Mbatha-Raw in 2013
|Born||Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha
21 April 1983
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
|Education||Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts|
Working in British television and stage productions, she first gained prominence in a recurring role in Doctor Who, playing companion Martha Jones's sister, Tish Jones. She garnered attention in American productions, beginning with a supporting role in the Tom Hanks comedy Larry Crowne, and starring roles in the short-lived television series Undercovers and Touch. She earned critical acclaim for her performances in the period drama Belle and the romantic drama Beyond the Lights, receiving numerous accolade nominations from critics worldwide.
Mbatha-Raw was born in Oxford, England, in 1983 and grew up in the small town of Witney in Oxfordshire. Her surnames are those of her father and mother, and her forename is the shortened version of "Gugulethu", a contraction of igugu lethu that means ‘Our Pride’ in Zulu. a better translation of the name would rather be "Our treasure" in IsiZulu, with "gugu" meaning "treasure", and "lethu" meaning "our", in full then rended as our treasure.
Her mother, Anne Raw, is an English nurse, and her father, Patrick Mbatha, is a doctor originally from South Africa. Her father is black and her mother is white. Mbatha-Raw attended The Henry Box School and was involved with the National Youth Theatre, having been interested in acting, dance, and musical theatre from a young age. She moved to London to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2001.
Mbatha-Raw played minor roles on television series such as Bad Girls (2006), Doctor Who (2007) and Marple (2007). One of her earliest breakthroughs in drama was in Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester in 2005 playing Juliet opposite Andrew Garfield as Romeo. Mbatha-Raw was nominated for best actress in the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards for her portrayal of Juliet and also played Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the same theatre in 2005.
In June 2011, Mbatha-Raw was cast as the female lead in the Fox pilot Touch opposite Kiefer Sutherland. She had a supporting role in 2011 romantic comedy film Larry Crowne, written and directed by Tom Hanks, who starred in the title role.
The film debuted at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival where it was acquired by Fox Searchlight. It was eventually given a release in 2014. Mbatha-Raw was nominated for numerous awards for her work on the film including two British Independent Film Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film which she won and Most Promising Newcomer. She was also nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actress.
In 2014, Mbatha-Raw also starred in Beyond the Lights. The film debuted at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. For her work in Beyond the Lights Mbatha-Raw was nominated for Best Actress at the 2014 Gotham Awards.
In 2014, Mbatha-Raw was recognized by Elle Magazine during The Women in Hollywood Awards, honoring women for their outstanding achievements in film, spanning all aspects of the motion picture industry, including acting, directing, and producing.
On 3 July 2015 it was announced that Mbatha-Raw would originate the title role in Jessica Swale's Nell Gwynn playing Nell Gwyn the mistress of King Charles II of England premiering at Shakespeare's Globe from 19 September to 17 October 2015. She was nominated for an Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance.
Also in 2015 she appeared in the biopic Concussion starring Will Smith, the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic neuropathologist who first discovered extensive brain damage in NFL players and tried to put a stop to it, as Prema Mutiso, the wife of Dr. Omalu. The film premiered at the 2015 AFI Festival.
In early 2015, she announced she would be starring opposite Matthew McConaughey in a biopic on Newton Knight, The Free State of Jones directed by Gary Ross playing Knight's common-law wife, Rachel. That year she was also cast in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast as Plumette.
