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Connie Nielsen

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Connie Nielsen
Nielsen in 2016
Connie Inge-Lise Nielsen

(1965-07-03) 3 July 1965 (age 58)
Frederikshavn, Denmark
Years active1984–present
PartnerLars Ulrich (2004–2012)

Connie Inge-Lise Nielsen (born 3 July 1965)[1][2] is a Danish actress.

She has starred as Lucilla in the film Gladiator (2000) and as Queen Hippolyta in the DC Extended Universe, beginning with Wonder Woman (2017). She has also starred in films such as Soldier (1998), Mission to Mars (2000), One Hour Photo (2002), Basic (2003), The Hunted (2003), The Ice Harvest (2005), Nymphomaniac (2013), 3 Days to Kill (2014), Inheritance (2020), and Nobody (2021).[3]

She also had roles as NYPD Detective Dani Beck, the temporary partner of Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler in the NBC crime drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2006), the Starz political drama series Boss (2011–2012), the Fox crime thriller series The Following (2014), the TNT limited drama series I Am the Night (2019) and starred in the Channel 4 drama series Close to Me in 2021.

Early life and education[edit]

Nielsen was born in Frederikshavn and grew up in the village of Elling, Denmark.[4] Her father, Bent Nielsen, was a bus driver, and her mother, Laila Inge-lise Matzigkeit (1945–2014), was an insurance clerk, who also acted and wrote musical reviews.[5][6] She was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Mormon.[7]

She began her acting career working alongside her mother on the local revue and variety scene. At 18, she traveled to Paris, France, where she worked as an actress and model, which led to further work and study in Italy—at drama school in Rome and in master classes with Lydia Styx, a teacher at Piccolo Teatro di Milano in Milan. She lived in Italy for many years before moving to the United States.[citation needed]


Nielsen's feature film debut was the Jerry Lewis French film Par où t'es rentré ? On t'a pas vu sortir in 1984, followed by a role in the Italian mini-series Colletti Bianchi in 1988. She appeared in the Italian film Vacanze di Natale '91 (1991) and the French film Le Paradis Absolument (1993).[8]

She moved to the United States in the mid-1990s and made her first appearance in a major English-language film in 1997 as Christabella Andreoli in The Devil's Advocate, starring opposite Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. This first minor breakthrough led to roles in the films Permanent Midnight (1998), Rushmore (1998), and Soldier (1998).[9]

In 2000, Nielsen appeared as Lucilla in Ridley Scott's Gladiator, starring opposite Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. Since then, she has starred in American films including Mission to Mars (2000), One Hour Photo (2002), The Hunted (2003), and Basic (2003), for which she had to cut off most of her hair. She also starred in the French thriller Demonlover (2002), directed by Olivier Assayas. She played the Irish mother to an orphan in A Shine of Rainbows (2009).[10]

Nielsen in 2009

In 2004, Nielsen made her Danish film debut in the drama, Brødre (also known as Brothers), for which she won the Danish Best Actress Award, the Bodil,[11][12][13] as well as Best Actress at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. She was also nominated for Best Actress at the European Film Awards. In 2006, Nielsen appeared in several episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Detective Dani Beck. She filled in for Mariska Hargitay, who was on maternity leave at the time of filming.[14]

With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jamie Bell and Uma Thurman, Nielsen appeared in the 2014 Lars Von Trier film Nymphomaniac.[15] She was featured in a series of promotional posters prior to the film's release, a campaign The Independent described as "shocking", observing that "Connie Nielsen appears somewhat moist in this poster for Nymphomaniac".[16]

In 2015, she appeared on the TV-2 album Det gode liv where she sang along with Steffen Brandt on the track "Brev til Mona". In September 2018 she appeared in the pilot episode of the CBS drama FBI with Jeremy Sisto and Missy Peregrym.

Nielsen is known as Queen Hippolyta in DC Extended Universe franchise, appeared in four films beginning with Wonder Woman (2017).

