|Born||Clare Frances Elizabeth Higgins
10 November 1955
Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Clare Frances Elizabeth Higgins (born 10 November 1955) is an English actress. Her film appearances include Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Small Faces (1996) and The Golden Compass (2007).
A six-time Olivier Award nominee for her work in the theatre, Higgins received her first nomination in 1984 for her role as Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. She has since won the Olivier Award for Best Actress three times; for Sweet Bird of Youth in 1995, Vincent in Brixton in 2003 and Hecuba in 2005. She made her Broadway debut in 2003 in Vincent in Brixton, receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play. She returned to Broadway in the 2014 revival of A Delicate Balance.
Higgins, the second of five children, was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire to Paula Cecilia (née Murphy) and James Stephen Higgins. Her parents were from working class Irish Catholic backgrounds and worked as teachers. Higgins was interested in acting since her childhood. After being expelled from a convent school, she ran away from home at seventeen. At 19, she gave birth to a boy but gave him up for adoption because she was unable to raise him.
At 23, she achieved her dream of becoming an actress, graduating from LAMDA. Through the 1980s, she became a dynamic stage actress, both in London and on Broadway. She starred in the premiere of The Secret Rapture, and won the first of her three Olivier Awards in 1995. In 1983, she starred with Ben Cross in the BBC production of A.J. Cronin's The Citadel, playing the role of Christine Manson. For the big screen, Clare played Julia Cotton in Clive Barker's Hellraiser, based on Barker's novella The Hellbound Heart. Higgins reprised the role in 1988 for Tony Randel's Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Other films include Bad Behaviour in 1993 and the Scottish film Small Faces in 1996.
In 2004 Higgins had a cameo role as the Mistress of Revels in the movie Stage Beauty with Claire Danes and Billy Crudup. In 2007, Higgins took the role of Ma Costa in Chris Weitz's The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Dakota Blue Richards.
Higgins recently appeared as Jocasta in the National Theatre's critically acclaimed production of Oedipus, opposite Ralph Fiennes in the title role. From April to May 2009, she appeared in Wallace Shawn's The Fever at the Royal Court Theatre.
On 14 November, 2013, she appeared in the Doctor Who mini-episode "The Night of the Doctor", which starred Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. Higgins played Ohila, the leader of the Sisterhood of Karn. Higgins returned to the role in 2015 in "The Magician's Apprentice", which originally aired on 19 September 2015, and in the series finale "Hell Bent" on 5th December 2015.
Acting awards and nominations
Higgins was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1995 (1994 season) for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in Sweet Bird of Youth at the Royal National Theatre. She won the same award in both 2002 and 2005: in 2002 for her performance in Vincent in Brixton performed at the Royal National Theatre, Cottesloe and Wyndham's Theatres, and in 2005 for her performance as Hecuba in the Euripides tragedy at the Donmar Warehouse. She was awarded the 2002 London Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in Vincent in Brixton. Additionally, she was awarded the 1994 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre) for Best Actress for her performances in The Children's Hour and Sweet Bird of Youth. She was also awarded the 2002 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in Vincent in Brixton at the Donmar Warehouse in London. In 2003 she was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actress in a Play for Vincent in Brixton on Broadway, and garnered the 2003 Theatre World Award for outstanding major Broadway debut.
- "Previous winners". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- "Clare Higgins". IBDB. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- Clare Higgins profile at Film Reference.com
- "Jung at heart." Telegraph.co.uk.
- "Theatre masterclass: Clare higgins". The Guardian. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- "Clare Higgins- one of the busiest stage actors". The British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- "Past recipients". Theatre World Awards. Retrieved 6 May 2014.