Ruth Wilson

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Ruth Wilson

Wilson in July 2015
Born (1982-01-13) 13 January 1982 (age 42)
Ashford, Surrey, England
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active2003–present
RelativesAlexander Wilson (grandfather)
Dennis Wilson (half-uncle)

Ruth Wilson MBE (born 13 January 1982)[1] is an English actress. She has played the eponymous protagonist in Jane Eyre (2006), Alice Morgan in the BBC psychological crime drama Luther (2010–2013, 2019),[2] Alison Lockhart in the Showtime drama The Affair (2014–2018), and the eponymous character in Mrs Wilson (2018). From 2019 to 2022, she portrayed Marisa Coulter in the BBC/HBO fantasy series His Dark Materials, and for this role she won the 2020 BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Actress.[3] Her film credits include The Lone Ranger (2013), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016), and Dark River (2017).

Ruth Wilson speaking at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con International

Wilson is a three-time Olivier Award nominee and two-time winner, earning the Best Actress for the title role in Anna Christie, and the Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.[4] She is also a two-time Tony Award nominee for her performances in Constellations and King Lear on Broadway. She has won a Golden Globe for her role in The Affair and received nominations for a British Academy Television Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for the title role in Jane Eyre.

Early life[edit]

Wilson was born in Ashford, Surrey, the daughter of Nigel Wilson, an investment banker, and his wife Mary Metson, a probation officer.[5] She has three older brothers: Tobias "Toby" Wilson, Samuel "Sam" Wilson (a BBC journalist), and Matthew Wilson. She is the granddaughter of novelist and MI6 officer Alexander Wilson and his third, bigamously-married, wife, Alison (née McKelvie).[6][7] Her paternal great-grandmother was Irish.[8] Wilson grew up in Shepperton, Surrey,[9] and was raised as a Catholic.[10]

She attended Notre Dame School, an independent Catholic school for girls located in Cobham, before attending sixth form at Esher College.[11] As a teenager, she worked as a model. She studied History at the University of Nottingham, and while there was also involved in student drama at the Nottingham New Theatre. She graduated from Nottingham in 2003 and from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in July 2005.[12] Afterwards, she co-founded Hush Productions.[13] During her time at Nottingham, she participated in the TV war strategy game Time Commanders, helping her teammates fight in the Battle of Pharsalus, and TV gameshow Traitor.[14]


Prior to her role in Jane Eyre, Wilson had one professional screen credit, in Suburban Shootout, a situation comedy she appeared in with Tom Hiddleston.[15] In 2006–2007, she filmed the second series of Suburban Shootout, a new Agatha Christie's Marple mystery (Nemesis) for ITV, and Stephen Poliakoff's BBC television drama Capturing Mary as the young Mary.

Wilson appeared in Gorky's Philistines in 2007, playing Tanya, at the Royal National Theatre from May until August.[16] In June, she presented the 2007 Lilian Baylis Awards.[17] Other projects in 2007 included a guest appearance in the sitcom Freezing as Alison Fennel (transmitted on BBC2, 21 February 2008); narration of the documentary The Polish Ambulance Murders (transmitted on BBC4, 5 February 2008); and the portrayal of a mentally ill doctor in the dramatised documentary The Doctor Who Hears Voices (transmitted on UK Channel 4, 21 April 2008).[18]

From 23 July to 3 October 2009, she appeared as Stella in the Donmar Warehouse revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.[19] On 15 November 2009 AMC Television and ITV premiered the 2009 TV miniseries remake of The Prisoner, in which Wilson played the Village doctor, "No. 313".[20] She played "Queenie" in an adaptation of Andrea Levy's Small Island, which aired on BBC1 in December 2009[21] and also aired in the United States on PBS in 2010.