|2004||Holby City||Collette Hill|
|2006||Walk Away and I Stumble||nurse|
|2007||Doctor Who||Tish Jones||4 episodes|
|2007||Doctor Who Confidential||Herself||Interviewee|
|2007||Marple||Tina Argyle||In Ordeal by Innocence|
|2008||Lost in Austen||Piranha|
|2008||Trial & Retribution||Jenny Miller|
|2009||Fallout||Shanice Roberts||Part of Channel 4's Disarming Britain series|
|2010||Undercovers||Samantha Bloom||Main role (all 13 episodes)|
|2012||Touch||Clea Hopkins||13 episodes (season 1)|
|2015||Galaxy World of Alisa||Phlos (voice)||UK dub, Episode: Dangerous Beauty|
|2013||Belle||Dido Elizabeth Belle|
|2014||Beyond the Lights||Noni Jean|
|2016||The Whole Truth||Janelle||In post-production|
|2016||Free State of Jones||Rachel||In post-production|
|2017||Beauty and the Beast||Babette||In post-production|
|2017||Star Wars Episode VIII||TBA||In production|
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (October 2015)|
|1999||Into The Woods||Cinderella's Mother (u/s Rapunzel)||National Youth Music Theatre|
|2005||Antony and Cleopatra||Cleopatra||Royal Exchange in Manchester|
|2005||Romeo and Juliet||Juliet Capulet||Royal Exchange in Manchester|
|2009–10||Hamlet||Ophelia||Donmar West End and Broadway||Opposite Jude Law|
|2015||Nell Gwynn||Nell Gwynn||Shakespeare's Globe|
|2006||Living with the Enemy||Sophie/Various||BBC Radio 4, broadcast 14 November – 19 December 2006|
|2009||Choice of Straws||Michelle||BBC Radio 4, Saturday Play, broadcast on 19 September 2009|
Awards and nominations
- "Speed Date: 'Belle' Breakout Gugu Mbatha-Raw Fancies Nina Simone and 'The Neverending Story'". yahoo.com. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005; at ancestry.com
- Elber, Lynn (22 September 2010). "'Undercovers' colorful mission: bring change to TV". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- Bernstein, Abbie (30 May 2012). "Gugu Mbatha-Raw On "Touch" Interview – EXCLUSIVE". buzzymag. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- As told by Mbatha-Raw in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, 11/12/14
- Taylor, Ben (23 April 2014). "5 things about 'Belle' Gugu Mbatha-Raw". Swide.
- "Gugu Mbatha-Raw — The 50 Hottest Biracial Women". Complexmag.ca. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- Louise Wise, "Hear her roar", The Sunday Times,1 June 2014.
- "Gugu Mbatha-Raw: Big Questions". BAFTA Guru. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- Gardner, Lyn (15 September 2005). "Romeo and Juliet – Royal Exchange, Manchester". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- Dehn, Georgia (28 May 2009). "Hamlet with Jude Law at Wyndham's Theatre: Gugu Mbatha-Raw is mad for it". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- John, Emma (31 May 2009). "Jude, don't make her mad". Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Oldenburg, Ann (4 November 2010). "NBC cancels 'Undercovers' after 13 episodes". USA Today. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- Carter, Bill (4 November 2010). "NBC Cancels ‘Undercovers’". New York Times. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- Andreeva, Nellie (10 June 2011). "'Undercovers' Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw Set As Female Lead In Fox's Pilot 'Touch'". Deadline.com. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- Profile, starpulse.com; accessed 1 March 2015.
- califor123 (13 June 2014). "Belle (2013)". IMDb. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Obenson, Tambay A. "Gugu Mbatha-Raw Will Be "Belle" In Slavery Pic Based On Mixed-Race Woman Raised In Aristocratic Family". Shadow and Act. Indiewire. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "2014 Gotham Award Nominations Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- Zuckerman, Esther. "Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller among BAFTA Rising Star nominees". Retrieved 7 January 2015.
- Rooney, David. "Gugu Mbatha-Raw to Return to London Stage". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- "Evening Standard Theatre Awards: Full list of nominees". Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- "Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in Beyond the Light, premiering at TIFF".
- Sneider, Jeff. "Gugu Mbatha-Raw to Star Opposite Matthew McConaughey in Gary Ross’ ‘Free State of Jones’ (Exclusive)". Retrieved 7 January 2015.
- Kroll, Justin. "‘Beyond the Lights’ Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw Joins ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved 14 April 2015.
- DiClaudio, Dennis. "Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis to appear in a Black Mirror (episode)". Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- Kit, Borys. "'Concussion' Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Talks to Join Gun-Control Drama 'Miss Sloane' (Exclusive)". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Walker, Tim. "‘I love period dramas. Being biracial, I wasn't necessarily going to turn up on Downton Abbey’: Gugu Mbatha-Raw interview". Standard.
- "Gugu Mbatha-Raw joins Kiefer Sutherland in FOXs Touch". HitFix. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Kilday, Gregg (2014-08-12). "African-American Film Critics Association Lauds 'Selma'". Hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
- "2014 EDA Award Winners". AWFJ.org. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
- "BIFA Winners 2014". Bifa.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
- "Capri Award News". CapriHollywood.com. 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
- Riera, Alejandro (2014-10-09). "Director Gina Prince-Bythewood and Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw to be Honoured at 18th Annual Black Perspectives Tribute and Gala". Chicagofilmfestival.com. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw at the Internet Movie Database
- Profile of Gugu Mbatha-Raw at the Wayback Machine (archived 13 February 2008), originally from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art website