

Laurence Fox is signed to Fox Cub Records[23] where he is the Director and sole named officer.[24] Laurence has claimed was banned from producing a song called "MeToo" by the record label, where he is the director.[25][26]

Personal lifeEdit

Fox's ex-wife Billie Piper in October 2006

Fox started dating actress Billie Piper in 2006 while performing together in the stage play Treats.[6] On 31 December 2007, they married in the 12th century parish church of St. Mary's in Easebourne, West Sussex.[27][28] During a 2008 interview on ITV breakfast show GMTV, Fox revealed that after a "drunken lunch" during their honeymoon in Mexico he and Piper got matching tattoos to celebrate their marriage. His tattoo, on his forearm, reads "Mrs Fox 31 December 2007," while hers states "Mr Fox."[29] They have two sons: Winston James (born 21 October 2008),[30] and Eugene Pip (born 5 April 2012).[31] On 24 March 2016, Fox announced that the pair had split after eight years of marriage. He stated that no third party was involved in the separation.[32] On 12 May 2016, it was announced that Fox and Piper had divorced.[33]


In January 2020, he attracted controversy for comments which he made in several media appearances, arguing that the depiction of a Sikh soldier in the film 1917 was "forced diversity",[34] stated that Meghan Markle was not a victim of racism, and branding as racist an individual who had called him a "white privileged male".[35][36] He also stated that he would not date "woke" women or women below the age of 35 because their views were too politically correct.[37] In March 2020, the actor's union, Equity, which had heavily criticised Fox for the latter, withdrew the criticism and apologised for it.[36]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 The Hole[38] Geoff Bingham
2001 Gosford Park Lord Rupert Standish
2002 Deathwatch Capt. Bramwell Jennings
2003 Al sur de Granada (South from Granada) Ralph Partridge
2005 The Last Drop Obergruppenfuhrer Kessler
2007 Becoming Jane Mr. Wisley
2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age Sir Christopher Hatton
2011 W.E. Bertie
2019 The Professor and the Madman Philip Lyttelton Gell

Some information in this table was obtained from Laurence Fox: Filmography, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 16 March 2008.


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Ultimate Force Cpl. Mick Sharp "Something to Do with Justice"
"Natural Selection"
2003 Foyle's War Simon Walker Episode: "War Games"
2004 Island at War Airman Bernhardt Tellemann
2004 AD/BC: A Rock Opera Townsfolk
2005 Colditz[39] Capt. Tom Willis
2005 The Last Drop SS Maj. Kessler
2005 Jericho Peter Bridgewater Episode: "The Killing of Johnny Swan"
2005 Egypt
Leonard "The Search for Tutankhamun"
"The Curse of Tutankhamun"
2005 Whatever Love Means[1][12] Charles, Prince of Wales
2006–2015 Lewis[11][20][40] D.S. James Hathaway
2006 Agatha Christie's Marple: The Sittaford Mystery James Pearson
2007 A Room with a View Cecil Vyse
2008 Wired Philip Manningham
2011 Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me Jonathan Donald
2015 Bear Grylls: Mission Survive Himself, contestant
2015 The Frankenstein Chronicles Frederick Dipple
2017 Frankie Drake Mysteries Greg Mills
2019 Victoria Lord Palmerston
2020 White Lines David

Some information in this table was obtained from Laurence Fox: Filmography, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 16 March 2008.


Year Title Role Venue
19–28 October 2000 Kit's Play[41] by Howard Brenton The DG/Earl of Northumberland Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, London, England
[While at RADA] The Wild Duck (1884) by Henrik Ibsen Gregers Werle
[While at RADA] Titus Andronicus (1584 – early 1590s) by William Shakespeare Marcus Andronicus
[While at RADA] Ulysses based on the James Joyce novel first published in its entirety in 1922 Stephen Daedalus
[While at RADA] The Wild Goose Chase (1652) by John Fletcher Belleur
[While at RADA] The Provoked Wife (17th century) by John Vanbrugh Constant
8–17 February 2001 Hobson's Choice[42] (first performed 1916) by Harold Brighouse Fred Beanstock Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, London, England
2002 Mrs Warren's Profession (1893)[14] by George Bernard Shaw Frank Gardner Strand Theatre, London, England
2005 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (first performed 1629–1633)[15] by John Ford Soranzo Southwark Playhouse, London, England; and United Kingdom tour
2006–2007 Treats (1975)[16] by Christopher Hampton Patrick Garrick Theatre, Richmond Theatre, Royal Court Theatre and Southwark Playhouse, London, England
2012 Our Boys (1993)[16] by Jonathan Guy Lewis Joe Duchess Theatre, London, England
2013–2014 Strangers on a Train[18] Guy Haines Gielgud Theatre, London, England
2016 The Patriotic Traitor Charles de Gaulle Park Theatre, London, England

Some information in this table was obtained from the following websites: Laurence Fox, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, archived from the original on 3 February 2008, retrieved 18 March 2008; Laurence Fox: Other works, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 16 March 2008.


