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Actor Tom Wilkinson, known for 'The Full Monty' and 'Michael Clayton,' dies at 75

English actor Tom Wilkinson poses for photographers on the red carpet ahead of the Royal and World Premiere of the film <em>The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel</em> in London on Feb. 17, 2015.
Justin Tallis
AFP via Getty Images
English actor Tom Wilkinson poses for photographers on the red carpet ahead of the Royal and World Premiere of the film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in London on Feb. 17, 2015.

British actor Tom Wilkinson, known for his roles in The Full Monty and Batman Begins, died on Saturday. He was 75.

His death was confirmed by his family in a statement shared by his publicist.

"It is with great sadness that the family of Tom Wilkinson announce that he died suddenly at home on December 30th. His wife and family were with him. The family asks for privacy at this time," his family said in a statement.

Wilkinson's acting career began nearly five decades ago on the British stage and British television. Soon, Wilkinson impressed audiences around the world with his role in the popular 1997 British comedy The Full Monty about a group of men who, after losing their jobs at a steel plant, form a male striptease act.

Four years later, Wilkinson gained even more critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for his role as a father coping with the death of his son in the drama film In the Bedroom.

He went on to pursue even more ambitious, complicated roles in films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Michael Clayton and Batman Begins.

In a 2005 interview with Fresh Air, Wilkinson attributed his interest and skill in acting to his childhood. Wilkinson had long believed he would become a farmer like the generations in his family before him. After his family lost their farm, Wilkinson experienced an identity crisis that turned out to be a boon for creativity.

"I think in a certain sense, rootlessness, in that sense, is quite good for an actor," he said. "It's not necessarily going to make an actor, but it means they are much more wide-ranging in the things that they will allow themselves to be influenced by, that they're perhaps not as set in their cultural ways as perhaps they could be if they had that thing which we crudely call a strong sense of themselves."

On Saturday, Scott Derrickson, director of the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which Wilkinson starred in, wroteon X: "Goodbye Tom Wilkinson, an amazing talent and wonderful human being."

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Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.