Joanne Whalley

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Joanne Whalley
Born (1964-08-25) 25 August 1964 (age 51)
Salford, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Actress
Years active 1975–present
Spouse(s) Val Kilmer (m. 1988; div. 1996)

Joanne Whalley (born 25 August 1964)[1][2][3] is an English actress who started with adolescent roles in mid-1970s and, over the following decades, amassed numerous credits, primarily on television, but also in nearly 40 theatrical and television films, including the title role in CBS' Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, broadcast in November 2000. A leading role in six-episode 1985 eco-thriller Edge of Darkness earned her a British Academy Television Award for Best Actress nomination. She shared with the cast of 44 Inch Chest the Best Ensemble Performance Award at the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards 2010 and was nominated for Monte-Carlo Television Festival's Golden Nymph Award as Best Actress in 2011's The Borgias. After her marriage to actor Val Kilmer, she was credited as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer for some years.

Early life[edit]

Whalley was born in Salford, Lancashire, but brought up in Stockport, Cheshire, where she attended Bredbury Comprehensive School, before leaving to study at Harrytown Convent Girls' School in Romiley and the Braeside School of Speech and Drama in Marple.[4]

Whalley first appeared as a child in How We Used To Live and Juliet Bravo with bit parts in soap operas, especially Coronation Street and Emmerdale. Her early film roles include a non-speaking part as a groupie in Pink Floyd's The Wall; and as a young Beatles fan in Birth of the Beatles.


In the post-punk era, she flirted with the fringes of the Manchester New Wave scene and was briefly a member of a Stockport-based band called the Slowguns but left before the release of their two singles. Later, she was the lead singer of the pop group Cindy & The Saffrons; in 1982, at Abbey Road Studios they recorded the Shangri-Las' song "Past, Present and Future" and the next year, "Terry" by Twinkle. The group split up soon thereafter.[5]


In 1982 she played Ingrid Rothwell in A Kind of Loving, a well received Granada TV adaptation of Stan Barstow's three Vic Brown novels. Whalley acted in the film No Surrender (Dumbarton Films with Film Four) scripted by Alan Bleasdale, released in 1985, but the film was not successful.

Whalley came to prominence on British television as Emma Craven in Troy Kennedy Martin's Edge of Darkness (1985), quickly followed by Nurse Mills in the Dennis Potter-written serial The Singing Detective (1986) both for BBC Television. In 1987 she played Jackie in the TV film Will You Love Me Tomorrow, she also played a role in The Good Father (1985), another Channel 4 backed film.

Whalley met the American actor Val Kilmer while filming the fantasy adventure Willow,[6] and after marriage in 1988 moved to Los Angeles, where she used the professional name Joanne Whalley-Kilmer. She continued filming, making more films in Hollywood than the UK, including the mystery noir Shattered and, in 1989, the role of Christine Keeler in Scandal alongside stars John Hurt and Sir Ian McKellen. In 1994 she became the second actress to play Gone with the Wind heroine Scarlett O'Hara when she appeared in a made-for-TV adaptation of the sequel novel, Scarlett. She also starred in the 1997 film The Man Who Knew Too Little.

After divorce, Whalley returned to acting through making television films, including the 2000 television film Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis in which she played the title character. She collaborated with the pop-punk band Blink-182 to read a letter at the beginning of the song "Stockholm Syndrome". In 2005, she appeared as Queen Mary I in The Virgin Queen, a BBC serial about the life of Queen Elizabeth I which also starred Anne-Marie Duff and Tara FitzGerald. The same year she also filmed Played which also starred her ex-husband Val Kilmer but the two didn't share any scenes. In 2006, she appeared in Life Line, a two-part drama on BBC1, starring opposite Ray Stevenson. In 2008, she appeared in the ITV mini series Flood with Robert Carlyle amongst others.

In February 2008, she appeared on stage in Billy Roche's Poor Beast in the Rain presented by the Salem K. Theatre Company at the Matrix Theatre, Los Angeles, California.[7][8]

Whalley played one of the female leads, Vannozza dei Cattanei, mistress of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, future Pope Alexander VI, in the Showtime historical drama The Borgias.[9] She guest-starred as Princess Sophie in season 4 of Gossip Girl. In 2010 she was reunited with John Hurt in 44 Inch Chest. She played Aunt Patience in Jamaica Inn for BBC One in 2014. In 2015, she played Claudia, the wife of Pontius Pilate, in A.D.: The Bible Continues.

Personal life[edit]

Whalley met the American actor Val Kilmer while filming the fantasy adventure Willow.[10] The couple married in 1988, and she used the name Joanne Whalley-Kilmer professionally for several years.

Whalley took a break from filming to bring up her two children with Kilmer: daughter Mercedes (born 29 October 1991, in Santa Fe, New Mexico), and son Jack (born on 6 June 1995).

