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Emma Thompson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (47) | Personal Quotes (28) | Salary (1)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 15 April 1959Paddington, London, England, UK
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Emma Thompson was born in London on April 15, 1959, into a family of actors - her father was Eric Thompson, who has passed away, and her mother, Phyllida Law, has co-starred with Thompson in several films (her sister, Sophie Thompson, is an actor as well). Her father was English-born and her mother is Scottish-born. Thompson's wit was cultivated by a cheerful, clever, creative family atmosphere, and she was a popular and successful student. She attended Cambridge University, studying English Literature, and was part of the university's Footlights Group, the famous group where, previously, many of the Monty Python members had first met.

Thompson graduated in 1980 and embarked on her career in entertainment, beginning with stints on BBC radio and touring with comedy shows. She soon got her first major break in television, on the comedy skit program Alfresco (1983), writing and performing along with her fellow Footlights Group alums Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. She also worked on other TV comedy review programs in the mid-1980s, occasionally with some of her fellow Footlights alums, and often with actor Robbie Coltrane.

Thompson found herself collaborating again with Fry in 1985, this time in his stage adaptation of the play "Me and My Girl" in London's West End, in which she had a leading role, playing Sally Smith. The show was a success and she received favorable reviews, and the strength of her performance led to her casting as the lead in the BBC television miniseries Fortunes of War (1987), in which Thompson and her co-star, Kenneth Branagh, play an English ex-patriate couple living in Eastern Europe as the Second World War erupts. Thompson won a BAFTA award for her work on the program. She married Branagh in 1989, continued to work with him professionally, and formed a production company with him. In the late 80s and early 90s, she starred in a string of well-received and successful television and film productions, most notably her lead role in the Merchant-Ivory production of Howards End (1992), which confirmed her ability to carry a movie on both sides of the Atlantic and appropriately showered her with trans-Atlantic honors - both an Oscar and a BAFTA award.

Since then, Thompson has continued to move effortlessly between the art film world and mainstream Hollywood, though even her Hollywood roles tend to be in more up-market productions. She continues to work on television as well, but is generally very selective about which roles she takes. She writes for the screen as well, such as the screenplay for Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility (1995), in which she also starred as Elinor Dashwood, and the teleplay adaptation of Margaret Edson's acclaimed play Wit (2001), in which she also starred.

Thompson is known for her sophisticated, skillful, though her critics say somewhat mannered, performances, and of course for her arch wit, which she is unafraid to point at herself - she is a fearless self-satirist. Thompson and Branagh divorced in 1994, and Thompson is now married to fellow actor Greg Wise, who had played Willoughby in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility (1995). Thompson and Wise have one child, Gaia, born in 1999.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Larry-115

Spouse (2)

Greg Wise (29 July 2003 - present) (1 child)
Kenneth Branagh (20 August 1989 - 1 October 1995) (divorced)

Trivia (47)

