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Born into a family in which both parents had substantial film and television careers, British actor Rupert Penry-Jones attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School on his way to becoming a steady theatrical presence in London as well as in towns such as Stratford-upon-Avon, where he performed Shakespeare. He made his way onto the screen in 1994, appearing in bit parts in film and on television until 1998, when he landed a more significant role as Piers Du Pré, a brother of the title characters in the critically-acclaimed music biopic "Hilary and Jackie." In 2000, Penry-Jones began a string of recurring television roles, starting with the drama "North Square" and culminating in 2004 with a central part on the popular BBC intelligence thriller, "MI-5" (aka "Spooks"), Britain's equivalent of the C.I.A. Over the course of his four-year run on the show, he also appeared in Woody Allen's crime-romance "Match Point" and starred as Captain Wentworth in the TV production of Jane Austen's "Persuasion," opposite Sally Hawkins. Also during that time, he married and had two children with Irish-born actress Derlva Kirwan, whom he had performed with in a play in 2001. The tall, sandy-blond-haired Penry-Jones rounded out the 2000s with lead TV roles on crime thrillers, first as Richard Hannay in "The 39 Steps" in 2008, and then as Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler in the Jack-the-Ripper-like mystery, "Whitechapel."
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