Gillian Anderson

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Gillian Anderson
Gillian Anderson 2013 (cropped).jpg
Anderson at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International.
Born (1968-08-09) August 9, 1968 (age 47)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Residence London, England, United Kingdom
Alma mater DePaul University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Clyde Klotz (m. 1994–97)
Julian Ozanne (m. 2004–06)
Partner(s) Mark Griffiths (2006–12)
Children 3

Gillian Leigh Anderson (born August 9, 1968)[1][2] is a film, television, and theatre actress whose credits include the roles of Special Agent Dana Scully in the long-running and widely popular series The X-Files, ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in Terence Davies' film The House of Mirth (2000), and Lady Dedlock in the successful BBC production of Charles Dickens' Bleak House.[3]

After beginning her career on stage, Anderson achieved international recognition for her role as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully on the American sci-fi horror drama series The X-Files for all nine seasons (1993–2002). Her film work includes the dramas The Mighty Celt (2005), The Last King of Scotland (2006), Shadow Dancer (2012) and two X-Files films: The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998) and The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008). Her notable television credits are Any Human Heart, The Crimson Petal and the White, portraying Miss Havisham in Great Expectations (2011) and Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier on Hannibal.

In 2013, Anderson began starring as DSI Stella Gibson on the critically acclaimed BBC/Netflix crime television series The Fall.

Anderson has won a Primetime Emmy Award (with five nominations), a Golden Globe Award (with five nominations) and two Screen Actors Guild Awards (with nine nominations).

Aside from film and TV, Anderson has taken on the stage and has received both awards and critical acclaim. Her stage work includes Absent Friends – for which she won a Theatre World Award for Best Newcomer, A Doll's House – that earned her a Laurence Olivier Award nomination and A Streetcar Named Desire – for which she won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress and received her second Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress.

Early life[edit]

Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Rosemary Anderson (née Lane), a computer analyst, and Homer Edward "Ed" Anderson III, who owned a film post-production company.[4][5] She has Scottish, German, and Irish ancestry.[6] Soon after her birth, her family moved to Puerto Rico for 15 months, then to England, where she lived until she was 11 years old. She lived for five years in London's Crouch End and 15 months in London's Stroud Green,[7] so that her father could attend the London Film School. She was a pupil of Coleridge Primary School.

When Anderson was 11 years old, her family moved again, this time to Grand Rapids, Michigan.[8] She attended Fountain Elementary and then City High-Middle School, a program for gifted students with a strong emphasis on the humanities.[7]

Following the move to Grand Rapids, Anderson went through a rebellious stage; experimenting with drugs, dating a much older boyfriend and having a punk appearance (dyeing her hair various colors, shaving the sides or her head, sporting a nose piercing and an all-black wardrobe). She listened to bands such as the Dead Kennedys and the Skinny Puppy. Anderson recalled: "We were in a small Republican town. There were only six punks there. We were weird. It’s not like London". She was voted by her classmates: "class clown", "most bizarre girl" and "most likely to be arrested". She was arrested on graduation night for breaking and entering into her high school in an attempt to glue the locks of the doors (charges were later reduced to trespassing).[9][10][11]

At a young age Anderson was interested in marine biology,[7] but after becoming interested in theatre during her teenage years, she began acting in high school productions during her freshman year and later in community theatre, as well as serving as a student intern at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre & School of Theatre Arts. After graduating high school in 1986, she attended The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1990.[12] She also participated in the National Theatre of Great Britain's summer program at Cornell University.[7]

Anderson is bidialectal. With her English accent and background, she was mocked and felt out of place in the American Midwest and soon adopted a Midwestern accent. To this day, her accent depends on her location, as she easily shifts between her American and British accents.[13]


Anderson at the stage door for the play The Sweetest Swing In Baseball in 2004.


