Alexander Jonathan ‘Alex’ Lawther, was born on 4th May 1995, in Winchester, Hampshire, England, and raised in nearby Petersfield. The actor is of English and Irish descent and has dual citizenship thanks to his father, who is Northern Irish. Alex’s parents, Yvonne Lawther and Michael Terrence, are both lawyers; his older siblings, Cameron and Ellie, have lived and worked in the United States for years. Although Cameron is also part of the entertainment industry as an award-winning film producer, Ellie leads a quieter lifestyle working in public policy.
As a child, Alex would often have to find ways to entertain himself due to the busy nature of his parents’ jobs. This led to him making up imaginary games, which would later blossom into a passion for acting. While attending Churcher’s College, Alex was a central part of the school’s drama program, with roles in “The Wind in the Willows”, “The Third Bank of the River”, and “Twelfth Night”.
At just 14 years old, Alex was described as a “theatrical whiz kid” by local press after writing and directing a full-length play for his drama club; he was also awarded the Sir Daniel Day-Lewis Award by the town council. Shortly afterwards, he began training as an actor after being accepted into the National Youth Theatre.
Despite proving himself to be a talented thespian, Alex initially planned to study history at King’s College, London. After being cast in “The Imitation Game”, he gave up his place at the prestigious university, but still moved to London, to pursue an acting career.
Although Alex gained mainstream recognition in 2016, his professional acting debut came years earlier when he played John Blakemore in a Chichester Festival Theatre production of “South Downs”. As the play was set in an exclusive public school, the casting directors were looking for real-life private school students, and Alex fitted the bill, and beat hundreds of young hopefuls for the lead role.
Such was the success of “South Downs” that, after running in local theatres, the play ran at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End. At the time, Alex was studying for his A Levels, but was encouraged to pursue a theatre and film career. Until then, acting had merely been a hobby for him, but he soon signed to a film agent, after receiving critical acclaim for his aforementioned performance.
Many of Alex’s first roles saw him play wealthy English schoolboys in TV shows. In 2013, he played a young Benjamin Britten in the Tony Britten docudrama “Benjamin Britten: Peace and Conflict”; then the following year, he was cast as a young Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game”, which would turn out to be his breakthrough film role, and win him a Young British Performer of the Year award.
After playing a math prodigy in the drama film “X+Y”, Alex returned to theatre productions such as “The Glass Supper”, in which he portrayed a sexually precocious gay man. His first leading film role came in 2015 with a role as Elliot in Andrew Steggall’s directorial debut, “Departure”, which was filmed in French and English.
2016 was a turning point in Alex’s career, thanks to his leading role in “Shut Up and Dance”, a Season 3 episode of “Black Mirror”. Despite the episode – which saw Alex’s character be blackmailed into committing criminal acts by anonymous hackers – receiving mixed reviews, the actor’s performance was widely considered the best thing about it, thus helping him achieve more mainstream recognition.
Alex’s next significant TV role was playing James in “The End of the F***ing World”, a darkly humorous series based on Charles Forsmans’ mini-comics of the same name. Apart from winning a Peabody Award, the show was nominated for a British Academy Award for Best Drama Series; Alex’s character, James, was a 17-year-old who killed small animals, and believed that he was a psychopath.
To prepare for one of his next roles in “The Jungle”, a play directed by Stephen Daltry and focusing on the Calais refugee crisis, Alex traveled to France, and met with refugees to discuss their experiences. The actor, who is left-wing, found the role one of his most challenging to date, due to his character’s right-wing political views and his own comfortable upbringing in a “white middle-class bubble”.
2020 saw Alex star in his first non-English language film, “Les Traducteurs” (“The Translators”). The next year, he had roles in “Earwig”, “The Last Duel”, and “The French Dispatch”. Most recently, the actor has turned his talents to writing and directing – his short film, “For people in trouble”, was produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and stars Achie Madewke and Emma D’Arcy. The Hampshire native also has new roles on the way, and will reportedly be playing Archie in the upcoming sci-fi series “Alien”.
Alex’s desire to keep his private life away from the press, coupled with the gay characters he has played in the past, have sparked rumors regarding his sexual orientation almost since he broke out in the entertainment industry. For now, the actor has yet to be romantically linked to anyone and most likely prefers to keep it that way; in an interview with his “End of the F***ng World” co-star Jessica Barden, the pair joked about unwittingly going to a gay nightclub during a night out.
“It was, like, a hugely iconic gay bar in West Hollywood… I think it wasn’t for us,” Jessica recalled. Although some fans took this to mean that Alex isn’t gay, in 2020, the actor also co-signed an open letter to the U.K government calling for a ban on conversion therapy for LGBT youth and has proven himself to be a staunch supporter of gay rights in the past.
As Alex deleted his social media accounts after becoming a mainstream actor, there’s not much available information about his lifestyle. Reliable sources estimate his net worth to be close to $2 million, a number that is likely to grow depending on the success of his next few projects.
A fan of French cinema since he was young, Alex also spends much of his time in Paris when not working in London. The “South Downs” star is 5ft 9in (175cm) tall and weighs 63kgs (140lbs).