In the five years that Fan Fun with Damian Lewis has been live, we have found out so much about Damian himself: His family background, his personal life, his interests, his vacations and what have you. And it is inevitable to think about yourself when you learn something new about your favorite star. “Oh, Damian is my twin!” or “Oh, Damian should be my soulmate” or “OMG! How come he likes this?!?!” or “I cannot believe how different Damian and I are.” And Gingersnap and I thought it would be neat to turn those moments into a fun post. So we sat down and wrote about things each of us has in common with Damian and a couple of other things that each of us is polar opposites of him. Hope you enjoy our stories and add your own similarities to and differences from Damian in our comments section.
Having been born not just in the same decade, 1970s, but also within a year of each other, Damian and I have similarities like riding our bikes up and down the street when we were kids, or listening to music on our Sony Walkmans when we were teenagers. But then there are other things we have in common that I think are more surprising, and it may also be fun to talk about stuff in which Damian and I are complete opposites… So, shall we start with the similarities?
Astrological Signs: Both Damian and I are Aquarians. So both of us probably exhibit (I know I do!) the typical personality traits of our beloved sign: Independent, assertive, analytical, original (read “eccentric”), witty and easy-going. Sounds familiar? Aquarians also have a very strong sense of idealism and fairness. When it comes to love, the Aquarians have to be mentally aroused first to fall in love, and the typical hot tip for an Aquarian is to find a Leo lover… Well, guess what? Both Damian and I have found one. We are both happily married to brilliant Leos, and our anniversaries are only 2 days apart in July! Oh, and when it comes to Chinese Zodiac, both Damian and I are metal pigs whose signature traits are being out-going, friendly, merciful and broad-minded.
Marriages: The brilliant Leos that Damian and I are married to are people who work in the same business as we do. Damian’s wife Helen is a prominent actress and my husband Lewisto is a quite renown academic in his field. I know some argue being married to a man/woman of your profession may be a disadvantage – it can bring competition into the marriage or it can simply be boring. But I have always seen it as an advantage since spouses sharing a profession can understand each other’s concerns and constraints much better than anyone else and can be each other’s most reliable professional confidante as well as critic.
And Helen’s words from a recent interview with The Telegraph corroborate my views:
“It’s ‘really helpful’ being married to an actor, because ‘[we] understand the concerns of each other’s days…”
Education: Both Damian and I attended competitive schools so I know exactly what he talks about when he talks about how a competitive education environment shapes one on Desert Island Discs:
“It feeds this readiness to be quick, witty, nimble, agile of mind at all times, which of course is its own defence mechanism and is there, by the time you leave, very much as a part of you.”
I also concur with Damian talks about the tails and stiff collars he had to wear at school! I wore uniforms from first grade until college and so I am quite familiar with the stiff collars that can get stiff enough to cut your neck! Then Damian adds he was a natural schoolboy especially in extracurricular activities:
“I was, if you like, a successful schoolboy in that I had a degree of talent in all the required things that make you a success at school. I suppose other boys would look at me and say, of course, he did great at school. He did this and he was captain of that…”
Oh, I was a natural schoolgirl, too – I excelled though, in contrast to Damian, in particular at curricular activities 😀
Damian remembers himself as more of a daydreamer in classroom during high school years:
“I realised I just wanted to be acting and playing guitar and playing football and cricket. Academically, I slowed to an almost grinding standstill.”
And he was never good at math. What?!?! 😀 As someone who has always been the Hermione of her class, and especially a math girl – no wonder my mom is still keeping all my grade reports – it breaks my heart 😀 That said, it is not surprising that Damian stood out in cricket, football, and acting.
Oh, and the caning! There was still caning when Damian was at boarding school.
“We were caned for the greatest sin there was, which was talking after lights out… Because it made everyone tired… And if the school was tired, it couldn’t operate well.”
And… caning happened to Damian, too!
