British actor James Callis was born on June 4, 1971 in London, England. The Jewish actor, whose parents were descendants of Russian and Polish immigrants, studied and later graduated at the University of York, leaving with English and literature degrees in 1993. During his stay there, he was an avid participant in the performing arts—he directed, acted and wrote several productions, and even appeared in productions put on by his friends in nearby Cambridge University.
He then pursued further training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and after his graduation in 1996, launched his career on stage productions in the West End, as well as on television. His screen debut was in an episode of the comedy series Murder Most Horrid, and moved on to play guest roles in other British television series. He also appeared in several films, first appearing in the 1997 short Weekend Bird. His career on stage was also applauded; in 1996, he won a Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer for his performance in Old Wicked Songs.
At the dawn of the new century, Callis began getting bigger roles on screen. In 2001, he starred in the hit romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Diary, which starred Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth. He also starred in the film’s sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, in 2004. In 2003, he joined the cast of the science fiction miniseries Battlestar Galactica, a reboot of the cult 1970s series. He played the role of Gaius Baltar, a scientist who survives the Cylons’ initial attacks on the Twelve Colonies. Despite having an indirect hand at causing the invasion, he was brought into the Galactica, where he works to fight the invaders. The miniseries acted as a backdoor pilot to the 2004 television series, where he reprised the role. He stayed with the show until its conclusion in 2008. In 2010, he was cast as Dr. Trevor Grant on the SyFy series Eureka.