Sam Roland Heughan is a Scottish actor, producer, author, and entrepreneur. Born in the historic county of Dumfries and Galloway, he moved to Edinburgh at the age of twelve. He joined the Lyceum Youth theatre in 1998 and in 1999 was awarded a place at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in Glasgow, graduating in 2003. His alma mater later awarded him an honorary doctorate at the class of 2022 graduation ceremony.
In 2004 Sam appeared in his first professional television role in Island at War, a WWII drama about the German occupation of the Channel Islands. The following year he appeared in several episodes of the Scottish soap opera River City and portrayed adulterous husband Pony William in David Harrower’s play Knives in Hens. Sam subsequently appeared in a number of made-for-television films and miniseries including The Wild West, A Very British Sex Scandal, and Breaking the Mould, as well as television series including Midsomer Murders, Rebus, and Party Animals as well as live productions including Noël Coward’s The Vortex at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Hamlet at the Citizen’s Theatre, Iain F. MacLeod’s The Pearlfishers at the Traverse Theatre, Romeo and Juliet at the Dundee Repertory Theatre, Macbeth at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Nicholas de Jongh’s Plague Over England at the Duchess Theatre, the stage adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley at the Royal & Derngate, Steve Waters’ sold-out play Amphibians at the Bridewell Theatre and played the title roles in the touring stage show Batman Live and Shakepeare’s King John at the Òran Mór Theatre.
Other roles included the recurring villain Scott Nielson on Doctors, the title character in Young Alexander the Great, and Prince Ashton in Hallmark Channel’s A Princess for Christmas. He also starred in First Light, the story of RAF pilot Geoffrey Wellum’s experiences flying a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain, and in the BAFTA-winning mini-series Any Human Heart.
Sam is best known for his starring role as Jamie Fraser in Outlander, for which he was the first cast member officially announced cast in 2013, to great praise by the author of the series, Diana Gabaldon, who said, “That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart. Having seen Sam Heughan not just act, but be Jamie, I feel immensely grateful to the production team for their painstaking attention to the soul of the story and characters.” As Jamie he has won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor and the Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television, and received a nomination for the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series.
Sam subsequently appeared in the psychological thriller Emulsion, the comedy Heart of Lightness, and the independent film When the Starlight Ends. As his profile rose, he co-starred as MI6 agent Sebastian Henshaw in the action comedy film The Spy Who Dumped Me, opposite Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon and performed his first voice-acting project in the video game Lego DC Super-Villains as the Mirror Master. Other appearances included Bloodshot, an adaptation of the best-selling comic book, the lead in SAS: Red Notice, based on the novel by Andy McNab, the role of Henry in the Regency-era romantic comedy Mr. Malcom’s List, and the romantic drama Love Again.
In 2020, Sam published a travelogue titled Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other with Outlander co-star Graham McTavish. The book became a bestseller, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times’ Best Seller Lists for hardcover nonfiction and for combined print and e-book nonfiction. Clanlands serves as a companion to Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip With Sam and Graham.
The same year he launched his own whisky brand, The Sassenach, (named after his Outlander character’s nickname for his wife, Claire), winning consecutive double golds in the 2020 and 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
In addition to acting Sam served as the first Global Brand Ambassador for the English clothing label Barbour beginning in 2016. He released several collections since his initial autumn/winter line in 2017, all of which he co-designed, while in 2015, he started the organisation My Peak Challenge, a training, nutrition, and support programme that provides participants with a sense of community as they work towards personal goals, while concurrently raising money for charity. The foundation has partnered with Leukemia Lymphoma Research, Bear Strength Clothing and Fight Camp Glasgow to raise funds for cancer research. In September 2016, Sam partook in the Great North Run to raise funds for Bloodwise, which he has supported since 2011, and became president of Scotland Bloodwise. In 2018, he ran both the Stirling and EMF Edinburgh Marathons in the space of a month to raise money for Cahonas Scotland and their Testicular Cancer Education and Awareness Programme.