Eve Best

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Eve Best
Eve Best cropped.jpg
Eve Best at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Benefit, 2009
Born Emily Best
(1971-07-31) 31 July 1971 (age 43)
Ladbroke Grove, London
Occupation Actress, director
Years active 1999–present

Emily "Eve" Best (born 31 July 1971) is an English stage and screen actress and director,[1] best known for her roles as Dr. O'Hara in the Showtime television series Nurse Jackie, as Wallis Simpson in the 2010 film The King's Speech, and First Lady Dolley Madison in a 2011 American Experience television special.

Best was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a play for her work in A Moon for the Misbegotten and received an Olivier Award for Best Actress for the title role in Hedda Gabler in 2005.

Early life and education[edit]

Best grew up in Ladbroke Grove, London, daughter of a design journalist and an actress.[1] She attended Wycombe Abbey Girls’ School before going on to Lincoln College, Oxford where she read English. Among her earliest public performances were with the W11 Opera children's opera company in London at the age of nine. After graduating from Oxford where she had appeared in OUDS productions, and toured to the Edinburgh Festival, she made her professional debut as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing at the Southwark Playhouse.[2]


After a period working on the London fringe, Best trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.[1] After graduating in 1999 she appeared in a revival of 'Tis Pity She's a Whore at the Young Vic for which she won both the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle best newcomer awards;[3] she adopted her grandmother's name as a stage name, as an Emily Best was already registered with British Actors' Equity Association.[4]

Best won an Olivier Award for playing the title role in Hedda Gabler[5] and was nominated for the same award the following year for her performance as Josie in Eugene O'Neill's play A Moon For The Misbegotten at the Old Vic Theatre in London.[6]

In early 2007, she starred in a Sheffield Crucible production of As You Like It[7] which played for a short time at the RSC's Swan Theatre in Stratford[8] as part of their Complete Works season. In the same year she performed in the Broadway transfer of A Moon For The Misbegotten[9] for which she was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actress in a Play.[10]

Best appeared in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming at the Cort Theatre in New York,[11] which co-starred Ian McShane, Raúl Esparza and Michael McKean. Daniel Sullivan directed the 20-week limited engagement, which ran until 13 April 2008. She once again appeared as Beatrice in a critically acclaimed production of Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in 2011,[12] playing opposite Charles Edwards as Benedick and starred in the Old Vic production of The Duchess of Malfi in 2012. She made her directorial debut with a production of Macbeth at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in 2013.[13]

Television appearances include Prime Suspect: The Final Act (2006), Waking the Dead (2004), Shackleton (2002), and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2005).

She appears as Lucrece in the Naxos audiobook version of Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece. She also starred in a 2000 BBC Radio 4 production of Emma.

Best co-stars as Dr. Eleanor O'Hara in the Showtime dark comedy series Nurse Jackie, that premiered in June 2009.[14][15] She played the Duchess of Windsor — Wallis Simpson — in The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.

Best also co-stars as Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, alongside William Hurt in The Challenger, a British made for TV dramatization of the Rogers Commission set up to investigate the Challenger accident of 1986.

In summer 2014 Best played Cleopatra, the leading role in the Shakespeare's Globe version of Antony and Cleopatra.[16]


