Warwick Davis is probably the most famous person to be associated with the extremely rare
genetic condition called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, a disorder that Warwick
himself defines as having genes arranged in a “vaguely peculiar manor” with a label no one can
In more scientific terms, spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, often abbreviated to SED, is a
disorder of bone growth affecting the spine and the ends of bones that results in dwarfism and
other skeletal abnormalities. For Warwick, it is this disorder that established his role as one of
the most recognized fantasy actors of all time.
Warwick was only 11 years old, studying at the City of London Freeman’s School, when his
grandmother told him of a casting call for the final movie in the original Star Wars trilogy, Return
of the Jedi. The call was for extras less than four feet to play members of the Ewoks. At 2’11” (or
88.90 centimeters), Warwick was ideal for the role.
He refused, however, to call himself an extra. He worked hard to perfect his role, studying and
basing his movements on a dog. It is this dedication to his small part that led George Lucas to
choose Warwick for the slightly larger role of Wicket, a decision that would in essence jumpstart
After revising the role of Wicket in the Ewoks: The Battle for Endor and Caravan of Courage: An
Ewok Adventure, Warwick began taking supporting roles in different fantasy films such as
Labyrinth, Princess and the Dwarf, and Conor Finians Adventures in Naas. He was then cast in his first
leading role, the title character in the movie Willow produced by Ron Howard and George
Lucas, a part that had been written with him in mind.
Warwick spent the next few years filming the BBC sponsored productions of the Chronicles of
Narnia, marking the first of two times he would become involved with an adaptations of this
series. He played Reepicheep in Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and
Glimfeather in The Silver Chair.
He diversified his resume soon after, playing the villain in the movie Leprechaun and each of its
five sequels, and then continued to build his catalog of famed fantasy titles, including Gulliver’s
Travels, Prince Valiant, The New Adventures of Pinocchio, White Pony, The Tenth Kingdom, The
Phantom Menace, Hitckhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
In 1991, Warwick married Samantha Burroughs. Samantha, who was diagnosed with a similar
disorder known as achondroplasia, could easily relate to Warwick’s constant effort to overcome
obstacles and battle for adversity. Though their first son, Lloyd, would die shortly after his
birth in 1991, they would eventually give birth to two children born with the same disorder as
their mother, Annabel who was born in 1997 and Harrison who was born in 2003.
In 1995, Warwick found the perfect way to give back to the acting community. Along with his
father-in-law and fellow dwarf actor, Peter Burroughs, he founded the Willow Management
Talent agency. The tagline for this agency reads, “The biggest agency for short actors in the
world.” It also encourages casting directors to “think small, think willow.”
Currently, they represent over 100 actors under a height of 5 feet. He was so successful that in
2004, the agency added a division known as WillowTALL, for actors over 7 feet trapped in niche
Having already been involved in every great fantasy film series to date, it was only fitting that
this British actor deserved a place in the Harry Potter family.
Also falling into the pattern, Davis has taken on several roles. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s
Stone, he portrays a Goblin Bank Teller at Gringotts as well as the Ravenclaw Headmaster and
Charms Master, Filius Flitwick. The latter comes much to the surprise of J.K. Rowling. In the
Frequently Asked Questions segment of his official website, she describes the confusion:
“I must admit, I was taken aback when I saw the film Flitwick, who
looks very much like a goblin/elf (I’ve never actually asked the filmmakers
precisely what he is), because the Flitwick in my imagination simply looks
like a very small old man.”
Despite Rowling’s hesitation, Warwick reprised his role in every Harry Potter that followed and
even a 2006 episode of the television show Extras called Harry Potter. Mirroring the set and
costume design of the series, the overall look of his character went through a transformation in
Prisoner of Azkaban and has remained that way since.
For the final two Harry Potter films, Warwick will even take on a new role, bringing the total
number of characters played by the actor in the series to three. Davis is set to play Griphook the
Goblin, whose involvement in the destruction of one of the Horcruxes is crucial. Warwick
recently tweeted “On my way to the studios. Mmmm...who am I today? ‘Grip’ or ‘Flit’?”
Warwick continues to take on roles and projects alongside the Harry Potter series. He appeared
in movies such as Ray, Skinned Deep, Small Town Folk, Agent One-Half, Invasion of the Not Quite
Dead, and Tell Him Next Year. This also includes his involvement with the Walden Media
adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia. This time, however, he took on new roles, such as
Nikabrik the Dwarf in Prince Caspian.
He took on the world of live theater in the 2006 pantomime production of Snow White for the
Manchester Opera and other productions with the New Wimbledon Theater. Finally, he
appeared as a contestant on Celebrity Scissorhands, a 2007 charity hairdressing show for Children
Warwick’s latest project, however, is arguably long overdue. On April 15, his autobiography
will be released in the United Kingdom. After much thought, reflection, and even some
suggestions from Twitter followers, Warwick has entitled the book, “Size Matters Not – The
Extraordinary Life and Career of Warwick Davis.”
He doesn’t have to write too much to convince me. Being able to overcome obstacles to create
such a long list of successes and accomplishments, there is not doubt that his life can be
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
- 1990 Saturn Award Nomination for Best Performance by a Younger Actor
- 2001 Video Premiere Award Nomination for Best Actor
- 2003 PFCS Nomination for Best Acting Ensemble
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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