Thompson in Paris at the César Awards 2009
15 April 1959 |
Paddington, London, England, United Kingdom
|Alma mater||Newnham College, Cambridge|
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, author|
|Relatives||Sophie Thompson (sister)|
|Best Actress for Howards End (1992)
Best Adapted Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility (1995)
|Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Ellen (1997)|
|Golden Globe Awards|
|Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for Howards End (1992)
Best Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility (1995)
|Best Actress for Fortunes of War & Tutti Frutti (1988)
Best Actress in a Leading Role for Howards End (1992) & Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Emma Thompson (born 15 April 1959) is a British actress, comedian, screenwriter and author. She first came to prominence in 1987 in two BBC TV series, Tutti Frutti and Fortunes of War, she won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her work in both. Her first major film role was in the 1989 romantic comedy The Tall Guy. In 1992, Thompson won multiple acting awards, including an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress, for her performance in the British drama Howards End. The following year Thompson garnered dual Academy Award nominations, as Best Actress for The Remains of the Day and as Best Supporting Actress for In the Name of the Father.
In 1995, Thompson scripted and starred in Sense and Sensibility, a film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel of the same name, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role among other awards. Other notable film and television credits have included the Harry Potter film series, Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Wit (2001), Love Actually (2003), Angels in America (2003), Nanny McPhee (2005), Stranger than Fiction (2006), Last Chance Harvey (2008), An Education (2009), Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010), Men in Black 3 (2012) and Brave (2012). In 2012, Thompson authored The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the publication of Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Thompson also played Katherine, the French Princess, opposite Kenneth Branagh in the 1989 move, "Henry V."
Early life 
Thompson was born in Paddington, London, England. Her father was English director and 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 Scottish actress Phyllida Law, and her 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 Beckford Primary School, in West Hampstead, Camden, London, England, followed by Camden School for Girls and then read English at Newnham College, Cambridge where she was a member (along with fellow actors Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Tony Slattery) and vice-president of the university's comedy troupe, 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. Shortly afterward, she came to fame with a leading role opposite Robert Lindsay in the Leicester Haymarket Theatre's production of the musical Me and My Girl, which had just been rescripted by Stephen Fry.
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 Elton, 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. This was followed by acclaim for the BBC series Fortunes of War in which she starred with her then future husband, Kenneth Branagh. For these two 1987 roles 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 romantic comedy The Tall Guy (1989) co-starring Jeff Goldblum. Her career took a more serious turn with a series of critically acclaimed performances and films, beginning with Howards End (1992), for which she received an Oscar for best actress; the part of Gareth Peirce, the lawyer for the Guildford Four, 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".
More 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. In 2002, she voiced Captain Amelia in Disney's Treasure Planet, an adaptation of Treasure Island. She also appeared in the 2003 comedy Love Actually. The film Nanny McPhee, adapted by 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.
Personal life 
While at Cambridge, Thompson was romantically involved with actor Hugh Laurie, a fellow Footlights member and an undergraduate at Selwyn College, just across the road from Newnham. Thompson continues her friendship with Laurie.
She married actor Kenneth Branagh on 20 August 1989. They acted together several times, in the TV series Fortunes of War, and in hit films such as Dead Again, Henry V, Peter's Friends, and Much Ado About Nothing. They divorced in October 1995.
Thompson married actor Greg Wise in 2003 in Dunoon, Scotland (she has a second home in nearby Ardentinny). The couple have a daughter, Gaia Romilly, born in 1999. The couple, who have supported ActionAid since 2000, informally adopted a 16-year-old Rwandan refugee named Tindyebwa Agaba in 2003. They successfully resisted his deportation back to Rwanda, his family having been killed in the genocide.
Environmental work 
Thompson is a supporter of Greenpeace. It was announced on 13 January 2009 that, with three other members of the organisation, she had bought land near the village of Sipson, under threat from a proposed third runway for Heathrow Airport. It was hoped that possession of the land, half the size of a football pitch, would make it possible to prevent the government from carrying through its plan to expand the airport.