Best, after performing in A Moon for the Misbegotten in NYC, 27 May 2007
Year Title Role Notes
2001 Brilliant![17] Nina (short)
2002 Shackleton Eleanor Shackleton TV Movie
2004 Lie With Me[18] Roselyn Tyler
2004 Lodge, TheThe Lodge Yuni (short)
2006 Prime Suspect: The Final Act Linda Philips TV Movie
2010 King's Speech, TheThe King's Speech Wallis Simpson
2014 Someone You Love Kate
2014 Unity Narrator Documentary
Year Title Role Notes
2000 Bill, TheThe Bill Anne Episode: Beasts
2000 Casualty Amber Hope Episode: Seize the Night
2001 Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells, TheThe Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells Ellen McGillvray TV mini-series
2004 Waking the Dead Natasha Bloom Episode: Shadowplay: Part 1
2005 Inspector Lynley Mysteries, TheThe Inspector Lynley Mysteries Amanda Gibson Episode: In Divine Proportion
2006 Vital Signs Sarah Cartwright 6 episodes
2009–2013 Nurse Jackie Dr. Eleanor O'Hara Main cast (Recurring in Season 5)
2010 American Experience Dolley Madison Episode: Dolley Madison
2010 Shadow Line, TheThe Shadow Line Petra Mayler 3 episodes
2012 Up All Night Yvonne Encanto Episode: New Boss
2013 The Challenger Sally Ride
2014 New Worlds Angelica Fanshawe Episodes 1–3
2014 The Honourable Woman Monica Chatwin Episodes 1–8
2015 Life in Squares[19]
Year Title Role Location
1995 Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice Southwark Playhouse, London
1996 Sisters, Brothers Gate Theatre, London
1999 Tis Pity She's a Whore Annabella Young Vic, London
2000 The Heiress Catherine Royal National Theatre, London
2000 The Cherry Orchard Varya Royal National Theatre, London
2001 Macbeth Lady Macbeth Shakespeare's Globe, London
2002 The Misanthrope Jennifer Chichester Festival Theatre
2002 The Coast of Utopia Liubov Bakunin Royal National Theatre, London
2003 Three Sisters Masha Royal National Theatre, London
2003 Mourning Becomes Electra Lavinia Mannon Royal National Theatre, London
2005 Hedda Gabler Hedda Almeida, London and Duke of York's Theatre, London
2006-2007 A Moon for the Misbegotten Josie Old Vic, London and Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York
2007 As You Like It Rosalind Sheffield Crucible and Swan Theatre (Stratford)
2007-2008 The Homecoming Ruth Cort Theatre, New York
2011 Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice Shakespeare's Globe, London
2012 The Duchess of Malfi The Duchess Old Vic, London
2013 Macbeth Director Shakespeare's Globe, London
2014 Antony and Cleopatra Cleopatra Shakespeare's Globe, London

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1999 Evening Standard Award The Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer Tis Pity She's a Whore Won
1999 Critics' Circle Theatre Award The Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer (other than a playwright) Tis Pity She's a Whore Won
2003 Critics' Circle Theatre Award Best Actress Mourning Becomes Electra Won
2005 Critics' Circle Theatre Award Best Actress Hedda Gabler Won
2006 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress Hedda Gabler Won
2007 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Play A Moon for the Misbegotten Won
2007 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress A Moon for the Misbegotten Nominated
2007 Tony Award Best Actress A Moon for the Misbegotten Nominated
2008 Tony Award Best Actress The Homecoming Nominated


  1. ^ a b c Sercher, Benjamin (2013-06-19). "Eve Best interview: on returning to the stage as a director". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-02-15. 
  2. ^ Matt Trueman. "Forging a Direct Path to the Future: JMK Award". Retrieved 2015-02-18. 
  3. ^ Paddock, Terri (18 August 2003). "20 Questions With...Eve Best". What's On Stage. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  4. ^ Henderson, Kathy. "Fresh Face: Eve Best". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  5. ^ "Hedda Gabler". http://www.almeida.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-02-10. 
  6. ^ "A Moon for the Misbegotten". The Old Vic. Retrieved 2015-02-15. 
  7. ^ Billington, Michael (2007-02-08). "As You Like It". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-02-13. 
  8. ^ "As You Like It". The British Universities Film & Video Council. Retrieved 2015-02-13. 
  9. ^ Brantley, Ben (2007-04-10). "A Moonlit Night on the Farm, Graveyard Ready". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-13. 
  10. ^ Wolf, Matt (2007-05-16). "We should cheer, and weep, at the Tony Awards nominations". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-02-13. 
  11. ^ Brantley, Ben (2007-12-17). "You Can Go Home Again, but You’ll Pay the Consequences". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-15. 
  12. ^ "Much Ado About Nothing [2011]". Shakespeare's Globe. Retrieved 2015-02-15. 
  13. ^ "'Fair is foul, and foul is fair'". Shakespeare's Globe. Retrieved 2015-02-15. 
  14. ^ "Nurse Jackie: Official Site". Sho.com. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  15. ^ Starr, Michael (30 June 2008). "Nurse Edie: First Look at Sopranos Star's Dark, New Hospital Comedy". New York Post. NYPost.com. Retrieved 8 March 2009. 
  16. ^ "Two lovers are blown apart by love and war". Shakespeare's Globe. Retrieved 2015-02-15. 
  17. ^ "Brilliant!". British Council. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  18. ^ Lawson, Mark. "The cop stays in the picture". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  19. ^ "'Phoebe Fox, Lydia Leonard, Sam Hoare and James Norton to star in Life In Squares for BBC Two'". BBC. 2014-08-18. Retrieved 2015-02-16. 

External links[edit]