Rupert Grint Birthday, ‘Harry Potter’ Star Turns 23

Film Harry Potter Fan Mian
attends the premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2' at Avery Fisher Hall on Monday, July 11, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Most of the world knows the name Ron Weasley. He is the fictional best friend of beloved, legendary character “Harry Potter” from the “Harry Potters” book-turned-movie series. But the man who brought Ron to life in the movies is more than just a character.

His real name is Rupert Alexander Lloyd Grint (though he goes by Rupert Grint) and the actor is no longer the small boy he was when his life as Ron Weasley began. On Wednesday, Grint turned 23 years old (though his character Ron is only 21 now).

He thanked fans for their birthday wishes, via his reps on twitter saying, “A huge thank you to all of my fans for the birthday messages! Love, Rupert x.”

Born in 1988 to parents Nigel and Jo, Grint was 10 when he landed his first big acting role in the first “Harry Potter” installment which premiered in 2001. What was meant to be his debut role became a childhood-long venture. As he celebrates his 23rd birthday the Harlow, Essex, England-native can reflect on a childhood like few others.

Throughout his time working on the “Harry Potter” films Grint appeared in four non-Potter films. The first was a British PG-rated film called “Thunderpants” which came out in 2002. He starred in the 2006 PG-13 film “Driving Lessons” which premiered in the States but didn’t get much hype. In 2009 he starred in another UK-only film called “Cherrybomb.” In 2010 he co-starred in a film released in the UK and France called “Wild Target.” But even though he had time for those other films, his life was “Harry Potter” for the decade that the filming spanned. He graduated early from high school (at age 16) so that he could focus on the movies, as the cast and crew worked every year on the series, enabling a movie to come out every two years (with a couple of back to back year premiers in the midst).

This year’s birthday marks a crossroads in Grint’s life. The “Harry Potter” series is completed and he and his co-stars have entered a post-Potter life. The legend, the fame, money and experience remains but he now must find a new way to occupy his time.

Grint has done just that, wasting no time in pursuing his acting career. He will be starring in a Norwegian war movie entitled “Comrade,”, which premiers in 2012. He also nabbed the role in the true story of England’s first ski jumper to enter the Olympics, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, although the film’s status is unclear.