Six Feet Under
“I think drama on commercial television is toothpaste delivery devises, you know or insurance delivery devises, and I think it’s impossible for people to be as engaged in a drama when they are being constantly interrupted.” Rachel Griffiths
One of Australian acclaimed actresses, Rachel Griffiths is popular to American TV viewers for her role as the deeply dysfunctional Brenda in HBO’s highly-praised series “Six Feet Under” (2001-2005), in which she received numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, SAG Awards and Emmy nominations. On the big screen, the award-winning actress gained her first international recognition with her virtuoso, scene-stealing role as the trustworthy friend in the hit Muriel’s Wedding (1994), for which she picked up an Australian Film Institute Award and an Australian Film Critics Award. Griffiths earned a British Independent Film nod in My Son the Fanatic (1997), an Oscar nomination in Hilary and Jackie (1998) and a U.S. Comedy Arts Festival Award in Very Annie Mary (2001).
In addition to acting, Griffiths also writes and directs short movies. For her significant contributions in Tulip (1998, also a producer) and Roundabout (2002), she was garnered two Melbourne International Film Festival Awards, a Palm Springs International Short Film Festival Award and two Aspen Shortsfest Awards.
As for her personal life, the dark-haired, offbeat-looking Griffiths is married to Australian artist Andrew Taylor, who becomes the father of her two children, son Banjo and daughter Adelaide. Getting married in the New Year’s Eve 2002, the couple reportedly donated all their wedding presents and money from sales of their wedding photos to the Sacred Heart Mission in Melbourne, Australia. Her love life has also been linked to actors Eric Stoltz (dated while filming Very Annie-Mary) and Jason Byrne (met on the set of Hilary and Jackie, briefly engaged, the tied split up as he wanted Griffiths to stay with him in England).
Childhood and Family:
In Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Rachel Griffiths was born on June 4, 1968, to Edward Griffiths and Anna Griffiths. She spent her first five years in the Gold Coast, Queensland before moving back to Melbourne, where she was raised. When she was 11, Rachel’s dad divorced her mom for an 18-year-old woman and left Rachel and her two older brothers in the care of their art teacher mother. Rachel was an excellent student and learned ballet at Star of the Sea Catholic Girls’ College. She graduated from Victoria College with a degree in drama and dance in 1990, and further advanced her studies at University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia.
Rachel was married to her longtime friend-turned-fiancé, artist Andrew Taylor, on December 31, 2002 in a moonlit wedding ceremony in their hometown of Melbourne, Australia. The couple has two children, son Banjo Patrick Taylor (born in Melbourne, Australia, on November 22, 2003) and daughter Adelaide Rose (born in Los Angeles, California, on June 23, 2005).
Melbourne-born Rachel Griffiths began her professional career in her native land of Australia a year after earning a degree in drama and dance with an impressive performance in the festival-screened short film Barbie Gets Hip (1991), where she received good reviews. The same year, she expanded her talents by joining the Australian theater group Woolly Jumpers, and becomes the member of the Melbourne Theatre Company. With the latter company, she performed in numerous plays like “The Grapes of Wrath,” “The Sisters Rosenzweig” and “Sylvia.” In between her theater assignments, she also starred in Aussie TV series “Secrets” (1993), TV film The Feds (1993) and the comedy special “The Jimeon Show” (1994).
A relative newcomer, Griffiths hit the big time when director P.J. Hogan cast her in the supporting role of Rhonda Epinstalk, the ABBA-loving, party-hearty loyal friend to Toni Collette, in comedy-romance film Muriel’s Wedding (1994). Convincingly playing the part, Griffiths was handed an Australian Film Institute and an Australian Film Critics for Best Supporting Actress. Additionally, the huge success of the Sophie Lee and Rosalind Hammond vehicle further launched Griffiths’ career.
Despite obtaining international attention, Griffiths went on to appear in Australian productions, including the comedy film Cosi (1996), Peter Duncan’s Children of the Revolution (1996, starred Judy Davis and Sam Neill) and To Have and to Hold (1996). The same year, she was also featured as Christopher Eccleston’s sexy first wife in Michael Winterbottom’s critically-praised adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Jude (1996, also costarred Kate Winslet and Liam Cunningham. The demanding performer continued to establish her position as a burgeoning talent by taking on roles in the Stephen Elliot-directed Welcome to Woop Woop (1997), P.J. Hogan’s hit My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997, as Cameron Diaz’s Southern belle cousin), and starring in Udayan Prasad’s My Son the Fanatic (1997). Her performance opposite Om Puri in the latter film gave Griffiths a British Independent Film nomination.
