Date of Birth: April 20th 1964
Born and brought up in Ruislip Manor, Middlesex, England. His father is an ethnic Armenian doctor from Iraq; the family surname was originally "Serkisian", which is a variant of one of the most common Armenian surnames. He attended Lancaster University where he originally studied visual art. His most memorable and critically acclaimed roles have been Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–03) and Kong in the 2005 version of King Kong, in which he provided the voice and movements for the CGI characters.
His acclaimed work on the trilogy set off a debate on the legitimacy of CGI-assisted acting. Many critics felt Serkis should have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance since the movie used his voice, body language, and facial expressions. There is the argument that some of his CGI actions were partially, or in some cases fully animated, without his own movements, but the same can be said for actors in a traditional movie involving CGI. Some believed incorrectly that the Academy ruled that he did not qualify because he never physically appeared onscreen. There is no such prohibition, and in fact Serkis appeared onscreen as Sméagol before he became Gollum in the third film.
Continuing the development of Performance capture as an art form, Serkis is working with game developers Ninja Theory on the 2007 release of Heavenly Sword, providing the motion capture and voice for King Bohan, the games main villain, as well as acting as Dramatic Director for the game. Serkis appeared in Sugarhouse a low-budget independently made film, playing local crimelord Hoodwink, terrorising an East London housing estate. For the role, Serkis shaved his head and underwent sessions lasting 20 hours at a time to have temporary tattoos stencilled onto his body. The film was premiered at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival and released in the UK on 24 August 2007.