Her daughter's name is Gaia Romilly Wise.
(December 4, 1999) Emma gave birth to her first child with husband Greg Wise and jokingly called her "jane.com".
Ranked #91 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Graduated from Camden School for Girls, and the all-women Newnham College of Cambridge University with a degree in English (1982). Jodhi May also attended Camden School for Girls.
She co-wrote, co-produced, and co-directed Cambridge University's first all-female revue "Woman's Hour" in 1983.
Elder sister of Sophie Thompson.
Was named to the Board of Advisors for Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival (previously Fahrenheit Theater Company) in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Her mother is Phyllida Law, who has appeared in several movies with her.
Her father was stage director Eric Thompson.
Was originally slated to play the role of "God" in Kevin Smith's Dogma (1999). She was unable to perform due to her pregnancy.
Turned down the Jodie Foster role in Anna and the King (1999).
She was initially cast as the lead in Basic Instinct (1992), but refused later on. About Sharon Stone's appearance she said: "As far as I can see, from Sharon Stone's love scene in Basic Instinct (1992), they molded her body out of tough Plasticine. She was shagging Michael Douglas like a donkey, and not an inch moved. If that had been me, there would have been things flying around hitting me in the eye.".
Speaks French and Spanish fluently.
Lives across the street from her mother and down the street from her sister.
Her brother-in-law is Richard Lumsden, a British actor-comedian.
She was ranked fifth in the 2001 Orange Film Survey of greatest British film actresses.
One of only ten actors who have been nominated for both a Supporting and Lead Acting Academy Award in the same year for their achievements in two different movies. The other nine are Fay Bainter, Cate Blanchett, Teresa Wright, Barry Fitzgerald (nominated in both categories for the same role in the same movie), Jessica Lange, Sigourney Weaver, Al Pacino , Holly Hunter, Julianne Moore and Jamie Foxx. Holly Hunter received her double-nomination in the same year that Thompson did.
Has one song dedicated to her and named after her, on famous French singer Georges Moustaki's album, "Moustaki", released in 2003.
She is the only person to have won Academy awards for both acting and writing. She won Best Actress for Howards End (1992), and Best Adapted Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility (1995).
Accepted the role of Professor Trelawny in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) to impress her daughter, Gaia.
Read English Literature at Cambridge.
Used to keep her Oscar statuettes in her bathroom but had to move her Oscars to make room for her daughter Gaia's artwork. She now keeps them in her office.
Her performance as Miss Kenton in The Remains of the Day (1993) is ranked #52 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
She was a member of the Cambridge Footlights and in 1981, along with Stephen Fry, Tony Slattery, Hugh Laurie, Paul Dwyer and Paul Shearer, she became the winner of the first ever Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Has played Hugh Grant's love interest in Sense and Sensibility (1995) and his sister in in Love Actually (2003).
Won both of her Oscars for films that also featured actors she would work with again in the Harry Potter films. Helena Bonham Carter, who appeared in Howards End (1992), also played Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). Alan Rickman, who appeared in Sense and Sensibility (1995), has played Professor Severus Snape in all the films so far.
Was considered for the lead role of Emma Peel in the high-profile film adaptation of The Avengers (1998), which went to Uma Thurman.
Good friends with Meryl Streep after starring with her in Angels in America (2003).
Though she is not seen in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) after her character is fired, it is her voice that speaks the prophecy that Harry retrieves at the end of the film.
Was to executive produce the film "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline", that was to be written and directed by Fay Efrosini Lellios. Actors Sherilyn Fenn, Kate Winslet, Rufus Sewell, Miranda Richardson and Paul McGann were involved in the project. The shooting was set to start in June 1998 in New Hampshire. The film was canceled due to financial withdrawal.
Whilst working on the Oscar winning script for Sense and Sensibility (1995),Emma's computer developed a serious problem and she was unable to locate the file. She took the computer to Stephen Fry who, after seven hours, finally managed to retrieve the script.
Ex-sister-in-law of Joyce Branagh.
Returned to work eight months after giving birth to her daughter Gaia in order to begin filming Wit (2001).
Good friends with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hayley Atwell.
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6714 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on August 6, 2010. Among those who helped her celebrate were Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Laurie.
Met husband-to-be Greg Wise on the set of Sense and Sensibility (1995).
First experience of Los Angeles occurred in 1973 when, at age 14, she accompanied her father Eric Thompson who was scheduled to direct a theatrical production of Alan Ayckbourn's "The Norman Conquests" at the Ahmanson Theatre. Coincidentally, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (adjacent to the Ahmanson) would be where, 20 years on, Thompson was awarded her first Best Actress Oscar for Howards End (1992) in 1993.
(August 7, 2010) Awarded a "star" (#2416) on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" right outside the 'British' landmark pub the "Pig 'n' Whistle". Longtime friend Hugh Laurie was on hand to deliver fond words of commendation.
Prior to giving birth to her daughter Gaia in 1999 Thompson became pregnant by her then-husband Kenneth Branagh in 1994 and partner Greg Wise in 1997; she suffered miscarriages on both occasions. Thompson and Wise used IVF to conceive Gaia.
Several of her Harry Potter castmates have appeared in her Nanny McPhee films as well: Imelda Staunton, Kelly Macdonald, Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Smith and Rhys Ifans.
Has been best friends with Simon McBurney ever since they were teenagers.
According to a 2012 Guardian profile of Emma Thompson, in 2003, she and Greg Wise (who had already had their daughter, Gaia), informally adopted a teenage boy. Their son, Tindyebwa ("Tindy"), was a former child soldier from Rwanda whom Thompson first met when he was 16 at a party for the charity organization the Refugee Council. Tindy's family had died before or during the Rwandan genocide, and after he escaped from his forced child soldier-hood, he lived on the streets of London before receiving aid from the Refugee Council.
She, Tilda Swinton, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hanks and Daniel Brühl are the only actors to receive a Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Critics' Choice nomination for the same performance and then fail to be Oscar-nominated for their performances in Saving Mr. Banks (2013), We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011), Rust and Bone (2012), Captain Phillips (2013) and Rush (2013) respectively.
Has won two Oscars and at both ceremonies her statuettes were presented to her by frequent co-star Anthony Hopkins.
As of 2014, has appeared in five films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Howards End (1992), In the Name of the Father (1993), The Remains of the Day (1993), Sense and Sensibility (1995) and An Education (2009).
Was the 105th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for Howards End (1992) at The 65th Annual Academy Awards (1993) on March 29, 1993.
Did an uncredited final polishing of the script for Paddington (2014).