Anderson moved to New York when she was 22 years old.[14] To support herself when she started her career, Anderson worked as a waitress. She began her career in Alan Ayckbourn's play, Absent Friends at the Manhattan Theatre Club alongside Brenda Blethyn; for her role she won the 1990–91 Theatre World Award for "Best Newcomer".[7] Her next theatrical role was in Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.[15] Anderson moved to Los Angeles in 1992, spending a year auditioning. Although she had once vowed she would never do TV, being out of work for a year changed her mind.[16] Anderson did Home Fires Burning for a cable station, as well as the audiobook version of Exit to Eden. She broke into mainstream television in 1993, with a guest appearance on the collegiate drama, Class of '96, on the fledgling Fox Network.[16]

As a result of her guest appearance in Class of 96, Anderson was sent the script for The X-Files at the age of 24. She decided to audition because, "for the first time in a long time, the script involved a strong, independent, intelligent woman as a lead character." Producer Chris Carter wanted to hire her, but Fox wanted someone with previous TV exposure and greater sex appeal.[17] Fox sent in more actresses, but Carter stood by Anderson, and she was eventually cast as Special Agent Dana Scully. Anderson got the part assuming it would run for 13 episodes, the standard minimum order for American TV networks. Filmed for the first five seasons in Vancouver before moving to Los Angeles, the series would run for nine seasons, and included two films, released in 1998 and 2008. During her time on The X-Files, Anderson won numerous awards for her portrayal of Special Agent Scully, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series,[18] a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama, two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series and a Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television. Anderson is the first actress to win an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award in the same year.[19] Anderson was the first woman to write and direct an episode of the X-Files (“All Things”). While filming, Anderson met assistant art director Clyde Klotz,[7] whom she would eventually marry.

In 1997, Anderson worked on the independent film Chicago Cab. In 1998, she starred in the film Playing by Heart with Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie,[16] Ellen Burstyn and Anthony Edwards. Anderson also had a supporting role in the film, The Mighty with Gena Rowlands, Harry Dean Stanton, James Gandolfini and Sharon Stone.[7] In 1999, Anderson had a supporting role in the English-language release of Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, where she voiced the character of Moro. Anderson is a fan of Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki's work.[20] She also took part in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.[21]


Anderson pregnant with her son Felix at the premiere of The X-Files: I Want to Believe, July 25, 2008

In 2000, Anderson starred in the film The House of Mirth with Eric Stoltz, an adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel of the same name, for which she won critical acclaim and awards such as the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, Village Voice Film Poll Best Lead Performance and a nomination for the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress.[16] When The X-Files ended in 2002, she moved to London for a complete change of pace and the opportunity to return to the stage.[22][23] She performed in several stage productions and worked on various film projects.

In 2005, she appeared as Lady Dedlock in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens‍ '​ novel Bleak House,[16] had a starring role in the Irish film The Mighty Celt, for which she won an IFTA award for Best International Actress. The same year she also appeared in A Cock and Bull Story, a film version of the novel Tristram Shandy.[16] In 2006, Anderson won the Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Award for Best Actress for her role in Bleak House.[16] She was nominated for a British Academy Television Award (BAFTA) for Best Actress, she also received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, a nomination for a Golden Globe, a Satellite Award nomination and came in second place in the Best Actress category of the 2005 BBC Drama website poll for her portrayal of Lady Dedlock in the adaptation.[16]

During 2006 and 2007, Anderson appeared in two British films: The Last King of Scotland with James McAvoy[16][24] (2006) and Straightheads with Danny Dyer (2007).[25] Anderson hosted Masterpiece Theatre during the Jane Austen series.[26] Anderson starred in the second X-Files film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which premiered on July 23, 2008.[27] The same year, Anderson appeared in the British comedy film How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. Anderson portrayed Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Donmar Warehouse in London's West End during a limited engagement which ran from May 14, 2009, until July 18, 2009.[28][29] Anderson has received a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress, for productions which opened in the 2009 calendar year for her portrayal of Nora.[30]


In November 2010, Anderson portrayed Wallis, Duchess of Windsor in Any Human Heart, a TV adaptation of William Boyd’s novel of the same name, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress on Television. In April 2011, she starred in the BBC adaptation The Crimson Petal and the White as Mrs. Castaway, for which she was nominated for the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress. In August 2011, she appeared in a television miniseries Moby Dick based on Herman Melville's 1851 novel of the same name, as Elisabeth, Ahab’s wife. Anderson appears as the head of MI7, Pamela Thornton, in Johnny English Reborn, which opened internationally in Australia on September 15, 2011.[31] She starred as Miss Havisham in a three-part BBC adaptation of Great Expectations that aired in late December 2011.[32][33][34] For her portrayal in the adaptation she won the Artistic Excellence Award,[35] was nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries and for the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress.[36]