“Regularly. Until my mother complained. It was the end of the 70s. Things changed massively through the 80s. That was the end of a more Dickensian way of schooling… My mum being my mum, she didn’t complain because she thought it was being cruel to me, but because it was clearly not working. Which was brilliant. Because I was being repeatedly caned. It’s shocking to Americans – of course they can’t believe it.”
Damian, you are absolutely right, Americans, of course can’t believe it. On the other hand, I believe it. Having grown up in Turkey, I know for a fact that caning was still a favorite pastime for some teachers in 1980s and I had my share, too — and guess for what? The greatest sin of all in a day school: Talking to friends during class time! 🙂 Haha I don’t remember how many times teachers told my mom that her daughter was very smart but she talked A LOT during class!!!
Some teachers used rulers to hit our palms. We had a teacher who hung a friend on a coat hook from his jacket collar and there was another one who erased the blackboard with the head of a fellow classmate. Don’t get me wrong, we had many devoted and wonderful teachers that I will always feel indebted to but we definitely had our share of the crazies as well. It is great that we turned out alright!
Both Damian and I love sports, especially FOOTBALL.
Now, Damian and I were kids at the same time in different countries with completely different cultures… But when it comes to football… in particular, if you live in a country where football is LIFE, say, in England where Damian grew up, or, say, in Turkey where I grew up, the football fans speak the same language!
My dad was a football fanatic. He did not only follow the Turkish league very closely, but also the European leagues and championships. And, in late 1970s, there was one football club that had constant presence in our living room: LIVERPOOL. The club had a legendary manager, Bob Paisley who led Liverpool through a period of unprecedented domestic and European dominance, winning twenty major honors in nine seasons: six League Championships, three League Cups, six Charity Shields, three European Cups, one UEFA Cup and one UEFA Super Cup. They won EVERYTHING.
My dad liked Liverpool, and easily recruited me as a fan. We cheered for the team together and that is why Liverpool is always a warm reminder of my childhood. As I grew up, I found out about other things about Liverpool, the city, that made me love it even more: Liverpool is a working class city which is close to my politics, and it gave the Beatles to the world, which is close to my heart. So I have always had a soft spot for its football team.
It turns out, so has Damian since he was seven!
Well… If you were a young kid in 1970s seeing this fantastic football team sweeping all championships and cups in Britain as well as across Europe year after year after year, why would you go and support another? THAT’S WHY, and I had this confirmed with Damian, both he and I, and many other children of our generation became fans!
High fiving Damian and telling him “Damian, You’ll Never Walk Alone!” last year a few days after Liverpool won the European Champions League Title was the closest I got to my childhood, especially the Sundays I sat on my dad’s shoulders to watch football, in decades!
Another sport that both Damian and I are into is tennis. We are both Roger Federer fans! Damian and Helen typically attend the Men’s semi-finals at Wimbledon and Lewisto and I typically attend the Men’s semi-finals at the U.S. Open. And while Damian once sat in Federer’s personal box to watch him at the U.S. Open, we the mortals are always stuck to the promenade!
Thanks @rogerfederer for inviting me to your player's box yesterday. Loved your mum and dad. Eccentric game against a wayward Benoit Paire. Roger had to concentrate hard to get the job done but he's the best so guess what…..he did.
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) August 31, 2018
And while we are both athletic, we mainly play different sports: I run and swim, and Damian plays football, tennis, golf and cricket. And while I so much admire Damian’s talent in football – I mean how many people can say “I marked Zinedine Zidane in a football match” – but I will never be able to understand why the last two, namely cricket and golf, are sports! 😀
The one sport we both do is… cycling! And… helmet, please, Mr. Lewis!
Both Damian and I love JAZZ. I loved it when he talked about loving the whole spectrum of jazz and that he and Helen going to London’s premiere jazz venue Ronnie Scott’s when they were dating on Desert Island Discs. And I loved it when he told Evening Standard that “in a perfect world I would always be bicycling through Bloomsbury just as my iPod shuffled to Artie Shaw.”
Maybe because we do not have kids, Lewisto and I are still regulars at New York jazz clubs like Village Vanguard and Blue Note and we love the whole spectrum of jazz from big band to bebop to modern. My current favorite jazz band is The Bad Plus and I am dying to know what Damian’s is!
