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Emma Thompson (born 15 April 1959) is a two time Academy Award-winning British actress, comedian, and screenwriter. She is also a patron of the Refugee Council.

Early life

Thompson was born in Paddingtonmarker, London, England. Her father was the actor Eric Thompson, best known for having written and narrated The Magic Roundabout, shown on BBC children's television in the 1960s and 1970s. Her mother is the Scottishmarker actress Phyllida Law. Thompson's younger sister is actress Sophie Thompson. Thompson has spent part of her life in Scotland and has stated that she "feel[s] Scottish".

Thompson went to Camden School for Girlsmarker and then studied English at Newnham Collegemarker at the University of Cambridgemarker where she was a member (along with fellow actors Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Tony Slattery) and vice-president of the university's theatrical club, the Footlights. Her acting talent was so impressive that agent Richard Armitage signed her to a contract while she was still two years away from graduation. Thompson graduated from Cambridge in 1980. Soon after she came to fame with a leading role in the West Endmarker revival of the musical Me and My Girl, opposite Robert Lindsay, followed by the BBC serial drama, Fortunes of War.

Career

Thompson's earliest television appearances included the comedy sketch show Alfresco, broadcast in 1983 and 1984 (as well as its three-part pilot There's Nothing to Worry About, shown in 1982), which also featured Ben Elton, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Also in 1984 she guested alongside Fry and Laurie in the episode "Bambi" of the sitcom The Young Ones, playing Miss Money-Sterling. Her breakthrough began in 1987 with her role as red-haired rock guitarist Suzi Kettles in the cult TV series Tutti Frutti for which she won a BAFTA for Best Actress. In 1988, she starred in and wrote the eponymous Thompson comedy sketch series for BBC1; the series was not successful with audiences or critics. Described in Time Out magazine as "very clever-little-me-ish", it has never been repeated in Britain despite her Oscar successes, and Thompson has not returned to the sketch comedy field.

Thompson's first major film role was in Richard Curtis's 1989 romantic comedy, The Tall Guy, co-starring Jeff Goldblum. Her career took a more serious turn with a series of critically acclaimed performances and films, beginning with 1992's Howards End (for which she received an Oscar for best actress); the part of Gareth Peirce, the lawyer for the Guildford Four, in In the Name of the Father; The Remains of the Day opposite Anthony Hopkins; and as the British painter Dora Carrington in the film Carrington.

Thompson won her next Oscar in 1996, for best adapted screenplay for her adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, a film directed by Ang Lee, in which she also played the Oscar-nominated lead role opposite Hugh Grant. She has said that she keeps both of her award statues in her downstairs bathroom, citing embarrassment at placing them in a more prominent place.

Thompson's recent television work has included a starring role in the 2001 HBO drama Wit, in which she played a dying cancer patient, and 2003's Angels in America, playing multiple roles, including one of the titular angels. Her Emmy Award was as a guest star in a 1997 episode of the show Ellen; in this episode she played a fictionalised parody of herself: a closeted lesbian more concerned with the media finding out she is actually American. She also appeared in an episode of Cheers in 1992 titled "One Hugs, the Other Doesn't".

Most recently, Thompson appeared in supporting roles such as Sybill Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She has also appeared in the comedy Love Actually. The film Nanny McPhee, adapted by Emma Thompson from Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda books, was first released in October 2005. Thompson worked on the project for nine years, having written the screenplay and starred alongside her mother (who has a cameo appearance). In the film Stranger than Fiction she plays an author planning on killing her main character, Harold Crick, who turns out to be a real person. Most recently, Thompson made a short uncredited cameo as a doctor introducing the cure for cancer in the form of measles in the latest film adaptation of I Am Legend, and starred in Last Chance Harvey opposite Dustin Hoffman, Eileen Atkins and Kathy Baker. In 2009, she appeared in An Education and The Boat That Rocked, the new Richard Curtis film, which also starred Gemma Arterton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, January Jones, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Jack Davenport and Rhys Ifans.

Due to scheduling conflicts, Thompson will not reprise her role as Sybill Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In 2009, she appeared on the panel of QI in the Film episode, which aired on March 6th.

Environmental work

Thompson in 2008
Thompson is a Greenpeace activist, and, on 13 January 2009, after flying in from attending the Golden Globe ceremony in the US, it was announced that Thompson, in partnership with three other Greenpeace activists, had bought land near the village of Sipsonmarker, a village whose homes are under threat from the proposed third runway for Heathrow Airportmarker. It is hoped that the area of ground, half the size of a football pitch, will prevent the government from carrying through its plan to expand Heathrow. The field, bought for an undisclosed sum from a local land owner, will be split into small squares and sold across the globe. When interviewed, Thompson said: "I don't understand how any government remotely serious about committing to reversing climate change can even consider these ridiculous plans. It's laughably hypocritical. That's why we've bought a plot on the runway. We'll stop this from happening even if we have to move in and plant vegetables."

