Skip to content

Matt Smith: The Quirky British Actor Who Stole Our Hearts

Full Name Matthew Robert Smith
Born October 28, 1982 in Northampton, England
Occupation Actor
Years Active 2004–present
Notable Roles 11th Doctor in Doctor Who, Prince Philip in The Crown
Partner Lily James (2010-2019)
Social Media Instagram,

With his tousled brown hair, infectious grin, and undeniable charm, Matt Smith burst onto the scene and straight into our hearts as the Eleventh Doctor in the beloved sci-fi series Doctor Who. Though he had big shoes to fill taking over such an iconic role, Smith managed to make it his own with his eccentric portrayal of the Time Lord. But there‘s much more to Smith than just Doctor Who. He‘s had a diverse and acclaimed acting career both before and after his time on the TARDIS.

Early Life and Career Beginnings

Matthew Robert Smith was born on October 28, 1982 in Northampton, England to David and Lynne Smith. Even as a young boy, Smith had a creative spirit and thirst for performance. He participated in numerous school plays while growing up, taking on lead roles in productions of Bugsy Malone and A Midsummer Night‘s Dream.

As a talented football player, Smith contemplated pursuing a sports career and had trials with Leicester City, Nottingham Forest, Northampton Town, and MK Dons clubs as a teenager. But his passion for acting ultimately prevailed, and he decided to focus on the performing arts instead.

Smith studied drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, graduating in 2005. While there, he appeared in student productions of The Master and Margarita and The Canterbury Tales. His first professional role came in 2004 in the play Fresh Kills. After university, Smith continued acting in plays like The History Boys and That Face, and had small television parts on shows like Party Animals.

Breakthrough Role as the Eleventh Doctor

Everything changed for Smith when he auditioned for the iconic role of the Doctor on the beloved British sci-fi TV program Doctor Who. Though just 26 years old and relatively new to professional acting, Smith‘s quirky and enthusiastic audition won over producers. They were looking for a younger incarnation of the Doctor, and Smith fit the bill perfectly.

Smith made his first appearance as the Eleventh Doctor in 2010, taking over from David Tennant‘s Tenth Doctor. His incarnation of the Doctor was bursting with youthful energy and childlike wonder, wearing suspenders, bow ties, and fezzes. But the Doctor‘s essential wisdom, courage, and compassion still shone through Smith‘s performance.

Over Smith‘s tenure until 2014, his Doctor battled classic sci-fi villains like the Daleks and Weeping Angels while traveling through time and space with companions such as Karen Gillan‘s Amy Pond and Jenna Coleman‘s Clara Oswald. Smith remains a fan favorite Doctor, especially praised for his comedic timing and earnest yet eccentric portrayal of the immortal alien Time Lord.

Diverse Acting Roles Beyond Doctor Who

Since departing Doctor Who after three incredible seasons, Smith has pursued a variety of dynamic acting roles that prove his talent and versatility:

  • Patrick Bateman – After leaving Doctor Who, Smith took on an against-type darker role in a musical stage adaptation of American Psycho in London, as the infamously insane serial killer Patrick Bateman.
  • Prince Philip – Smith portrayed Prince Philip opposite Claire Foy‘s Queen Elizabeth II for the first two seasons of lavish Netflix historical drama The Crown, earning acclaim for this stately royal part.
  • Terminator Genisys – Proving his action chops, Smith took a turn as an antagonist in 2015‘s Terminator Genisys, performing many of his own stunts.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Smith briefly joined the legendary sci-fi franchise in 2019‘s Star Wars episode as a background villain.
  • Morbius – Smith is soon starring as an adversary opposite Jared Leto‘s Marvel antihero in the upcoming 2022 film Morbius.

Smith clearly loves diving into roles of all kinds – heroic, villainous, comedic, dramatic. His acting range is astonishingly wide for someone so early in his career.

Personal Life

In his personal life, Smith dated actress Lily James from 2010 to 2019 after meeting on the set of Wrath of the Titans. He tends to keep his private life low-key. When not acting, he enjoys sports, travel, fashion, and spending time with friends and family. Smith has supported various charities focused on issues like children‘s welfare and environmentalism.

Accolades and Achievements

Some of Smith‘s notable awards and achievements include:

  • Nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actor for playing the Doctor (2011)
  • Won a BAFTA for Best Drama Performance for Doctor Who (2011)
  • Nominated for National Television Award for Drama Performance for Doctor Who (2011, 2012)
  • Nominated for Primetime Emmy for Supporting Actor in The Crown (2018)
  • One of Radio Times‘ Top 10 Greatest TV Personas of the Past 50 Years (2021)

Why We Love Matt Smith

There are so many reasons Matt Smith has become such a fan favorite actor:

  • His enthusiasm and commitment to every role he takes on
  • The way he naturally conveys humor and heart
  • His wholesome friendship with actress Karen Gillan
  • That infectious, dorky grin
  • How he‘s always game for anything, like wearing a fez

Smith just seems like an authentic, down-to-earth guy who truly loves being an actor. He dives into every part with passion and isn‘t afraid to be silly. Though he‘s moved on from Doctor Who, Smith retains that same quirky charm and ceaseless energy that made his Doctor so beloved.

5 Fascinating Facts About Matt Smith

  1. He was the first actor to portray the Doctor as a teenager on the show, appearing in a guest role before taking on the lead.
  2. Smith is a talented football player and was invited to try out for youth national leagues as a teen.
  3. He has a major interest in fashion and collects high-end designer clothing in his personal life.
  4. Matt Smith did his own stunts in action movies like Terminator Genisys, even insisting on doing a demanding underwater sequence himself.
  5. He was cast as Prince Philip in The Crown after producers saw his acclaimed performance in a play about photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

The Future Looks Bright for Smith

Currently, Matt Smith is reprising his Prince Philip role in the final seasons of acclaimed series The Crown. After that wraps up, he‘ll likely continue taking on ambitious new roles to showcase his talents even further.

Keep an eye out for Smith in these upcoming projects:

  • Morbius – Smith plays a villain opposite Jared Leto‘s titular antihero in this 2022 Marvel film.
  • Starve Acre – A horror movie based on the novel, with Smith in the lead.
  • His Dark Materials – Smith joins the cast of this fantasy epic for season 3.

With his natural charisma, versatility, and tendency to choose interesting roles in all genres, Matt Smith will likely continue to impress audiences for many years to come. We can‘t wait to see what he does next!