"Tall, sandy blonde, with sort of blue eyes, skinny in places, fat in others. An average gal." Uma Thurman (on describing herself)
First catching attention while playing the virginal victim of John Malkovich's seduction in Stephen Frears' Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Uma Thurman later was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for playing a mob wife, Mia Wallace, in Quentin Tarantino' Pulp Fiction (1994). Sometimes credited as U, Thurman, Uma has starred in such films as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Henry & June (1989), Mad Dog and Glory (1993), The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996), Batman & Robin (1997, as Poison Ivy), Gattaca (1997), Les Miserables (1998), The Avengers (1998), Sweet and Lowdown (1999), The Golden Bowl (2000) and Paycheck (2003).
Widely known for her role of The Bride/Black Mamba in the Kill Bill films (2003 and 2004), Thurman recently starred in the 2005 films Be Cool, Prime, and The Producers. Best Actress Golden Globe winner (for the TV movie Hysterical Blindness) Uma Thurman will star in the upcoming films: Super Ex-Girlfriend, Bee Movie (voice) and The Women.
6' tall, sylph-like and solemn-eyed Thurman sports 34C-24-35 (as an Elite model-1988) and 35 1/2C-24-35 (actress-1995) measurements. A former model, Thurman was on Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" (October 1997). She was a spokesmodel for French cosmetics firm Lancôme (2000) and is currently the new face of luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton for their upcoming winter 2005-2006 women's ready-to-wear line.
On a more personal note, the ex wife of actors Gary Oldman and Ethan Hawke, Thurman was linked to actor Timothy Hutton (actor; b. August 16, 1960; began dating during filming of Beautiful Girls - 1995). After her separation with Hawke, Thurman reportedly has found a new man, hotelier Andre Balazs, with whom she purchased a New York state mansion.
Commenting on her new-found romance, Thurman explained, “My life has been sort of road kill, like barely scraping the bodies off the sidewalk. I mean, you wake up after a decade with someone and you're single again and alone again. You thought you had a plan, and the plan got derailed."
Childhood and Family:
"I was not particularly bright. I wasn't very athletic. I was a little too tall, odd, funny looking. I was just really weird as a kid." Uma Thurman
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 29, 1970, Uma Karuna Thurman (named after a Hindu deity that means "bestowed of blessings") spent her childhood in Amherst, Massachusetts, because her father worked at Amherst College. She grew up in an eccentric, multi-cultural family. Her father, Robert A.F. Thurman (born on October 14, 1932), is a professor who teaches Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, and her mother, Nena Thurman (born in 1941), is a Swedish model-turned-psychotherapist who was once married to LSD proponent Timothy Leary (1964-1966). Uma is the granddaughter of Baron Karl von Schlebrugg (maternal grandparent; jailed by Nazis in WWII for not betraying Jewish business partners), Brigit Holmquist (maternal grandparent; famous Swedish beauty who posed for a statue in Trelleborg) and Elizabeth Farrar (actress; paternal grandparent). Her uncle, John Thurman, is a professional concert cellist who performs with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Uma also has three brothers: Dechen Thurman (actor, director; born on January 18, 1973), Mipam Thurman (born in 1978) and Ganden Thurman (born in 1968).
Young Uma Thurman attended Northfield Mount Herman School in Northfield, Massachusetts and Amherst Regional Junior High School in Amherst, Massachusetts. She also studied at the Professional Children's High School in New York.
In October 1990, Thurman tied the knot with actor Gary Oldman (born on March 21, 1958, but they divorced two years later. Thurman then exchanged wedding vows with actor and novelist Ethan Hawke (born on November 6, 1970) on May 1, 1998. The couple has two kids: daughter Maya Ray Thurman-Hawke (born on July 8, 1998) and son Roan (born on January 15, 2002). The couple separated in July 20, 2004.
"I'm very happy at home. I love to just hang out with my daughter. I love to work in my garden. I'm not a gaping hole of need." Uma Thurman
"Desperation is the perfume of the young actor. It's so satisfying to have gotten rid of it. If you keep smelling it, it can drive you crazy. In this business; a lot of people go nuts, go eccentric, even end up dead from it. Not my plan." Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman left boarding school at age 15 to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and headed to the Big Apple. In 1988, she landed her first acting job with the supporting role of Georgia Elkans in Bud S. Smith's college football comedy Johnny Be Good (starring Anthony Michael Hall) and the starring role of baby-face Laura, who picks men up only to rob them, in Peter Ily Huemer's suspenseful drama Kiss Daddy Good Night. That same year, after her appearance as Rose Venus in Terry Gilliam's fantasy comedy The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (starring John Neville), Thurman nabbed her breakthrough role as young Cecile de Volanges in Dangerous Liaisons. The romantic drama film, set in pre-revolutionary France, was directed by Stephen Frears and adopted from Christopher Hampton's play and Choderlos de Laclos' novel. Thurman also shared the screen with Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Entering the 1990s, Thurman portrayed June Miller, the wife of real-life author Henry Miller (played by Fred Ward), in Philip Kaufman's biographical drama based on Anaïs Nin's book, Henry & June, the first film to receive the NC-17 rating. She also appeared on television, as fiesty Maid Marion, in Fox’s remake of the classic tale Robin Hood (played by Patrick Bergin).
