Jennifer Ehle
Birth Date:
December 29, 1969
Birth Place:
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
5' 7" (1.70 m)
Famous for:
Her role in mini series Pride and Prejudice (1995)
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Pride and Prejudice


American stage, film and television actress Jennifer Ehle rose to prominence for playing Elizabeth Bennet on the popular British television adaptation of Jane Austen's “Pride and Prejudice” (1995), where she took home a BAFTA TV Award for her performance. She continued to gain notice for her roles on the films “Wilde” (1997) and “Sunshine” (1999), from which she received a BAFTA Film nomination and a Golden Satellite Award, respectively, before making it big on the stage with her Tony Award winning portrayal of Annie on Tom Stoppard's “The Real Thing” (1999-2000). The role also earned her a Theatre World Award, a Laurence Olivier Theatre nomination and an Outer Critics Circle nomination. Ehle picked up her second Tony Award for her performance on Tom Stoppard's “The Coast of Utopia” (2006). In a more recent time, the attractive, strawberry blonde became known for her performances on Tom Hooper's hit, “The King's Speech” (2010), from which she jointly picked up a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Santa Barbara International Film Festival Award, a Broadcast Film Critics Association nomination and a  Phoenix Film Critics Society nomination, and Steven Soderbergh's “Contagion” (2011), which brought her a Phoenix Film Critics Society nomination. She also starred as Anna Paul on the CBS drama series “A Gifted Man” (2011-?).    

Ehle once dated actor Colin Firth, whom she met during the set of “Pride and Prejudice” (1995). She reportedly was in a relationship with British actor Toby Stephens around  the time of “The Chamomile Lawn” (1992). Married since 2001, Ehle and her American writer husband Michael Ryan are the parents of two.   


Childhood and Family:

In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Jennifer Anne Ehle was born on December 29, 1969. She is the daughter of British actress Rosemary Harris (born September 19, 1927) and American writer John Ehle (born December 13, 1925). Jennifer grew up between the UK and the US following her mother's frequent career moves, and went to over 18 schools, including the Interlochen Arts Academy in  Innterlochen, Michigan and the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. She finally settled in London to began her drama training at the Central School of Speech and Drama, but later dropped out to pursue a acting in career.    

On November 29, 2001, Jennifer married Michael Scott Ryan. They have two children together, son George Ryan and daughter Talulah Ryan.

The Real Thing


As a child, Jennifer Ehle made her stage debut in the Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1973),  which starred her mother as Blanche Dubois, James Farentino as Stanley Kowalski and Patricia Conolly as Stella Kowalski. After dropping out of London's Central School of Speech and Drama, a then 22 year old Ehle took the part of the 'mercenary' young Calypso in a television adaptation of Mary Wesley's novel “The Camomile Lawn,” where her mother played Calypso in old age. Helmed by Peter Hall, the five part miniseries broadcast on Channel 4 from March 5 1992 to April 2, 1992. It won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Costume Design plus a BAFTA nomination for Best Drama Serial. Later that same year, she made her American television debut in an episode of the Sean Patrick Flanery ABC series  “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” called “Austria, March 1917,” where she played Empress Zita of Austria. On stage, Ehle played Elmire in a West End production of “Tartuffe” (1991), a role that brought her the Ian Charleson Award. She then joined the touring production of “Breaking the Code” (1992), as Pat Green.  

Ehle made her television movie debut in “Micky Love” (1993), opposite Rik Mayall and Nick Hancock, and played Phyllis in “The Maitlands,” which aired on November 13, 1993 as part of the British anthology series “Performance.” Her first film role came in the small part of Cynthia Powell in “Backbeat,” a 1994 British-German drama directed by Ian Softley and starring Sheryl Lee, Stephen Dorff and Ian Hart. She continued to appear in television movies such as “La récréation” (1994, as Nadine), “ Self Catering” (1994, as Meryl), “Pleasure” (1994, as Emma Desneuves) and “Beyond Reason” (1995, as  Beyond Reaso) before gaining her big break in a six episode British television drama, “Pride and Prejudice” (BBC, 1995), adapted by Andrew Davies from the Jane Austen 1813 novel of the same name. Starring as Elizabeth Bennet, opposite Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, she won the BAFTA TV Award in the category of Best Actress for her bright performance. The show was both critically acclaimed and a commercial success. “Pride and Prejudice” aired in the USA on the A&E Network in double episodes on three consecutive evenings starting on January 14, 1996.    