Since 2010, she has appeared in the British psychological police drama Luther as Alice Morgan, a research scientist and highly intelligent individual described by Luther as a narcissist. In September 2012, the series' creator, Neil Cross, announced that he was in the process of creating a spin-off of Luther centred on Wilson's character, though as of 2018 this has not happened. Cross stated, "The BBC is very interested in the project. The only real question would be how many and how often we would do it – whether it would be a one-off miniseries or a returning miniseries, a co-production or not."[22] While Wilson could not appear in series four of Luther due to filming clashing with The Affair,[23] she returned for series five.[2]

From 4 August to 8 October 2011, Wilson starred in the title role of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Jude Law. Her performance prompted The Guardian to devote an editorial to Wilson's "courageous, edgy and compelling talent".[24]

In 2014, Wilson began starring as Alison Bailey on the drama television series The Affair, created by Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi.[25][26] She won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in January 2015 for her performance in the series' first season.[27] She departed the series in 2018 after four seasons.[28] It was reported in December 2019 that Wilson's departure was due to "frustrations with the nudity required of her, friction with Treem over the direction of her character, and what she ultimately felt was a 'hostile work environment'".[29]

Wilson made her Broadway debut in Constellations, a play written by Nick Payne, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.[30] She starred alongside Jake Gyllenhaal throughout the play's run from 12 January to 14 March 2015.[31] She received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play for her performance.[32]

Her film I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, directed by Oz Perkins, premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.[33] From December 2016 to February 2017, Wilson starred in the title role of Hedda Gabler in a new version by Patrick Marber at the Royal National Theatre. The production, and Wilson's performance in particular, received critical acclaim.[34][35]

In November 2018, Wilson starred as the title character Alison Wilson—her real-life grandmother—in the BBC drama Mrs Wilson. Alison Wilson was the third of four wives of former MI6 officer and novelist Alexander Wilson. They were married for 22 years. After his death in 1963, Alison discovered another wife of her husband's, with whom she eventually collaborated on the funeral. In order not to create extra shock for his children, the other wife and her children attended the funeral as 'distant relatives'. Alison died in 2005 without knowing he had had two further wives. Ruth Wilson was also executive producer for the series. [36]

In October 2020, Wilson won the BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Marisa Coulter in His Dark Materials.[3] In November 2020, it was announced that she would be starring as Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul in a filmed version of J. T. Rogers' Tony Award-winning play Oslo.[37][38]

Wilson was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to drama.[39] In November 2023, it was announced that she would star as Emily Maitlis in the series A Very Royal Scandal.[40]



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Get Off My Land Woman Short film
2012 Anna Karenina Princess Betsy Tverskoy
2013 The Lone Ranger Rebecca Reid
Saving Mr. Banks Margaret Goff
Locke Katrina (voice)
2015 Suite Française Madeleine Labarie
Eleanor Eleanor Short film
2016 The Complete Walk: All's Well That Ends Well Helena Short film
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House Lily
2017 How to Talk to Girls at Parties PT Stella
The Dying Hours Ellie Short film
Dark River Alice Bell
2018 The Little Stranger Caroline Ayres
2021 True Things Kate Producer
2022 See How They Run Petula Spencer
2024 Family Completed,

executive producer[41]

TBA The Book of Ruth Ruth Coker Burks Pre-production


Year Title Role Notes
2003 Time Commanders Herself Episode: "Pharsalus"
2004 Traitor Herself Episode 5
2006 Jane Eyre Jane Eyre Miniseries, 4 episodes
2006–2007 Suburban Shootout Jewel Diamond 10 episodes
2007 Agatha Christie's Marple Georgina Barrow Episode: "Nemesis"
Capturing Mary Young Mary Television film
A Real Summer Mary / Geraldine Television film
2008 Freezing Alison Fennel Episode: "#1.2"
The Doctor Who Hears Voices Dr. Ruth Television film
2009 Small Island Queenie Miniseries, 2 episodes
The Prisoner 313 / Doctor Miniseries, 6 episodes
2010–2019 Luther Alice Morgan 13 episodes
2014–2019 The Affair Alison Bailey Main role, 42 episodes
2017 Reported Missing Narrator Series 1, 3 episodes
2018 Mrs Wilson Alison Wilson Miniseries, 3 episodes, executive producer
2019–2022 His Dark Materials Marisa Coulter Main role, 21 episodes
2020 James and the Giant Peach with Taika and Friends Earthworm Miniseries, 1 episode
2021 Oslo Mona Juul Television film
2023 The Woman in the Wall Lorna Brady Main role, 6 episodes, executive producer
TBA A Very Royal Scandal Emily Maitlis In production[40]


