• British-Irish actor David ‘Brendan’ Coyle was born in Corby, England in 1962.
• He is known for playing John Bates in the critically acclaimed series "Downton Abbey".
• He has appeared in over 70 movies and TV series and has won 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance for "Downton Abbey".
• Brendan is an active supporter of the LGBT community and is believed to be gay.
• He enjoys stand-up comedy, cheering for Manchester United FC, and has a net worth estimated at over $6 million.

Who is Brendan Coyle?

British-Irish actor David ‘Brendan’ Coyle was born in Corby, England, on 2 December 1962, so his zodiac sign’s Sagittarius. He’s appeared in over 70 movies and TV series, and is perhaps known best for playing John Bates in the critically acclaimed romantic series “Downton Abbey”, which Julian Fellowes created, and which starred Elizabeth McGovern, Phyllis Logan and Hugh Bonneville. Set in the early 20th century, the series follows the wealthy Crawley family, and it won 74 of its 303 award nominations.

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Education and early life

Brendan and his older brother Shaun were raised in Corby by their Irish father and British mother; his brother’s today working as a butcher. Brendan’s great-uncle was Sir Matt Busby, the late British soccer player and manager.

He became interested in acting while attending a local high school in Corby, but was also into sports, playing soccer for his school’s team. Brendan moved to Dublin, Ireland upon matriculating in 1981, and enrolled at drama school. He then attended London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts on a scholarship in 1983, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1987.

Roles in movies

Brendan’s debut film role was playing Kevin Cahill in the 1990 comedy “London Calling”, and he could then have been seen appearing in the 1990 short drama “The Loser”, the 1993 crime drama “Fool’s Gold: The Story of the Brink’s-Mat Robbery”, and the 1994 drama “Ailsa”.

What helped him gain recognition was playing Leading Seaman in the 1997 action adventure thriller “Tomorrow Never Dies”, directed by Roger Spottieswoode, and which starred Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, Jonathan Pryce and Michelle Yeoh; it follows Bond who’s trying to prevent a media mogul from starting a war between the UK and China, – the movie won six of its 16 award nominations.

Brendan started the 2000s with roles in the 2001 biographical historical drama “Conspiracy” and the  thriller “Mapmaker”, the 2004 drama “Omagh”, and the year 2005 saw him play Damon in the evergreen fantasy mystery “The Jacket”, which John Maybury directed, and which starred Daniel Craig, Keira Knightley and Adrien Brody. It follows a Gulf war veteran who’s being experimented on in a mental institution, and the movie won one of its three award nominations.

Some of Brendan’s notable performances in the remainder of the decade were in the 2006 crime mystery “Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act”, the 2007 war drama “The Mark of Cain”, and the 2009 action crime comedy “Perrier’s Bounty”.

In 2014, he played the supporting character Gerry Shaw in the biographical drama “Noble”, written and directed by Stephen Bradley, and which starred Deirdre O’Kane, Sarah Greene and Gloria Cramer Curtis. It tells the story of Irish girl Christina Noble, who launched the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation in 1989; the movie won 10 of its 12 award nominations.

Brendan’s three most recent film roles have been in the 2018 biographical historical drama “Mary Queen of Scots”, the 2019 romantic drama “Downton Abbey” and its 2022 sequel “Downton Abbey: A New Era”. He’s currently shooting for the upcoming movies “The Rising: 1916” and “Dragonkeeper”.

Roles in TV series

Brendan’s debut TV series role was playing Chris Bailey in the 1992 episode “Radio Waves” of the crime drama “The Bill”. In 1995 and ‘96, he starred as Bob Tate in the crime drama “Thief Takers”, which also starred Robert Willox and Gary McDonald, and follows members of The Armed Robbery Squad.

Brendan appeared in an episode or two of various series in the 2000s, but what marked the decade for him was probably playing Robert Timmins in the romantic drama “Lark Rise to Candleford”, created by Bill Gallagher, and which starred Olivia Hallinan, Sarah Lancashire and Julia Sawalha. Set in 19th century England, the series follows a young girl who’s begun her apprenticeship as a postmistress, it aired from 2008 to 2011, and won one of its seven award nominations.

Brendan spent half of the 2010s focused on shooting for “Downton Abbey”, and his three most recent TV series roles have been in the 2016 episode “Year of the Monkey” of the adventure mystery “12 Monkeys”, and all six episodes of both the 2018 fantasy mystery mini-series “Requiem”, and the 2022 drama “Riches”.

Other credits

Brendan received special thanks for the 2008 episode “London/Edinburgh” of the reality adventure show “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations”.

He’s produced seven movies, including the 2017 short dramas “Margie’s Garden” and “Farside”, and the 2019 short drama “Timetable”.

Brendan’s recently made a guest appearance in talk-shows “BBC News 8pm Summary”, “Saving Lives at Sea”, and “Lorraine”.

Awards and nominations

Brendan’s won three of 12 award nominations, all for he and his colleagues Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for “Downton Abbey” in 2013, 2015 and 2016. He was also nominated for a 2012 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, for his performance in the same series.

Love life and sexual orientation

Many of Brendan’s fans believe the famous actor to be gay, and we’re going to explain why.

He’s been active in the film industry for more than 30 years now, but hasn’t spoken of any women whom he’s been with, nor has he been seen being close to any. It’s widely known that Brendan’s a supporter of the LGBT community, often tweeting his support, and has also dedicated a song to them. A fan has even claimed to have seen Brendan spending time with a man who could perhaps be his boyfriend, but no evidence has been provided to support these rumors, and which Brendan has yet to address. He seems to be unattached as of January 2023, hasn’t married and doesn’t have children.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Brendan’s stated that he would’ve become a chef if he hadn’t succeeded in the film industry.

He has homes in both London and Norfolk, and divides his time between the two.

Brendan cheers for the soccer team Manchester United FC, which was managed very successfully for many years by his great-uncle Matt Busby.

There are close to 10,000 people following Brendan on Instagram, and he’s posted over 80 pictures and videos onto the social media network.

Brendan’s a huge lover of animals, and has featured his pet dog George Busby Charlton Law Best – all names associated with Manchester United – in some of his Instagram pictures.

He loves stand-up comedy, and his favorite two performers are the late George Carlin and Robin Williams.

Brendan’s favorite actors are Clint Eastwood and Russell Crowe, and some of his favorite movies include “Unforgiven”, “Gran Torino” and “The Gladiator”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Brendan’s age is 60. His eyes are brown and hair is black, he’s 6ft (1.83m) tall and weighs about 190lbs (85kgs).

Brendan’s net worth’s been estimated at over $6 million, as of January 2023.


As Managing Editor at The Biography, I oversee a skilled team to produce insightful biographies of influential figures. My responsibilities include managing the editorial process, conducting detailed research, crafting engaging narratives, and ensuring the accuracy and quality of our content. At The Biography, we aim to deliver in-depth profiles that provide valuable insights into the realms of business, entertainment, and more. Our commitment to meticulous research and dynamic storytelling highlights the significant journeys and successes of inspiring individuals.

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