Bought for an undisclosed sum from a local land owner, the plot was to be split into small squares and sold across the globe. 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."
Development work 
Political and religious views 
Thompson has said of her religious and political views: "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." Despite this, she has said that "The guiding moral principles, the ethical principles, much of the philosophy [of the Christian tradition], if properly applied, is very good", and that she observes the Christmas tradition. She is supporter of the Labour Party and she told the BBC Andrew Marr Show in March 2010 that she had been a member of the party "all my life." Thompson is also a human rights activist for Palestinians, having been a member of the British-based ENOUGH! coalition that seeks to end the "Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank." She opposes Scottish independence, although she believes that England had been "so awful" to Scotland.
Political comments 
At a visit to Exeter University in November 2010 for a lecture titled 'All Africans Now', Thompson stated that Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party would "love Exeter. He would feel very comfortable here", in reference to Exeter University's low number of ethnic minority students. Her remarks were responded to by from Exeter Conservative councillor, Jeff Coates, who said "It's a very strange accusation to make. For heaven's sake, this is a country on the north-west fringes of Europe".
Thompson came in for criticism for a comment on The Late Late Show on US television in August 2010, regarding residents of the Isle of Wight's attitude to homosexuals, remarking that they 'stone homosexuals'. Thompson later apologised, stating that her comments were meant to refer to the Isle of Man instead.
Infringement accusation 
In 2011, playwright Gregory Murphy accused Emma Thompson of misappropriating his Off-Broadway and West End theatre 2009 play and subsequent screenplay The Countess, about the bizarre "love triangle" between John Ruskin, Effie Gray and John Everett Millais. Murphy asserts that copies of his play and screenplay were sent to her and her husband, Greg Wise, through a mutual friend. After obtaining a copy of a screenplay, titled Effie, credited to Thompson and Wise, Murphy contacted the film's producers, noting that Effie was distinctly related to Murphy's own screenplay in its "time-frame, character development, structure and tone."
Thompson asserts that she has never seen The Countess, read its screenplay, or ever received a copy from the mutual friend, who is willing to testify that he never gave her a copy. She maintains that all similarities between Effie and The Countess are simply the result of them being based on the same historical events.
Thompson met with Murphy at her home in an attempt to reach an agreement, and there followed over a number of months discussion of a possible writer's credit on the film and payment to Murphy. However no settlement could be reached to the satisfaction of both parties.
Thompson was expected to go into production on Effie in August 2011. However, she must "be able to demonstrate that there is no validity to Mr. Murphy's claim of infringement" to close the financing for the film.
|1982||Cambridge Footlights Revue||Various roles||TV special, 1 episode|
|1982||There's Nothing to Worry About!||Mrs. Wally||TV series, 3 episodes|
|1983–1984||Alfresco||Various roles||TV series, 13 episodes|
|1984||The Young Ones||Miss Money-Sterling||TV series, episode Bambi|
|1987||Tutti Frutti||Suzi Kettles||BBC TV series|
|1987||Fortunes of War||Harriet Pringle|
|1988||Thompson||Various roles||TV series|
|1989||Look Back in Anger||Alison Porter||TV film|
|1990||The Winslow Boy||Catherine Winslow||TV production|
|1992||Cheers||Nanette Guzman||TV series, 1 episode|
|1994||The Blue Boy||Marie Bonnar||TV film|
|1997||Ellen||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|1997||Hospital!||Elephant Woman||TV series, 1 episode|
|2001||Wit||Vivian Bearing||TV film|
|2003||Angels in America||Nurse Emily/the Homeless Woman/the Angel America||TV series|
|2010||La Hora de José Mota||Herself||Special guest, 2 episodes|
|2010||The Song of Lunch||She|
|1982||Not the Nine O'Clock News||UK tour|
|1982||Beyond the Footlights||Lyric Hammersmith, London||Also co-writer|
|1984||Short Vehicle||Edinburgh Festival||Also writer|
|1984–1985||Me and My Girl||Sally||Haymarket Theatre & Adelphi Theatre|
|1989||Look Back in Anger||Alison||Lyric Shaftesbury, London|
|1990||King Lear||The Fool|
|1990||A Midsummer Night's Dream||Helena||International tour|
- The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit. Frederick Warne & Co. 2012. ISBN 978-0-7232-6910-6. OCLC 809689268.
