Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson
Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times


Emma Thompson
Film: South side of the 6700 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born April 15, 1959 in Paddington, England, United Kingdom

Emma Thompson was born into a theatrical family – both of her parents were actors, and her younger sister, Sophie, also became an actress.

Thompson’s career got its start during her college years as a literature major at the University of Cambridge. There she joined the university theatrical club, the Footlights, alongside fellow students Tony Slattery, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, with whom she had a brief romance.

She signed with an agent before she graduated in 1980 and was soon appearing on stage on London’s West End. By 1983, she was showing up regularly on various BBC and ITV television productions, including the sketch comedy show “Alfresco” and a notable guest shot on the hit series “The Young Ones” alongside Laurie and Fry.

In 1987 she costarred with Kenneth Branagh in the hit BBC series “Fortunes of War.” The two began dating and were married in 1989. Around this same time, Thompson’s career moved from television to film, where she starred in the comedy “The Tall Guy” with Jeff Goldblum and alongside Branagh in his film version of “Henry V.” They costarred again in the American sleeper hit “Dead Again” in 1991.

The next year, Thompson won her first Oscar for her performance in the drama “Howards End.” She also received Oscar nominations for “The Remains of the Day” and “In the Name of the Father.” In 1996, she was nominated for best actress and won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for her adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility,” making her the only person in Academy Award history to win awards for both writing and acting.

Thompson and Branagh divorced in 1995. She later married actor Greg Wise in 2003 and together the couple adopted a Rwandan orphan.

Thompson’s recent work has involved a recurring character, Sybil Trelawney, in the "Harry Potter" films, and starring as Nanny McPhee in two films about the character. She’s also an active member of Greenpeace.

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1992 Best Actress Howards End Win
    1993 Best Supporting Actress In the Name of the Father Nomination
    1993 Best Actress The Remains of the Day Nomination
    1995 Best Actress Sense and Sensibility Nomination
    1995 Best Screenplay Sense and Sensibility Win

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