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Jayne Atkinson

Jayne Atkinson

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 18, 1959 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A respected actress on television and stage as well as in film, Jayne Atkinson moved skillfully between women of power on "24 " (Fox 2001-2010) and "House of Cards" (Netflix 2013- ) and kindly mothers in "Free Willy" (1993) and "Our Town" (PBS 2003). Born in England but raised in America, Atkinson's stage training at both Northwestern University and the Yale Drama School provided her with the skills to reach Broadway and primetime television in the late 1980s via a 1987 production of "All My Sons" and the network series "A Year in the Life" (NBC 1986-88). She soon balanced regular work in features and television with turns on Broadway that netted her multiple Tony nominations. Despite playing a wide variety of roles, Atkinson's turns as government and law officials on "24," "Criminal Minds" (CBS 2005-) and "House of Cards" and in "Syriana" (2005) had the greatest resonance with viewers, and ensured her a sort of cottage industry in these character types. Thankfully, the breadth of her talents allowed her to avoid typecasting and segue successfully between these flinty figures and comic turns on Broadway in "Blithe Spirit," among others. Atkinson's diverse c.v. and popularity with TV viewers...

A respected actress on television and stage as well as in film, Jayne Atkinson moved skillfully between women of power on "24 " (Fox 2001-2010) and "House of Cards" (Netflix 2013- ) and kindly mothers in "Free Willy" (1993) and "Our Town" (PBS 2003). Born in England but raised in America, Atkinson's stage training at both Northwestern University and the Yale Drama School provided her with the skills to reach Broadway and primetime television in the late 1980s via a 1987 production of "All My Sons" and the network series "A Year in the Life" (NBC 1986-88). She soon balanced regular work in features and television with turns on Broadway that netted her multiple Tony nominations. Despite playing a wide variety of roles, Atkinson's turns as government and law officials on "24," "Criminal Minds" (CBS 2005-) and "House of Cards" and in "Syriana" (2005) had the greatest resonance with viewers, and ensured her a sort of cottage industry in these character types. Thankfully, the breadth of her talents allowed her to avoid typecasting and segue successfully between these flinty figures and comic turns on Broadway in "Blithe Spirit," among others. Atkinson's diverse c.v. and popularity with TV viewers underscored her status as a well-liked and in-demand actress.

Born February 18, 1959 in the English coastal town of Bournemouth, Jayne Atkinson moved with her family to the United States less than a decade later. They settled in Hollywood, Florida, where her parents performed in community theater. Atkinson made her own acting debut in a short play by A.A. Milne at the age of 10, and after graduating from the Pine Crest School, studied performance at both Northwestern University and the Yale Drama School. She worked in regional theater before making her Broadway debut in Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" in 1987 and her first notable screen appearances in the Emmy-winning miniseries "A Year in the Life" (NBC 1986) and its short-lived run as a dramatic series (NBC 1987-88). Atkinson was soon a regular presence on television, most notably as Ed Begley's wife on "Parenthood" (1990), NBC's first attempt at adapting the Ron Howard feature to a weekly series. She also enjoyed a box office hit with "Free Willy," a family drama about the relationship between a young boy and a captive orca. Atkinson played the boy's foster mother in both the 1993 feature and its 1995 sequel "Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home."

While enjoying steady work in feature and television guest roles, Atkinson also continued to appear on Broadway, most notably in a 1999 production of "The Rainmaker" opposite Woody Harrelson that earned her a Tony Award nomination. She later appeared in a 2002 production of "Our Town" with Paul Newman as the Stage Manager that was filmed for television in 2003, and netted a second Tony nomination, as well as an Outer Critics Circle Award, that same year for "Enchanted April." As before, major film and television roles followed in the wake of her stage success: she was town patriarch William Hurt's wife in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" (2004) and enjoyed supporting roles in Stephen Gaghan's "Syriana" (2005), among other big screen efforts.

Her greatest exposure came with recurring roles on four exceptionally popular television shows: she was Karen Hayes, the formidable deputy director of Homeland Security and later National Security Advisor on "24," with which she helped the show a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Atkinson also played Erin Strauss, the equally flinty assistant director of the Behavior Analysis Unit on "Criminal Minds," and made several appearances as the dean of Columbia University on "Gossip Girl" (CW 2007-2012). Between these efforts, she also returned to Broadway for a revival of "Blithe Spirit" in 2009. In 2013, she enjoyed a recurring role as Secretary of State Catherine Durant on the critically acclaimed "House of Cards" (Netflix 2013- ).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Recount (2008)
2.
 12 and Holding (2005)
3.
 Village, The (2004) Mrs Walker
5.
 Blank Check (1994) Sandra Waters
6.
 Free Willy (1993) Annie Greenwood
7.
 In the Best Interest of the Children (1992) Wanda Birney
8.
 Absolute Strangers (1991) Eleanor Barcroft
9.
 Revenge of Al Capone, The (1989) Elizabeth Rourke
10.
 Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987) Helen
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Milestones close milestones

1999:
Starred opposite Woody Harrelson in revival of "The Rainmaker"; received Tony nomination as Actress in a Play
2006:
Cast in Michael Cuesta's sophomore feature "Twelve and Holding"

Education

Pine Crest School: -
Yale School of Drama: -
School of Speech, Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois - 1981

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