Cavill was born the fourth of five boys in Jersey, Channel Islands, to a Catholic family. His mother, Marianne Dalgliesh, was a secretary in a bank. She was born in Jersey to Irish, Scottish and English heritage. His father, Colin Cavill, was born in Chester, England and was a stockbroker. He was educated at St Michael’s Preparatory School in Saint Saviour, Jersey, before attending Stowe School in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. In 2000, while playing rugby, 16-year-old Cavill met actor Russell Crowe, who was shooting on location at the Stowe School for the film A Beautiful Mind. The actor shared some acting tips and later sent a package to his boarding school. The two actors later worked together on Man of Steel.
Cavill began his film career with a role in Laguna (2001) and Kevin Reynolds’ adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). He continued with appearances in BBC’s The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2002), the television film Goodbye, Mr. Chips (2002), and the television series Midsomer Murders (2003). In 2003, he had a supporting role in I Capture the Castle, followed by Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005), Red Riding Hood (2006) and Tristan & Isolde (2006). He had a minor role in Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Stardust (2007). From 2007 to 2010, Cavill had a leading role in Showtime’s television series, The Tudors, as Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The series was commercially well-received and it went on to be nominated for a Golden Globe in 2007 and won an Emmy in 2008. Cavill gave the show credit for bolstering his career: “It’s done the most for me to date. Now that there’s an audience somewhere in America that’s aware of who I am, I have more sell-ability, because of The Tudors.” Entertainment Weekly named him the “Most Dashing Duke” and praised his work on The Tudors for displaying “charm, depth and a killer bod”. Cavill had been set to play Superman in McG’s 2004 film, Superman: Flyby. McG pulled out of the project and direction was taken over by director Bryan Singer, who recast Brandon Routh as the lead in Superman Returns. Cavill was also the cause of a write-in effort from fans to see him cast as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). The role eventually went to Robert Pattinson. Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, was outspoken in favour of Cavill playing the character of Edward Cullen in the Twilight film, calling him her “perfect Edward”. However, by the time production of the film began, Cavill was too old to play the character, and again the role went to Pattinson. Despite reports that he was a contender for Batman in Batman Begins, Cavill confirmed that he never auditioned for, nor was offered, the role. In 2005, Cavill was a final choice for the role of James Bond in Casino Royale. The producers and director Martin Campbell were torn between him and Daniel Craig; reportedly Campbell supported Cavill but the producers preferred an older Bond. Craig ultimately landed the role. Fifteen years later in 2020, an artificial intelligence device chose Cavill as the optimal successor to Craig following Craig’s retirement from the role following No Time to Die. While appearing in The Tudors, Cavill starred in director Joel Schumacher’s horror film, Blood Creek (2008), and had a supporting role in Woody Allen’s comedy film Whatever Works (2009). He went on to play the lead role of Theseus in Tarsem Singh’s mythological film, Immortals, released 11 November 2011. and starred, alongside Bruce Willis, in The Cold Light of Day released in 2012. On 30 January 2011, it was announced that Cavill had been cast in the role of Clark Kent / Superman in director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Snyder called Cavill “the perfect choice to don the cape and S shield.” Entertainment media applauded Henry Cavill on his road to success. On being chosen for the role, Cavill commented, “In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honoured to be a part of his return to the big screen.” Cavill reprised the role of Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a 2016 sequel which featured a crossover with Batman and Wonder Woman. He attended the San Diego Comic-Con in disguise to surprise the cast of Suicide Squad. Cavill returned as Superman in the 2017 theatrical version of Justice League, which had been reworked by director Josh Whedon after Snyder left the project due to a family tragedy. He appeared again in Zack Snyder’s Justice League which premiered on HBO Max in March 2021 after an intense fan campaign to see the Snyder cut. His manager Dany Garcia said in 2016 that he was working on a new standalone Superman film. Directors Matthew Vaughn and Chris McQuarrie were reportedly interested. Shortly after the release of Justice League, Cavill revealed he was under contract to play Superman in one more film. In 2015, he co-starred with Armie Hammer in the film version of spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. In 2018, Cavill co-starred as August Walker in the action spy film Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Later that year, he starred in the psychological thriller Night Hunter (originally titled Nomis). Cavill has expressed interest in taking over the role of James Bond when Daniel Craig gives it up. On 4 September 2018, it was announced that Cavill would be portraying the protagonist Geralt of Rivia in the Netflix adaptation of The Witcher. The series premiered on 20 December 2019. The series had its early premiere on Służewiec Racetrack in Warsaw on 18 December 2019.After COVID-related production delays, The Witcher Season Two is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on 17 December 2021. On 27 June 2019, it was announced that Cavill would portray Sherlock Holmes in Legendary Entertainment’s film adaptation of The Enola Holmes Mysteries, with Millie Bobby Brown in the eponymous role. On 13 May 2021, it was announced that he would reprise his role in Enola Holmes 2. On 21 May 2021, it was announced that Cavill would portray the lead role in the reboot of Highlander, although his exact character is unknown. On July 14, 2021, an article by Deadline confirmed that he would star in The Rosie Project, directed by Steve Falk and based on the book by the same name, written by Australian author Graeme Simsion.
Cavill was listed as one of GQ’s 50 best-dressed British men in 2012. In December 2013, he was named “World’s Sexiest Man” by British Glamour magazine. The same year, Empire magazine placed him third on their list of “The 100 Sexiest Movie Stars 2013”. In early 2008, Cavill became the face of the British fragrance Dunhill. A television commercial for the brand featured a suited-up Cavill walking through the Union Jack, before boarding a helicopter. A second television commercial featured Cavill driving a car through a deserted London at night, and meeting a young woman.
Cavill is a spokesman for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and an ambassador for The Royal Marines Charity. He launched the running phase of the Royal Marines 1664 Challenge and took part in The Gibraltar Rock Run 2014.
Cavill is described as British and English. He was born in the Crown Dependency of Jersey, an island in the Channel Islands. Cavill resides in South Kensington, London. He was engaged to English show jumper Ellen Whitaker from 2011 until 2012. He speaks some French and Italian, although not fluently. In 2016, Cavill started practising Brazilian jiu-jitsu, having been seen training at Roger Gracie’s academy in London. Cavill supports the Jersey Rugby Club. He has been an avid PC gamer since childhood, missing the call to play Superman because of World of Warcraft and crediting his experience playing The Witcher video game series before the show was in production as his motivation to seek out the role of Geralt. He has also named the Total War series of strategy games to be among his favourites. and in May 2020 it was announced that a new character paying tribute to Cavill and his Witcher character Geralt would be added to Total War: Warhammer 2 via DLC; Cavill, Loremaster of Hoeth. Cavill also enjoys the Warhammer 40,000 series of games and fiction, saying he “genuinely can’t get enough of the lore they have built over the decades”. In February 2021, he also teased involvement in a yet undefined Mass Effect adaptation.