Now on to differences…
Musical Talent: This is the BIGGEST ONE! Damian is musically very gifted. He plays the guitar, the piano, and God knows what else, and he can sing and dance, too! The only instrument I can play on the other hand is the recorder (it was mandatory in junior high!) and you would want to die if I sang 😀
Family Background: Damian and I are quite different in terms of family background. Damian was born into an upper-middle class family where as mine was solid middle class with both parents, college educated, working. And Damian has three siblings while I am an only child.
That said we have something in common when it comes, unfortunately, to losing a parent. I lost my dad on a beach vacation and he lost his mom while she was on vacation in India. And his words about his mom’s passing applies exactly to that of my dad’s.
“My mother’s death is the single most important thing that’s happened to me in my life.”
Damian seems to know his way around the kitchen. Well, he says he is not a creative cook but he can follow recipes – which is way beyond my culinary abilities. He is confident about his killer eggs benedict while I am confident that I can kill any dish if I attempt to cook it 😀
As a wine snob, the only thing I can say when I read about Damian ordering a “buttery and oaky” Chardonnay at a restaurant is, well, nobody is perfect! I love acidic whites from Loire (Sancerre is my favorite appellation) and earthy, almost barnyard-y reds from Burgundy (Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny are my favorite appellation).
So Damian thinks London is the greatest city in the world, and I respectfully disagree with him. New York is the capital of the world. Ahhhh, okay, London beats New York in history, the tube is certainly cleaner than the NYC subway, and both cities are extremely good when it comes to theater but that is it! We win all other categories 😀
Well, it looks like Damian is a dog person while I am a cat person! But I am sure Petra brings the Lewis-McCrory household the exact same joy and happiness Charlie (yes, named after Charlie Crews!) brings to ours!
The Decade We Were Born and Grew Up In:
Both Damian and I were born in the early 1970’s, within a year of each other, and we grew up as teens primarily in the 1980’s, which means we will automatically have similar upbringings, music interests, television show and movie interests, and pop culture familiarity. It was the time of microwave ovens, VCR’s, Sony Walkmans, The Godfather, neon, feathered hair, mini skirts, lava lamps and that quintessential 80’s music.
I listen(ed) to all different genres of music, from hard rock, metal and prog rock, to London underground punk and new wave/new romantic. I was especially into British bands like the Cure, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Tears for Fears, The Clash, etc. We both listen(ed) to Alan Parsons Project, Supertramp, and later in life, Coldplay.
I mean, Alan Parson Project anyone…..?!
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) June 2, 2017
I think if I was pushed to it I would say the album that encapsulated the 80s for me was The Hurting by Tears for Fears. And the 90s? Walking Wounded- Everything But The Girl.
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) January 18, 2019
In December 2014 Damian listed Logical Song by Supertramp as one of his choices for BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs (DID).
L to R: Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, Damian, unknown – July, 2012 in Charlotte, NC
He stated that Coldplay albums are one of his guilty pleasures here and he also spoke of how the band used to play at a club near his former home in Camden Town here. I recently had the luxury of visiting London last summer and one of our trips was to Camden Town Market for a little shopping with my daughter. She HAD to go to Cyberdog!
We both seem to be active concert goers, regardless of age. He and Helen have recently seen Fleetwood Mac (here), Rolling Stones (here), and Bob Dylan/Neil Young (here). My most recent concert was Spice Girls in Edinburgh, Scotland in June, 2019 with my daughter. I’ve also seen Coldplay, Muse, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, the Cure, etc. My goal is to see Fleetwood Mac with all original band members, but I’ll have to catch them if they ever tour again and when Lindsey Buckingham hasn’t quite the band for the umpteenth time. Love me some ‘Mac.
