“I would rather do many small roles on TV, stage or film than one blockbuster that made me rich but had no acting.” Miranda Richardson
Two-time Oscar nominee and multiple award-winning British actress Miranda Richardson got her start on stage and then moved to television before gaining attention in Mike Newell's “Dance with a Stranger” (1985), where she took home an Evening Standard British Film Award for her turn as Ruth Ellis. This led to her Hollywood debut in Steven Spielberg's “Empire of the Sun” (1987), but the stage trained performer did not really attract American audiences until playing Ingrid Fleming in Louis Malle's “Damage” (1992), an acclaimed performance that brought her a BAFTA Award, a London Critics Circle Film Award and an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination. She further increased her international status with her Golden Globe-winning role of the spiritless Rose on Newell's “Enchanted April” (1992) and supporting role as the venomous Jude in Neil Jordan's “The Crying Game” (1992). The three roles also brought her a New York Film Critics Award. Richardson won her next Oscar nomination two years later after playing Vivienne Haigh-Wood in the biographical movie “Tom and Viv” (1994), a performance that also garnered her a National Board of Review Award and nominations at the Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards. Later, the strong-willed actress netted a Society of Texas Film Critics Award for her work in Robert Harling's “The Evening Star” and Robert Altman's “Kansas City” (both 1996), and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award, a Toronto Film Critics Association Award, a San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award and a Sant Jordi Award for the David Cronenberg-helmed “Spider” (2002). Other notable screen performances include “The Big Brass Ring”(1999), “Sleepy Hollow” (1999, received a Blockbuster Entertainment Award), “The Hours” (2002), Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” (2004), “The Prince & Me” (2004), Newell's “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005), “Southern Tales” (2006) and “Fred Claus” (2007). On the small screen, Richardson was handed a Golden Globe Award for her role of Charlie Maguire in HBO's “Fatherland” (1994). She also appeared in “Merlin (1998) and “The Lost Prince” (2003).
“Why did I not stop to have children? I suppose because the opportunity didn't present itself. Yes, many women feel they are not complete without having children, but I have different creative outlets.” Miranda Richardson
Richardson is currently single. An animal lover, she resides in London with her two dogs, two cats and salamander.
Apart from acting, the 5' 5” beauty enjoys writing and has written for such publications as “American Film,” “Premiere” and the “New York Times.” Her other hobbies include drawing, gardening, music, walking, fashion and art.
Childhood and Family:
Daughter of William Alan Richardson, a marketing executive, and Marian Georgina Richardson, a homemaker, Miranda Jane Richardson was born on March 3, 1958, in Southport, Merseyside, England. She has an older sister named Lesley Richardson (born in 1949). She was educated at Southport High School for Girls. Originally, the Southport girl went to a university to become a veterinary surgeon, but later turned her attention to acting and attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in London where her classmates included Daniel Day-Lewis. As a youngster, Miranda performed in school plays.
Tom and Viv
After three years of training at London's Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Miranda Richardson kicked off her stage career with the Library Theatre in Manchester in 1979 where she became an assistant stage manager. With an Equity card in her pocket, she performed in several regional productions before moving to the London stage in 1981, in which she debuted at the Queen's Theater in “Moving.” It was also that year that the aspiring actress had her first taste in front of the television camera playing Gudrun in an episode of the British comedy “Agony.”
Richardson continued to work in such plays as “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe” and “All My Sons” (both 1982). In 1984, she received a part in the syndicated British-made miniseries “A Woman of Substance,” based on the successful novel by Barbara Taylor Bradford.
However, Richardson did not experience her first true breakthrough until the following year when she rejoined Mike Newell for the period drama “Dance With a Stranger.” Her starring portrayal of the real-life Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in England for murder, gained extensive praise and she was handed a 1986 Evening Standard British Film award for Best Actress. Still unknown outside of her native country, the British beauty could be seen starring in the David Mamet stage production of “Edmond” that same year and in the supporting role of Queen Elizabeth I on the BBC short-lived sitcom “Blackadder II” in 1986. She also had a costarring role opposite Bob Peck in the made-for-TV film “After Pilkington” in 1987, where she was nominated for a BAFTA TV for Best Actress. She netted a Royal Television Society for Best Performance-Female for playing Julia Perry in the AIDS-themed TV film “Sweet as You Are” (BBC, 1987).
Impressed by Richardson's performance in “Dance With a Stranger,” Steven Spielberg cast her as Mrs. Victor, a prisoner in a Japanese camp who becomes an adoptive mother to a young boy, in the director's big screen adaptation of J.G. Ballard's “Empire of the Sun” (1987), her first American outing. The film starred Christian Bale and John Malkovich. She returned to the London stage in Sam Shepard's “A Lie of the Mind” (1987), opposite Will Patton and Geraldine McEwan, and Harold Pinter's “Mountain Language” (1988). She also appeared with Julian Wadham in the Royal National Theatre production of “The Changeling” (also 1988) before reprising her role of Queen Elizabeth I for the BBC made-for-TV film “Blackadder's Christmas Carol” (1988) and having an episodic-turn as Nurse Fletcher-Brown in “Blackadder Goes Forth” (1989).
1990 saw Richardson make her first of several appearances on the British variety series “The Comic Strip” and play an aspiring actress in the stage play “Etta Jenks.” The next year, she was seen in the TV films “Old Times,” “Redemption” and “The Bachelor,” with Keith Carradine. After the drama film “Enchanted April” (1992), Miranda won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical.
