Warwick Davis was born on February 3, 1970 in Epsom, Surrey, England. He is noted for being short, due to the rare condition called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SED). He is three feet, six inches (about one meter) tall. He was educated at Chinthurst School and City of London Freeman’s School. His foray into acting came about “purely by chance.” In 1981, when he was 11, his grandmother heard a radio ad calling for people that were four feet tall or shorter to be in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. He ended up playing the Ewok Wicket in the film.
Warwick is also known for playing the titles roles in Willow (1988) and Leprechaun (1993), as well as a fictionalized version of himself in the TV series Life’s Too Short. Warwick married his wife, Samantha, in June 1991, and they have two children. Samantha’s father is Warwick’s business partner, Peter Burroughs, who Warwick met on the set of Willow. Samantha also has dwarfism, due to achondroplasia, and both of their children have SED.
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Warwick played three characters in the Harry Potter films. Warwick first heard of Harry Potter when an actress he worked with was reading one of the books on a bus traveling to location. Years later, he auditioned for the films and got the role of Professor Filius Flitwick. On MuggleCast Episode 197, he described his reaction to getting the part:
I said, ‘That’s fantastic.’ Because Flitwick was a dream role for me. He’s a character that I played in some old home movies that I made in my bedroom. I used to play this kind of mad professor sort of character, and I’d be sort of in this little laboratory mixing up potions and things. And he was the genesis in that sort of scene for Professor Flitwick, so he’s a character I always wanted to play. But not only did my agent say, ‘You’ve got that role,’ but he said, ‘Wait a minute. Are you sitting down? Because they would like you to play another character, the goblin bank teller.’ So I’ve sort of hit the jackpot twice.
Warwick played in all of the films except for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, in which Flitwick did not appear. Flitwick had a major appearance change in the third film, exchanging his long beard and robes for a mustache and suit. Though this was originally supposed to be a separate character, the Hogwarts choir conductor, this appearance was kept for Flitwick from that film on.
Warwick also played the head goblin at Gringotts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Griphook in both Deathly Hallows films (Verne Troyer played the role in the first film). In an interview with MuggleNet, Warwick had this to say about playing Griphook:
Griphook was a great character to play. All through the movies I’ve played Professor Flitwick and other goblins, but they’ve been in the films and often been part of the light relief, and comic moments. Which it’s lovely to have, but finally, with Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Griphook for me was a chance to really have a character who makes a difference to the story and the plot. He has some bearing on what our heroes do. The character has a journey, an A to B point – B being DEAD… should be an ‘A to D’ point, actually. A to dead…
But it’s really rewarding and David Yates was excited that I was going to be playing the character, and we both had a lot of fun bringing him to screen. From the first scene with Harry, through to the sneaking into Gringotts and all that stuff. It was great to film, and just a great experience to be working closely with David on all of that.
Warwick co-founded the charity Little People UK, which offers friendship and support to people with dwarfism and aims to become an essential resource for the social, medical, and financial needs of the little people community.
Warwick recently became a patron for Chester Adult Phab, a social club for both disabled and non-disabled people and a registered charity affiliated with National Phab.
He has also supported many other charities, including WaterAid, Make-A-Wish Foundation UK, the British Heart Foundation, and Variety – The Children’s Charity.
Warwick co-founded the talent agency Willow Management, which represents actors under five feet tall. Over 40 members of Willow Management were cast as goblins in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. The agency later began to represent people over seven feet tall. In 2013, he founded The Reduced Height Theatre Company, which stages theatrical productions cast exclusively with short actors.
In 2010, Warwick published his autobiography, Size Matters Not: The Extraordinary Life and Career of Warwick Davis. He also has a smartphone app called PocketWarwick, a “sim” game where you can “nurture, manage and turn [Warwick Davis] into the ‘biggest’ little celebrity on the planet.” The app is available for iPhone and Android.
Warwick founded The Signature Shop where fans can find authentic autographs from actors Warwick has worked with and collectible items from a variety of his films and TV series. The Signature Shop Ltd. is the only company in the world licensed by Warner Bros. to sell signed Harry Potter photographs.