Eve Best

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Eve Best
Eve Best in 2007
Emily Best

(1971-07-31) 31 July 1971 (age 52)
Alma materLincoln College, Oxford
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation(s)Actress, director
Years active1995–present

Emily "Eve" Best (born 31 July 1971) is an English actress and director.[1] She is known for her television roles as Dr. Eleanor O'Hara in the Showtime series Nurse Jackie (2009–2013), First Lady Dolley Madison in the American Experience television special (2011), Monica Chatwin in the BBC miniseries The Honourable Woman (2014) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen in HBO’s House of the Dragon. She also played Wallis Simpson in the 2010 film The King's Speech.

Best won the 2006 Olivier Award for Best Actress for playing the title role in Hedda Gabler. She made her Broadway debut in the 2007 revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten, winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, and receiving the first of two nominations for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play; the second was for the revival of The Homecoming in 2008. She returned to Broadway in the 2015 revival of Old Times.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Best grew up in Ladbroke Grove, London, the daughter of a design journalist and an actress.[1] Her early performances were with the W11 Opera children's opera company in London at the age of nine. She attended Wycombe Abbey Girls' School before going on to Lincoln College, Oxford, where she studied English. After graduating from Oxford where she had appeared in Oxford University Dramatic Society productions and performed at the Edinburgh Festival, she made her professional debut as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing at the Southwark Playhouse.[3]


After 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;[4] she adopted her grandmother's name as a stage name, as an Emily Best was already registered with British Actors' Equity Association.[5]

Best won a Laurence Olivier Award for playing the title role in Hedda Gabler[6] 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.[7]

In early 2007, she starred in a Sheffield Crucible production of As You Like It[8] which played for a short time at the RSC's Swan Theatre in Stratford[9] as part of their Complete Works season. In the same year she performed in the Broadway transfer of A Moon for the Misbegotten[10] for which she was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actress in a Play.[11]

Best appeared in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming at the Cort Theatre in New York,[12] 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,[13] 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.[14]

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

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

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

In summer 2014 Best played Cleopatra, the leading role in the Shakespeare's Globe version of Antony and Cleopatra.[16] She returned to Broadway in the 2015 revival of the Pinter play Old Times, opposite Clive Owen and Kelly Reilly.[2] She played headmistress Farah Dowling in Fate: The Winx Saga.[17]

The TV series Maryland[18] aired in May 2023 on ITV1, with Best playing Rosaline, who is reuniting with her sister Becca (Suranne Jones) after their mother's body is found dead on the Isle of Man.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 Brilliant![20] Nina (short)
2002 Shackleton Eleanor Shackleton TV movie
2004 The Lodge Yuni (short)
2010 The King's Speech Wallis Simpson
2014 Someone You Love Kate
2014 Unity Narrator Documentary


Year Title Role Notes
2000 The Bill Anne Episode: Beasts
2000 Casualty Amber Hope Episode: Seize the Night
2001 The Infinite Worlds of H. G. Wells Ellen McGillvray TV mini-series
2004 Waking the Dead Natasha Bloom Episode: Shadowplay: Part 1
2004 Lie With Me[21] Roselyn Tyler TV mini-series
2005 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Amanda Gibson Episode: In Divine Proportion
2006 Prime Suspect: The Final Act Linda Philips
2006 Vital Signs Sarah Cartwright 6 episodes
Nurse Jackie Dr. Eleanor O'Hara Main cast (season 1–5)
Guest (season 7)
2010 American Experience Dolley Madison Episode: Dolley Madison
2010 The Shadow Line Petra Mayler 3 episodes
2012 Up All Night Yvonne Encanto Episode: New Boss
2013 The Challenger Disaster Sally Ride
2014 New Worlds Angelica Fanshawe Episodes 1–3
2014 The Honourable Woman Monica Chatwin Episodes 1–8
2015 Life in Squares[22] Vanessa Bell
2016–2017 Stan Lee's Lucky Man Anna Clayton Main cast
2021–2022 Fate: The Winx Saga Farah Dowling Main cast (season 1, 6 episodes; season 2, 1 episode)
2022–present House of the Dragon Rhaenys Targaryen Main cast
2023 Maryland Rosaline Main cast (ITV series, 3 episodes)
2023 The Crown Carole Middleton 2 episodes


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
2006–07 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)
2007–08 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
2015 Old Times Anna American Airlines Theatre, Broadway
2017 Love in Idleness Olivia Brown Menier Chocolate Factory, Apollo Theatre, London
2017 A Woman of No Importance Mrs Arbuthnot Vaudeville, 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 (19 June 2013). "Eve Best interview: on returning to the stage as a director". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b Old Times Archived 13 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine at the American Airlines Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company
  3. ^ Matt Trueman (11 August 2012). "Forging a Direct Path to the Future: JMK Award". The Stage. Archived from the original on 3 September 2022. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  4. ^ Paddock, Terri (18 August 2003). "20 Questions With...Eve Best". What's on Stage. Archived from the original on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  5. ^ Henderson, Kathy. "Fresh Face: Eve Best". Broadway.com. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  6. ^ "Hedda Gabler". almeida.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  7. ^ "A Moon for the Misbegotten". The Old Vic. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  8. ^ Billington, Michael (8 February 2007). "As You Like It". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  9. ^ "As You Like It". The British Universities Film & Video Council. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  10. ^ Brantley, Ben (10 April 2007). "A Moonlit Night on the Farm, Graveyard Ready". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  11. ^ Wolf, Matt (16 May 2007). "We should cheer, and weep, at the Tony Awards nominations". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  12. ^ Brantley, Ben (17 December 2007). "You Can Go Home Again, but You'll Pay the Consequences". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Much Ado About Nothing [2011]". Shakespeare's Globe. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Fair is foul, and foul is fair". Shakespeare's Globe. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Nurse Jackie: Official Site". Sho.com. Archived from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
  16. ^ "Two lovers are blown apart by love and war". Shakespeare's Globe. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  17. ^ Hough, Q (26 January 2021). "Fate: Is [SPOILER] Really Dead In The Winx Saga? How They Can Return". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  18. ^ "ITV Maryland: Cast, storyline, episodes, and filming locations". The Economic Times. 23 May 2023. ISSN 0013-0389. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  19. ^ Mangan, Lucy (22 May 2023). "Maryland review – no one is more moving than Suranne Jones". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  20. ^ "Brilliant!". British Council. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  21. ^ Lawson, Mark (15 November 2004). "The cop stays in the picture". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  22. ^ "Phoebe Fox, Lydia Leonard, Sam Hoare and James Norton to star in Life in Squares for BBC Two". BBC. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2015.

External links[edit]