Charlotte Cornwell

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Charlotte Cornwell
Born Charlotte Ellen Cornwell
(1949-04-26) 26 April 1949 (age 67)
Marylebone, London, England
Nationality British
Occupation Actress
Years active 1972-present
Partner(s) Kenneth Cranham
Children Nancy Cranham[1]
Relatives John le Carré (half brother)
Rupert Cornwell (brother)

Charlotte Ellen Cornwell (born 26 April 1949) is an English actress.

Acting career[edit]

Trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Cornwell's professional career began with three seasons at the Bristol Old Vic Company, playing a broad range of roles from Kate Hotspur in Shakespeare's Henry IV to Becky in Sam Shepard's The Tooth of Crime.

Cornwell was a leading member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for three years, including Rosalind in As You Like It and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing[2] and has worked as a leading actress with the Royal National Theatre since 1984. She has worked extensively both in the West End and at fringe venues, and has appeared in the US in several productions, including Richard III and An Enemy of the People opposite Sir Ian McKellen, Athol Fugard's The Road to Mecca, Terence McNally's Master Class, Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music (San Francisco Bay Critics' Award), and Alan Bennett's The History Boys at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.[3] In a return to staged Shakespeare, in Summer 2016 she was the Chorus in the Regent's Park production of Henry V.[4]

Among her film appearances are roles in Stardust (1974), The Brute (1977), The Krays (1990), The Russia House (1990), White Hunter Black Heart (1990), The Saint (1997), Ghosts of Mars (2001) and Dead Space: Aftermath (2010) (voiceover). Cornwell has also worked extensively on television including appearances in Rock Follies, The Men's Room, The Governor, Shalom Salaam, Lovejoy, Love Hurts, Where the Heart Is, A Touch of Frost, Silent Witness, The Mentalist, Dressing for Breakfast, Capital City, The West Wing, Casualty, The Practice, New Tricks, Toast of London, and Midsomer Murders, among other television programmes in Britain and the United States.

Cornwell won a libel action against the journalist Nina Myskow and The Sunday People in December 1985. A jury at the High Court awarded her £10,000 in damages after Myskow, in an article for the newspaper, had referred to Cornwell as unattractive, middle-aged and whose "bum is too big".[2] The case went to appeal, and Cornwell ended up £70,000 out of pocket from legal costs.[5] She taught at the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts from 2004 to 2012, and returned to resume her acting career in the UK in June 2012.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Cornwell was born in Marylebone, London, the daughter of Ronald Cornwell.[6] She is the half-sister of spy novelist John le Carré (David Cornwell). She describes him as "the best brother a girl could have". Le Carré based the main female character in his novel, The Little Drummer Girl—an English actress called "Charlie"—on her.[7] She has a daughter, Nancy Cranham, from a former relationship with actor Kenneth Cranham.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "TV actress is awarded £10,000 Libel Damages". The Glasgow Herald. 19 December 1985. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b McDonald, Julia (21 February 2013). "BRITAIN meets Charlotte Cornwell from the Royal Shakespeare Company". Britain Magazine. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Billington, Michael (24 June 2016). "Henry V review – astonishing gender-switched reinvigoration". The Guardian: 40. 
  5. ^ Shenton, Mark (28 November 2005). "Review to a kill – Theatre critics and personal attacks". The Stage. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Film Reference biography
  7. ^ "A Talk With John le Carre", by MELVYN BRAGG, New York Times

External links[edit]