Year Title Role Venue(s) Ref.
2005 Good Sound Theatre
2007 Philistines Tanya Lyttelton Theatre / Royal National Theatre [42]
2009 A Streetcar Named Desire Stella Donmar Warehouse [43]
2010 Through a Glass Darkly Karin Almeida Theatre [44]
2011 Anna Christie Anna Christie Donmar Warehouse
2013 The El Train Mrs Rowland, Rose Hoxton Hall [45]
2015 Constellations Marianne Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
2016–2017 Hedda Gabler Hedda Gabler Royal National Theatre [34]
2019 King Lear Cordelia / Fool Cort Theatre
2022 The Human Voice Woman Harold Pinter Theatre
2023 The Second Woman Virginia The Young Vic [46]


Year Title Role Channel
2008 The Mayor of Casterbridge[47] Elizabeth-Jane BBC Radio 4
2009 The Promise[48] Lika BBC Radio 3
The Lady of the Camellias Marguerite Gautier BBC Radio 4
2010 Spitfire![49] Daphne

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2007 British Academy Television Award Best Actress Jane Eyre Nominated [50]
Broadcasting Press Guild Best Actress Nominated [51]
Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film Nominated [52]
Satellite Award Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated [53]
2010 Luther Nominated [54]
Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role A Streetcar Named Desire Won [55]
2012 Best Actress Anna Christie Won [56]
2014 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Drama The Affair Won [57]
2015 Satellite Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Nominated [58]
Tony Award Best Leading Actress in a Play Constellations Nominated [59]
Theatre World Award Honoree [60]
2017 Satellite Award Best Actress in a Drama Series The Affair Nominated [61]
British Independent Film Award Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film Dark River Nominated [62]
Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress Hedda Gabler Nominated [63]
2019 British Academy Television Award Best Actress in a Leading Role Mrs Wilson Nominated [64]
Best Mini-Series Nominated [64]
Broadcasting Press Guild Best Actress Nominated [65]
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance King Lear Nominated [66]
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Nominated [67]
Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominated [68]
2020 BAFTA Cymru Best Actress His Dark Materials Won [69]
2021 British Independent Film Award Best Actress True Things Nominated [70]
Stockholm International Film Festival Best Actress Won [71]
Satellite Award Actress in a Miniseries, Limited Series or Motion Picture made for Television Oslo Nominated [72]
2023 BAFTA Cymru Best Actress His Dark Materials Nominated [73]


