Richard Crispin Armitage (born 22 August 1971) is an English actor famous for his roles as John Thornton in North and South, Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, and Lucas North in Spooks. He is currently cast as Thorin Oakenshield in the two-film adaptation of The Hobbit.
Born in Leicester, England, Richard Armitage attended Huncote Primary School in Huncote, Leicestershire. Later at Brockington College in Enderby he studied music, performing cello in school and local orchestras as well as learning how to play flute. He pursued this interest to Pattison College in Coventry, where his education expanded to include dance and acting. He gained A Levels in music and English.
At 17, he joined a circus in Budapest for six weeks to gain his Equity Card. After returning to England, he pursued a career in musical theatre, performing in various productions including Cats as Admetus and Macavity.