Shortly after the birth of their son, the pair separated. Whalley filed for divorce on 21 July 1995, citing irreconcilable differences. (Whalley and Kilmer play a bickering couple in Francis Ford Coppola's 2011 film Twixt.)



Year Title Role Notes
1982 Pink Floyd—The Wall Groupie
1985 Dance with a Stranger Christine
1985 No Surrender Cheryl
1985 The Good Father Mary Hall
1988 Willow Sorsha
1988 To Kill a Priest Anna
1989 Scandal Christine Keeler as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
1989 Kill Me Again Fay Forrester as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
1990 Navy SEALs Claire Varrens as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
1990 The Big Man Beth Scoular as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer; also known as Crossing the Line
1991 Shattered Jenny Scott as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
1991 Storyville Natalie Tate as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
1993 The Secret Rapture Katherine Coleridge as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
1994 Mother's Boys Colleen 'Callie' Harland as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
1994 A Good Man in Africa Celia Adekunle as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
1994 Trial by Jury Valerie Alston as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
1997 The Man Who Knew Too Little Lori
1999 A Texas Funeral Miranda
2000 The Guilty Natalie Crane
2000 Breathtaking Caroline Henshow
2002 Before You Go Mary
2002 Virginia's Run Jessie Eastwood
2005 The Californians Luna
2006 Played Maggie
2007 Flood Commissioner Patricia Nash
2009 44 Inch Chest Liz Diamond
2011 Golf in the Kingdom Agatha McNaughton
2011 Twixt Denise


Year Title Role Notes
1974, 1976 Coronation Street Pamela Graham/Customer 3 episodes
1975 Joby Molly McLeod ITV Yorkshire television film
1976, 1978 Crown Court Janice Scott/Linda Mason 3 episodes
1977 Emmerdale Angela Read 6 episodes
1976–79 How We Used To Live Marjorie Dawson/Sarah Hughes 20(?) episodes
1978 The One and Only Phyllis Dixey Doris ITV television film
1979 Omnibus Little Red Riding Hood/Madge 2 episodes
1980 ITV Playhouse Lindsey Episode: "Too Close to the Edge"
1980 Juliet Bravo Maureen Maskell Episode: "Shot Gun"
1980 Scene Evelyn Episode: "And Mum Came Too"
1980–81 Coming Home Travel agent 2 episodes
1981 The Gaffer Nancy Episode: "The Trouble with Women"
1981 Noddy Mary Television film
1982 A Kind of Loving Ingrid Rotherwell (Brown) Main role, 8 episodes
1982 The Gentle Touch Dany Episode: "Dany"
1983 Bergerac Christine Bolton Episode: "Always Leave Them Laughing"
1983 Reilly, Ace of Spies Ulla ITV television miniseries; episode: "The Visiting Fireman"
1984 A Christmas Carol Fan (Ebenezer's sister) CBS television film
1985 Edge of Darkness Emma Craven 5 episodes
1986 The Singing Detective Nurse Mills 6 episodes
1987 Screen Two Jackie Series 3, TV movie: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
1994 Scarlett Scarlett O'Hara CBS television miniseries; Lead role; as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
2000 Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis CBS television film
2000 Run the Wild Fields Ruby Miller Showtime Original television film
2005 The Virgin Queen Mary I Television miniseries
2009 Diverted Marion Price CBC television miniseries
2011–12 Gossip Girl Princess Sophie Grimaldi 7 episodes
2011–13 The Borgias Vanozza Cattaneo Main role, 25 episodes
2013 The Challenger Gweneth Feynman BBC television film; also known as The Challenger Disaster
2014 Jamaica Inn Patience Merlyn BBC One television miniseries
2015 Wolf Hall Catherine of Aragon BBC Two television miniseries
2015 The Ark Emmie BBC One television film
2015 A.D.: The Bible Continues Claudia, wife of Pontius Pilate Main role, 12 episodes
2016 Beowulf Main role, filming


  1. ^ "Now and Then – Stockport Local Heritage Library Newsletter – Autumn 2010". Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  2. ^ John Patterson (27 January 2010). "Joanne Whalley: Here comes trouble". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "A star with a child in her eyes". The Times (London). 12 November 2005. (registration required (help)). 
  4. ^ "Joanne Whalley-Kilmer - Celebrity information". Retrieved 25 December 2010. 
  5. ^ from The Great Rock Discography via Google Books - link broken 17.4.10
  6. ^ Val Kilmer at
  7. ^ Gene Franklin Smith. "Salem K Theatre Company - Poor Beast in the Rain". Retrieved 25 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "**Exclusive Allrounder**, Joanne Whalley Photos". Retrieved 25 December 2010. 
  9. ^ "Showtime Taps Cox, Linney for Two New Series". 
  10. ^ Val Kilmer at

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