Personal life[edit]

From 2004 to 2012, Nielsen dated Metallica drummer and fellow Dane, Lars Ulrich.[17] They have one son together.[18]

Nielsen is multilingual, fluent in Danish, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish. She also knows some Spanish.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1984 Par où t'es rentré ? On t'a pas vu sortir Eva Credited as Connie Nielson
1991 Vacanze di Natale '91 Brunilde / Vanessa
1997 The Devil's Advocate Christabella Andreoli
1998 Permanent Midnight Dagmar
Rushmore Mrs. Calloway
Soldier Sandra
2000 Innocents Megan Denright
Mission to Mars Terri Fisher
Gladiator Lucilla Empire Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress - Action
Nominated – Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2002 One Hour Photo Nina Yorkin Nominated – Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
Demonlover Diane de Monx
2003 The Hunted Abby Durrell
Basic Osborne
2004 Brødre Sarah Bodil Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Silver Shell for Best Actress
Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actress
Return to Sender Charlotte Cory
2005 The Great Raid Margaret Utinsky
The Ice Harvest Renata Crest
2006 The Situation Anna Molyneux
2007 Battle in Seattle Jean
2009 A Shine of Rainbows Maire
2010 Kidnappet Susanne
2011 Perfect Sense Jenny
2013 Nymphomaniac Joe's Mother
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden Baroness Von Wagner Voice
2014 3 Days to Kill Christine Renner
Return to Zero Dr. Claire Holden
All Relative Maren
2015 The Runner Deborah Price
2016 Ali and Nino Duchess Kipiani
The 11th Katrine Firth
Løvekvinnen Mrs Grjothornet
The Confessions Claire Seth
2017 Stratton Sumner
Wonder Woman Queen Hippolyta
Justice League
2018 The Catcher Was a Spy Koranda
2019 I'll Find You Lena
Sea Fever Freya
2020 Inheritance Catherine Monroe
Wonder Woman 1984 Queen Hippolyta
2021 Zack Snyder's Justice League
Nobody Becca Mansell
2022 A Week in Paradise Fiona
2023 Origin Sabine
Ocean Deep Mara
2024 Role Play Gwen Carver
Gladiator II Lucilla Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Voyage Ronnie Freeland Television film
1994 Le paradis absolument Sarah
2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Detective Dani Beck 6 episodes
2008 Danny Fricke Danny Fricke Television film
2011–2012 Boss Meredith Rutledge Kane 16 episodes
2014 The Following Lily Gray 10 episodes
2014–2015 The Good Wife Ramona Lytton 4 episodes
2015 Unveiled Joan McAllen Television film
2018 FBI Ellen Solberg Episode: "Pilot"
Liberty Katrina 5 episodes
2019 I Am the Night Corinna Hodel 6 episodes
2021 Close to Me Jo Harding
2022 The Dreamer – Becoming Karen Blixen[20] Karen Blixen


  • Rungstedlund Prize (4 September 2023).[21]


  1. ^ "Nielsen" – via BnF Catalogue général (http:// catalogue.bnf.fr).
  2. ^ "Nielsen, Connie, 1965- - LC Linked Data Service: Authorities and Vocabularies". Library of Congress.
  3. ^ "Connie Nielsen - dansk film database". danskefilm.dk. Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  4. ^ "Connie Nielsen". Aniston.dk (in Danish). Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  5. ^ Stewart, Susan (9 March 2003). "Double Danish / Connie Nielson [sic]". Newsday. p. D7. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Star Dentist Drilled for $20M". The New York Post. 7 August 2004. p. 6.
  7. ^ Cavagna, Carlo (December 2005). "Interview: Connie Nielsen". AboutFilm.com. Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  8. ^ "One Hour Photo: About The Cast". Cinema.com. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  9. ^ Lucia Bozzola (2016). "Connie Nielsen biography". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Connie Nielsen on Reading the Script". Freestyle Releasing. 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  11. ^ Eising, Jesper (27 February 2005). ""Kongekabale" årets film". Berlingske.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Kongekabale årets bedste film. - Indland". DR (in Danish). 27 February 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  13. ^ "2005". Bodilprisen (in Danish). 20 November 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Connie Nielsen fills in for Mariska Hargitay on 'Law & Order: SVU'". Star Pulse. 2 February 2006. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  15. ^ Scott Roxborough (27 August 2012). "Jamie Bell, Connie Nielsen Join Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  16. ^ Liam O'Brien (10 October 2013). "Nymphomaniac orgasm posters: Uma Thurman, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf star in shocking film campaign". The Independent. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  17. ^ "An interview with Close to Me's Connie Nielsen". 21 November 2021.
  18. ^ "METALLICA Drummer LARS ULRICH, Girlfriend CONNIE NIELSEN Expecting". Blabbermouth.net. 6 December 2006. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
  19. ^ Vaughan, Brendan (1 March 2007). "A Woman We Love: Connie Nielsen". Esquire Magazine.
  20. ^ Credits to "The Dreamer" on its sales agent TrustNordisk website
  21. ^ Epaimages

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