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Brenda Blethyn

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Also Known As: Brenda Anne Bottle Died:
Born: February 20, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Kent, England, GB Profession: actor, stenographer, secretary, personal assistant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After decades of acclaimed performances on stage and British television, Brenda Blethyn expanded her audience to include international theatergoers during the 1990s. With her spry and feisty manner, she showed a flair for comedy with her acclaimed starring roles in "Little Voice" (1998), "Saving Grace" (2000) and several British sitcoms. But ultimately the stage veteran revealed herself to be one of her country's most versatile character actors, bringing a down-to-earth accessibility to ubiquitous costume dramas like "Pride & Prejudice" (2005) as well as offering many portraits of contemporary women struggling to define themselves in "Secrets and Lies" (1996) and "Lovely and Amazing" (2001). Much in-demand in her native country and by filmmakers from the U.S. to Australia, Blethyn could always be counted to add her humorous touch to characters undergoing the most difficult of personal situations.

After decades of acclaimed performances on stage and British television, Brenda Blethyn expanded her audience to include international theatergoers during the 1990s. With her spry and feisty manner, she showed a flair for comedy with her acclaimed starring roles in "Little Voice" (1998), "Saving Grace" (2000) and several British sitcoms. But ultimately the stage veteran revealed herself to be one of her country's most versatile character actors, bringing a down-to-earth accessibility to ubiquitous costume dramas like "Pride & Prejudice" (2005) as well as offering many portraits of contemporary women struggling to define themselves in "Secrets and Lies" (1996) and "Lovely and Amazing" (2001). Much in-demand in her native country and by filmmakers from the U.S. to Australia, Blethyn could always be counted to add her humorous touch to characters undergoing the most difficult of personal situations.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Two Men In Town (2014)
2.
 Mary & Martha (2013)
3.
 Dead Man Running (2010)
4.
 Calling, The (2009)
5.
 London River (2009)
7.
 Atonement (2007)
8.
 Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005) Voice Mama Heffalump
9.
 Pride & Prejudice (2005) Mrs. Bennet
10.
 On a Clear Day (2005)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Ramsgate, England
:
Worked for ten years as a bank secretary, during which time she married and later divorced
:
Gained early stage experience with the Bubble Theater and with the Belgrade Theater in Coventry
1975:
Joined England's National Theatre Company
1980:
Acted in "The Imitation Game" (made for British TV, but shown at film festivals and received limited theatrical exposure)
1980:
Initial collaboration with Mike Leigh, the British TV-movie "Grown-Ups"
1981:
Had featured role in the British stage play "Steaming"
1984:
Starred with Simon Callow in the British comedy series "Chance in a Million" (Channel Four/Thames)
1984:
Co-starred in the London staging of "Benefactors" by Michael Frayn
1988:
Appeared in a British stage production of "Born Yesterday"
1989:
Had lead in the British series "The Labours of Erica," a sitcom written for her by "Chance in a Million" writers Fegen and Norriss
1990:
Made full-fledged feature film debut in the US-produced film, "The Witches"
1991:
Appeared in the Off-Broadway production of "Absent Friends"
1992:
Had small role as the family matriarch in the Robert Redford directed "A River Runs Through It"
1992:
Returned to the British stage in "An Ideal Husband" in Manchester
1993:
Appeared in "The Buddha of Suburbia"
:
Co-starred with Timothy Spall in the British comedy series "Outside Edge"
1996:
Received first Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the birth mother of an African American daughter who she gave up for adoption in Mike Leigh's "Secrets & Lies"; Spall played her brother
1996:
Last stage appearance (to date), "Habeas Corpus" at the Donmar Theatre Warehouse
1997:
Teamed with Julie Walters for "Girls Night"
1998:
Won critical praise as the shrill working-class mother of a gifted young woman nicknamed "Little Voice"; received second Academy Award nomination, this time as Best Supporting Actress
1999:
Co-starred with John Hurt in the love story "Night Train"
1999:
Portrayed Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons in the HBO drama "RKO 281"
2000:
Appeared as a widow forced by circumstances into raising marijuana in the comedy "Saving Grace"
2001:
Portrayed Auguste Van Pels in the ABC movie "Anne Frank"; received Emmy nomination
2001:
Acted in the ensemble of "Daddy and Them" (filmed in 1998); written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton; (released theatrically in 2002)
2001:
Played the wife of a military officer stationed in Malayasia in the 1930s in "Sleeping Dictionary"
2002:
Played the mother of the title character, a former gigolo, in the film "Sonny," directed by Nicolas Cage
2004:
Portrayed Bobby Darin's (Kevin Spacey) mother in "Beyond the Sea" a biopic of the legendary signer Bobby Darin
2005:
Cast opposite Donald Sutherland and Keira Knightley in "Pride and Prejudice," an adaptation of the Jane Austen classic
2006:
Cast as Peter Mullan's loving wife in "On a Clear Day"
2007:
Played a bawdy comedienne with a sinking career in the Australian drama "Introducing the Dwights"
2007:
Once again appeared opposite Keira Knightley in the critically-acclaimed "Atonement"
2008:
Earned an Emmy nomination for her guest starring role on NBC's "Law and Order SVU"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Thanet Technical College: -
Guildford School of Acting: Guildford , Surrey - 1974

Notes

"I'm an overnight success after 25 years, but it's all been very nice. At my age, you don't expect these things to happen. It's the same with the nominations. It's wonderful to have the whole movie industry talking about you, and mentioning your name among people who are wonderful actors. You don't lose, really. Getting the nomination is a win, especially if you're an old-fashioned English girl from Ramsgate, Kent, in England, d'you know what I mean?" --Brenda Blethyn quoted in The Boston Globe, August 1, 2000.

"Everyone in England thinks I'm a wonderful gardener. I'm invited onto garden shows, the whole bit. But it's all because I was misquoted once. What I'd said was that I love my garden -- but I meant I love sitting in it!

Of course I make sure it's properly looked after, but not necessarily by me." --Blethyn quoted in Daily News, August 6, 2000.

"I've been fortunate. There's always been work when I wanted it. I often read things about the problems actresses have here in getting parts for older women. But I haven't had a problem. I thing there are roles there, but they may not be leading roles. I don't have an ego about playing the leading part all the time." --Brenda Blethyn quoted in Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2000.

Cindy Pearlman: So what was the first big splurge you bought after making it big with an Oscar nomination for "Secrets and Lies"?

Brenda Blethyn: I bought a Mercedes! I did treat myself. And it was such a lovely feeling. Also, the first thing I did when I got a hint of success was hire someone to do the washing and ironing. It was so liberating because I hate to iron.

--From Chicago Sun-Times, August 6, 2000.

On acting: "It's all about creating roles and exercising the craft. It doesn't have to be the Great Leading Role. If you can fool people that you are another person for a length of time without them seeing the chinks ... if you can suspend someone's imagination for a length of time, that's what is thrilling." --Brenda Blethyn quoted in USA Today, January 21, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Alan James Blethyn. Graphic designer. Married in 1966; divorced in 1976.
companion:
Michael Mayhew. Print art director. Works for the National Theatre.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Charles Bottle. Mechanical engineer.
mother:
Louisa Kathleen Bottle. Died c. 1991.

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