Legends of the Fall
British actress and producer Julia Ormond first made an impact with her award-winning performance in Christopher Hampton’s production of “Faith, Hope and Charity” (1989), where she took home a London Drama Critics Award, and as Catherine the Great in the made-for-TV film Young Catherine (1991), wherein she earned a lot of praise as well as a Gemini nod. However, the raven-haired beauty is probably most well-known by American as the leading lady of Edward Zwick’s Legends of the Fall (1994), opposite Brad Pitt. The 1995 Sho West Female Star of Tomorrow picked up an Emmy Award and a Cable ACE Award for her outstanding work as a producer in the 1996 documentary A Story About Rape, War and Women. Her more recent acclaimed credits include the David Hare play “My Zinc Bed” (2000, earned an Oliver nomination) and the made-for-TV film Varian’s War (2001, won a Golden Satellite Award).
Outside the limelight, one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” (1995), Ormond is an activist involved in fighting human trafficking since the mid-1990s. The Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa chose her a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in December 2005. She has lately worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Additionally, the 2003 recipient of Crystal Award for using her art to surpass cultural boundaries, Ormond is a supporter for Transatlantic Partners Against AIDS, which tries to raise awareness about AIDS in the Ukraine and Russia, as well as co-chairs of FilmAid International, a renowned nonprofit organization that brings aid and relief to refugees.
As for her private life, the 5’ 7½ actress married actor Rory Edward from 1989 to 1993. She is now the wife of Jon Rubin, with whom she was married to in 1999, and they share a daughter. Her love life has also been linked to actor Gabriel Byrne (born on May 12, 1950). The two met while on the set of Smilla’s Sense of Snow in 1996.
Childhood and Family:
Julia Karin Ormond was born into an affluent family, on January 4, 1965, in Epsom, Surrey, England. Her father, John Ormond, was a flourishing computer software designer who achieved a millionaire status by the age of 30. However, as a little girl, the second of five children, Julia had to deal with her parents’ separation. She earned her early education in Guildford High School and Cranleigh Public School. After briefly attending an art school (originally wanted to follow in her grandparents’ footsteps of becoming an artist), she transferred to acting major at the London’s Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, from which she graduated in 1988. A tomboy girl, Julia found her interest in sports, including hockey, instead of playing with dolls.
In April 1989, Julia was married to actor Rory Edwards, whom she met during performing a production of “Wuthering Heights.” The marriage came to an end in 1994, and five years later, Julia tried to build a new family by marrying Jon Rubin. The couple welcomed a baby girl in fall 2004.
Ghosts: A Story About Rape, War and Women
The granddaughter of artists, Julia Ormond hoped to become an artist, but participation in some school productions led her to depart her art studies for a drama school. After graduating, she got her first professional job on a TV commercial for cottage cheese and made a pretty smooth alteration to theatrical productions. She was then seen in such plays as “The Rehearsal,” “Wuthering Heights” and “The Crucible.” Ormond’s stage breakthrough arrived in 1989 when Christopher Hampton had her play a role in “Faith, Hope and Charity.” For her brilliant performance, the actress was handed a London Drama Critics for Best Newcomer.
Also in 1989, Ormond debuted on miniseries with the role of the junkie Cambridge student daughter of a British official engaged in the war on drugs in “Traffik,” a British production broadcast in the USA in 1990 on “Masterpiece Theater.” She added her TV credits by playing Nora Fanshawe in the telepic The Best Man to Die (1990), but it was her starring turn as Russia’s Catherine the Great in the TNT film Young Catherine (1991) that brought Ormond a number of recognition, especially in North American. The role won the actress the Best Actress Gemini nomination. She followed it up with another shining performance, as Nadya Alliluyeva, the wife of Robert Duvall’s title role in the HBO biopic movie Stalin (1992).
The following year saw the gifted actress make the leap to the big screen movie with the daughter role in director/writer Peter Greenaways’ The Baby of Macon (1993), a tale of the 17th century Medicis which co-starred Ralph Fiennes. Despite Ormond’s good acting, the international film failed to ignite audiences. Next up, Ormond had her first American released film with the little-seen biopic of the well-known visionary Nostradamus (1994), starring Tcheky Karyo, and starred opposite Tim Roth in the prison thriller Captives (1994).
However, Ormond experienced her breakthrough moment after the impressed director Edward Zwick cast her as Susannah Fincannon Ludlow, the love interest of three brothers (played by Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas) in Legends of the Fall (1994). The role won Ormond numerous critical appreciations, as well as became her Hollywood calling card. Ormond followed the success with starring roles in the critically and commercially failure adventure First Knight (1995), opposite Sean Connery and Richard Gere as Guinevere, and the Sydney Pollack ill-fated remake of Sabrina (1995), where she stole the screen from Harrison Ford with her bright portrayal of the title character.
Ormond then disappeared from the cinematic industry for two years. During her in front off the camera hiatus, she tried her hand in producing by serving as the producer of a documentary film by directors Mandy Jacobson and Karmen Jelincic, Calling the Ghosts: A Story About Rape, War and Women (1996). For her efforts, Ormond nabbed a 1997 Emmy for Best Executive Producer and a Cable ACE. In 1997, the owner of a production company called Indican signed a contract with Fox Searchlight Pictures. The same year, she returned to filmmaking with the lead role of Smilla Jasperson in Smilla’s Sense of Snow, which failed to receive box office sales or critical acclaimed and, in 1998, she had another disappointment with the Russian film The Barber of Siberia. Ormond rounded out the decade by landing her voice to the George Orwell-scripted television film Animal Farm, voicing Jessie.
Returning to the Hollywood film scene, Ormond was cast opposite Vince Vaughn and Ed Harris in The Prime Gig (2000), a drama released direct-to-video after screening at film festivals. 2000 also marked Ormond theatrical comeback when she resurfaced in the London stage in David Hare’s “My Zinc Bed.” Delivering a fine acting, she was nominated for Best Actress for Olivier Awards. In 2002, the actress won the Supporting Actress Award from Golden Satellite for her role opposite William Hurt in the Showtime film Varian’s War (2001, as Miriam Davenport).
2003-2005 saw roles in Todd Komarnicki’s Resistance (2003, with Bill Paxton), the HBO film Iron Jawed Angels (2004, opposite Anjelica Huston and Hillary Swank) and the miniseries “Beach Girls” (2005, as Stevie Moore). She has recently completed the made-for-TV film The Way (2006), a crime directed byRod Holcomb and written by Adam Kulakow, and the David Lynch-helmed drama/mystery Inland Empire (2006), starring Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons and Harry Dean Stanton. She is also set to play a reporter in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming film Guerrilla (2006).
- Golden Satellite: Best Supporting Actress, Varian’s War, 2002
- Cable ACE: International Informational Special or Series, Calling the Ghosts, 1997
- Emmy: Best Executive Producer, Calling the Ghosts, 1997
- Sho West: Female Star of Tomorrow, 1995
- London Critic’s: Best Newcomer, Faith, Hope and Charity, 1989