Greta Scacchi, January 2008
18 February 1960
Greta Scacchi (English pronunciation: //, Italian pronunciation: [ˌɡrɛːta ˈskakːi]; born 18 February 1960) is an Italian-Australian actor known for her roles in the films White Mischief, Presumed Innocent, The Player and Looking for Alibrandi. She won an Emmy Award in 1996 for her portrayal of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna of Russia in the television film, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.
Scacchi was born in Milan, Italy, on 18 February 1960, the daughter of Luca Scacchi, an Italian art dealer and painter, and Pamela, an English dancer and antiques dealer. Scacchi's parents divorced when she was four, and her mother returned to her native England with Greta and her two older brothers, first to London, then to Haywards Heath, West Sussex. In 1975, after her mother's remarriage to Giovanni Carsaniga, an Italian academic, the family moved to Perth, Australia, where her stepfather was Visiting Professor of Italian at the University of Western Australia (UWA). While in Perth, Scacchi attended Hollywood Senior High School, and, at only 17, went to UWA for a short time, primarily so that she could join the UWA Dramatic Society, with whom she made her theatrical debut at UWA's New Dolphin Theatre in Edward Bond's play Early Morning.
In 1977, Scacchi returned to England to study at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where her contemporaries included Miranda Richardson and Amanda Redman. In 1982, she made her film debut in the German movie, Das Zweite Gesicht (The Second Face), and gave versatile performances in films, such as Heat and Dust (1983), The Ebony Tower (1984), The Coca-Cola Kid (1985), White Mischief (1987), Presumed Innocent (1990), The Player (1992) and Country Life (1994). She turned down the role of Catherine Trammell in Basic Instinct (1992).
In 1996, she won an Emmy Award for her work as Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna of Russia in the television film, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, and was nominated for a Golden Globe and numerous other awards. In 1999, she had a role as an Italian-Australian single mother in the Australian film Looking for Alibrandi, a performance for which she won the 2000 AFI award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2007, she received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for Broken Trail.
Scacchi is fluent in English, French, German and Italian, which has made her a popular choice for European casting directors and has been an asset when working for European directors and producers.
She has performed in a wide range of parts in theatre. She appeared In Times Like These (Bristol Old Vic) and 'Cider With Rosie' (Phoenix Arts Theatre, Leicester) before her film career took off. After making four films in 15 months, in 1985 she appeared with Mark Rylance and Kevin McNally in Airbase (Oxford Playhouse and Arts Theatre). In Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, in 1987, she played opposite Michael Gambon and Jonathan Pryce. In 1991 she played Nora in Chekhov's A Doll's House in the Festival of Perth. A year later she played the lead role in Strindberg's Miss Julie for the Sydney Theatre Company. She returned to Sydney in 1996 to play Cecilia in Sam Shepard's Simpatico In 1999 she took the lead in Easy Virtue in Chichester, directed by actress Maria Aitken.
In 2001 she was back in Sydney for Harold Pinter's Old Times, directed by Aarne Neeme, playing Kate. In 2004 she toured Italy with an Italian production Vecchi Tempi of the same play, but this time playing Anne. In 2005, she performed at the Theatre Royal, Bath, in Thea Sharrock's production of Noël Coward's Private Lives. Back in Australia in 2008, she was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Best Actress Award for playing Queen Elizabeth in Schiller's Mary Stuart in Sydney.
In that year she also performed in Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea at the Theatre Royal, Bath, on tour and then in the West End back at the Vaudeville Theatre.
In 2010, she replaced an injured Kristin Scott Thomas in the Chatelet Theatre, Paris in the French premiere (37 years after it was written) of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. As Desiree she sang "Send In The Clowns".
In May 2011, she appeared alongside Anita Dobson in the play Bette and Joan at London's Arts Theatre, directed by Bill Alexander, about the personal and professional relationship between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
In 2014 she played Arkadina in Chekov's The Seagull in Perth. In 2015 she joined the Headlong theatre company to star on a UK tour in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie as Amanda.
