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Emilia Isabelle Euphemia Rose Clarke[1] (born 23 October 1986) is an English actress. Born in London and brought up in Berkshire, Clarke studied at the Drama Centre London, where she appeared in a number of stage productions, and starred in a theatre production by the Company of Angels. After making her screen debut in a short film, her television debut came with a guest appearance in an episode of the British soap opera Doctors in 2009. The following year, she was named as one of the UK Stars of Tomorrow by Screen International magazine for her role in the Syfy film Triassic Attack (2010).

Emilia Clarke
Emilia Clarke-Emmys 2018.jpg
Emilia Isabelle Euphemia Rose Clarke

(1986-10-23) 23 October 1986 (age 32)
London, England
ResidenceLondon, England
Venice Beach, California, U.S.
Years active2009–present
AwardsFull list

Clarke rose to international prominence in 2011 for her breakthrough role as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones (2011–present). The role has garnered her critical acclaim and several accolades, including three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and six nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Clarke made her Broadway debut as Holly Golightly in a production of Breakfast at Tiffany's in 2013. Her film roles include Sarah Connor in the science fiction film Terminator Genisys (2015), Louisa Clark in the romance film Me Before You (2016), and Qi'ra in the Star Wars anthology film Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). Clarke is also known for her philanthropic efforts, and for her work promoting proper pay and benefits for nurses in the UK.


Early life and familyEdit

Emilia Isabelle Euphemia Rose Clarke was born on 23 October 1986 in London, and grew up in Berkshire.[2] Her father (died 10 July 2016)[3] was a theatre sound engineer from Wolverhampton, West Midlands.[4] She has an older brother.[5] Clarke's interest in acting began at the age of three after seeing the musical Show Boat, on which her father was working.[6] She was educated at Rye St Antony School and at St Edward's School, graduating in 2005.[7] She attended Drama Centre London, and graduated in 2009.[8]

Clarke stated in a 2018 interview that her maternal grandmother was the result of a secret affair her great grandmother had with a man from the Indian subcontinent. Her grandmother wore light makeup to hide the dark complexion she had inherited from her father. She credits this as her family having a "history of fighters," saying that "The fact that [my grandmother] had to hide her skin colour, essentially, and try desperately to fit in with everyone else must’ve been incredibly difficult."[9]


Emilia Clarke at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con

Clarke's early work includes two plays at St. Edwards,[7] ten plays at Drama Centre London, the 2009 Company of Angels production of Sense,[8] and two 2009 commercials for Samaritans.[10] One of her first film roles was for a University of London students' short film.[11] Her first television roles were Saskia Mayer in a 2009 episode of the British soap opera Doctors and Savannah in Syfy's 2010 film Triassic Attack. Screen International magazine named her as one of the "UK Stars of Tomorrow".[12]

In 2010 Clarke was cast as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, based on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. She was cast after fellow British actress Tamzin Merchant was replaced for undisclosed reasons.[13] In an interview, Clarke stated that she did the funky chicken and robot dance during her audition.[14] The show debuted in April 2011 to positive reviews and was quickly picked up by the network for a second season.[15] Clarke won the 2011 EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her role as Daenerys.[16] In 2013, Clarke was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.[17] She was nominated again in the category in 2015 and 2016.[18]

Clarke has received widespread praise for her performance. Her portrayal of Daenerys, tracing an arc from frightened girl to empowered woman, has been praised highly. Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe called her scenes "mesmerizing", adding that "Clarke doesn't have a lot of emotional variety to work with as Daenerys, aside from fierce determination, and yet she is riveting."[19] Todd VanDerWerff for The A.V. Club commented on the difficulty of adapting such an evolution from page to screen, but concluded that "Clarke [...] more than seal[s] the deal here.[20] In 2017, Clarke reportedly became one of the highest paid actors on television, earning £2 million per episode of Game of Thrones.[21][22]

In 2012, Clarke appeared in Spike Island, a film named after the location of The Stone Roses' seminal 1990 gig.[23] From March to April 2013, Clarke played Holly Golightly in a Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany's, a role requiring Clarke to perform a nude scene.[24] That year, she also starred in Dom Hemingway alongside Jude Law. Critical reaction to the film was mostly positive, though it was a commercial failure.[25][26]

In May 2014, it was announced that she had joined the feature film Garden of Last Days alongside James Franco,[27] but the movie was scrapped two weeks before production was due to begin. Clarke was offered the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but turned down the part because of the nudity required.[28] She played Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys (2015), opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney, and Jason Clarke.[29] The film grossed over $400 million worldwide, but received generally unfavorable reviews from critics,[30] despite this she did receive nominations for awards like the Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer Movie Star - Female and Germany's Jupiter Award for Best International Actress.

