Bill. who is 68 years old today, was 53 when he immortalised himself in the nations's heart as 'Billy Mack' in the Richard Curtis comedy 'Love Actually' :
* was born in Caterham, Surrey and his Glasgow born mother was a psychiatric nurse and his father, Alfred, managed a car garage, over which the family lived, after he had worked in the family chimney sweeping business.
*as part of part his Irish heritage, was brought up as a Roman Catholic and served as a church altar boy and attended the John Fisher Grammar School in Purley, where he was a member of the school theatre group and left in 1965 at the age of 16, with minimum qualifications and the ambition to become an author, inspired by his teenage heroes : Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford and Bob Dylan.
* got a job as a messenger boy with 'The Field Magazine' and said later : "I used to eat my sandwiches in Berkeley Square and wave at all the Rolls-Royces. Eventually the proprietor, Sir Geoffrey Harmsworth, said "If you learn shorthand and typing, we'll put you in the sub-editors' office". Of course, rather than doing that, I ran away to Paris to write the Great English Short Story."
* failed to produce his story and was persuaded by a girlfriend to apply instead to the 'Guildford School of Acting' and at the start of his stage career, after two seasons at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, made his London debut in his late twenties in the late '70s at the National Theatre in an epic staging of 'Illuminatus', followed by two David Hare premiers at the National.
* in his thirties during the 1980s, put his wonderful voice to use as Samwise Gamgee in the 1981 BBC radio dramatisation of 'The Lord of the Rings' and in the radio version of 'Yes Minister' and on tv played in 'Hitler's SS: Portrait of Evil'.
* claimed that his tv part in 'The Men's Room', at the age of 42, in 1991 (right) launched his career and after quitting drink with the help of his then-partner, fellow actor Diana Quick, won acclaim in his stage performance at the National Theatre as Bernard Nightingale, an unscrupulous university don, in Tom Stoppard's 'Arcadia' in 1993.
* was never much interested in performing Shakespeare and has only done so professionally twice, preferring to operate within a contemporary, middle-class context, playing a variety of "violently constrained Englishmen".
* at the age of 51, played a consultant psychiatrist in 'Blue Orange' for which he won an 'Olivier Award Nomination for Best Actor' and at 52, portrayed crooked politician Jeffrey Grainger, in tvs 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet' and played in the costume drama, 'He Knew He Was Right' the following year.
* in 2003, played the Vampire Elder 'Vikto' in the American production, 'Underworld' and in 2004 at the age of fifty-five, was awarded the BAFTA Film Award for 'Best Supporting Actor' for his role as shameless, washed-up rocker, Billy Mack, in 'Love Actually' and followed this up with a 'BAFTA Television Award for Best Actor' for 'State of Play' .
* after he starred as Lawrence, another thwarted civil servant, in the Richard Curtis's G8/Make Poverty History drama ,'The Girl in the Café' in 2005, was approached by Oxfam and now regularly visits the G8 on the Charity's behalf, to have cameras pointed at him and thus ensure "that the plight of the poor is a live issue on the agenda".
* in 2006, appeared as 'Gideon' in Stephen Poliakov's drama, 'Gideon's Daughter', a successful events' organiser who begins to lose touch with the world around him in a performance which won him a 'Golden Globe Award' for 'Best Actor in a Mini Series' and in the same year made his Broadway debut in 'The Vertical Hour' directed by Sam Mendes.
* played principal villain, Davy Jones, with a Scots accent and his face entirely obscured by computer generation in the film, 'Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3rOZwgOZeY&t=0m20s and reprised the role in the 2007 sequel, 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At the World's End', with his real face briefly revealed in one scene.
* at the age of 57, in 2006, played the role of Richard Hart in 'Notes on a Scandal', http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-EKMY8lRMg for which he was nominated for a 'London Film Critics Circle Award' and appeared as General Friedrich Olbricht, one of the principal conspirators, in the 2008 film, 'Valkyrie'.
* in 2009, played Rufus Scrimgeour in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1' (right) and starred in 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'
https://www.theguardian.com/film/video/2015/feb/25/second-best-marigold-hotel-bill-nighy-dev-patel-video-interview and in 2013 played in 'Darkside', Tom Stoppard's radio drama based on Pink Floyd's album, 'The Dark Side of the Moon'.
* is known for his bespoke navy suits and this year was listed as one of the 'Fifty Best-dressed over 50s' by The Guardian.
* in 2010, reflected on his career : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoyRamnNdJ8&t=0m14s
Bill once said :
"It can't be overstated how wonderful it is not to have to audition any more. Any actor will tell you, it's like Christmas."