The Versatile Career of Cary Elwes: From 'The Princess Bride' to 'Saw' and Beyond
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Cary Elwes is an English actor renowned for his iconic role as Westley in "The Princess Bride" and his performances in films such as "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" and the "Saw" series. Born in Westminster, London, Elwes has a rich family heritage and has appeared in numerous television series, including "Stranger Things" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

Elwes' Early Life and Education

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Cary Elwes was born Ivan Simon Cary Elwes on October 26, 1962, in Westminster, London, England. He comes from a family with a rich background in the arts and aristocracy. His father, Dominick Elwes, was a portrait painter, while his mother, Tessa Kennedy, was an interior designer and shipping heiress. Elwes is the youngest of three brothers, with siblings Cassian Elwes, a film producer and talent agent, and Damian Elwes, an artist. His family tree includes several notable figures, such as his grandfather Simon Elwes, a society painter and war artist. The Elwes family has deep roots in English history, with Cary descending from a long-established recusant English family on his father's side. His ancestry is diverse, including English, Irish, Scottish, Croatian Jewish, and Serbian heritage. His maternal grandmother, Daska Marija Ivanovic-Banac, was born in Osijek, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Croatia). Cary's early education took place in London, where he attended the prestigious Harrow School. During his youth, he served as an altar boy at London's Brompton Oratory, although he did not attend a Catholic high school. After graduating from Harrow, Elwes moved to the United States to further his education and pursue his interest in acting. He enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College in New York to study drama. However, his passion for acting led him to leave college after two years to begin his film career. This early background, combining his aristocratic English upbringing with his diverse heritage and education both in the UK and the US, laid the foundation for Elwes' future career in the entertainment industry. His exposure to the arts from a young age, through his family's involvement in painting and design, likely influenced his decision to pursue acting as a profession.
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Elwes' Breakthrough as Westley in "The Princess Bride"

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Cary Elwes's breakthrough role came in 1987 when he starred as Westley in the cult classic "The Princess Bride." Directed by Rob Reiner and based on William Goldman's novel, the film blends romance, fantasy, action, and comedy, making it a beloved family favorite. Elwes's portrayal of the swashbuckling hero Westley, alongside Robin Wright's Princess Buttercup, garnered critical acclaim and set the stage for his future career. The film's unique storytelling, framed as a grandfather reading a book to his sick grandson, added to its charm and enduring popularity. Despite initial marketing challenges, "The Princess Bride" achieved cult status and remains a significant highlight in Elwes's career.
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Cary Elwes (Photos)

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Cary Elwes' Awards and Honors

Cary Elwes has received several award nominations throughout his career, primarily for his performances in television and film. Here is a summary of some of his notable nominations:
YearAwardCategoryWorkResult
1998Blockbuster Entertainment AwardFavorite Supporting Actor - SuspenseKiss the GirlsNominated
1999Golden Satellite AwardBest Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for TelevisionThe Pentagon WarsNominated
2002Golden Satellite AwardBest Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for TelevisionUprisingNominated
2005MTV Movie AwardBest Frightened PerformanceSawNominated
2020Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesStranger ThingsNominated
While Elwes has not won major individual awards, he has been recognized for his work across various genres and mediums. His nominations span from suspense films to television miniseries, showcasing his versatility as an actor. Additionally, Elwes has been part of ensemble casts that have received recognition, such as the Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for "Stranger Things" in 2020.
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Cary Elwes' Notable Film Roles

Cary Elwes has had a prolific career in film, spanning various genres and roles. Below is a selection of notable films in which he has appeared:
YearTitleRoleGenre
1986Lady JaneGuilford DudleyHistorical Drama
1987The Princess BrideWestleyFantasy/Adventure
1989GloryMajor Cabot ForbesWar/Drama
1990Days of ThunderRuss WheelerAction/Drama
1991Hot Shots!Lt. Kent GregoryComedy
1992Bram Stoker's DraculaLord Arthur HolmwoodHorror/Romance
1993Robin Hood: Men in TightsRobin HoodComedy
1994The ChaseJack HammondAction/Comedy
1996TwisterDr. Jonas MillerAction/Adventure
1997Liar LiarJerryComedy
2004SawDr. Lawrence GordonHorror/Thriller
2011No Strings AttachedDr. MetznerRomantic Comedy
2016Sugar MountainJim HuxleyThriller
2023BlackBerryCarl YankowskiBiographical Drama
2023Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part OneDenlingerAction/Thriller
Elwes's versatility as an actor is evident in his ability to seamlessly transition between genres, from comedy and romance to horror and historical dramas.
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Cary Elwes (Interviews)

Cary Elwes Reveals Insane Family Connection To 'The ... - YouTube
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Cary Elwes' Memoir: As You Wish

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Cary Elwes's memoir, "As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride," offers an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the beloved film "The Princess Bride." The book is filled with anecdotes and interviews from cast members such as Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as insights from director Rob Reiner and screenwriter William Goldman. Elwes shares his personal experiences, including humorous and touching moments, like running through the Fire Swamp on a broken toe and the camaraderie among the cast and crew. The memoir also highlights the gentle nature of André the Giant, whose presence left a lasting impact on everyone involved. Narrated by Elwes and his co-stars, the audiobook version adds an extra layer of authenticity and charm, making it a must-listen for fans of the film.
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Cary Elwes: Making His Mark in Voice Acting for Animated Productions

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Cary Elwes has also made a significant impact in the realm of voice acting, lending his distinctive voice to various animated productions. Notably, he voiced multiple characters in the 2009 animated adaptation of "A Christmas Carol," directed by Robert Zemeckis. His voice-over repertoire extends beyond this, including roles such as Garrett in "Quest for Camelot," Baron Humbert von Gikkingen in "The Cat Returns," and Aquaman/Arthur Curry in various DC animated projects. Elwes's versatility in voice acting is further demonstrated by his work in video games and audiobooks, such as narrating James Patterson's "The Jester".
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Cary's Marriage and Interests

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Cary Elwes has been married to photographer Lisa Marie Kurbikoff since June 25, 2000, after meeting her at a Malibu chili cook-off in 1991 and getting engaged in 1997. The couple has one daughter, Dominique, born in 2007. Outside of his acting career, Elwes has a keen interest in history and environmental causes. He often shares his passion for these topics through various platforms, including social media and public appearances. Elwes's commitment to environmental issues is reflected in his support for organizations and initiatives aimed at conservation and sustainability.
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Closing Thoughts on Cary Elwes

Cary Elwes has established himself as a versatile actor across multiple mediums, with his iconic role as Westley in "The Princess Bride" serving as a cornerstone of his career. His best-selling memoir "As You Wish" offers fans an intimate look at the making of this beloved film. As a 21st-century English male actor, Elwes has successfully transitioned between film, television, and stage, demonstrating his adaptability and enduring appeal. His work spans genres, from swashbuckling adventures to horror franchises like "Saw," and includes notable appearances in popular series such as "Stranger Things" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel". Elwes' continued presence in the entertainment industry underscores his talent and versatility as a performer.
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