Personal Quotes (28)

[on her role in the Harry Potter film] I have a nervous breakdown in the film and in one scene I get to stand at the top of the stairs waving an empty sherry bottle which is, of course, a typical scene from my daily life, so isn't much of a stretch.
I can't stand this new culture of the instant disposable celebrity. It's all so vulgar.
I am who I am and there is nothing I can do about that.
I have periods of intense activity, then stop. My ideal is to work hard in the morning until I pick Gaia up from school. Just putting an empty square in my diary seems to make a space in my head, too. You have to be very good at saying no.
My appearance has changed a lot over the years, but it has far more to do with how I feel about being a woman. I've never thought of myself as vain. When I was at Cambridge, I shaved my head and wore baggy clothes. What I did was to desexualise myself. It was partly to do with the feminism of that time: militant and grungy. That's all changed now, though I don't think it is liberating to get your tits out. I don't hold with that. But I am much more comfortable with being a woman now than I was in my twenties.
But when I lose my temper, I find it difficult to forgive myself. I feel I've failed. I can be calm in a crisis, in the face of death or things that hurt badly. I don't get hysterical, which may be masochistic of me. But in small matters, I am not calm at all. My worst quality is impatience.
I mind having to look pretty, that's what I mind, because it is so much more of an effort.
Liam Neeson, quite frankly, is sex on legs. Always has been.
Children are much more understanding of the suddenness and arbitrariness of death than we are. The old fairy tales contain a lot of that, and we've stolen from them, just as they stole from Greek myth, which has that same mixture of pre-Christian chaos.
I've realized that in all the great stories, even if there's a happily-ever-after ending, there's something sad.
Acting simply cannot be about how you look. It would be very difficult to make a film where you have to be beautiful in every shot. You have to put so much effort into it; you have to hold your head at particular angles, put the light in a certain way and I don't like acting like that. I like to act unconscious of how I look.
The first time I was nominated, I didn't know anything about the Oscars. That was almost 15 years ago. I just did Oscar week and enjoyed it very much because I was with my mum. Even so, each time it's happened I've come down with some ghastly infection. It is overwhelming for people. It has nothing to do really at all with your performance. It comes down to if you get an Oscar for your film, then the revenue for your film goes up. They mean a great deal. I can't deny it.
I'm very lucky I write as well. I don't see how I could be as effective a mother as I'd like to be if I had to go away and act all the time. So I've sort of pulled back from acting, which is fine, because I've found over the years - and this was a surprise to me - that I can get the same kind of creative satisfaction from writing as I have heretofore gotten out of acting. It's very encouraging, really.
[1992] We just did Hamlet with Sir John Gielgud and it was so luvvy it wasn't true.
[on the personality of P.L. Travers and Saving Mr. Banks (2013)] She is a rather extraordinary combination of things. I suppose that was the scary thing about playing her. In film, we often get to play someone who is emotionally or morally consistent in some way, and she was not consistent in any way.
My godfather said that 'story' was about taking the chaotic jigsaw of life, making it into a picture and putting a frame around it so that we could look at it, have control over it. Story and art are the humanizing elements in us.
[on being reminded she once claimed that picturing the men she had slept with helped her drift off] I haven't done that in a long time. I'm more likely to rehearse casserole recipes, which perhaps is a sad indictment of my state of mind.
Once you're a mom, you've been split into two people. Like Peter Pan and his shadow.
Th nanny story is essentially the western. It's the stranger from out of town who comes into the situation of conflict, solves the issues using unorthodox methods and then must depart. Shane and Buffalo Bill turn up as Nanny McPhee and Mary Poppins in the female world.
[Walt] Disney had a very Dickensian childhood. Disneyland was a way of rendering the world a safe place for himself and other children.
Why insist on building a new border between human beings in an ever-shrinking world where we are still struggling to live alongside each other?
[describing her appearance on 'the red carpet', clad in a hot pink number] It's Stella McCartney. It was actually much shorter on the runway, but when I tried it on it was a bit mutton-dressed-as-a-lamb, so I had it lengthened. I like my legs but not the top bits very much.
I would rather have a root canal treatment for a year than go on Twitter or Facebook. The irony of Facebook is [that you speak out but] don't say it to anybody's face. It revolts me, repels me.
I have the same career trajectory as Maggie Smith. I was passionate about comedy. I wanted to be Lily Tomlin. I wanted that career. Write my own stuff and play it. And I did it for awhile. I had my own series which was so badly reviewed by he critics I thought I can't do this anymore.
[on working with Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks (2013)] It was such fun. You can imagine. He's a darling and such a good actor. We've known each other on a social level for some time and we always said "What can we do? What can we do?". And this turned up and it was sort of perfect.
To be perfectly frank, I sometimes think that the young must get very bored with the parts that they are required to play. It's not as though there are that many very complex, interesting roles for anyone. The guys are now required to stand around looking beautiful and be superheroes. And I'm very, very bored. They must be bored too. Where are all the dramas we used to love? Where are all the stories?
[career moments] I said to my agent, "I need to earn money. Get me a job.". The first three that came up were a very, very old lady in a wheelchair, Bradley Cooper's mother, and Mother Theresa. I thought, "Well, clearly I have to do something to turn around the Nanny McPhee image as it's gone into people's minds and stayed there.". In the end, other things turned up. It was very funny, but Mother Theresa would have just put the tin lid on it really.
When my mum was young, everyone wanted to be in their thirties. Now, people are desperate to put the clock back, and there's something absolutely tragic about that. And the loss of our engagement with our aging and getting older and wiser and having more skills - a wider palette - we've lost that. We have granted youth power that it doesn't have.

Salary (1)

Junior (1994) $1,500,000

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