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  2. ^ a b Stolworthy, Jacob (23 February 2018). "Ruth Wilson sheds light on Luther season 5 return: 'Alice is back with a vengeance'". The Independent.
  3. ^ a b "Bafta Cymru: Jonathan Pryce and Ruth Wilson win acting gongs". BBC. 25 October 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  4. ^ "Olivier Winners 2010". Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  5. ^ Brockes, Emma (31 August 2012). "Ruth Wilson: acting up". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  6. ^ ""Comparative Media Law & Ethics" by Tim Crook". Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  7. ^ Eden, Richard (23 September 2012). "Lone Ranger star Ruth Wilson spies film about her bigamist grandfather". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
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  9. ^ Genower, Ellie Ruth is following footsteps of the famous, Manchester Evening News, 20 October 2006.
  10. ^ Eyre, Hermione (21 July 2011). "Ruth Wilson on her sizzling summer with Jude Law". Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  11. ^ Nichol, Patricia Something in the Eyre, The Times (27 May 2007)
  12. ^ "2011 : APPEARANCES". 3 February 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  13. ^ Hoggard, Liz Ruth Wilson, The Independent (7 October 2006)
  14. ^
  15. ^ Stephen Robb (10 August 2006). "Jane Eyre star's fast-rising fame". BBC News. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  16. ^ Rock, Malcolm 20 Questions With… Ruth Wilson Archived 4 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine, What's on Stage (21 May 2007).
  17. ^ Jane Eyre actress Wilson presents Lilian Baylis Awards, The Stage (12 June 2007).
  18. ^ The Doctor Who Hears Voices, Channel Accessed 10 February 2022.
  19. ^ Past Productions, Donmar Warehouse, archived from the original on 30 December 2009
  20. ^ The Prisoner, Originals, AMC TV
  21. ^ "BBC – Small Island". BBC. Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  22. ^ 'Luther' Spin-Off Starring Ruth Wilson As Alice Morgan In The Works, HuffPost, 9 September 2012
  23. ^ Warner, Sam (23 February 2018). "Luther's Ruth Wilson drops series 5 Alice Morgan hints". Digital Spy.
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  25. ^ "Dominic West and Ruth Wilson tease The Affair – new trailer". The Guardian. 27 August 2014.
  26. ^ Dockterman, Eliana (10 October 2014). "Why Showtime's 'The Affair' Will Be as Intense as Game of Thrones". Time.
  27. ^ Stone, Natalie (11 January 2015). "Golden Globes: Ruth Wilson Wins Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama". The Hollywood Reporter.
  28. ^ Butler, Bethonie (30 August 2018). "Why did Ruth Wilson leave 'The Affair'? The mystery continues to deepen". The Washington Post.
  29. ^ Sandberg, Bryn Elise; Masters, Kim (18 December 2019). ""The Environment Was Very Toxic": Nudity, a Graphic Photo and the Untold Story of Why Ruth Wilson Left 'The Affair'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  30. ^ Lang, Brent (12 September 2018). "Ruth Wilson, Pedro Pascal, Elizabeth Marvel Join Glenda Jackson in 'King Lear' on Broadway". Variety.
  31. ^ Brantley, Ben (13 January 2015). "Nerds in Love, Rewriting Destinies". The New York Times.
  32. ^ Arnegger, Sarah Jane (28 April 2015). "Schools of the Stars: Where the 2015 Tony Nominees Went to College: The Actors and Actresses". Playbill.
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  35. ^ "Ruth Wilson Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre is one of the performances of the year – review". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  36. ^ "Mrs Wilson". BBC One. BBC. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  37. ^ "Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott to Topline HBO Movie from Steven Spielberg". The Hollywood Reporter. 9 November 2020.
  38. ^ "Ruth Wilson & Andrew Scott Starring in HBO Movie 'Oslo'; Spielberg Exec'ing Tony-Winning Play Adaptation". 9 November 2020.
  39. ^ "No. 63377". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2021. p. B24.
  40. ^ a b "Michael Sheen, Ruth Wilson to Star in 'A Very Royal Scandal' Amazon Series Based on Prince Andrew Interview With Emily Maitlis". Variety. 20 November 2023.
  41. ^ "Family". SXSW 2024 Schedule. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  42. ^ Philistines official web page at the National Theatre Archived 28 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  43. ^ Billington, Michael (29 July 2009). "Theatre review: A Streetcar Named Desire". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  44. ^ Billington, Michael (17 June 2010). "Through a Glass Darkly". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  45. ^ Kate Kellaway (15 December 2013). "The El Train – review | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  46. ^ Curtis, Nick (20 May 2023). "Ruth Wilson in The Second Woman at the Young Vic: what a goddess". Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  47. ^ "The Mayor of Casterbridge". BBC. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  48. ^ "Top British actors to appear in BBC Radio 3's autumn drama" 30 August 2009, The Stage
  49. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Saturday Drama, Mike Walker – Spitfire!". BBC. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
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  62. ^ Clarke, Stewart (1 November 2017). "'Lady Macbeth' Tops Nominations for British Independent Film Awards". Variety. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
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  65. ^ Mann, Colin (13 February 2019). "Television nominations for this year's BPG Awards revealed". Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  66. ^ Evans, Greg (17 April 2019). "Bryan Cranston, Adam Driver, Jeff Daniels & Laurie Metcalf Among Broadway's Drama League Award Nominees – Complete List". Deadline Hollywood.
  67. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie (2 June 2019). "Tootsie, Hadestown, and The Ferryman Lead 2019 Drama Desk Award Winners". Playbill.
  68. ^ Lee, Ashley (30 April 2019). "Tony nominations led by 'Hadestown,' 'Ain't Too Proud' and 'Tootsie'". Los Angeles Times.
  69. ^ "Winners Announced: 2020 British Academy Cymru Awards". 25 October 2020. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  70. ^ "NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED FOR BIFA 2021 · BIFA · British Independent Film Awards". BIFA · British Independent Film Awards. 3 November 2021. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  71. ^ "Winners at the Stockholm International Film Festival 2021". Stockholms filmfestival (in Swedish). 17 November 2021. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  72. ^ "2021 Nominees | International Press Academy". Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  73. ^ "2023 BAFTA Cymru Awards: The Winners". BAFTA. 15 October 2023. Archived from the original on 21 January 2024. Retrieved 21 January 2024.

External links[edit]