  • Holding Patterns (2016)[43]
  • A Grief Observed (2019)
  • "Gunfight" (2012)
  • "So Be Damned" (2013)[45]
  • Sorry for My Words EP (2013)[46]
  • "Headlong" (2015)
  • "Rise Again" (2016)


  1. ^ a b c Grice, Elizabeth (16 December 2005), "The young pretender", The Daily Telegraph.
  2. ^ Lundy, Darryl (30 January 2006), Laurence Fox, M, #183080, b. circa 1978, A Genealogical Survey of the Peerage of Britain as well as the Royal Families of Europe, retrieved 19 March 2008[unreliable source].
  3. ^ Lundy, Darryl (15 January 2006), Major Robin Fox, M, #180016, d. 1972, A Genealogical Survey of the Peerage of Britain as well as the Royal Families of Europe, retrieved 19 March 2008[unreliable source].
  4. ^ Petridis, Alex (15 January 2011), "Richard Ayoade: Meet Mr Modest", The Guardian.
  5. ^ Lundy, Darryl (8 December 2007), Emilia Fox, F, #180027, b. 31 July 1974, A Genealogical Survey of the Peerage of Britain as well as the Royal Families of Europe, retrieved 19 March 2008[unreliable source].
  6. ^ a b c d Whitworth, Damian (28 December 2007), "The face: Laurence Fox: He's got that luvvy feeling", The Times.
  7. ^ a b c d Jardine, Cassandra (1 November 2002), "I wished Dad was a hell-raiser", The Daily Telegraph.
  8. ^ Laurence Fox, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, archived from the original on 3 February 2008, retrieved 18 March 2008.
  9. ^ Graduate directory: Fox, Laurence, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, archived from the original on 16 July 2009, retrieved 16 July 2009; Graduate actors – 2001 part 1, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, archived from the original on 25 December 2007, retrieved 19 March 2008.
  10. ^ Gilbert, Gerard (11 January 2006), "Kevin Whately: An inspector calls", The Independent.
  11. ^ a b Laurence Fox interview, ITV, 16 August 2007, archived from the original on 31 March 2008, retrieved 16 March 2008.
  12. ^ a b Peterkin, Tom (28 May 2005), "Royal love stories to be retold on TV", The Daily Telegraph; Anthony, Andrew (1 January 2006), "Even Bragg was boggled [review of Whatever Love Means]", The Guardian.
  13. ^ Duck, Siobhan (12 March 2008), "Lewis' Laurence Fox brooks the idea of playing James Bond", Herald Sun.
  14. ^ a b Koenig, Rhoda (15 October 2002), "Mrs Warren's Profession, Strand Theatre, London", The Independent.
  15. ^ a b Coveney, Michael (5 October 2005), "'Tis Pity She's A Whore, Southwark Playhouse, London", The Independent; Spencer, Charles (12 October 2005), "Heady mix of sex and gore", The Daily Telegraph.
  16. ^ a b c Tickets now on sale for Treats at the Garrick Theatre, London Theatre Guide, 28 December 2006, retrieved 16 March 2008; Treats reviews, Albemarle of London, 2007, archived from the original on 7 July 2011, retrieved 17 March 2008; Treats – Richmond Theatre, IndieLondon, 2007, retrieved 16 March 2008; Spencer, Charles (9 March 2007), "Treat yourself to a sick note, Billie", The Daily Telegraph; Billington, Michael (9 March 2007), "Treats, Garrick Theatre, London", The Guardian; Jones, Alice (9 March 2007), "First Night: Treats, Garrick Theatre, London: Billie finds it hard to shine in two dimensions", The Independent; Review round-up: Was Piper treated to good notices?,, 9 March 2007, archived from the original on 22 March 2007, retrieved 17 March 2008; Groskop, Viv (11 March 2007), "The method in Billie's maladies: Despite – or because of? – her turbulent week, Billie Piper's stage debut is a triumph", The Guardian.
  17. ^ Fox 'bitterly regrets' assault arrest,, 23 April 2007, retrieved 16 March 2008; "Billie's brawling lover arrested", Daily Star, 23 April 2007.
  18. ^ a b "Acting dynasties collide in revival of thriller Strangers on a Train". London Evening Standard. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  19. ^ "Fatal Attraction and Strangers On A Train head to West End stage". BBC News. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  20. ^ a b Davies, Serena (23 February 2008), "Lewis: A class double act", The Daily Telegraph. In an interview with TV Choice published in April 2010, Fox expressed amusement at this quote by him: "[M]y Wikipedia page is the most horrific thing in the world. It quotes me as saying, 'There ain't no method to my acting' or something like that!" (Comerford, Mary (27 April 2010), "Interview Extra: Kevin Whately, Lewis", TV Choice, archived from the original on 8 July 2010)