We both have vacationed in Italy, he in August 2018 (here) and me in 2012. It seems Damian and the Lewis-McCrory household visited Carovigno of the Apulia region, Polignano a Mare near the Adriatic coast, and Lecce, Puglia. I, on the other hand, visited the typical tourist towns of Naples, Capri Island, Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Milan, Verona, and Venice. Capri Island and Verona were my favorites.
Damian and I seemed to have watched the same television shows in the 70’s and 80’s, like Dukes of Hazard and ChIps. Damian recently shared on NPR:
And we all grew up watching endless American shows. You know, I, you know, I grew up watching, I mean, reruns because I was too young originally but, you know, “Batman” and then all those amazing TV shows from the early ’80s – “Chips” and “Dukes Of Hazzard” and “Hunter” – works for me – and, you know, all those shows.
I was totally there for Bo and Luke Duke and “Ponch” Poncherello!
Both of us rode around our childhood neighborhoods solving crime. Me on my Big Wheel – a miniature/pretend Mystery Machine – helping out the Scooby Doo crew and Damian with his brother Gareth on Grifters. In an interview with Patricia Sheridan of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Damian shared this childhood memory:
“When we were smaller, my brother and I had a pretty expansive fantasy life. We had two bikes, very ’70s bikes, at least in London, called Grifters. We invented two characters for ourselves called Bob and Charlie, and we’d go up and down the street and all around the neighborhood solving crimes.
We both have walked that famous Beatles zebra crosswalk on Abbey Road. During my London trip this past summer I visited the area and Damian grew up on Abbey Road near the famous zebra crossing, as briefly stated in this Times Talks London video:
I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan and Damian is married to Helen McCrory who plays Narcissa Malfoy, a major Harry Potter character. The ritual of seeing newly released Harry Potter movies with my daughter during the Thanksgiving holiday is a past tradition I keep close to my heart. So it was an honor that we were able to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play together while in London this past summer.
And trust me, it did not go unnoticed when Bobby Axelrod (Damian) of Billions read Harry Potter to his sons before bedtime, telling his wife, “That Dolores Umbridge is a real bitch!”
Both of us were married on the same exact day, July 4! Sadly, not to each other LOL 😉
We both have half-sibling(s) on our maternal side. I have one, he has two.
Damian and I both have a daughter.
New York Ties:
Speaking of daughters, we both have ties to New York. My daughter lives in NY and Damian is often filming Billions in NY. Specifically, they both reside in Brooklyn lately, she full-time, and he part-time, about six months out of the year.
We both appear to be very charitable when it comes to children’s organizations. He supports CureEB, Scene and Heard, and New Beginnings and I support child abuse hotlines and children’s shelters.
Differences: Now for the differences.
Damian has this natural musicality about him and I haven’t a musical bone in my body. He can play instruments like guitar and piano, yet I struggle with a harmonica. He can sing, I cannot hold a tune.
An obvious difference between Damian and I would be physical attributes. He’s light skinned, I’m brown; he has blue eyes, I have brown; he has red hair, I have dark brown.
He has a dog and I have a cat. I consider myself both a dog and cat person. I had dogs growing up and in my twenties. Now I have one cat who acts like a dog – she fetches, talks (speaks), and wants lots of attention.
While we’re both athletic, I know nothing about cricket or soccer (I mean football). Damian watches and plays both cricket and football. His favorite football team is LFC. I do follow Liverpool now though! I am an avid American football fan instead – mostly pro, but also college ball, particularly my Oklahoma Sooners. He plays golf, and quite well, whereas all I can do is drive a golf cart 🙂 He has a killer topspin and backhand in ping-pong, yet I can barely keep my eye on that little ball! I do not enjoy tennis, yet Damian follows tennis and attends the US Open (here) and Wimbledon (here) on a regular basis. He’s even played tennis with Maria Sharapova for an episode of Billions.
Finally, Damian is a smoker of cigarettes. Maybe not full time, but still, he smokes or cheats a drag every so often. I have to say, cigarette smoking is my BIGGEST pet peeve. The smell of it on my clothes or in my hair makes me gag-a-maggot.
I spy a celebratory stog after a Cricket win. No one’s perfect!