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Alfred Molina
Biographical Information
Name Alfred Molina
Birthplace Paddington, London, England
Born date May 24, 1953
Series information
Appearances Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Character Sheik Amar

Alfred Molina is an British actor better known for his roles in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Boogie Nights, Spider-Man 2. He portrays Sheik Amar in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.


Born on May 24, 1953 in London, England, and growing up in a working class neighborhood in Notting Hill, Molina decided to become an actor at nine years old after seeing “Spartacus” on the big screen in 1962. He performed in London from 1969-1971 with the National Youth Theatre company, and later joined a children’s theater company touring the English countryside with a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 1975. Two years later, he was signed as a member of the famed Royal Shakespeare Company. Unlike most actors angling to play the lead roles, Molina found satisfaction and inspiration in the low comic roles like Bottom or The Fool in “King Lear.” In fact, he drew his greatest influence from British comedian Tommy Cooper, whom Molina impersonated during a production. Once his initial contract ended, the Company declined to resign him.

Still determined, Molina followed his comic path, performing street theater and stand-up routines, then starred alongside Leonard Rossiter as a dimwitted pro wrestler called The Butcher in the short-lived British sitcom “The Losers” in 1978. Three years later, he made a small but memorable screen debut as the treacherous guide, Satipo, in the opening sequence of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," who gets covered by tarantulas and then skewered by a booby trap after his betrayal of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). After landing a few small parts in films such as Mike Leigh’s “Meantime” in 1983, “Number One” in 1984, in which he played a detective constable, and “Ladyhawke” in 1985, Molina finally got his big break playing a Russian sailor in the romantic drama, “Letter to Brezhnev” in 1986. Despite making strides in his film career, Molina maintained his passion for the stage. He returned to the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1985 to give a much-praised performance as Petruchio in "Taming of the Shrew," and also earned an Olivier nomination for his work in the British production of David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow." Back on the big screen, he was both amusing and tormented as Kenneth Halliwell, the lover of playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman) in director Stephen Frears’ grim tragic-comedy "Prick Up Your Ears" in 1987.

Molina starred in 1989's black comedy “Manifesto,” and was then cast as a mild-mannered accountant who uses a slight-of-hand gesture for a friend which gets him in deep with the Mafia in 1990's “The Accountant.” He played the painter Titorelli – the only character capable of pleasure in David Jones's adaptation of Franz Kafka's "The Trial" in 1991, then in 1992, was perfectly confounded as the joyless upper class husband in "Enchanted April." Following his role as a down-and-out jazz musician with dreams of success in 1993's “When Pigs Fly," Molina was a small-town poker player is conned by a smooth-talking card shark (played by Mel Gibson) in the 1994 big screen version of the popular television show, "Maverick." In 1995's sci-fi hit “Species,” he was one of four specialists called in to help track down an escaped half-human, half-alien Natasha Henstridge (whom he has the honor of impregnating, and then being killed by black widow style). Molina then played a Cuban ex-convict released after 20 years in prison who tries to start a new life in “The Perez Family,” also in 1995.

The diverse Molina continued taking surprising roles, playing a Guatemalan exile in “A Further Gesture,” before appearing in the 1996 Russian-set adaptation of Tolstoy’s "Anna Karenina." Later that same year Molina was nearly unrecognizable as a psychotic, crack-smoking coke dealer in "Boogie Nights," which he followed with a return to comedy in the spy thriller spoof, “The Man Who Knew Too Little." In 1998, Molina finally made his Broadway debut after decades on the stage, playing the good-natured Yvan in Yasmina Reza's "Art," which co-starred Alan Alda and Victor Garber. Molina’s intensity was on full display during a long rambling speech covering over two pages of solid text. That same year, he remained busy acting in Woody Allen's "Celebrity," Stanley Tucci's off-the-wall comedy "The Impostors," and Jonathan Gems' sex comedy "The Treat." He also found time to appear in Showtime's "Rescuers: Stories of Courage – Two Couples." Molina appeared as Snidely Whiplash in the unfortunate live-action performance of “Dudley Do-Right” in 1999, then played an uptight mayor whose French village is sexually awakened by the confections peddled by a mysterious woman, played by Juliette Binoche, in 2000's “Chocolat."