Meanwhile, Thurman continued to work on the big screen. She joined Richard Gere and Kim Basinger in Phil Joanou's psychological thriller Final Analysis (1992) and acted opposite Andy Garcia in writer-director Bruce Robinson's thriller Jennifer Eight, playing a young blind woman named Helena. She also portrayed female bartender Glory, who was sent to accompany Robert De Niro's Mad Dog, in John McNaughton's drama comedy Mad Dog and Glory (also with Bill Murray) and starred as a formidable hitchhiker named Sissy Hankshaw in Gus Van Sant's adaptation of Tom Robbins' cult novel, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (both in 1993).
It was Quentin Tarantino's mob drama Pulp Fiction (1994) that helped Thurman catapult her name toward prominence. She played Mia Wallace, a gangster’s wife, opposite John Travolta, Ving Rhames and Samuel L. Jackson. The role earned Uma a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. She followed it up with roles in A Month by the Lake (1995) and Beautiful Girls (1996), and starred as Noelle Slusarsky, a gorgeous, kind and generous model, in Michael Lehmann's romantic comedy The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996, alongside Janeane Garofalo).
Thurman spent the rest of the 1990s starring as Irene Cassini in writer-director Andrew Niccol's futuristic thriller Gattaca (with future husband Ethan Hawke) and portraying the villainous Poison Ivy/Dr. Pamela Isley in Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin (with Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell and Alicia Silverstone). She was also cast to play Fantine in Bille August's adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel, Misérables, Les (with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush) and costarred with Ralph Fiennes, as British spies, in Jeremiah S. Chechik's film version of Sydney Newman's television series, The Avengers (also starring Sean Connery). Writer-director Woody Allen later handed her the supporting role of Blanche, the second wife of a jazz guitarist (played by Sean Penn), in the drama comedy Sweet and Lowdown.
The new millennium saw Thurman costarring with Gérard Depardieu in Roland Joffé's period drama Vatel, playing the ravishing beauty of royal newcomer, the regal Anne de Montausier, and portraying the beautiful American expatriate Charlotte Stant in James Ivory's adaptation of Henry James' novel, The Golden Bowl (starring Kate Beckinsale), a drama film set in the opulent social scene of England and Italy between 1903 and 1909. She also reunited with then-husband Ethan Hawke, playing his old-girlfriend Amy Randall, in Richard Linklater's film version of Stephen Belber's play, Tape (also with Robert Sean Leonard) and was featured in the Ethan Hawke-directed ensemble drama Chelsea Walls, based on the play by Nicole Burdette.
In 2002, Thurman took home a Golden Globe for her strong performance as Debby Miller, the assertive best friend to Juliette Lewis' character, in HBO’s production of Laura Cahill’s play, Hysterical Blindness. The TV movie, screened at Sundance and aired on HBO in August, also gave Thurman a SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries.
Back on the silver screen, Thurman played the love interest to Ben Affleck's character in John Woo's sci-fi thriller Paycheck (2003, also with Aaron Eckhart). She then rejoined Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino in his 2003 thriller action, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, playing the vengeful sword slashing assassin The Bride/Black Mamba. She later reprised her role in its 2004 installment, Kill Bill: Vol. 2.
More recent, Thurman costarred opposite John Travolta, playing a widow of a music exec, in F. Gary Gray's adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel, the musical crime comedy Be Cool, and opposite Meryl Streep, playing a career driven professional who embarks on a steamy affair with a witty, much-younger Jewish man, in writer-director Ben Younger's comedy Prime. Director Susan Stroman also handed Thurman the role of the loopy Swedish sexy secretary Ulla, in the movie-musical version of the Tony-Award Winning musical stage play, The Producers, along with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
"Ulla - to me, she's the ideal. Even in her cliché sexuality, there's no negative feelings about sex in that character. Ulla is about sex being natural. She has a kind of divine wisdom. Ulla's the embodiment of self-acceptance, so I could take any edge off of it, and just let it ride!" Uma Thurman (on her role in The Producers)
Soon, Thurman will be seen as a superhero, who uses her powers against her ex-boyfriend, in Ivan Reitman's romantic comedy Super Ex-Girlfriend (costarring Luke Wilson) and will portray the husband-stealer (role originated by Joan Crawford) in Diane English's remake of Clare Boothe Luce's play, The Women, with stars Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd and Meg Ryan. She will also provide her voice to the animated movie Bee Movie.
"I feel much more childlike enthusiasm now. I was definitely much older and more tired when I was 19. I guess I'm a late bloomer; at 25 I feel like I'm finally just coming out of my teens. I need to raise the stakes now, to become more disciplined. I've been too much like a monkey with a typewriter. At the moment I'm looking for some interesting kind of character to sink my teeth into." Uma Thurman
- MTV Movie Award Best Fight, Kill Bill: Vol. 2, 2005
- Empire Awards: Best Actress, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, 2004
- MTV Movie: Best Female Performance, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, 2004
- MTV Movie: Best Fight, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, 2004; vs. Chiaki Kuriyama
- MTV Movie: Female Performance, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, 2004
- Saturn Award: Best Actress, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, 2004
- Golden Globe: Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture made for Television, Hysterical Blindness, 2002
- IFP Gotham Actor Award, 2001
- MTV Movie Award: Best Dance Sequence, Pulp Fiction; shared award with
John Travolta, 1994