Following a 1995-1996 stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company, during which time she performed in “The Relapse” (as Amanda), “Painter of Dishonour” (as Serafina) and “Richard III” (as Lady Anne), Ehle landed her first significant supporting film role in the Bruce Beresford directed drama “Paradise Road” (1997), where she played British doyenne and model Rosemary Leighton Jones. She then co-starred as Constance Lloyd Wilde in the British biopic “Wilde” (1997), from which she was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. The film starred Stephen Fry as the Irish writer and poet, was directed by Brian Gilbert and written by Julian Mitchell, who based his script on the Pulitzer Prize winning 1987 biography of “Oscar Wilde” by Richard Ellmann. The same year, Ehle also played the title role in the British television miniseries  “Melissa” (Channel 4). The actress next appeared with Kevin McKidd, James Purefoy, Tom Hollander, Julie Graham, Simon Callow and Hugo Weaving in the British comedy/drama film “Bedrooms and Hallways” (1998), starred opposite Dougray Scott in the David Kane film “This Year's Love” (1999) and reunited with her mother for the István Szabó historical movie “Sunshine” (1999), where the two played the same character of Valerie at different ages. She picked up a Golden Satellite for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Drama and a Genie nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Rolefor her performance in the latter.   

Ehle starred as Annie, an actress who falls in love with a playwright, in the London stage revival of Tom Stoppard's “The Real Thing,”  at the Donmar Warehouse between June and July 1999 and then at the Albery Theatre from January 13 to March 18, 2000. She went on to reprise the role on Broadway at the Barrymore Theater from March 29, to August 2000. The role brought Ehle a 2000 Tony for Best Actress (Play) and a Theatre World for Best Actress as well as a Laurence Olivier Theatre nomination for Best Actress and an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.

In 2001, Ehle worked with Alan Cumming and Dominic West in a Broadway revival of Noel Coward's “Design for Living,” in which she portrayed Gilda. In the following year, she co-starred with Aaron Eckhart, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam in the American/British mystery/drama film “Possession” (2002), in which she played a 19th-century poet, Christabel LaMotte. Following a few years hiatus, Ehle returned to the big screen in “The River King” (2005), opposite Edward Burns and Rachelle Lefèvre. On stage, she played Tracy Lord in Philip Barry's “The Philadelphia Story” (2005), opposite Kevin Spacey.

After playing Lady Macbeth in “Macbeth” (2006) as part of the Shakespeare in the Park, Ehle was cast in Tom Stoppard's trilogy, “The Coast of Utopia,” where she played three characters: Luibov Bakunin (“Voyage,”opened November 2006), Natalie Herzen (“Shipwrecked,”opened December 2006) and Malwida von Meysenbug (“Salvage,” opened February 2007). For her bright performance, Ehle was handed a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Ehle continued to appear in several movies, like Dan Wilde's “Alpha Male” (2006, opposite Patrick Baladi and Amelia Warner), Santosh Sivan's “Before the Rains” (2007, starred Linus Roache, Rahul Bose and Nandita Das), Gavin O'Connor's “Pride and Glory” (2008, with Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and Noah Emmerich), and Shana Feste's “The Greatest” (2009, starred Carey Mulligan, Aaron Johnson and Pierce Brosnan). She played Lorainne Morrissey in the CBS television film “The Russell Girl” (2008), opposite Amber Tamblyn and Henry Czerny.

In 2010, Ehle was cast as Myrtle Logue, the wife of King George VI's speech therapist Lionel Logue, on the British historical drama film “The King's Speech,” directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler. The film earned widespread critical acclaim and was a major box office success. She jointly netted a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice nomination for Best Acting Ensemble and a Phoenix Film Critics Society (PFCS) nomination for Best Ensemble Acting for her work on the film.  

Ehle made a cameo as a bartender in “The Adjustment Bureau” (2011), an American action/ thriller film loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story, “Adjustment Team,” directed by George Nolfi and starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, played Cindy Morris, wife to Governor Mike Morris, on the American political drama “The Ides of March” (2011), which was directed by George Clooney from a screenplay written by Clooney, along with Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon, and was cast as Dr. Ally Hextall in the Steven Soderbergh medical thriller disaster film “Contagion” (2011), from which she shared a Phoenix Film Critics Society nomination for Best Ensemble Acting. She co-starred with Patrick Wilson on the CBS drama series “A Gifted Man,” playing Anna Paul, Michael's former wife who is come back as a spirit attached to Michael. The show premiered on September 23, 2011.  


Santa Barbara International Film Festival: Jury Award, Best Ensemble Cast, “The King's Speech,” 2011

Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, “The King's Speech,” 2011

Tony: Best Featured Actress in a Play, “The Coast of Utopia,” 2007

Satellite: Golden Satellite Award, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Drama, “Sunshine,” 2001

Tony: Best Actress in a Play, “The Real Thing,” 2000

Theatre World: Best Actress, “The Real Thing,” 2000

Variety Cub Showbusiness: Best Stage Actress, “The Real Thing,” 2000

BAFTA: TV Award, Best Actress, “Pride and Prejudice,” 1996

Radio Times: Best Newcomer, “The Camomile Lawn,” 1992

Ian Charleson: “Tartuffe,” 1991 Show Less
Jennifer Ehle to join Fifty Shades of Grey movie cast
SP_COP - October 08, 2013 -
Jennifer Ehle has joined the cast of Sam Taylor-Johnson's forthcoming big screen adaptation of erotic literary blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey, reports Variety.Ehle, known for turns in Zero Dark Thir...
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