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Uma Karuna Thurman, (born April 29, 1970) is an American actress. She has performed predominantly in leading roles in a variety of films, ranging from romantic comedies and dramas to science fiction and action thriller. She is best known for her work under the direction of Quentin Tarantino. Her most popular films include Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Pulp Fiction (1994), Gattaca (1997) and Kill Bill (2003–04).

Early life and family

Thurman's mother, Nena Birgitte Caroline von Schlebrügge, was a fashion model born in Mexico City, Mexicomarker in 1941, to German Friedrich Karl Johannes von Schlebrügge, and Birgit Holmquist, from Trelleborgmarker, Sweden. In 1930, Birgit Holmquist, Thurman's grandmother, modeled for a nude statue that stands overlooking the harbor of Smygehukmarker. Thurman's father, Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman (b. 3 Aug 1941), was born in New York City to Elizabeth Dean Farrar, a stage actress, and Beverly Reid Thurman, Jr., an Associated Press editor and U.N. translator. Thurman's mother was introduced to LSD guru Timothy Leary by Salvador Dalí; and married Leary in 1964; then wed Thurman's father in 1967.

Thurman's father, Robert, a scholar and professor at Columbia University of Tibetan Buddhist studies, was the first westerner to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He gave his children a Buddhist upbringing: Uma is named after an Dbuma Chenpo (in Tibetan, the "db" is silent; from Mahamadhyamaka in Sanskrit, meaning "Great Middle Way"). She has three brothers, Ganden (b. 1971), Dechen (b. 1973) and Mipam (b. 1978), and a half-sister named Taya (b. 1960) from her father's previous marriage. She and her siblings spent time in Almoramarker, India, during childhood, and the Dalai Lama sometimes visited their home.

Thurman grew up mostly in Amherst, Massachusettsmarker and Woodstock, New Yorkmarker. She is described as having been an awkward and introverted girl who was teased for her tall frame, angular bone structure, and unusual name (sometimes using the name “Uma Karen” instead of her birth name). When she was 10 years old, a friend's mother suggested a nose job.

As a child, she suffered bouts of body dysmorphic disorder, which she discussed in an interview with Talk magazine in 2001.

Thurman attended Northfield Mount Hermonmarker, a college preparatory boarding school in Northfield, Massachusettsmarker, where she earned average grades, but excelled in acting. Talent scouts noticed her performance as Abigail in a production of The Crucible, and offered her the chance to act professionally. Thurman moved to New York City to pursue acting and to attend the Professional Children's School, but she dropped out before graduating.


Early works, 1987–1989

Thurman began her career as a fashion model at age 15. She signed with the agency Click Models. Her modeling credits included Glamour Magazine. In 1989, she appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine's annual Hot issue.
Thurman made her movie debut in 1988, appearing in four films that year. Her first two were the high school comedy Johnny Be Good and the teen thriller Kiss Daddy Goodnight. Thurman appeared in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, playing the goddess Venus alongside Oliver Reed’s Vulcan. During her entrance Thurman briefly appears nude in a homage to Botticelli’s painting The Birth of Venus. With a budget of $46 million and box office receipts of only $8 million, the film was a commercial failure.

Her breakthrough came in her role as Cecile de Volanges in Dangerous Liaisons. Actresses Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer earned Oscar nominations for their performances. At the time, she was insecure about her appearance, and fled to London for almost a year, during which she wore only loose, baggy clothing.

Soon after the release of Dangerous Liaisons, the media were eager to profile Thurman. She was praised by her co-star John Malkovich, who said of her, “There is nothing twitchy teenager-ish about her, I haven’t met anyone like her at that age. Her intelligence and poise stand out. But there’s something else. She’s more than a little haunted.”