In 2012, Anderson appeared in a Swiss drama film, Sister and in Shadow Dancer, a British-Irish drama film based on the novel of the same name, about the Irish republican movement. Anderson voiced the character of Hana Matsuzaki in the English-language version of Studio Ghibli’s From Up On Poppy Hill, which was released In March 2013. In May 2013, Anderson began starring as the lead DSI Stella Gibson in The Fall, a critically acclaimed crime drama series for BBC Two and RTÉ ONE.[37][38] Anderson was praised for her portray of the cool, self-assured Gibson and was nominated for several awards,[39] including the Golden Nymph Award, a Satellite Award and the Broadcasting Press Guild Award nominations for Best Actress.[40][41][42] She also became an executive producer for the programme, from its second series.[43] Since 2013, she has played Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal Lecter's psychiatrist, in the NBC series Hannibal. In 2014, Anderson was promoted from a recurring character during the first two seasons, to a series regular for the third season. In 2015, Anderson won a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Favorite Supporting Actress on Television, for her role as Du Maurier.[44][45]

In July 2014, Anderson gained critical acclaim for her performance as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams at the Young Vic Theatre in London,[46] for which she won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress and received her second nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award. The production became the fastest-selling show in the theatre's history and the run was extended by two weeks due to the demand for tickets.[47] In the first collaboration between the Young Vic Theatre and National Theatre Live, the show was broadcast live to over 1100 venues on 16 September 2014.[48] In February 2015, Anderson directed and starred in a short film prequel to A Streetcar Named Desire, titled The Departure.[49] Anderson will reprise the role of Blanche DuBois on stage at St. Ann's Warehouse in New York City in the spring of 2016.[50]

Anderson will portray Anna Pavlovna Scherer in the upcoming BBC One television adaptation War and Peace, scheduled to air in early 2016.[51] In March 2015, it was announced that Anderson would once again portray Agent Dana Scully in a six-episode miniseries revival of The X-Files, [52][53] scheduled to premiere on January 24, 2016. Anderson will portray Edwina Mountbatten in Gurinder Chadha’s upcoming partition drama, Viceroy’s House. Production began in late summer 2015.[54][55]

In March, 2015, it was announced that The Fall will return for a third series with Anderson in the lead as DSI Stella Gibson. Shooting of the third series begins in late 2015.[56]

Personal life[edit]

Anderson is an avid art collector. She spent her first paycheck from the X-Files to purchase an art piece – a David Blackburn lithography.[57] Her collection includes work from artists such as Diane Arbus, Helen Levitt, Cindy Sherman, Francesco Clemente, Alexis Rockman and Kiki Smith.[58][59][60]

Anderson married her first husband, Clyde Klotz, The X-Files series assistant art director, on New Year's Day 1994, in Hawaii in a Buddhist ceremony. Their daughter, Piper Maru born September 1994, for whom Chris Carter – Piper's godfather – named the X-Files episode of the same name. Anderson and Klotz divorced in 1997.[61] In December 2004, Anderson married Julian Ozanne, a documentary filmmaker, on Lamu Island, off the coast of Kenya. Anderson announced their separation on April 21, 2006.[62] Anderson and former boyfriend, Mark Griffiths, have two sons: Oscar, born November 2006[63] and Felix, born October 2008.[64] She ended their relationship in 2012.[65] In March 2012, Anderson told Out magazine about her past relationship with a girl while in high school.[66] Anderson "...said she first experimented with women during her rebellious teenaged years, when she moved from England to the United States."[67] In December 2014, in an interview with the Evening Standard Anderson stated: “I am an actively heterosexual woman who celebrates however people want to express their sexuality.”[68]

In 2011, Gillian's brother died of a brain tumor, at the age of 30.[69]

Activism and charity work[edit]

Anderson is an honorary spokesperson for the Neurofibromatosis Network.[70] Her brother Aaron died from the disease and was diagnosed when Gillian was just a teenager. In May 1996, Anderson addressed the United States Congress urging for more education and funding for Neurofibromatosis (NF) research projects.[71] She supports the Children with Tumours organisation,[72] the Global Genes movement, that's also devoted to helping children with NF[73] and she partners with Doodle 4 NF - an annual fundraiser for the NF Network.[74]

