Actor Henry Hereford
PUBLISHED: 15:45 14 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:57 20 February 2013
Henry Hereford is making a name for himself in Hollywood<br/><br/>and he's making sure his home county is on the credits too
Up-and-coming actor Henry Hereford, whose screen credits include the 2011 blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, cant forget his roots. Firstly he is reminded every time he signs his name. And secondly, while he may live in Beverly Hills, his ancestors have resided at Sufton Court in Mordiford near Hereford since 1120. Herefordshire runs through Henry Herefords bloodlines and it is a heritage he is immensely proud of.
It is quite amazing we have been there for that long. A lot of families end up having to move away. My brother Mark is older than me so he will come back and run it but it is important to me it stays in the family. As I become older I have become more interested in my heritage, he says. My parents are still there and I go back when I can.
Henrys two worlds couldnt be more different. On the one hand there is celebrity-obsessed LA with all its glamour, sunshine, beach, ocean, parties and wealth. Then on the other theres rural Herefordshire green, lush, idyllic ... and home.
The contrast was spelt out to Henry when he was reading a local paper on a train trip back to Herefordshire in June. The main news was that a badger had caused a delay around Ledbury. Its quite nice to come back to that kind of news, its a nice way to appreciate how amazing Herefordshire is, he says. You dont get that sort of news in LA. In Herefordshire its not about what you are doing, its about life. Some people over there forget that other things happen. They get so consumed in it and I think its dangerous.
It is important for him therefore, that while enjoying the LA life he does not lose sight of what really matters. He is an active member of the BAFTA branch in LA and is particularly passionate about its community education and outreach programme, which aims to bring the film and television industry to inner-city areas and at-risk youth in Los Angeles. Its 15 miles away from Hollywood but it might as well be on Mars for the opportunities available to them although they are living in a town built on the film industry.
It is a stark contrast to Henrys childhood. He was born in Germany where his army officer father James was stationed at the time. The family then moved to Mordiford when his father took over the family estate, Sufton, a few years later. It was here that Henry grew up and where he spent his school holidays (he was a border at Radley College, Oxfordshire).
It was amazing to come back and have so much space to roam, and be outside; to run wild, he says. We look out on the River Lugg and so spent a lot of time down there
Henrys first acting role was as a tortoise when he was at primary school in Hereford but it was at the age of 16, when he was in the play One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest at Radley in 1992, that he was bitten by the acting bug. Richard DeMarco, the Scottish artist and passionate promoter of the performing arts, saw the play and persuaded the school to bring it to his gallery in Edinburgh. This gave Henry a taste of the life he could have as an actor and he started considering it seriously as a future career.
On leaving school he didnt rush to drama school, preferring instead to go to university to study politics, so he would have a safety net. Then, on advice from a casting director he had had work experience with, he applied to study a post-graduate degree at the Drama Studio in London.
Henrys professional acting career had begun but, despite working in London, New Zealand and Australia, as time went on he admits he started to doubt his choice.
There is a point in your life when you see friends 10 years into their careers and I needed to prove to myself that I could do something else.
On returning from Australia he took a job working for an MEP in Brussels and began to consider his options, one of which was orking in the EU press office.
I met up with the head of the UK delegation and we talked for ages and at the end he said: I think you need to go and think about it. I am happy to take you on but you have talked so passionately about your acting for the last hour I think you should carry on with that.
This proved the catalyst and incentive Henry needed. Acting was what he loved and if it meant moving to LA to give it a chance, he had to move. It proved a choice he wouldnt regret.
The first thing I did was a play, Woyzeck, which then went to New York for the New York Fringe which was exciting.
He has now been in LA four years and his credits include a part in the psychological thriller Liars All, as well as playing a journalist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which his parents saw in Malvern. They dont go to the cinema much but they made the effort to go and see that, Henry says. They are very supportive.
And now at the age of 36 he is as excited about the future as he has ever been.
I got a new manager in December who is an amazing guy. He only has about 25 clients and some of them are doing quite well. He can open doors for me and he really believes in what I am doing.
One of the actors latest projects has been playing the part of the hotel manager at the Dorchester Hotel in Liz and Dick, the story of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, which stars Lindsay Lohan, and airs on television in the US in November.
Its quite a nice little part and theres enough screen time. It was fun to play. I think it is going to get a lot of press.
There is one role though that has his name on it, literally, and one that should almost be his destiny.
The part? Henry Hereford, of course, one of Henrys ancestors and immortalised in Shakespeares Richard II.
It would be nice to have Henry Hereford playing Henry Hereford, he says.
Sufton Court opens its doors to the public a couple of times a year.
For more details visit www.hha.org.uk/property/407/sufton-court