Emma Thompson is an actress, comedian, screenwriter, and author. She is the first person ever to have received an Academy Award for both the performance and writing categories. Today Thompson is famous for her participation in high-grossing films such as Howards End, Sense and Sensibility, Nanny McPhee, and Love Actually.
Emma Thompson: Family & Education
Emma Thompson was born 15 April 1959 in London, England to stage and television actor and narrator Eric Thompson and actress Phyllida Law; she has one sister, Sophie Thompson, who is also an actress.
Thompson attended Camden School for Girls and studied English literature at The University of Cambridge Newnham College. There, she joined the amateur theatre troupe Cambridge Footlights where she met fellow actors Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
Emma Thompson: Acting Career
After earning her degree in 1983, Thompson participated in the television comedy sketch Alfresco alongside Fry and Laurie. Although Alfresco was not a huge success, her career began progressing and her role in the musical revival of Me and My Girl brought her great acclaim. She was later cast in the BBC television miniseries Fortunes of War where she co-starred with her future ex-husband, Kenneth Branagh.
The couple collaborated in a number of projects that received positive recognition, including films Henry V, Dead Again, and Peter’s Friends.
Since then, Thompson has earned a number of roles both in the stage and in the screen. Some of her most recent roles include P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks; Mrs. Lovett in the stage production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; and Prof. Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter movie franchise.
Emma Thompson: Awards & Recognition
In 1993, Emma Thompson won her first Academy Award for her leading role in the film Howards End. That year, she also received a Golden Globe and a BAFTA award for the same role. Just three years later in 1996, Thompson made history as the first person to receive an Academy Award in both the acting and writing categories after winning the Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay adaption for Sense and Sensibility. She was also nominated for Best Acting in a Leading Role for the same movie.
Thompson has also received nominations in the Primetime Emmy Awards (winning in 1998 for her participation in the comedy series Ellen); the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA; Alliance of Women Film Journalists; Empire Awards (winning twice for Best Actress in Love Actually and Saving Mr. Banks); and a number of other awards.
Emma Thompson: Author
In 2012 as a commemoration of the 110th anniversary of the publication of The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Thompson wrote the New York Times Best Seller, The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit, and in 2013, The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Emma Thompson: Personal Life & Activism
After her divorce from Kenneth Branagh in 1995, Thompson began a relationship with her now husband, Greg Wise. The couple has a daughter, Gaia, born in 1999, and were married in 2003.
Emma Thompson has been very outspoken in matters of religion, declaring herself an atheist; her charity work with ActionAid; and a few other political and environmental causes, even participating in the prevention of the expansion of London’s Heathrow airport.
Cambridge.com is not affiliated with the University of Cambridge.