Sir Thomas Daniel "Tom" Courtenay (pronounced /ˈkɔrtni/; born 25 February 1937) is an English actor who came to prominence in the early 1960s with a succession of films including The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), Billy Liar (1963) and Dr. Zhivago (1965). Since the mid-1960s he has been known primarily for his work in the theatre. Courtenay received a knighthood in February 2001 for forty years service to cinema and theatre. Tom Courtenay is the President of Hull City A.F.C.'s Official Supporters Club. In 1999 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Hull University.
Courtenay was born in Hull, the son of Anne Eliza (née Quest) and Thomas Henry Courtenay, a boat painter. He attended Kingston High School there. Courtenay studied drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.
Courtenay made his stage début in 1960 with the Old Vic theatre company at the Lyceum, Edinburgh, before taking over from Albert Finney in the title role of Billy Liar at the Cambridge Theatre in 1961. In 1963 he would play that same title role in the film version, directed by John Schlesinger. He said of Albert Finney, "We both have the same problem, overcoming the flat harsh speech of the North."