Since August 2016 she has been playing opposite Kenneth Branagh in a revival of John Osborne's The Entertainer at the Garrick Theatre in London's West End. The play is scheduled to run until mid-November. She has received uniformly positive reviews for her performance as Phoebe, the wife of Archie Rice.
Scacchi applied for British citizenship after turning 18, but was turned down because her father was not a British citizen. After appealing unsuccessfully, she decided not to apply for it again, and retained her Italian citizenship. In January 1995, she became an Australian citizen and has since had dual nationality.
Scacchi is an active supporter of campaigns and organisations that promote environmental causes. She has supported Greenpeace and Christian Aid's climate change campaign. In 2009, she posed nude with a Codfish to promote the documentary End of the Line, a film exposing the effects of over-fishing. She continues to lead the linked Fishlove campaign, which has seen a host of well known actors pose for photographs with a striking variety of fish.
|1987||Uncle Vanya||Yelena||Vaudeville Theatre, London|
|1991||A Doll’s House||Nora||Festival of Perth|
|1992||Miss Julie||Miss Julie||Sydney Theatre Company|
|1996||Simpatico||Cecilia||Sydney Theatre Company|
|1999||Easy Virtue||Larita||Chichester, England|
|2001||Old Times||Kate||Sydney Theatre Company|
|2004||Vecchi Tempi||Anne||Italian tour of Pinter play|
|2005||Private Lives||Amanda||Theatre Royal, Bath|
|2008||Mary Stuart||Queen Elizabeth||Sydney Theatre|
|2008||The Deep Blue Sea||Hester||Theatre Royal, Bath; Vaudeville, London|
|2010||A Little Night Music||Desiree||Chatelet Theatre, Paris. French premiere|
|2011||Bette and Joan||Bette Davis||Arts Theatre, London and tour|
|2013||King Lear||Regan||The Old Vic, London|
|2014||The Seagull||Madame Arkadina||Black Swan Theatre, Perth|
|2015||The Glass Menagerie||Amanda||Headlong/West Yorkshire Playhouse/Liverpool Playhouse co-production|
|2016||The Entertainer||Phoebe Rice||The Garrick Theatre, London|
- "Greta Scacchi profile". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- Law, Cally; Scacchi, Greta (17 Aug 2008). "Slight mischief". The Sunday Times. p. 2.
- Newbigin, Nerida (4 April 2016). "Giovanni Carsaniga (1934-2016)". Australasian Centre for Italian Studies. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- Cornwell, Jane (22 June 2014). "Greta Scacchi: acting royalty". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- "In Conversation… with Greta Scacchi". University of Western Australia. 9 November 2014.
- Bosworth, Michael (2000). "Hollywood Senior High School – A History" (PDF). Retrieved 6 Jan 2011.
- "The Octagon Takes a Bow". Uniview. 29 (1): 16–19. Summer 2010. Retrieved 6 Jan 2011.
- Bryce Hallett, Her world's a stage, The Sydney Morning Herald, Metropolitan, 10 February 2001, p.3
- "Urban Cinefile Scacchi, Greta - Looking For Alibrandi". Urbancinefile.com.au. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- George, Sandy (19 November 2000). "Looking For Alibrandi finds five AFI Awards | News | Screen". Screendaily.com. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Bette & Joan". Londontheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- "The Old Vic | King Lear". Bookings.oldvictheatre.com. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Macdonald, Marianne (28 September 2008). "Greta Scacchi: glad to be back". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
- Macdonald, Marianne (28 November 1999). "'Trainspotting, I'd love to do that...'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
Her daughter's father is the actor Vincent D'Onofrio, with whom Scacchi had a four-year relationship that ended acrimoniously not long after the baby, Leila, was born
- Urban, Andrew L. "Scacchi, Greta – Looking for Alibrandi". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
- "Greta Scacchi". Christian Aid. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent. "Greta Scacchi revels in her happiest role yet: environmental campaigner | Environment | The Observer". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Cinema: conferito a Greta Scacchi Ordine a Merito
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