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Thandiwe Adjewa "Thandie" Newton (born 6 November 1972) is an Englishmarker actress. She has appeared in a number of successful British and American films, including The Pursuit of Happyness; Run, Fat Boy, Run; Mission: Impossible II; Crash and W.

Early life

Newton was born in London, England, and is the daughter of Nyasha, a Zimbabwean health-care worker, and Nick Newton, an Englishmarker laboratory technician and artist. Her birthplace has been incorrectly reported to be Zambiamarker in some biographies, however she has confirmed in interviews that she was born in London, during a two-week trip by her parents. The name "Thandiwe" means "beloved" in Ndebele, Zulu, Xhosa or Swazi and the name "Thandie" is pronounced . According to Newton, her mother is a Zimbabwean Shona Princess. Raised in Londonmarker and Penzancemarker, Cornwallmarker, she went on to study Archaeology and Anthropology at Downing Collegemarker, Cambridgemarker, from 1992 to 1995, where she achieved a 2:1.


Newton made her film debut in Flirting (1991). She gained international recognition in the Merchant Ivory production of Jefferson in Paris as Sally Hemings, which led to her being cast in Jonathan Demme's Beloved (1998), in which she played the title character. She played the female lead Nyah Hall in the film Mission: Impossible II. When this film went over schedule, she had to pull out of the film Charlie's Angels , and her character ultimately went to Lucy Liu.

Between 2003 and 2005, Newton played Makemba "Kem" Likasu, the love interest, and later wife of Dr. John Carter on the Americanmarker television series ER. She reprised the role once more for the series finale in 2009. In 2004 also appeared in The Chronicles of Riddick and Crash. In the latter, she played a wealthy black woman who, along with her husband, finds herself the target of a racist policeman (played by Matt Dillon). Newton was honoured with a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress in 2006. She also played Chris Gardner's wife, Linda Gardner, in The Pursuit of Happyness.

In addition to her film and television credits she played the title role in a 2006 radio pantomime version of Cinderella.

In 2007, she starred alongside Eddie Murphy in the comedy Norbit as his love interest, and opposite Simon Pegg as his ex-girlfriend in the comedy Run Fat Boy Run.

Newton next portrayed U.S.marker National Security Advisor-turned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in W., Oliver Stone's film biography of President George W. Bush. The film was released 17 October 2008.

Newton was an introducer at Wembley Stadiummarker on 7 July 2007 for the UK leg of Live Earth. She was due to introduce Al Gore to the concert, but he was delayed, leaving Newton to tell jokes to try and entertain the audience.

Newton next portrayed the United States President's First Daughter Laura Wilson in 2012, a disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich and released 13 November 2009.

Personal life

Newton married English writer/director/producer Ol Parker in 1998. The couple have two daughters: Ripley, born in 2000, and Nico, born in 2004. Her daughters were named after the character Ellen Ripley in the Alien films and the singer Nico.

In 2006, she contributed a foreword to We Wish: Hopes and Dreams of Cornwall's Children, a book of children's writing published in aid of the NSPCC. In it, she writes vividly about her childhood memories of growing up in Cornwallmarker and the way in which the county's vibrant cultural heritage made it easy for her to "enrich every situation with layers of magic and meaning".

In 2008, Newton visited poverty-stricken Malimarker, describing it as a "humbling experience". She visited the village of Nampasso in the Ségou Regionmarker of the country.

Newton swapped her BMW X5 for a Toyota Prius after protesters bombarded the car with eggs at the gates of her daughters’ school. She then wrote to her celebrity friends, asking them to join her in switching to more environmentally sound cars.

In an interview with The Advocate, Newton revealed she had a lesbian relationship at 16 and was in love with the girl. She discussed her sexual orientation saying "We're all potentially bisexual; it all depends on your circle, your upbringing and all kinds of things. Or maybe I'm just talking about myself. I could've easily fallen in love with a woman over a man."

Newton has suffered from bulimia.