In 2016, Clarke starred as the female lead, opposite Sam Claflin, in the movie adaption of the best selling book (of the same name), Me Before You, released on 3 June 2016.[31] The film was a commercial success, grossing over $200 million worldwide and is Clarke's highest-rated film on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[32][33] For her role as Louisa Clark, she shared nominations with Sam Claflin for the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Liplock and the MTV Television Tearjerker Award.

She played the lead as Nurse Verena, in the film Voice from the Stone which was released on April 2017 in limited release, video on demand and digital HD.[34][35]

In November 2016, Clarke was cast as the female lead in Solo: A Star Wars Story, released worldwide on 25 May 2018.[36] Clarke is also attached to the films The Guns of August opposite Helena Bonham Carter,[37] and Above Suspicion opposite Jack Huston.[38] In January 2017, Clarke was cast as the lead in the upcoming English language adaptation of the 2015 Korean romantic comedy, The Beauty Inside.[39]

Personal lifeEdit

As of October 2015, Clarke resides in Hampstead, London.[40] In 2016, she purchased a $4.64 million house in Venice Beach, California.[41]

Clarke was voted the most desirable woman in the world by AskMen readers in 2014.[42] She was named Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive in 2015.[43] In 2017, she was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone.[3]

In July 2016, her father died from cancer. Clarke was filming Above Suspicion in Kentucky at the time and unable to be home for all of her father's final days. She wrapped the movie early but arrived at the airport in London to learn that he had just died. "The world felt like a scarier place once my dad wasn’t in it," she said. "And then those two things happening in quick succession threw me off balance and made me re-evaluate who I am."[44]

Charitable workEdit

Since her rise to prominence, Clarke has contributed time and effort to a variety of charitable organisations. In September 2011, she joined SMA Trust team as their celebrity ambassador.[45] In August 2017, she became a patron of Open Door, a non-profit that aims to help young people gain access to drama school auditions.[46] Clarke auctioned a chance to watch an episode of Game of Thrones with her at the 2018 Sean Penn Charity Gala, which raised over $120,000 benefiting the J/P HRO & Disaster Relief Organizations.[47] In February 2018, Clarke appeared at London's Centerpoint Awards, which celebrates the courage shown by homeless young people.[48] In April 2018, she was named ambassador to the Royal College of Nursing in the UK.[49]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2009 Drop the Dog Julie Short film
2012 Spike Island Sally Harris
Shackled Malu Short film
2013 Dom Hemingway Evelyn Hemingway [50]
2015 Terminator Genisys Sarah Connor [51]
2016 Me Before You Louisa Clark [52]
2017 Voice from the Stone Verena [53]
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story Qi'ra [54]
TBA Above Suspicion Susan Smith [55]
2019 Last Christmas Kate Filming [56]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2009 Doctors Saskia Mayer Episode: "Empty Nest" [57]
2010 Triassic Attack Savannah Roundtree Television film [58]
2011–present Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen Main role (seasons 1–present) [59]
2013 Futurama Marianne (voice) Episode: "Stench and Stenchibility" [60]
2016 Robot Chicken Bridget (voice) Episode: "Joel Hurwitz Returns" [61]
2017 Animals. Lumpy (voice) Episode: "Rats." [62]
Thunderbirds Are Go Doyle (voice) Episode: "Rigged for Disaster" [63]

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Ref.
2015 Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen [64]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2013 Breakfast at Tiffany's Holly Golightly Cort Theatre [65]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Emilia Clarke has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and six Screen Actor Guild Awards. As of 2018, she has won ten awards from 29 nominations.


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External linksEdit