Major works, 1990–1993

In 1990, Thurman co-starred with Fred Ward in the sexually provocative drama Henry & June, the first film to receive an NC-17 rating. Because of the rating, it never played in a wide release but critics embraced her; The New York Times wrote, “Thurman, as the Brooklynmarker-accented June, takes a larger-than-life character and makes her even bigger, though the performance is often as curious as it is commanding”.

Thurman’s first starring role in a major production was Gus Van Sant's 1993 adaptation of Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. It was a critical and financial disappointment; Thurman was nominated for a Worst Actress Razzie. The Washington Post described her acting as shallow, writing that, “Thurman’s strangely passive characterization doesn’t go much deeper than drawling and flexing her prosthetic thumbs”. Thurman also starred opposite Robert De Niro in the drama Mad Dog and Glory, another box office disappointment. Later that year, she auditioned for Stanley Kubrick while he was casting a movie to be called Wartime Lies, which was never produced. Her agent said she described working with him as a “really bad experience”.


After Mad Dog and Glory, Thurman auditioned for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, which grossed over $107 million on a budget of only $8 million USD. The Washington Post wrote that Thurman was “serenely unrecognizable in a black wig, [and] is marvelous as a zoned-out gangster’s girlfriend”.Desson Howe. [ Pulp Fiction review] Washington Post. October 14, 1994. Retrieved February 7, 2006. Thurman was nominated for the [[Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress|Best Supporting Actress Oscar]] the following year. ''[[Entertainment Weekly]]'' claimed that, “of the five women nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category this year, only [Thurman] can claim that her performance gave the audience fits”.Spingarn, Jed. “Uma Thurman: her piercing role in ‘Pulp’ is not for the fainthearted”. Entertainment Weekly nSPEISS (March 1995 nSPEISS) Thurman also became one of Tarantino’s favorite actresses to cast, stating in a 2003 issue of ''[[Time (magazine)|Time]]'': “[Thurman]’s up there with [[Greta Garbo|Garbo]] and [[Marlene Dietrich|Dietrich]] in goddess territory”.[[Josh Tyrangiel]] [,9171,1101030929-488846,00.html Time Magazine] ''The Tao of Uma''. Retrieved January 5, 2006. She starred opposite [[Janeane Garofalo]] in the moderately successful 1996 [[romantic comedy]] ''[[The Truth About Cats & Dogs]]'' as a ditzy blonde [[supermodel]]. In 1997, she starred opposite her future husband [[Ethan Hawke]] in the [[dystopian]] [[science fiction]] film ''[[Gattaca]]''. Although ''Gattaca'' was not a success at the box office, it drew many positive reviews and became successful on the home video market,[ ''Gattaca'']. Crazy for Cinema. Retrieved April 6, 2006. some critics were not as impressed with Thurman, such as the ''[[Los Angeles Times]]'' which stated she was “as emotionally uninvolved as ever”.Jack Mathews. [,0,7913577.story Cautionary Tale in Genetically Pure “Gattaca”]. The Los Angeles Times. October 24, 1997. Retrieved April 8, 2006. Her next role was [[Poison Ivy (comics)|Poison Ivy]] in ''[[Batman & Robin (film)|Batman & Robin]]'', the fourth film of the popular [[film franchise|franchise]]. ''Batman & Robin'' became one of the largest [[Films considered the worst ever|critical flops]] in history, though it did garner nearly $100 million over its production budget in box office receipts making it a financial success. {{Citation needed|date=July 2009}} Thurman’s performance in the [[camp]]y film received mixed reviews, and critics compared her with actress [[Mae West]]. ''[[The New York Times]]'' wrote, “like Mae West, she mixes true femininity with the winking womanliness of a [[drag queen]]”.Janet Maslin. [ New York Times review, ''Batman and Robin'']. June 20, 1997. Retrieved February 7, 2006. A similar comparison was made by the ''[[Houston Chronicle]]'': “Thurman, to arrive at a ’40s [[femme fatale]], sometimes seems to be doing Mae West by way of [[List of Who Framed