Emma Thompson

On this date in 1959, actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson was born in London. Her mother Phyllida Law, sister Sophie Thompson and father Eric Thompson were all actors. She studied English literature at Newnham College at Cambridge University (graduating in 1980), where she became active in the university’s famous theatrical group, the Footlights Revue.

She started her career with some BBC radio gigs, followed by appearances on a sketch comedy series called “Alfresco,” with Hugh Laurie, and a popular sitcom, “The Young Ones,” in Britain. In 1990 Thompson co-starred with Jeff Goldblum in “The Tall Guy,” her first major film. She won a BAFTA and an Oscar for Best Actress in her 1992 role in “Howard’s End.” She adapted Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility for the screen, the screenplay for which she deservedly earned an Academy Award for Best Adaptation in 1996, and starred in the film of the same title. Thompson gained an Emmy for guest starring in an episode of “Ellen” in 1997. 

Her most memorable films include roles in “Much Ado About Nothing” (1993), “The Remains of the Day” (1993), “In the Name of the Father” (1993), “Primary Colors” (1998), “Love Actually” (2003), the series “Angels in America” (2003), in which she played an angel, “Stranger than Fiction” (2006), “Last Chance Harvey” (2008) and a recurring role as professor Sybill Trelawney in several of the Harry Potter films, which star freethinker Daniel Radcliffe.

Freedom From Religion Foundation