In 2012, Thompson wrote The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit, as an addition to the Peter Rabbit series by Beatrix Potter to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the publication of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The book falls in the middle of the earlier series, rather than at the end, and takes Peter Rabbit outside of Mr. McGregor's garden and into Scotland.
She has also written books based on movies for which she wrote the screenplays.
See also 
- "From Oscar glory to AIDS crusader". bbc.co.uk. 24 November 2003.
- Rick Fulton (12 October 2005). "It's nanny McMe". Retrieved 18 November 2007.
- Thomas, Liz (28 September 2010). "'Innits' and aints' drive me insane! Emma Thompson hits out at teenagers' sloppy English after visit to her old school". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- "Movie & TV News – WENN". IMDb.com. 17 January 2006. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
- Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Awards and Nominations: Emma Thompson. Retrieved on: 2012-01-21.
- "Clémence Poésy confirms Emma Thompson's Deathly Hallows reprisal". This is South Wales. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
- Young, John (28 March 2011). "Pixar's 'Brave': First Look art – exclusive photos". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Tim Walker (12 January 2009). "Hugh Laurie's elemental about Emma Thompson". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 3 May 2011.
- "It'S Nanny Mcme". The Daily Record. 12 October 2005. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- Nicola de Corato (22 March 2012). "DubaiBlog promuove ActionAid e l'adozione a distanza". DubaiBlog (Dubai). Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Alison Boshoff (7 March 2008). "The young refugee who was adopted by a famous actress". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 7 March 2008.
- "Protesters buy up Heathrow land". London: BBC News. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
- "Celebs buy Heathrow expansion land". MSN News UK. pa.press.net. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2009.[dead link]
- "A message from Emma Thompson". ActionAid UK. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- Cornwell, Jane (15 October 2008). "Acting on outspoken beliefs". The Australian. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- Allen, Jenny. "Between Friends". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
- "Andrew Marr show interview". BBC News. 28 March 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- "Emma Thompson bids for Palestinian Rights". Electronicintifada.net. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- Elton John AIDS Foundation patrons
- Anita Singh (6 November 2009). "http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/6514846/Exeter-is-a-lovely-place-for-the-BNP-says-actress-Emma-Thompson.html". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- Anita Singh (13 August 2010). "Emma Thompson criticised for gay-stoning joke on Isle of Wight". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- Anita Singh (10 September 2010). "Emma Thompson: Sorry, I meant to say they stone gays on the Isle of Man". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- Owen Bowcott (9 February 2011). "Emma Thompson's Effie Facing Copyright Fight". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- Gregory Murphy (24 April 2011). "The Day I Sat in Emma Thompson's Kitchen and Accused Her of Stealing My Movie". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- Eden, Richard (23 December 2012). "Emma Thompson is kept waiting by John Ruskin film". The Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- NPR interview with Emma Thompson regarding her new book
- Official website of the Peter Rabbit series publisher Frederick Warne & Co
Further reading 
- Hewison, Robert (1984). Footlights! A Hundred Years of Cambridge Comedy. Methuen, London. ISBN 0-413-56050-3.
- Branagh, Kenneth (1989). Beginning. St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN 0-312-05822-5.
- Shuttleworth, Ian (1994). Ken and Em. Headline Book Publishing, London. ISBN 0-7472-1225-2.
- Nickson, Chris (1997). Emma: The Many Facets of Emma Thompson. Taylor Publishing. ISBN 0-87833-965-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Emma Thompson|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Emma Thompson|
- Emma Thompson at the Internet Movie Database
- Emma Thompson at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Emma Thompson at the TCM Movie Database
- The Guardian Interview, 10/16/05
- Thompson answers questions on her AIDS charity work, 11/25/03