Personal life

While she was at Cambridge University, Thompson had a romantic relationship with fellow student and actor Hugh Laurie, who was also a member of the Cambridge Footlights, and was conveniently attending Selwyn Collegemarker right across the street from Newnham.

Thompson married Kenneth Branagh, with whom she appeared in Fortunes of War, on 20 August 1989. They appeared together several times, in hit films such as Dead Again, Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing, but divorced in October 1995.

In 2003, Thompson married actor Greg Wise in Dunoonmarker, Scotland (where she has a second home). The couple have a daughter, Gaia Romilly, born in 1999. In 2003, Thompson and Wise informally adopted a 16-year-old Rwandan refugee named Tindyebwa Agaba. They are currently fighting his deportation back to Rwandamarker where it is thought all his family were killed in the genocide.

Thompson is an outspoken anti-religious atheist: "I'm an atheist; I suppose you can call me a sort of libertarian anarchist. I regard religion with fear and suspicion. It's not enough to say that I don't believe in God. I actually regard the system as distressing: I am offended by some of the things said in the Bible and the Qur'an, and I refute them."

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role Notes
1989 Henry V Catherine of Valois
1990 The Tall Guy Kate Lemmon
1991 Dead Again "Grace"/Amanda Sharpe/Margaret Strauss
Impromptu Duchess d'antan (Claudette) Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
1992 Howards End Margaret Schlegel Academy Award for Best Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Evening Standard British Film Awards — Best Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress





Peter's Friends Maggie Chester Nominated — Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
1993 Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
The Remains of the Day Miss Kenton Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama

In the Name of the Father Gareth Peirce Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1994 Junior Dr. Diana Reddin Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1995 Carrington Dora Carrington
Sense and Sensibility Elinor Dashwood Screenplay Awards:

Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Writer
Evening Standard British Film Awards - Best Adapted Screenplay
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay






Best Actress Awards:
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture




1997 The Winter Guest Frances Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated — European Film Award for Best Actress


1998 Primary Colors Susan Stanton
Judas Kiss Sadie Hawkins
2000 Maybe Baby Druscilla
2001 Wit Vivian Bearing
2002 Treasure Planet Captain Amelia Animated film
Nominated — Annie Award for Outstanding Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
2003 Imagining Argentina Cecilia
Love Actually Karen Empire Award for Best Actress
Evening Standard British Film Awards - Best Actress
London Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture



2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Professor Sybill Trelawney
2005 Nanny McPhee Nanny McPhee Script Writer
2006 Stranger than Fiction Karen Eiffel
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Professor Sybill Trelawney
I Am Legend Dr. Alice Krippin Uncredited Cameo
2008 Brideshead Revisited Lady Marchmain Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture

Last Chance Harvey Kate Walker Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2009 An Education Headmistress
The Boat That Rocked Charlotte
2010 Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang Nanny McPhee filming, writing credits
Bear and the Bow Queen Elinor in development




Television

Year Title Role Notes
1982 Cambridge Footlights Revue various characters TV-special, 1 episode
There's Nothing to Worry About! Mrs. Wally TV-series, 3 episodes
1983-84 Alfresco various characters TV-series, 13 episodes
1984 The Young Ones Miss Money-Sterling TV-series, episode Bambi
1987 Tutti Frutti Suzi Kettles Cult BBC TV Series starring Emma and Robbie Coltrane bringing both to national prominence. Written by John Byrne
Fortunes of War Harriet Pringle British Academy Television Award for Best Actress (jointly with work on Tutti Frutti)
1988 Thompson Various Roles TV-series
1989 Look Back in Anger Alison Porter TV-film
1990 The Winslow Boy Catherine Winslow TV-film
1992 Cheers Nanette Guzman TV-series, 1 episode
1994 The Blue Boy Marie Bonnar TV-film
1997 Ellen Herself TV-series, 1 episode
Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress – Comedy Series
Hospital! Elephant Woman TV-series, 1 episode
2001 Wit Vivian Bearing TV-film
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards for Best Actress — TV-Film
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie





2003 Angels in America Nurse Emily/the Homeless Woman/the Angel America TV-series
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie


The following is a partial list of Thompson's theatre credits:



Further reading



References

  1. http://www.cam.ac.uk/map/v4/img/main-06-07.png
  2. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=16236943&method=full&siteid=66633&headline=it-s-nanny-mcme-name_page.html
  3. Acting on outspoken beliefs, October 15, 2008, The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,24497883-15803,00.html


External links




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