Natascha McElhone

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Natascha McElhone
Natascha McElhone May 2018.jpg
McElhone in May 2018
Natascha Abigail Taylor

(1971-12-14) 14 December 1971 (age 51)
Alma materLondon Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active1990–present
Martin Hirigoyen Kelly
(m. 1998; died 2008)
FamilyRoy Greenslade (stepfather)

Natascha McElhone (/ˈmækəlhn/; born Natascha Abigail Taylor, 14 December 1971)[1] is a British actress. She is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. In film, she is best known for her roles in Ronin (1998), The Truman Show (1998), and Solaris (2002). On television, she has portrayed Karen van der Beek, the long-time partner of Hank Moody, in the Showtime comedy-drama series Californication (2007–2014), First Lady Alex Kirkman in the ABC political drama Designated Survivor[2] (2016–2017), and Laz Ingram in Beau Willimon's Hulu science-fiction series The First (2018). McElhone also portrayed Penelope Knatchbull in season 5 of The Crown.[3]

Early life[edit]

She was born Natascha Abigail Taylor in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey on 14 December 1971[1][3] to Noreen McElhone and Michael Taylor, both journalists.[4] She took her mother's maiden name as her stage name.[3] McElhone has a scriptwriter brother, Damon, who lives in Los Angeles; and two half-brothers: Alexander, who lives in Zürich, and Nicholas, who lives in Stockholm. Her parents separated when she was two. Her Irish mother moved the family to Brighton and later married journalist and columnist Roy Greenslade.

McElhone, who took lessons in Irish dancing from ages six to 12, was educated at St. Mark's CofE Primary School, Brighton, St Mary's Hall, Brighton, Fortismere School, London, Camden School for Girls, London and William Ellis, London. She graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1993.[5]


McElhone began her career in the theatre, including starring roles in Richard III and A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, London, and in The Count of Monte Cristo and The Cherry Orchard at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester. She made her television debut in the BBC's Bergerac in 1991 (credited on screen as Natascha Taylor) and was seen in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous in 1992.[citation needed]

McElhone at the Southbank Centre, London in March 2014

McElhone was seen in two episodes of the Dennis Potter TV miniseries Karaoke. Her first major box-office role came with Surviving Picasso (1996), with co-star Anthony Hopkins. One of her most successful films to date has been The Truman Show (1998) with Jim Carrey. She had leading roles opposite Brad Pitt in The Devil's Own (1997), Robert De Niro in Ronin (1998), and George Clooney in Solaris (2002).[4]

Co-starring with Bill Pullman, McElhone appeared in the NBC miniseries Revelations (2005). She starred in a 2006 West End production of Honour at the Wyndham's Theatre alongside Diana Rigg and Martin Jarvis. She then accepted a leading role in the Showtime cable television series Californication as Karen, alongside David Duchovny.[5] In 2009 McElhone became a spokeswoman for Neutrogena.[6] In 2010, she was the voice of Marie in the video game Castlevania: Lords of Shadow from Konami.[7]

McElhone featured as Juliet's mother, Lady Capulet, in Romeo and Juliet (2013), a film adaptation of Shakespeare's play. Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld were the leads, and Damian Lewis played her husband.[8] In 2014, she played the role of Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. In 2015, McElhone starred as Sarah Churchill in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Helen Edmundson's Queen Anne.[9]

In February 2016, she was cast alongside Kiefer Sutherland in ABC's political drama Designated Survivor, which premiered in September 2016.[10] She left the show in Season 2 to take a role in the Hulu series The First. In 2022, McElhone portrayed Penelope Knatchbull in season 5 of The Crown.[3]

Personal life[edit]

McElhone married plastic surgeon Martin Hirigoyen Kelly on 19 May 1998.[11] The couple lived in Fulham, south-west London, with their sons Theodore (born 2000) and Otis (born May 2003); their third son, Rex, was born in October 2008, five months after Kelly's death.[12]

On 20 May 2008, 43-year-old Kelly was found slumped in the doorway of his family's home by a fellow doctor, who had him rushed to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (where he worked). He could not be revived and died one day after his 10th wedding anniversary. A postmortem exam revealed the cause of death to have been dilated cardiomyopathy.[13][14]

After her husband's sudden death, McElhone continued to write letters to him, sometimes documenting the daily trivia of life but also dealing with how she and their young children were coping with their loss. These letters and diary entries formed the basis of her book After You: Letters of Love, and Loss, to a Husband and Father. The book was published in July 2010 (titled After You in the UK Kindle version).[15][16]


