Happy birthday, Matt Smith! The British actor, most known for his roles as Prince Phillip in the first two seasons of The Crown and, of course, as the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who from 2010-2013, turns 38 today (October 28th).
Matthew Robert Smith was originally set to be a top-flight soccer player before a back injury forced him to leave his dreams behind. Thankfully, a school drama teacher encouraged him to pursue a career in acting instead. Smith then appeared in a few small or guest roles in various British TV productions before he landed the job of a lifetime, taking over from the universally beloved David Tennant as the time traveling Time Lord in the flagship sci-fi show.
When he was announced to be hopping into the TARDIS in 2009, Smith was just 26 years old, making him the youngest actor to play the Doctor to this day. The odds were against him, given how successful Tennant’s run was, but he managed to win over audiences. In particular, Smith’s era was a huge hit in the US, ensuring Who finally became as popular in the States as it always had been in Britain.
After handing over the keys to the TARDIS to Peter Capaldi, Smith has enjoyed a busy career of high profile TV gigs and big movies, including the aforementioned Netflix royal drama and Terminator Genisys. Next year, he’s due to star in Sony’s Marvel flick Morbius and Edgar Wright’s latest, Last Night in Soho.
Smith has never shied away from his connection to Doctor Who, though, and he’s teamed up virtually with his fellow Doctors a couple of times in 2020. Fans are hoping that he’ll return for the 60th anniversary celebrations in 2023 as well, but it’s too early to speculate about that at the moment. Whatever happens, Smith looks set to remain a permanent fixture on our screens. Many happy returns, sir!