Anderson is the co-founder of the SA-YES organisation, aiding the empowerment of marginalised young people in South Africa through youth mentoring, that provides youth leaving children's homes with guidance that enables them to develop their skills, further their education and source suitable housing in order for them to participate in society as independent adults.[75]

Anderson is a member of the board of directors for Artists for a New South Africa and a campaigner for ACTSA: Action for Southern Africa. She is an active member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and supports animal rights.[76] Anderson also has been a long-time supporter of the Feminist Majority Foundation; in 1996 she became its spokesperson and participated as a team leader in the FMF's Million4Roe campaign, emceed their Rock 4 Choice benefit concert, attended an FMF event to stop gender apartheid in Afghanistan in March 1999 and also appeared on Hollywood Squares in April 2002 to benefit the FMF's campaign to help Afghan women and girls.[77]

In late 2010, Anderson and other celebrities joined a campaign to boycott Botswana diamonds over the government's treatment of the Kalahari San.[78] Anderson supports tribal rights charity Survival International, an organization that champions tribal peoples around the world and in early 2010 she participated in a performance in a London stage fundraiser for its cause.[79] In February 2011, Anderson narrated a short film about recent footage of an uncontacted tribe, in which the Amazon Indians were spotted from the air on the Brazil-Peru border.[80] Anderson has said, "What comes across powerfully from this amazing footage is how healthy and confident these people appear. I hope they can be left alone – but that will only happen if the loggers are stopped."[81] In June 2011, Anderson became an ambassador for Survival International.[82]

In 2013, Anderson joined the Fishlove campaign, supporting the fight against unsustainable fishing practices that harm the marine ecosystem.[83]

For International Women's Day 2014, Anderson was one of the artist signatories of Amnesty International's letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron campaigning for women's rights in Afghanistan.[84]

Anderson participated in Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, including a stage performance on February 14, 1999.[85] She is also an advocate for reproductive rights. In 2001, she attended the "Rock for Choice" concert fundraiser along with singers Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, Melissa Etheridge as well as actresses Helen Hunt, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, and Kathy Najimy. The concert supported reproductive options for unplanned pregnancies, including the morning after pill. Anderson is a supporter of Ensler's V-Day movement aiming to end violence against women and girls.[86] Anderson supports the Refuge, a United Kingdom charity providing specialist support for women and children experiencing domestic violence.[87]

Anderson has been active in the LGBTQ community, particularly with youth. She supports The Trevor Project organization, focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth and attended three of the Trevor Project's "Cracked X-Mas" events to benefit the organization.[88][89]

Anderson supports Childreach International, a London based charity that works in partnership with local communities in the developing world, to secure children’s basic rights; she addressed the problem of child trafficking during the press for the Sold film, that presents the issue. She also supports their Taught Not Trafficked campaign, that was launched in July, 2014.[90][91]

