Americans will probably not know who John Hannah is. He is a Scottish actor who mainly takes roles in British films. He is, however, pretty well known over in these parts. He has been in Sliding Doors (with Gwyneth Paltrow), Four Weddings and a Funeral and has had Hollywood forays with his roles in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. Anyways, on with the encounter...

I work in Soho. This is London's celeb centre if one is into that sort of thing. I was walking back from a job interview (another long story), and I turned the corner to see this guy coming down the steps of this apartment block. I couldn't really make out his face yet as he was quite far away still and was wearing a long, flowing trench coat, however, he looked vaguely familiar to me.

He was walking with a friend, and talking rather animatedly to him, like he was trying to explain a scene in a movie or something. They stopped at a crosswalk to let traffic by and I had by now caught up with them. As a approached from behind, John turned around and I immediately knew who he was, although I didn't know his name. It was an awkward moment really, as he was standing there, looking directly at me, I had just recognised him as someone famous and was probably staring like a deer in headlights trying to remember his name. Anyway, on cue, the traffic halted and he and his friend crossed the road and were off to wherever film stars go for lunch. While he was up ahead of me, a teenager walked past him, stopped, turned around to face him, thought for a few seconds and turned around to carry on walking. I walked past her and said to her "Yes, it was him." and she said "God, I thought so. Whats his name again?"

John Hannah was born April 23, 1962 in East Kilbride, Scotland, UK. After high school he worked as an apprentice electrician before being accepted to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.

He paid his dues to the theatre after college with several small parts before braking into movies with his role in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). His part was Matthew, the gay lover of Gareth, played by Simon Callow, the man who's funeral it is referred to in the title. This is not a role that most straight actors like to take on for their first major role, as it is typical that they are typecasted to that role again and again. However, the fact that they are gay is hardly noticed until two-thirds of the way into the movie, as it is not really discussed until then.

His next big motion picture was Sliding Doors (1998), where he played the romantic lead role of James Hammerton against Gwyneth Paltrow's character Helen Quilley.

He acted in The Mummy (1999), where he played Jonathan Carnahan, the treasure-hunting brother of female lead Evy, played by Rachel Weisz. He, of course, was also in The Mummy Returns (2001).

A offensive lineman who played for the New England Patriots of the National Football League, John Hannah could be summed up in one word, dominant. He was dominant when he played at the University of Alabama from 1970-1973, earning All-American honors and all SEC honors in 1971 and 1972, and by the end of his college career his dominance caused legendary Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant to remark that Hannah was "the finest offensive lineman I've ever been around."

Hannah was then drafted by the New England Patriots with the fourth overall pick in the 1973 draft, and his dominance, of both his position (he started his pro career as a left guard) and of opposing defensive players continued until his retirement in 1985 at age 35. Hannah excelled at both run and pass blocking, having enormous strength to push players off the line, and the aggresiveness and speed to make sure they stayed off the line. Here are some accolades he garnered in his career:

  • Was named to nine Pro Bowls in his 13 year career.
  • Named NFL Offensive Player of the Year four times.
  • Was selected ten times as a NFL All-Pro.
  • Missed only 5 games due to injury in a 183 game career.
  • Selected to both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991 (both selections were on the first ballot).
  • Appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in August 3rd 1981, with the title "Greatest Offensive Lineman In History" on the cover.
  • Named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary team.
  • Was a vital part of the Patriots' offensive line in 1978 when the team rushed for a NFL record 3,165 yards.
Some other significant facts about John Hannah:
  • Born on April 4th in 1951 in Canton, Georgia.
  • Stood at 6 feet 3 inches and 265 pounds when he played in the NFL.
  • Was nicknamed "Ham Hocks" and "The Hog".
  • Hannah's father Herb, was a offensive lineman for the New York Giants for a season.
  • Also lettered in track and wrestling while at Alabama.

    Sources included and

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