Family & Companions
A veteran British stage actress who was once Hollywood's "It" girl in the early 1990s, Julia Ormond weathered the transition from silver screen ingénue to nuanced character actor with grace and style. Thrown into the spotlight with starring roles opposite Brad Pitt in "Legends of the Fall" (1994) and Harrison Ford in Sydney Pollack's "Sabrina" (1995), the ethereal beauty quickly became a household name. Though her A-list actress status waned only a few years after her career break in "Legends," Ormond's sheer force of talent led to her securing more supporting parts in small screen movies like "Varian's War" (Showtime, 2001) and "Iron Jawed Angels" (HBO, 2004). She played motherly roles in a pair of wildly divergent movies, the Lindsay Lohan thriller "I Know Who Killed Me" (2007) and the family oriented "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" (2008), before reuniting with Pitt for David Fincher's Oscar-nominated drama, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008). Meanwhile, Ormond began wracking up award nominations for her supporting role opposite Claire Danes in the critically acclaimed biographical drama, "Temple Grandin" (HBO, 2010), and made a return to the big screen to play Vivian Leigh in "My Week With Marilyn" (2011), which assured critics and fans that Ormond's star had never truly faded.
Born Jan. 4, 1965 in Epsom, Surrey, England to Josephine Ormond, a lab technician, and John Ormond, a successful computer software designer, Ormond was raised in Surrey by her mother. She attended Guilford High School and Cranleigh School in Surrey, where she was active in field hockey and theater. Upon graduating, Ormond went on to study art briefly at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design before heading to London to study drama at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. Upon receiving her diploma in 1988, she went on to appear in theatrical productions of "The Rehearsal," "Wuthering Heights," "The Crucible" and Christopher Hampton's "Faith, Hope and Charity," which won Ormond the London Drama Critics' Award for Best Newcomer.
After a brief stint in commercials, Ormond went on to make her television debut in 1989 as a junkie Cambridge student and daughter of a British official involved in the war on drugs in the British miniseries "Traffik." She next starred as Russia's Catherine the Great in the miniseries "Young Catherine" (TNT, 1991) - a breakthrough role for the actress - and went on to appear in two little-seen international films: "The Baby of Macon" (1993), a tale of a 17th century Medici which co-starred Ralph Fiennes, and "Nostradamus" (1994), a biopic of the famed visionary played by Tcheky Karyo. Portraying Nadya Alliluyeva opposite Robert Duvall in the television biopic "Stalin" (HBO, 1992), Ormond's classic beauty caught the eye of director Ed Zwick. She was soon cast as Susannah Fincannon Ludlow, the pivotal female lead in Zwick's "Legends of the Fall" (1994). As a woman who comes between three brothers in World War I-era Montana, Ormond found herself on Hollywood's A-list, sharing the screen with Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn and Anthony Hopkins.
Proving she could hold her own as a leading lady on the big screen, Ormond was paired opposite Richard Gere and Sean Connery in the King Arthur flick, "First Knight' (1995). Though it boasted an all-star cast, the film received mixed reviews and did not perform at the box office. Shedding her trademark long locks, she went on to star opposite Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear in Sydney Pollack's remake of the classic 1954 Billy Wilder romance, "Sabrina" (1995). Though the film received decent reviews, it lacked the charisma of the original, which starred iconic silver screen legends Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Ormond suffered from the inescapable comparisons to a silver screen icon, but did her best to pour on the charm. Ormond next starred in the Bille August crime drama "Smilla's Sense of Snow" (1997), and in Nikita Mikhalkov's Russian epic "The Barber of Siberia" (1999). When "Siberia" failed to impress critics - it received more press for Mikhalkov's political views - Ormond took a break from Hollywood. Throwing herself into nonprofit work, the actress founded FilmAid International and ASSET (Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking). Recognized for her humanitarian work, Ormond was appointed as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in 2005.
Returning to the screen in 2004, Ormond co-starred with Hilary Swank and Anjelica Huston in the acclaimed HBO film, "Iron Jawed Angels" about the American women's suffrage movement during the early 1900s. She went on to turn in a small but effectively-eerie performance in David Lynch's "Inland Empire" (2006) and appeared as Abigail Breslin's mother in the favorably reviewed family film, "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" (2008). Landing a pair of supporting yet pivotal roles in 2008, Ormond portrayed American reporter Lisa Howard in Steven Soderbergh's epic biopic "Che," and the daughter of the reversibly aging Brad Pitt in David Fincher's Oscar-nominated "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." In both roles, Ormond's character provided the structure for the films narrative. In the former, it is the interview between Guevara (Benicio Del Toro) and Howard that helps frame the story; in the latter, Ormond's character propels the story into motion by reading Benjamin Button's diary.
Back on the small screen, she played the determined mother of an autistic girl (Claire Danes) who wants her daughter to live a normal life in "Temple Grandin" (HBO, 2010), a highly acclaimed biopic about the titular woman who went on to revolutionize the humane handling of livestock in slaughterhouses. Her performance earned Ormond an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie, while later in the year she received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination in the same category. She went on to play an innovative therapist who uses music to help a young man (Lou Taylor Pucci) with a brain tumor reconnect to both reality and his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) in the indie-made drama, "The Music Never Stopped" (2011). Ormond next had a small, but memorable role as Vivien Leigh - Hollywood star and wife of Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) - in "My Week With Marilyn" (2011), a fictional look at the brief romance between a lowly assistant (Eddie Redmayne) and Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) during the making of Olivier's "The Prince and the Showgirl" (1957) in England. The following year, Ormond had a memorable guest starring role on the acclaimed series "Mad Men" (AMC, 2007-15), where she played the seductive French-speaking mother of Don Draper's younger second wife (Jessica Paré). The role earned Ormond an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Breakthrough stage role in Christopher Hampton's play "Faith, Hope and Charity"
American TV debut, "Traffik"; aired on PBS's "Masterpiece Theatre"
Starred as Catherine the Great on the TNT miniseries "Young Catherine"
Won acclaim for her portrayal of Nadya Alliluyeva, the wife of "Stalin" in the HBO biopic
Feature debut, Peter Greenaway's "The Baby of Macon"
Breakthrough role in "Legends of the Fall" with Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins
First feature released in the US, "Nostradamus"
Cast as Guenevere opposite Sean Connery's Arthur and Richard Gere's Lancelot in "First Knight"
Had title role in Sydney Pollack's ill-fated remake of "Sabrina"
Executive produced the documentary "Calling the Ghosts: A Story About Rape, War and Women"
Had lead in "Smilla's Sense of Snow"
Signed production deal with Fox Searchlight Pictures
Starred in Nikita Mikhalkov's epic "The Barber of Siberia"
Returned to the London stage in David Hare's "My Zinc Bed"
Acted opposite Vince Vaughn and Ed Harris in "The Prime Gig"; film released direct-to-video after screenings at film festivals
Had featured role in the Showtime movie "Varian's War"
Co-starred in the HBO film about the American women's suffrage movement, "Iron Jawed Angels"
Appeared in David Lynch's "Inland Empire"
Played Lindsay Lohan's mother in the thriller "I Know Who Killed Me"
Played Abigail Breslin's mother in the family film "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl"
Re-teamed with Brad Pitt for David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Cast opposite Claire Danes in the biographical TV drama "Temple Grandin"; earned an Emmy (2010) nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominated for the 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie ("Temple Grandin")
Nominated for the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries ("Temple Grandin")
Played Vivien Leigh in "My Week with Marilyn"