In 2015, Anderson became a patron of the International Literacy Centre (European home of Reading Recovery).[92]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Three at Once Woman 1 Short film
1988 Matter of Choice, AA Matter of Choice Unknown Short film
1992 Turning, TheThe Turning April Cavanaugh
1997 Chicago Cab Southside Girl or Brenda also known as Hellcab
1998 The X-Files Dana Scully
1998 Mighty, TheThe Mighty Loretta Lee
1998 Playing by Heart Meredith
1999 Princess Mononoke Moro Voice
2000 House of Mirth, TheThe House of Mirth Lily Bart
2005 Mighty Celt, TheThe Mighty Celt Kate Morrison
2005 Cock and Bull Story, AA Cock and Bull Story Herself/Widow Wadman
2006 Last King of Scotland, TheThe Last King of Scotland Sarah Merrit
2007 Straightheads Alice Comfort also known as Closure
2008 X-Files: I Want to Believe, TheThe X-Files: I Want to Believe Dana Scully
2008 How to Lose Friends & Alienate People Eleanor Johnson
2009 Boogie Woogie Jean Maclestone
2010 No Pressure Herself Short film
2011 Johnny English Reborn Pamela Thornton ("Pegasus")
2012 Sister Kristin Jansen
2012 Shadow Dancer Kate Fletcher
2012 Room on the Broom Witch Voice
2013 Mr. Morgan's Last Love Karen Morgan
2013 From Up On Poppy Hill[93] Hana Matsuzaki Voice
2013 I'll Follow You Down Marika
2014 Sold Sophia
2014 Robot Overlords Kate
2015 The Departure Blanche Dubois Short film
2015 The Widowmaker Narrator Documentary
TBA Viceroy's House Edwina Mountbatten Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Class of '96 Rachel Episode: "The Accused"
1993–2002 X-Files, TheThe X-Files Dana Scully 202 episodes
1995 Eek! the Cat Agent Scully (voice) Episode: "Eek Space 9"
1996 ReBoot Data Nully (voice) Episode: "Trust No One"
1996 Future Fantastic Herself 9 episodes
1996–2002 Hollywood Squares Herself 5 episodes
1997 The Simpsons Agent Scully (voice) Episode: "The Springfield Files"
1999 Frasier Jenny (voice) Episode: "Dr. Nora"
1999 Harsh Realm Video Narrator Voice (uncredited)
2005 Bleak House Lady Dedlock 14 episodes
2007 Robbie the Reindeer Queen Vorkana (voice) Episode: "Close Encounters of the Herd Kind"
2008 Masterpiece Herself Episode: "Sense and Sensibility"
2010 Any Human Heart Duchess of Windsor 3 episodes
2011 The Crimson Petal and the White Mrs. Castaway 2 episodes
2011 Moby Dick Elizabeth 2 episodes
2011 Great Expectations Miss Havisham 3 episodes
2013–present The Fall DSI Stella Gibson 11 episodes
2013–15 Hannibal Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier 22 episodes
2014 Crisis Meg Fitch 13 episodes
2014 Robot Chicken Fairy Godmother/Fiona (voice) Episode: "Up, Up, and Buffet"
2014 National Theatre Live Blanche DuBois Episode: "A Streetcar Named Desire"
2015 Top Gear Herself Episode: "#22.6"
2016 War and Peace Anna Pavlovna Scherer Upcoming series
2016 The X-Files Dana Scully Upcoming series

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Hellbender E.V.E. (Enhanced Virtual Entity)
1998 The X-Files Game Dana Scully
2004 The X-Files: Resist or Serve Dana Scully


  • Wrote X-Files episode "All Things", which aired in 2000.



  • Executive producer of the second season of The Fall.



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Arsenic and Old Lace Officer Brophy City High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan[95]
1990 A Flea in Her Ear Eugenie The Theatre School, De Paul University, Chicago, Illinois[96]
1991 Absent Friends Evelyn Manhattan Theatre Club, New York
1992 The Philanthropist Celia Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut
1999–2000 The Vagina Monologues Los Angeles & London
2002–03 What The Night Is For Melinda Metz Comedy Theatre, London
2004 The Sweetest Swing in Baseball Dana Royal Court Theatre, London
2009 A Doll's House Nora Helmer Donmar Warehouse, London
2010 We Are One: A celebration of tribal peoples Apollo Theatre, London
2013 Letters Live The Tabernacle, Notting Hill[97][98][99]
2014 A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche DuBois Young Vic, London
2016 A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche DuBois St. Ann's Warehouse, New York City

Awards and nominations[edit]

In 1996, Anderson was voted the "Sexiest Woman in the World" for FHM‍‍ '​‍s 100 Sexiest Women poll.[100] In 1997, she was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.[101] Askmen listed her at No. 6 on their Top 7: '90s Sex Symbols.[102] In 2008, she was listed 21st in FHM's All Time 100 Sexiest Hall of Fame.[103]

In 2010, Anderson was named Honorary Associates of The London Film School (LFS).[104]


  • Anderson's first book A Vision of Fire, co-authored by Jeff Rovin, was published in October 2014. It's the first book from the Earthend Saga series. It is described as "a science fiction thriller of epic proportions". Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1471137709.[105][106]
  • A Dream of Ice is Anderson and Jeff Rovin's second book of the Earthend Saga series. It will be published on December 8, 2015. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1476776552.[107]
  • Anderson and journalist/activist Jennifer Nadel will publish their self-help guide book for women, titled WE. The book is described as an "urgent and timely book for women, which offers a dramatically new path to fulfillment". Anderson stated that the book is a "call-out to all women around the world – and by women I include girls, transgender, anyone who identifies themselves as being intrinsically female." The book we’ll be published on March 8, 2016.[108][109]


  • Hal Featuring Gillian Anderson – Extremis (Virgin Records America – 1997)


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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Russell Baker
Host of Masterpiece Classic
Succeeded by
Laura Linney