Rupert Penry-Jones was born in London to Welsh actor Peter Penry-Jones and English actress Angela Thorne. He was educated at Dulwich College in southeast London until the age of 17, when he enrolled at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
In 1995 he appeared with his mother on television in the movie “Cold Comfort Farm,” starring Kate Beckinsale. That same year he made his London stage debut at the Hackney Empire theatre as Fortinbras opposite Ralph Fiennes’ Hamlet in an Almeida production of “Hamlet.” Other theatre credits include Richard in the premiere staging of Stephen Poliakoff’s “Sweet Panic” and “The Paper Husband,” both at The Hampstead Theatre; a revival of Arnold Wesker’s “Chips with Everything” on the Lyttleton stage at the Royal National Theatre; Edward Albee’s “The Play About the Baby” at the Almeida Theatre, in which he created the role of the Boy; the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon’s production of “Don Carlos” in the title role; Alcibiades in “Timon of Athens” at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre; Robert Caplan in J.B. Priestly’s thriller “Dangerous Corner” opposite his now-wife Dervla Kirwan, at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds before it transferred to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End for four months; the lead role of Louis XIV in Nick Dear’s historical drama “Power” at the Cottesloe Theatre; and as Carl in Michael Wynne’s new play “The Priory” at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
American television audiences have seen Penry-Jones in the FX series “The Strain” and the Starz drama “Black Sails.” In his native England, he was Adam Carter in the BBC spy drama series “MI-5,” as Clive Reader QC in the BBC legal drama “Silk” and policeman DI Joseph Chandler in the ITV murder mystery series “Whitechapel.” He has also been seen in the television movies “North Square” for C4, BBC's four-part production of “Cambridge Spies,” Russell T. Davies’ production of “Casanova,” ITV’s adaptation of “Persuasion,” “Burn Up opposite Bradley Whitford and Neve Campbell and the BBC adaptation of “The 39 Steps.”
In August 2007 he married actress Dervla Kirwan, whom he met in 2001 during the theatre production “Dangerous Corner.”