List of film works
Year Title Role Notes
1996 Surviving Picasso Françoise Gilot
1997 The Devil's Own Megan Doherty
1997 Mrs Dalloway Young Clarissa Dalloway
1998 The Truman Show Lauren Garland / Sylvia
1998 What Rats Won't Do Kate Beckenham
1998 Ronin Deirdre
2000 Love's Labour's Lost Lady Rosaline
2000 Contaminated Man Holly Anderson
2002 Laurel Canyon Sara
2002 FeardotCom Terry Huston
2002 Killing Me Softly Deborah Tallis
2002 City of Ghosts Sophie
2002 Solaris Rheya Kelvin
2004 Ladies in Lavender Olga Daniloff
2005 Guy X Sgt. Irene Teal
2006 Big Nothing Penelope Wood
2008 The Secret of Moonacre Loveday de Noir
2008 Blessed Lou
2010 The Kid Gloria
2013 The Sea Connie Grace
2013 Romeo and Juliet Lady Capulet
2014 Believe Erica Gallagher
2016 Mr. Church Marie Brooks
2016 London Town Sandrine Baker
2021 Carmen Carmen
List of television works
Year Title Role Notes
1990 The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Helen Blake 2 episodes
1991 Bergerac Louise Calder Episode: "Snow in Provence"
1994 Absolutely Fabulous Art Gallery Assistant Episode: "Death"
1994 Minder Vanessa Episode: "All Quiet on the West End Front"
1994 Cadfael Cecily Corde Episode: "The Sanctuary Sparrow"
1994 Screen One Janet Episode: "A Breed of Heroes"
1996 Karaoke Angie 2 episodes
1996 Cold Lazarus Angie 2 episodes
2003 The Other Boleyn Girl Mary Boleyn Television film
2005 Revelations Sister Josepha Montafiore Miniseries
2007 The Company Elizabet Nemeth Miniseries
2007–2014 Californication Karen 84 episodes
2009 10 Minute Tales Woman Television short; segment: "Deep & Crisp & Even"
2010 Thorne: Sleepyhead Anne Coburn Episodes 1-3
2015 Saints & Strangers Elizabeth Hopkins Miniseries
2016–2017 Designated Survivor First Lady Alex Kirkman Series regular (Season 1 and 2)
2018 The First[17] Laz Ingram Series regular
2022 Hotel Portofino Bella Ainsworth Series regular
2022–present Halo Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey Series regular
2022 The Crown Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Romsey Main role (Season 5)
List of video game appearances
Year Title Role Notes
2010 Castlevania: Lords of Shadow[7] Marie Belmont
2014 Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2


Awards and nominations
Year Nominated work Award Category Result
1999 Ronin MTV Movie Award Best Action Sequence (shared with Robert De Niro) Nominated
2003 Solaris Saturn Award Best Actress Nominated
2003 IFTA Award Best Actress in Film Nominated
2005 Revelations Satellite Award Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Nominated
2010 The Kid Irina Palm Worst British Supporting Actress Won
2022 Halo WIN Award Actress Drama Series Nominated


  1. ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (26 April 2009). "The interview: Natascha McElhone". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  2. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (5 February 2016). "'Designated Survivor' Casts Kal Penn, Maggie Q, Natascha McElhone, Italia Ricci". Deadline Hollywood.
  3. ^ a b "The Crown: Seven takeaways from the latest series of Netflix's royal drama". BBC News. 5 November 2022. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  4. ^ "Natascha McElhone- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Interview: Natascha McElhone on becoming a writer".
  6. ^ Clott, Sharon. "Neutrogena Casts Natascha McElhone; Valentino Does 'Fearless' Eyes". NY Mag. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Konami Announces Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is Now Available". IGN. 5 October 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  8. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (1 February 2012). "'Homeland' Star Damian Lewis Cast in 'Romeo and Juliet' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Cast and creative | Royal Shakespeare Company". Archived from the original on 2 December 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (5 February 2016). "'Designated Survivor' Casts Kal Penn, Maggie Q, Natascha McElhone, Italia Ricci". Deadline. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  11. ^ Gráinne Faller (10 October 2009). "Shot in the Arm". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 22 August 2018. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  12. ^ [ Natascha McElhone Opens Up About Delivering Rex Alone}., 7 May 2009
  13. ^ Booth, Jenny (21 May 2008). "Natascha McElhone's plastic surgeon husband dies at couple's home". The Times. UK. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  14. ^ Watts, Geoff (July 2008). "Obituary: Martin Hirigoyen Kelly". The Lancet. 372 (9632): 24. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60979-4. S2CID 54309762. open access
  15. ^ Day, Elizabeth (3 July 2010). "After You: Letters of Love, and Loss, to a Husband and Father by Natascha McElhone". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  16. ^ McElhone, Natascha (2010). After you: letters of love, and loss, to a husband and father. London: Viking. ISBN 9780670919093.
  17. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (27 September 2017). "Natascha McElhone To Star in Beau Willimon's 'The First' Hulu Series, Will Depart 'Designated Survivor'".

External links[edit]