Roger Rabbit characters#Jessica Rabbit|Jessica Rabbit]]”.Jeff Millar. [ If you like them busy, this “Batman” is for you]. Houston Chronicle. June 19, 1997. Retrieved April 6, 2006. The next year brought ''[[The Avengers (film)|The Avengers]]'', another major financial and critical flop. [[CNN]] described Thurman as, “so distanced you feel like you’re watching her through the wrong end of a telescope”.Paul Tatara. [ CNN]. “Review: ‘The Avengers’ is retro-boring” August 21, 1998. Retrieved February 20, 2006. She received Razzie Award nominations for both films. She closed out 1998 with ''[[Les Misérables (1998 film)|Les Misérables]]'', a film version of [[Victor Hugo]]’s [[Les Miserables|novel of the same name]], directed by [[Bille August]], in which she played Fantine. === Hiatus, 1998–2002 === [[File:Uma Thurman - Cannes 2000.jpg|thumb|Thurman at the [[Cannes Film Festival]] in 2000.]] After the birth of her first baby in 1998, Thurman took a rest from major roles to concentrate on motherhood. Her next roles were in low-budget and television films, including ''[[Tape (film)|Tape]]'', ''[[Vatel]]'', and ''[[Hysterical Blindness]]''. She also starred in ''[[Chelsea Walls]]'', a movie directed by then-husband Ethan Hawke. In 2000 she narrated a theatrical work by composer [[John Moran]] entitled ''Book of the Dead (2nd Avenue)'' at [[The Public Theater]]. She won a [[Golden Globe]] award for ''[[Hysterical Blindness]]'', a film for which she also served as executive producer. In the film she played a [[New Jersey]] woman in the 1980s searching for romance. The ''[[San Francisco Chronicle]]'' review wrote, “Thurman so commits herself to the role, eyes blazing and body akimbo, that you start to believe that such a creature could exist — an exquisite-looking woman so spastic and needy that she repulses regular Joes. Thurman has bent the role to her [[will (philosophy)|will]]”.[ A repulsive beauty in ’80s Jersey Thurman’s histrionics fit “Hysterical Blindness” well]. San Francisco Chronicle. August 23, 2002. Retrieved February 13, 2006. === 2003–present === After a five-year hiatus, Thurman returned in 2003 in [[John Woo]]'s film ''[[Paycheck (film)|Paycheck]]'', which was only moderately successful with critics and at the box office. Her next film was Tarantino's ''[[Kill Bill]]'', which relaunched her career. In ''Kill Bill'' she played assassin [[Beatrix Kiddo]], out for revenge against her former lover. Tarantino wrote the part specifically for her. He also cited Thurman as his [[muse]] while writing the film, and also gave her joint credit for the character, whom the two conceived on the set of ''Pulp Fiction'' from the sole image of a bride covered in blood. Production was delayed for several months after Thurman became [[pregnant]], as Tarantino refused to recast the part.Kill Bill Vol. 1 DVD bonus featurette The film took nine months to shoot, and was filmed in five different countries. The role was also her most demanding , and she spent three months training in [[martial arts]], [[swordsmanship]], and Japanese.Jamie Malanowski. [ Catching up with Uma Thurman]. USA Today. October 5, 2003. Retrieved February 7, 2006. The two-part action epic became an instant cult classic[ Kill Bill box office] and scored highly with critics. The film series earned Thurman [[Golden Globe]] nominations for both entries, and three [[MTV Movie Award]]s for Best Female Performance and twice for Best Fight. ''[[Rolling Stone]]'' likened Thurman to “an avenging angel out of a 1940s Hollywood melodrama”.{{cite web | url = | title = Kill Bill Vol. 2 review | year = 2004 | accessdate = 2006-02-07}} The inspirations for “The Bride” were several [[B-movie]] action heroines. Thurman's main inspiration for the role was the title character of ''[[Coffy]]'' (played by [[Pam Grier]]) and the character of Gloria Swenson from ''[[Gloria (film)|Gloria]]'' (played by [[Gena Rowlands]]). She said that the two characters are “two of the only women I've ever seen be truly women [while] holding a weapon”. Coffy was screened for Thurman by Tarantino prior to beginning production on the film, to help her model the character.

By 2005, Thurman was one of Hollywood's highest paid actresses, commanding a salary of $12.5 million per film. Her first film of the year was Be Cool, the sequel to 1995's Get Shorty, which reunited her with her Pulp Fiction castmate John Travolta. In the film she played the widow of a deceased music business executive. The film received poor reviews, and came in below expectations at the box office. In 2005 she starred in Prime with Meryl Streep, playing a woman in her late thirties romancing a man in his early twenties. Thurman's last film of the year was a remake of The Producers in which she played Ulla, a Swedish stage actress hoping to win a part in a new Broadway musicalmarker. Originally, the producers of the film planned to have another singer dub in Thurman's musical numbers, but she was eager to do her own vocals. She is credited for her songs in the credits. The film was considered a bomb at the box office, but many praised Thurman's efforts, including A. O. Scott of the New York Times who said: "Uma Thurman as a would-be actress is the one bit of genuine radiance in this aggressively and pointlessly shiny, noisy spectacle."

With a successful film career, Thurman once again became a desired model. Cosmetics company Lancôme selected her as their spokeswoman, and named several shades of lipstick after her, though they were sold only in Asia. In 2005, she became a spokeswoman for the French fashion house Louis Vuitton.

On February 7, 2006, Thurman was named a knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France for outstanding achievement in the field of art and literature.

In May 2006 Thurman bought the film rights to the Frank Schätzing novel The Swarm, which is in development and due for release in 2011.When the film remake The Women was in pre-production in 2006, Thurman was cast as Crystal Allen, alongside Annette Bening, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Lisa Kudrow and Anne Hathaway, being directed by James L. Brooks, but the director was changed and Thurman was no longer part of the cast.

In July 2006 Thurman starred opposite Luke Wilson in My Super Ex-Girlfriend. Thurman portrayed a super-heroine named "G-Girl" who is dumped by her boyfriend and then takes her revenge upon him. Thurman received a reported $14 million for the role, but the film flopped. Once again Thurman was well-received, yet the film was not.

In February 2008 she starred opposite Colin Firth and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Accidental Husband, a romantic comedy about a woman who finds herself married while engaged to another man. It seems like archetypal Hollywood contrivance, but according to Thurman a similar situation happened in New York.

Thurman starred as "Elsa" in the British telefilm My Zinc Bed, in which she plays a cocaine addict, starring opposite Paddy Considine and Jonathan Pryce.

She finished filming Motherhood, an indie comedy, about the challenges faced by a mother preparing for her daughter's birthday.

She will star in the film version of the 1950s books Eloise In Paris, playing the role of Nanny, this film is to be directed by Charles Shyer.

Thurman also agreed to star in the new Muppets movie, playing a ticket clerk.

Bollywood director Vishal Bharadwaj has announced his interest in Thurman to star in his latest film venture opposite Hrithik Roshan, in a biographical film of the life of actress Nadira. The film is still in its pre-production stage.Uma Thurman has shown interest in playing either Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo.

Activism and charity work

Thurman supports the United States Democratic Party, and has given money to the campaigns of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Joseph R. Driscoll. She supports gun control laws, and in 2000, she participated in Marie Claire’s “End Gun Violence Now” campaign. She also participated in Planned Parenthood’s “March for Women’s Lives” to support the legality of abortion. Thurman is a member of the board of the New York- and Bostonmarker-based organization Room to Grow, a charitable organization providing aid to families and children born into poverty. She serves on the board of the Tibet House.

In 2007, Thurman hosted the Nobel Peace Prize Concertmarker in Oslomarker, Norway with actor Kevin Spacey.

Personal life

Thurman owns a townhouse in New York's Greenwich Villagemarker,but lives in Hyde Park, New Yorkmarker. Raised as a Buddhist, she considers herself agnostic.

Thurman is engaged to marry London based Francomarker-Swissmarker financier Arpad Busson, whom she began dating in late 2007. Prior to becoming engaged to Busson, Thurman dated Andre Balazs from 2004 to 2006. People magazine confirmed on June 27, 2008 that Thurman and Busson are engaged.

While living in London after shooting Dangerous Liaisons, she began dating director Phil Joanou. On the set of State Of Grace, she met English actor Gary Oldman. They were married in 1990, but the marriage ended in 1992.

On May 1, 1998, she married actor Ethan Hawke, whom she met on the set of Gattaca; his novel Ash Wednesday is dedicated to "Karuna", Thurman's middle name. Thurman acknowledged that they had married because she was pregnant; at their wedding she was seven months along. The marriage produced two children, daughter Maya Ray Thurman-Hawke (b. July 8, 1998) and son Levon Roan Thurman-Hawke (b. January 15, 2002).

In 2003, Thurman and Hawke separated, and in 2004 they filed for divorce. When asked on The Oprah Winfrey Show if there was “betrayal of some kind” during the marriage, Thurman said, “There was some stuff like that at the end. We were having a difficult time, and you know how the axe comes down and how people behave and how people express their unhappiness”.Director Quentin Tarantino has described Thurman as his "muse." However, in a 2004 Rolling Stone cover story, Thurman and Tarantino denied having had a romantic relationship, despite Tarantino once having told a reporter, “I’m not saying that we haven’t, and I’m not saying that we have”.


Year Film Role Notes
1988 Johnny Be Good Georgia Elkans
Dangerous Liaisons Cécile de Volanges
Kiss Daddy Goodnight Laura
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen Venus/Rose
1990 Henry & June June Miller
Where the Heart Is Daphne McBain
1991 Robin Hood Maid Marian John Irvin directed TV movie.
1992 Final Analysis Diana Baylor
Jennifer 8 Helena Robertson
1993 Mad Dog and Glory Glory
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Sissy Hankshaw
1994 Pulp Fiction Mia Wallace Nominated: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1995 A Month by the Lake Miss Beaumont
1996 The Truth About Cats & Dogs Noelle
Beautiful Girls Andera
Duke of Groove Maya TV film
1997 Gattaca Irene Cassini
Batman & Robin Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy
1998 Les Misérables Fantine
The Avengers Emma Peel
1999 Sweet and Lowdown Blanche
2000 Vatel Anne de Montausier
The Golden Bowl Charlotte Stant
2001 Tape Amy Randall
Chelsea Walls Grace
2002 Hysterical Blindness Debby Miller Producer
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, TV Mini-series
2003 Paycheck Dr. Rachel Porter
Kill Bill Volume 1 The Bride/Black Mamba Nominated: Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
2004 Kill Bill Volume 2 Beatrix Kiddo/The Bride/Mommy/Black Mamba Nominated: Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
2005 Be Cool Edie Athens
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Kushana (Voice) English re-dub version of 1984 movie
Prime Rafi Gardet
The Producers Ulla
2006 My Super Ex-Girlfriend Jenny Johnson/G-Girl Nominated: People's Choice Awards
2008 The Life Before Her Eyes Diana
The Accidental Husband Emma Lloyd also Producer
My Zinc Bed Elsa Quinn
A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa Joy TV film
2009 Motherhood Eliza Welsh
2010 Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Medusa Completed
Ceremony Zoe filming
Eloise in Paris Nanny pre-production
Bel Ami Madeleine Forestier pre-production
Girl Soldier Sister Caroline pre-production
2014 Kill Bill Volume 3 Beatrix Kiddo/The Bride/Mommy/Black Mamba Announced


Year Award Category Film Result
1993 Cognac Festival du Film Policier Jury "Coup de Chapeau" Jennifer 8
1995 Razzie Awards Razzie Award for Worst Actress Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Academy Awards Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Pulp Fiction
BAFTA Awards BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Chlotrudis Awards Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
MTV Movie Awards MTV Movie Award for Best Performance
Screen Actors Guild Awards Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
1998 Kids' Choice Awards Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actress Batman & Robin
Razzie Awards Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress
1999 Razzie Award for Worst Actress The Avengers
2001 Gotham Awards Best Actress
2002 Independent Spirit Awards Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female Tape
2003 Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Miniseries or Television Film Hysterical Blindness
Screen Actors Guild Awards Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2004 Saturn Awards Saturn Award for Best Actress Kill Bill Vol. 1
BAFTA Awards BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Empire Awards Empire Award for Best Actress
Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
MTV Movie Awards MTV Movie Award for Best Performance
Online Film Critics Society Awards Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Irish Film and Television Awards Audience Award for Best International Actress Kill Bill Vol. 2
Teen Choice Awards Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress - Drama/Action Adventure
2005 Saturn Awards Saturn Award for Best Actress
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Critcis Choice Award for Best Actress
Empire Awards Empire Award for Best Actress
Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
MTV Movie Awards MTV Movie Award for Best Performance
Online Film Critics Society Awards Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Satellite Awards Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
People's Choice Awards People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Action Movie Star


  1. Uma Thurmans mormor staty i Trelleborg, Sydsvenskan, July 30, 2006.
  2. Ancestry of Uma Thurman
  3. Tiscali Tiscali Film and TV Uma Thurman biography. Retrieved January 5, 2006.
  4. Sherry Kahn. Talk. Golden Girl Uma admits to having Body Dysmorphic Disorder. May 15, 2001. Retrieved February 16, 2006.
  5. Rolling Stone cover archive. Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 6, 2006.
  6. IMDb business data for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Retrieved April 6, 2006.
  7. [1] allmovieportal: About Uma Thurman
  8. “Dangerous Liaisons’ violated beauty, Uma Thurman, 18, is a little risky herself”. People Weekly 31.n5 (Feb 6, 1989)
  9. Janet Maslin. “A Writer’s Awakening to the Erotic”. The New York Times. October 5, 1990.
  10. Joe Brown. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. The Washington Post. May 20, 1994. Retrieved February 13, 2006.
  11. Erik Hedegaard Rolling Stone magazine A Magnificent Obsession. April 2004. Retrieved April 6, 2006.
  12. Pulp Fiction box office information. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 6, 2006.
  13. What Made Kill Bill. MTV News. June 10, 2004. Retrieved February 7, 2006.
  14. Uma Thurman IMDb salary report. Retrieved April 6, 2006.
  15. WENN daily news, April 1, 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-06.
  16. The Swarm (2011)
  17. Uma Thurman video interview, February 2008
  18. Uma Thurman’s Federal Campaign Contribution Report. News Meat. Retrieved April 6, 2006.
  19. All-star Celebrity Coalition to March for Women’s Lives in Washington, DC. April 12, 2004. Retrieved April 6, 2006.
  20. Room To Grow board and staff page, retrieved 2006-11-06.
  21. Uma off the market (thelondonpaper)
  22. Uma Thurman Engaged to Multimillionaire - Engagements, Uma Thurman :
  23. WENN, August 29, 2001. Retrieved April 6, 2006.
  24. Sarah Hall. E! Online. “Ethan Hawke: Why We Split” March 5, 2004. Retrieved February 17, 2006.
  25. Stephen M. Silverman “Uma Calls Split from Ethan ‘Excruciating’” October 7, 2005. Retrieved March 3, 2006.

Further reading

  • Bryon Sutherland & Lucy Ellis, "uma trurman, the biography", 2004 Aurum Press

External links

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