Jason Statham (pronounced /ˈsteɪθəm/; born 12 September 1967) is an English actor and former diver, known for his roles in the Guy Ritchie crime films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Revolver; and Snatch. Statham appeared in supporting roles in several American films, such as The Italian Job, as well as playing the lead role in The Transporter, Crank, The Bank Job, War (opposite martial arts star Jet Li), and Death Race. Statham also appeared alongside established action film actors Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren in The Expendables. He normally performs his own fight scenes and stunts.
Statham was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, the son of Eileen (née Yates) and Barry Statham, a lounge singer. He moved to Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, where he chose not to follow his father's career working on the local market stalls, and decided to pursue the arts. He grew up with Vinnie Jones, alongside whom he would later go on to act. Vinnie introduced him to football, and Statham went on to play for the local grammar school (1978–83), which he had attended since the age of eleven, but his real passion was diving. He practised daily in perfecting his diving techniques — in particular, he finished 12th in the World Championships in 1992. He was also a member of Britain's National Diving Squad for twelve years.
Statham's life in the media began when he was spotted by a talent agent specialising in athletes while training at London's Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Afterwards, he became a model for the clothing brand French Connection.