  21. ^ "Actor sorry for swearing at heckler".
  22. ^ "Lewis actor Laurence Fox joins Victoria as ITV announces new stars for series three". Radio Times. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Laurence Fox: Why the only person I bow down to is my wife".
  24. ^ "FOX CUB RECORDS LIMITED – Officers (free information from Companies House)".
  25. ^ Smith, Julia Llewellyn. "Laurence Fox interview: Let the hipsters hate me — I won't dance to their politically correct tune" – via
  26. ^ Mararike, Shingi. "Actor Laurence Fox snaps at Rada 'leftism'" – via
  27. ^ Church wedding for Piper and Fox, BBC News, 31 December 2007.
  28. ^ Osborne, Hilary (31 December 2007), "Stars respond to Piper's wedding call", The Guardian; Pidd, Helen (1 January 2008), "Billie Piper goes traditional for her second wedding", The Guardian Borland, Sophie (4 January 2008), "Billie Piper's New Year's Eve wedding", The Daily Telegraph; The things they say 7468,, 2 March 2008, retrieved 16 March 2008; "Billie Piper and Laurence Fox wedding photos", Marie Claire, retrieved 16 March 2008[permanent dead link].
  29. ^ "Billie and Laurence Fox's inky dedication", Daily Express, 22 February 2008; Cummins, Fiona (22 February 2008), "Billie Piper and Laurence Fox get tattoos to mark their wedding", The Daily Mirror.
  30. ^ Chris Evans (21 October 2008), Winston James Fox, welcome to Planet Earth, Chris Evans blog, BBC, archived from the original on 24 October 2008, retrieved 22 October 2008; "Billie Piper and Gillian Anderson give birth", The Belfast Telegraph, 22 October 2008.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Billie Piper announces split from Laurence Fox after eight years of marriage". BBC News. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  33. ^ "Billie Piper and Laurence Fox divorce". ITV News. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  34. ^ "Laurence Fox addresses criticism after saying Sikh soldier in 1917 'forced diversity' on viewers". The Independent. 22 January 2020.
  35. ^ Halon, Yael, "Actor Laurence Fox responds to backlash over comments about Meghan Markle", Fox News, 30 March 2020
  36. ^ a b "Laurence Fox: Actors union Equity apologises for 'disgrace' tweets". BBC News. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  37. ^ Thompson, Danny, "Actor Laurence Fox will not date 'woke' women or those under 35", Yahoo! News, 19 January 2020
  38. ^ Fox uneasy working with Knightley,, 29 February 2008, retrieved 16 March 2008.
  39. ^ Rampton, James (24 March 2005), "Dancing out of Colditz", The Independent.
  40. ^ Wilson, Benji (March 2007), "Laurence Fox Q&A", Radio Times.
  41. ^ Autumn 2000 productions, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 2000–2001, archived from the original on 26 December 2007, retrieved 19 March 2008; 2000–2001 final year productions [notes], Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 2000–2001, archived from the original on 18 August 2007, retrieved 19 March 2008.
  42. ^ Spring 2001 productions, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 2000–2001, archived from the original on 26 December 2007, retrieved 19 March 2007; 2000–2001 final year productions [notes], Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 2000–2001, archived from the original on 17 August 2007, retrieved 19 March 2008.
  43. ^ "Laurence Fox – Holding Patterns". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  44. ^ "Laurence Fox". Discogs. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  45. ^ Morris, Andy (26 February 2013), "Lewis be damned: Check out Laurence Fox's emotional new single", GQ, archived from the original on 1 March 2013.
  46. ^ Jones, Alice (21 March 2013). "The fantastic Fox family; and stitching up the critics". The Independent.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit