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Biography of Actress Emma Thompson

Updated on August 28, 2011
Actress Emma THOMPSON
Actress Emma THOMPSON | Source

Daughter of actors Eric Thompson and Phyllida Law, Emma Thompson was born in Paddington, London, England on April 15, 1959. Thanks to the education that the parents have given to Emma and her younger sister Sophie, the opportunity for taking drama classes was certainly not missed.

Emma decided very soon to become a writer, and after having attended the Camden School for Girls, she was accepted at Newnham College, at the University of Cambridge. While she was still studying at Cambridge, an old friend suggested her to join the Footlights theater group, where the Monty Python John Cleese and Eric Idle where working.

Two years before graduation, agent Richard Armitage, deeply impressed by the amusing texts she had written for Footlights, offered her a contract.

After graduating at Cambridge in 1980 with a thesis on the novelist George Eliot, Emma Thompson began working as a comedian and went on tour with the show satirical “Not the Nine O'Clock News”. She also took part in the BBC show 'Al Fresco' with the Footlight actors Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.

The producers of Channel Four, offered the actress and author the possibility to create an emerging show of her own, but the suggestive title invented by Thompson, “Sexually Transmitted” became “Up for Grabs” and the show, at least initially, was aired at midnight.

In 1985, Emma Thompson participated in the revival of the play by Noel Gay “Me and My Girl”, a clamorous success that made her land a great number of jobs in television.

The following year, she played her first dramatic role in the part of Harriet Pringle in the television series “Fortunes of War”, working alongside with the young actor Kenneth Branagh.

In 1989, she made her debut on the big screen in the movie Henry V, directed by Branagh. On August 20th of that same year, Emma and Kenneth got married.

Two years later, the couple work together again in the second movie directed by Kenneth Branagh, “Dead Again” (1991), produced by Lindsay Doran. Doran, who at that time was seeking a screenwriter to be entrusted into adapting the novel by Jane Austen's “Sense and Sensibility”, managed to convince Emma Thompson to give it a try.

In 1992, Emma Thompson won an Oscar as Best Actress for the movie “Howard End’’ by James Ivory, and the following year, she was again nominated for an Academy Award for “The Remains of the Day” (1993) and In the Name of the Father (1993), by Jim Sheridan.

The second Oscar won by Thompson, was for the screenplay of Sense and Sensibility (1995), by Ang Lee, in which the British actress plays the role of Elinor Dashwood.

In the meanwhile, Emma divorced and, at the Oscar nomination, she showed up with her new partner, Greg Wise, who worked with her in the movie by Ang Lee.

The actress career continue with more difficult roles on movies such as “Carrington” (1995) and “The Winter Guest” (1997), but also easier roles such as “Love Actually” (2003), “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004).

In 2005 Emma Thompson signed her second debut for the movie “Nanny McPhee”, in which she is also the protagonist.

Emma Thompson and Greg Wise got married in 2003 and have a daughter, Gaia Romilly Wise, born December 4, 1999.

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