James Frain is an English stage and screen actor. He is possibly best known for his role as Thomas Cromwell in the Showtime series The Tudors. He appeared from 2007 to 2009 until his character was executed in the third season finale.
Frain was born in Leeds, Yorkshire and raised in Hertfordshire, the eldest of eight children. He was educated at Newport Free Grammar School, studied English, Film and Drama at the University of East Anglia and trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
While in his final year there he made his film debut in Shadowlands (1993), as a result of being spotted by Richard Attenborough and has had a successful film career on both sides of the Atlantic ever since. Skilled at accents and capable of playing a large variety of roles he was nominated for Best Actor at the 1995 Venice Film Festival for his performance as a Northern Irish terrorist in Thaddeus O'Sullivan's controversial Nothing Personal (1995) and for Best Supporting Actor at the Genies in Toronto for his performance in István Szabó's Sunshine (1999).
He has been a regular on the stage in the UK appearing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Court Theatre as well as on the West End. He has also appeared on Broadway and was a recipient of the 2007 Drama Desk Critics Award for Best Ensemble along with the rest of the cast of The Homecoming (2007). He recently appeared in the television series 24 (2005), Invasion (2006) and The Closer (2006) and played the ill-fated Thomas Cromwell in the Showtime series The Tudors