Ian David McShane (born September 29, 1942 in Blackburn, England) is a versatile English actor with a distinctive, purring voice. He first solidified his reputation in the popular British series Lovejoy, but his career experienced in renaissance with his fierce performance as the terrifying yet complex saloon owner Al Swearengen in Deadwood, which led to a prolific later career in a wide range of high-profile film and television productions.
His many roles on screen have been predominantly villainous, including Judas Iscariot in Jesus of Nazareth, Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and bisexual Gayngster Teddy Bass in Sexy Beast. However, he also plays good guys, such as Mr. Bobinsky in Coraline and King Brahmwell in Jack the Giant Slayer. Incidentally, he was at drama school with John Hurt, and they shared an apartment, leading to a lifelong friendship.
Oh, and that picture of him up there? He's 77, by the way.
Tropes related to his works:
- Badass Baritone: His mellifluous, purring voice is very distinctive.
- Badass Beard: He has some of the best facial hair in the business.
- Classically Trained Extra: This is averted with his roles in Kung Fu Panda, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, American Horror Story and Jack the Giant Slayer, which he, apparently, enjoyed immensely. He seems to enjoy the weirder, blockbuster-y roles just as much as classical theater.
- He has, however, made his disdain for everything involving Game of Thrones and its fanbase (except his long-time friends Stephen Dillane and Charles Dance) abundantly clear in everything he has done relating to that. This contempt led to the memetic phrase "Get a fucking life! It's just tits and dragons!"
- Deadpan Snarker: His characters tend to get the best lines.
- Evil Brit: Frequently.
- Evil Sounds Deep: He has a very deep voice and he plays villains a lot.
- Older Than They Look: He's aged very well. He's in his late seventies but looks to be in his early sixties at the most.
- Oop North: He's from Manchester and has a notable accent.
- Playing Against Type: In Game of Thrones where he plays one of the few unashamedly and unambiguous good characters in the series.
- Rule of Sean Connery: His mere presence makes bad shows enjoyable and good ones epic.
- 1967 Wuthering Heights as Heathcliff
- 1969 Battle of Britain as Andy
- 1973 The Last of Sheila as Anthony
- 2000 Sexy Beast as Teddy Bass
- 2003 Agent Cody Banks as Dr. Brinkman
- 2006 Scoop as Joe Strombel
- 2006 We Are Marshall as Paul Griffen
- 2007 Shrek the Third as Captain Hook
- 2007 Hot Rod as Frank Powell
- 2007 The Seeker as Merriman Lyon
- 2007 The Golden Compass as Ragnar Sturlusson
- 2008 Kung Fu Panda as Tai Lung
- 2008 Death Race as Coach
- 2009 Coraline as Mr. Bobinsky
- 2011 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as Blackbeard
- 2012 Snow White and the Huntsman as Beith
- 2013 Jack the Giant Slayer as King Brahmwell
- 2014 Cuban Fury as Ron Parfitt
- 2014 Hercules (2014) as Amphiaraus
- John Wick as Winston
- 2019 Hellboy as Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm
- 1977 Jesus of Nazareth as Judas Iscariot
- 19861994 Lovejoy as Lovejoy
- 1989 Dallas as Don Lockwood
- 1990 Columbo as Leland (episode "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo")
- 20042006 Deadwood as Al Swearengen
- 2009 Kings as King Silas Benjamin
- 2010 The Pillars of the Earth as Waleran Bigod
- 2012 American Horror Story: Asylum as Leigh Emerson
- 2015 Ray Donovan as Andrew Finney
- 2016 Game of Thrones as Septon Ray
- 2017 American Gods (2017) as Mr. Wednesday/Odin.