Molina made an uncharacteristic move into series television in 1999 as star and producer of the CBS sitcom “Ladies Man,” which only lasted two seasons. In 2002, he co-starred in the independent bio-pic "Frida," an otherwise standard documentary-drama on the life of Frida Kahlo, played by Salma Hayek, which won the actor rave reviews for his portrayal of the hedonistic Mexican artist, Diego Rivera. The already husky actor gained several pounds in order to capture the artist's well-known girth. In another foray into series television, Molina was cast as a washed-up writer who is sought out by his estranged daughter in the forgettable, quickly canceled CBS sitcom "Bram and Alice." Molina went on to play a terminal Sarah Polley's father in the poignant drama "My Life Without Me" in 2003, then a physician among 10 seeming strangers drawn by mysterious forces to a hotel during a violent storm in the thriller "Identity" later that same year. 2004 was truly a standout year for the already accomplished actor. He appeared in one of the best sequences in writer-director Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee and Cigarettes," improvising a segment with Steve Coogan. He was then nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance in "Fiddler On the Roof," and rounded the year out gaining massive worldwide notice as the super-villainous, multi-armed nemesis of Spiderman, namely Dr. Otto Octavius – a.k.a. the evil Dr. Octopus – in the highly anticipated blockbuster sequel, "Spider-Man 2.”

Molina was next appeared in one of the most controversial and anticipated movies to have come along in decades, 2006's “The Da Vinci Code,” directed by Ron Howard and adapted from Dan Brown’s like-named mega-blockbuster book. In it he played Bishop Aringarosa, chief foil to famed symbologist Robert Langdon played by Tom Hanks. Molina made two guest-starring appearances as the same character, crossing over from “Law & Order: Trial By Jury” to “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Following the unpopular film “Silk,” and voicing pharaoh Ramesses in the animated feature “The Ten Commandments,” both in 2007, Molina co-starred in the 2008 family comedy “Nothing Like the Holidays.” He then played Chief Inspector Pepperidge in the ill-received 2009 comedy “The Pink Panther 2,” starring Steve Martin.

Having somewhat of a slump since his 2002 portrayal of Diego Rivera, Molina once again earned positive notice for his supporting role in the well-received film “An Education” in 2009. For his part, Molina was nominated for a Satellite Award as well as a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 2010 Molina appeared in the family adventure film “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and re-teamed with that film’s producer Jerry Bruckheimer to play a 6th century sheik and mentor to a young Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the big budget videogame-adapted epic, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Filmmaker Julie Taymor likewise recruited Molina for her highly anticipated adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” also due in 2010, with the veteran actor cast in the role of Stephano.

Selected Filmography

Year Movie Character
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark Satipo
1984 Meantime John
1985 Letter to Brezhnev Sergei
Ladyhawke Cezar
1987 Prick Up Your Ears Kenneth Halliwell
1989 Virtuoso (TV) John Ogdon
The Accountant (TV) Lionel Ellerman
1991 Hancock (TV) Tony Hancock
Not Without My Daughter Moody
American Friends Oliver Syme
1992 Enchanted April Mellersh Wilkins
1993 A Year in Provence Tony Havers
The Trial Titorelli
1994 Maverick Angel
1995 Species Dr. Stephen Arden
The Perez Family Juan Raúl Perez
Dead Man Trading Post Missionary
Hideaway Dr. Jonas Nyebern
Nervous Energy Ira Moss
1996 Before and After Panos Demeris
1997 Anna Karenina Levin
Boogie Nights Rahad Jackson
The Man Who Knew Too Little Boris 'The Butcher' Blavasky
1998 The Impostors Sir Jeremy Burtom
1999 Dudley Do-Right Snidely K. Whiplash
Magnolia Solomon Solomon
Ladies Man Jimmy Stiles
2000 Chocolat Comte De Reynaud
2001 Murder on the Orient Express Hercule Poirot
Texas Rangers King Fisher
2002 Frida Diego Rivera
2003 My Life Without Me Ann's Father
Identity Dr. Malick
Coffee and Cigarettes Himself
Luther Johann Tetzel
2004 Crónicas Victor Hugo Puente
Spider-Man 2 Doctor Otto Octavius
Steamboy James Edward Steam
Undertaking Betty Boris Plots
2006 The Da Vinci Code Bishop Manuel Aringarosa
As You Like It Touchstone
2007 The Hoax Dick Suskind
The Company (TV) Harvey Torriti
Silk Baldabiou
The Ten Commandments Ramesses (voice)
The Moon and the Stars Davide Rieti
The Little Traitor Sergeant Dunlop
2008 Nothing Like the Holidays Edy Rodriguez
2009 An Education Jack
The Pink Panther 2 Chief Inspector Randall Pepperidge
The Lodger Chandler Manning
Wonder Woman Ares (voice)
2010 The Tempest Stephano
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Sheik Amar
The Sorcerer's Apprentice Horvath