After Since You’ve Been Gone (1998, TV), the Full Monty-scripted Among Giants (1998, along side Pete Postlethwaite), the comedy Divorcing Jack (1998, costarred with David Thewlis) and the Australian comedy Amy (1998), Griffiths offered a fabulous portrayal as flautist Hilary du Pre, an older sister to Emily Watson’s cellist Jacqueline du Pre, in the biopic film Hilary and Jackie (1998) for director Anand Tucker. The high-profile role garnered the actress Best Supporting Actress at Academy Award, British Independent Film and SAG. Also in 1998, Griffiths took home a number of accolades after producing, writing and directing a 15-minute-short film, Tulip. For her efforts, she was handed a Melbourne International Film Festival, a Palm Springs International Short Film Festival for Best of the Festival as well as two Aspen Shortsfest for Watch It! Award and Special Recognition Award. Griffiths closed the decade by playing the lead of a single magazine journalist who apparently goes into a parallel world in which she discovers herself married with children in comedy film Me Myself I (1999).
Griffiths then appeared in the Blow Dry (2001), was cast as the frustrated New England mother of Johnny Depp in Blow (2001) and won a U.S. Comedy Arts Festival for Best Actress for brilliantly portraying the title role of a young woman from the valleys of South Wales in Very Annie Mary (2001). In 2002, the accomplished director-writer again showed her capabilities in these fields by nabbing a Melbourne International Film Festival for Best Australian Short Film for her bright work in Roundabout, a 16-minute film starring David Roberts and Alison Whyte. She then played Dennis Quaid’s wife in The Rookie (2002), costarred with Aidan Quinn in the telefilm Plainsong (2004) and starred in such Australian productions as dark comedy The Hard Word (2002), the historical biopic Ned Kelly (2003, opposite Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts and Geoffrey Rush) as well as the television miniseries “After the Deluge” (2003).
However, it was her television role as Brenda Chenowith in the award-winning HBO series “Six Feet Under” (2001-2005) that won Griffiths a number of praises and recognitions. As Brenda, the acutely dysfunctional who was raised as a mental and emotional experiment by her psychologist parents, Griffiths was awarded a 2002 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. She also earned Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in 2002 and for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2003, as well as a Golden Globe nod for Best Performance by an Actress in 2003. Along with other costars, she was handed two Screen Actors Guilds for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2003 and 2004).
Returning to big screen films, Griffiths joined director Jim McKay and actors Monique Curnen and Jonan Ever for drama film Angel (2005), where she was cast as Nicole, and has recently completed Step Up (2006), a drama-music by Anne Fletcher. The 38 is now starring as Sarah Walker in the Jon Robin Baitz –created series “Brothers & Sisters” (2006). The new ABC drama about maladjusted family also stars Ted Danson, Taye Diggs, Calista Flockhart, Anne Heche and David Arquette. She is also set to join the cast of “Comanche Moon,” Larry McMurtry’s prequel to his western saga “Lonesome Dove.” The miniseries will cast Griffiths as Inez Scull, opposite Charles Baker as Monkey John, Josh Berry as Bob Allen and Linda Cardellinias Clara Forsythe, among others.
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, Six Feet Under, 2004
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, Six Feet Under, 2003
- Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, Six Feet Under, 2002
- U.S. Comedy Arts Festival: Film Discovery Jury Award - Best Actress, Very Annie Mary, 2002
- Melbourne International Film Festival: Best Australian Short Film, Roundabout, 2002
- Aspen Shortsfest: Audience Award - Special Recognition, Tulip, 1999
- Aspen Shortsfest: ‘Watch It! Award, Tulip, 1999
- Palm Springs International Short Film Festival: Best of the Festival, Tulip, 1999
- Melbourne International Film Festival: OCIC Award, Tulip, 1998
- Australian Film Critics: best supporting actress, Muriel’s Wedding, 1994
- Australian Film Institute: best supporting actress, Muriel’s Wedding, 1994