Richardson further boosted her profile outside of England with roles in the Academy Award-winning for Best Screenplay, “The Crying Game” (1992), directed and written by Neil Jordan, and Jeremy Irons' long-suffering wife, Ingrid Fleming, in the Louis Malle-directed “Damage” (1992). Both roles earned the talented actress numerous honors, including a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, a London Critics Circle Film for British Actress of the Year and nominations at the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards for her work in “Damage.” Combined with her work in “Enchanted April,” the roles also brought her a New York Film Critics Circle for Best Supporting Actress.
Following a hosting gig on the NBC popular sketch comedy series “SNL” and a supporting part in the British drama “Century” (both 1993), Richardson once again attracted attention with her Academy Award-nominating turn of Vivienne Haigh-Wood, wife of poet T. S. Eliot (played by Willem Dafoe), in the biopic “Tom and Viv” (1994). She also won a National Board of Review for Best Actress for her work in the film. Also in 1994, she was outstanding as Charlie Maguire in the HBO television film “Fatherland,” from which she took home a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV. She was also seen in an episode of the popular British sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous.”
In 1996, Richardson teamed up with director/writer Robert Altman for his drama “Kansas City,” and offered a scene-stealing performance as Patsy Carpenter in the Robert Harling directed “The Evening Star,” the unsatisfying sequel to “Terms of Endearment.” The performances won the actress a Society of Texas Film Critics for Best Supporting Actress. The same year also found Richardson revisiting the London stage in a production of Wallace Shawn's “The Designated Mourner,” opposite Mike Nichols and she recreated her stage role of Judy when the play was brought to film by David Hare the following year. Next up for Richardson, she appeared in Robert Duvall's “The Apostle (1997) had a feature role on the applauded British TV miniseries “A Dance to the Music of Time” (1997) and played the monstrous queen in the NBC miniseries “Merlin” (1998), where she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She closed out the decade playing the Queen of Hearts on the NBC TV film “Alice in Wonderland,” William Hurt's wife on the festival screened political drama “The Big Brass Ring” and the stepmother of Christina Ricci in Tim Burton's “Sleepy Hollow,” where she took home a Blockbuster Entertainment for Favorite Supporting Actress, Horror. She also provided the voice of Anna Leonowens in the animated feature “The King and I.”
Entering the new millennium, Richardson provided her voice for the 2000 animated films “Chicken Run,” as Mrs. Tweedy, and “The Miracle Maker,” as Mary Magdalene. She also appeared as the mother of Sylvester Stallone and Rachael Leigh Cook in the disappointing action film “Get Carter” (also 2000). Two years later, David Cronenberg hired her to play a schizophrenic' mother in the mystery/thriller “Spider,” staring Ralph Fiennes in the title role. Delivering a good performance, she picked up a Sant Jordi for Best Foreign Actress, as well as a San Francisco Film Critics Circle and Toronto Film Critics Association award in the category of Best Supporting Actress. She went on to play the sister of Nicole Kidman in “The Hours.” Richardson received a Golden Globe nomination for her supporting role as Queen Mary on the BBC film “The Lost Prince” (2003).
The following years saw roles in such films as the romantic comedy “The Prince & Me” (2004, starred Julia Stiles), Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” (2004), “Churchill: The Hollywood Years” (2004, as Eva Braun), the Richard E. Grant directorial debut “Wah-Wah” (2005), “Gideon's Daughter” (2005, TV), Mike Newell's “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005, as Rita Skeeter), “Merlin's Apprentice” (2006, TV), “Provoked: A True Story” (2006) and Richard Kelly's “Southern Tales” (2006, as Nana Mae Frost). She teamed up with Sarah Jessica Parker and Beau Bridges in the unreleased comedy “Spinning Into Butter,” costarred with Kelly Reilly for the fantasy film “Puffball” and played the supporting role of Annette Claus in the Vince Vaughn comedy “Fred Claus” (all 2007). The same year, she also portrayed Helena de Wend in the British short-lived sitcom “The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle.”
The 50-year-old actress will play Duchess of Kent in the drama “The Young Victoria” (2008), starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend. In addition, she is set to star with Sam Neill in the sci-fi thriller “Telepathy” (2008) and as Caitlin Thomas in the biopic “Caitlin” (2008).
Hamptons International Film Festival: Golden Starfish Award, Career Achievement, 2005
Sant Jordi: Best Foreign Actress (Mejor Actriz Extranjera), “Spider,” 2003
San Francisco Film Critics Circle: Best Supporting Actress, “Spider,” 2002
Toronto Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Performance, Female, “Spider,” 2002
Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actress – Horror, “Sleepy Hollow,” 2000
Society of Texas Film Critics: Best Supporting Actress, “The Evening Star” (1996) and “Kansas City” (1996), 1996
Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV, “Fatherland,” 1995
National Board of Review: Best Actress, “Tom & Viv,” 1994
London Critics Circle Film: British Actress of the Year, “Damage,”1994
BAFTA Film: Best Actress in a Supporting Role, “Damage,” 1993
Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical, “Enchanted April,” 1993
New York Film Critics Circle: Best Supporting Actress, “The Crying Game” (1992), “Enchanted April” (1992) and “Damage” (1992), 1992
Royal Television Society: Best Performance – Female, “Sweet as You Are,” 1988
Evening Standard British Film: Best Actress, “Dance with a Stranger,” 1986