Some of Newton's co-stars have mentioned that she can be a bit of a practical joker. Simon Pegg, for instance, mentioned that she once put cellophane over his toilet whilst shooting Run Fatboy Run, and sewed up the neck and cuffs of his T-shirts. Furthermore, on the special features of the DVD, whilst Simon Pegg is being interviewed, they are interrupted by the fact that Pegg has to change bottles of water - the stock provided was replaced with vodka by Newton. "He is extremely easy to do these things to. I got him, what a sap!" said Newton at the film's London premiere. David Schwimmer (who directed the film) dubbed the actress "the queen of practical jokes".


Newton at the 2007 BAFTAs
Year Film Role Notes
1991 Flirting Thandiwe Adjewa
Pirate Prince Becky Newton
1993 The Young Americans Rachael Stevens
1994 Loaded Zita
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles Yvette
1995 Jefferson in Paris Sally Hemings
The Journey of August King Annalees
1996 The Leading Man Hilary Rule
1997 Gridlock'd Barbara 'Cookie' Cook
In Your Dreams Clare
1998 Beloved Beloved Nominated — Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Besieged Shandurai Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Theatrical Actress
2000 Mission: Impossible II Nyah Nordoff-Hall Nominated — Empire Award for Best British Actress
Nominated — Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
It Was an Accident Noreen Hurlock
2002 The Truth About Charlie Regina Lambert Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Theatrical Actress
Nominated — Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
2003 Shade Tiffany
2003-2005; 2009 ER Makemba 'Kem' Likasu
2004 The Chronicles of Riddick Dame Vaako
Crash Christine BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Empire Award for Best Actress
London Film Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Black Movie Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated — Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

2006 The Pursuit of Happyness Linda Nominated — Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
2007 Norbit Kate
Run, Fat Boy, Run Libby
2008 RocknRolla Stella
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People Herself
W. Condoleezza Rice
2009 2012 Laura Wilson


  1. Graydon, Nicola; "Thandie Newton on becoming Condoleezza Rice", 7 September 2008
  2. Carty, Ciaran; "When Thandie met Condi", 21 September 2008
  3. Posa, Mari; "Thandie Newton said what !?", 19 August 2004
  4. Barton, Laura; "'I was so incredibly self-conscious'", 28 May 2008
  5. Lewis, Sian; "Thandie Newton: 'Condi was my hardest role ever'", 31 October 2008
  6. "Thandie Newton Biography" Yahoo! Movies
  7. Williams, Kam; "Sweet as Thandie", 24 March 2008
  8. Williams, Kam; "Sweet as Thandie", 24 March 2008
  9. A Taste of My Life, Series 4 (BBC Two, 4 June 2008) Thandie Newton — Quote: "Nigel Slater (host): You were born in London but you didn't stay here for long did you? You went down to Cornwall? Thandie Newton (answers): Actually I don't know how my mum and dad managed to do this. But we lived in Zambia, and my mum was pregnant with me. And I was born on a two-week trip back to London, and then we went back to Zambia and my brother was born there. And we ended up coming to England finally when I was three years old. So my dad could help out with the family antique business."
  10. "Thandiwe — name meaning and origin"
  11. "Biography for Thandie Newton"
  12. Sullivan, Chris; "Why Newton favours gravity over fluff", 5 October 2006
  13. "News and Events: Downing alumna Thandie Newton wins BAFTA award"
  14. "Doctor Who poised for radio panto", 15 December 2006
  15. Needham, Alex; "Live Earth: The live blog, part 2", 7 July 2007
  16. "We Wish - Hopes and dreams of Cornwall's children", 30 November 2006
  18. McLean, Craig; "Telling it like it is", 7 January 2007
  19. Snarker, Dorothy; "Bisexual quote of the week", 3 October 2008)
  20. Jessen, Monique; "Thandie Newton Reveals Battle with Bulimia", Sunday 5 August 2007
  21. WENN; "Newton the practical joker ", 5 September 2007
  22. "Actress Newton admits to pranks", 4 September 2007

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