When Nighy became a star with his wickedly funny turn as a boozy and blunt rock star in 2003's Love Actually, he was an overnight success 30 years in the making. Although he had consistently turned in stellar work on stage and screen in his homeland, few folks stateside knew his name. Initially harboring ambitions to become a writer, a teenage Nighy twice ran away from his native England only to end up penniless in France. At the suggestion of a girlfriend he turned to performing in the '70s and immediately found his calling, working as a member of Liverpool's Everyman Theatre Company and the traveling troupe Van Load. In the '80s, he forged a fruitful relationship with playwright David Hare, earning raves for his performances in Pravda, Skylight and 1982's A Map of the World, which introduced Nighy to longtime companion and his daughter's mama Diana Quick. Although his star rose on stage, on screen he was only landing bit parts, mostly on British TV. Perhaps this stumbling block is what drove him to drink, or maybe that was just part of his anarchic spirit. When Nighy sobered up in the '90s, his career also perked up. His breakthrough came with the 1998 rock-and-roll comedy Still Crazy. While Nighy was just shy of 50, his turn as a washed-up rocker trying to make a comeback struck a chord and turned him into something of an unlikely sex symbol, with his lank frame clad in skin-tight black duds. Five years later, he expanded on this archetype in the ensemble romantic comedy Love Actually, effortlessly stealing every scene he was in and winning a BAFTA award for his work. That same year, he appeared as a veteran vampire in Underworld, and while it wasn't a critical favorite, it did introduce his distinctive, pale mug to the youth set. A plethora of parts followed, in both prestigious (the TV-movie Gideon's Daughter, which won him a Golden Globe award) and popular (his villainous turn in the second Pirates of the Caribbean flick) projects, but Nighy approached all his roles, high or low, with the same dedication and skill.