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Melanie Thandiwe Newton OBE (/ˈtændi/; born 6 November 1972) is a British actress,[1][2] who has appeared in British and American films.

Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Newton at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Born
Melanie Thandiwe Newton

(1972-11-06) 6 November 1972 (age 46)
Alma materDowning College, Cambridge
OccupationActress
Years active1991–present
Spouse(s)
Ol Parker (m. 1998)
Children3

Newton is known for her starring roles, such as the title character in Beloved (1998), Nyah Nordoff-Hall in Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), Christine in Crash (2004), for which she received a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Linda in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Condoleezza Rice in W. (2008), Laura Wilson in 2012 (2009), and Val in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).

Since 2016, Newton has played the sentient android, the madam Maeve Millay, in the HBO science fiction-western series Westworld, for which she earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and two Critics Choice Awards, as well as Golden Globe Award, Saturn Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. In 2017, she portrayed DCI Roz Huntley in the BBC drama series Line of Duty, which earned her a nomination for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress.

Newton was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to film and to charity.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Newton was born in Westminster, London, England, the daughter of Nyasha, a Zimbabwean member of the Shona people, and Nick Newton, an English[4] laboratory technician and artist.[5] Her birthplace has been incorrectly reported to be Zambia in some biographies,[6] but she has confirmed in interviews that she was born in London.[7][8] The name "Thandiwe" means "beloved" in Ndebele, Zulu, Xhosa or Swati, and "Thandie" is pronounced /ˈtændi/ in English.

Regarding her childhood, Newton remarked at a TED conference, "From about the age of 5, I was aware that I didn't fit. I was the black, atheist kid in the all-white, Catholic school run by nuns. I was an anomaly."[9] Newton was brought up in London and Penzance, Cornwall and studied dance at the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. Between 1992 and 1995, Newton attended Downing College, Cambridge, where she studied social anthropology.[10]

CareerEdit

 
Newton in 2007

After the film Flirting (1991), Newton played a faithful house slave "Yvette" in the Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise film Interview with the Vampire (1994). Newton appeared in the Merchant Ivory production of Jefferson in Paris as Sally Hemings, followed by Jonathan Demme's drama Beloved, based on Toni Morrison's novel (1998), in which she played the title character, the ghost of a young slave girl whose mother murders her to save her from slavery. The film also starred Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. Newton then starred as Nyah Hall, again opposite Cruise, in Mission: Impossible 2. Her next role was in the low-budget film It Was an Accident, written by her husband, screenwriter Ol Parker.[11]

Between 2003 and 2005, Newton played Makemba "Kem" Likasu, love interest of Dr. John Carter on the American television series ER. She reprised the role for the series finale in 2009. In 2004, she also appeared in The Chronicles of Riddick and Crash. Newton won a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress in 2006 for her role in Crash. She played Chris Gardner's wife, Linda Gardner, in The Pursuit of Happyness. Also in 2006, Newton performed on radio in a pantomime version of Cinderella.[12]

In 2007, Newton co-starred with Eddie Murphy in the comedy Norbit as his love interest, and then opposite Simon Pegg as his ex-girlfriend in the 2008 comedy Run Fatboy Run. Newton next portrayed US National Security Advisor-turned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in W., Oliver Stone's film biography of President George W. Bush. The film was released 17 October 2008.

Newton was an introducer at Wembley Stadium on 7 July 2007, for the UK leg of Live Earth. She was due to introduce Al Gore to the concert, but he was delayed, leaving Newton to tell jokes in an attempt to entertain the audience.[13] Newton next portrayed fictional US First Daughter Laura Wilson in 2012, a disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich and released 13 November 2009.

In July 2011, Newton delivered a TED Talk on "Embracing otherness, embracing myself." She discussed finding her "otherness" as a child growing up in two distinct cultures, and as an actress playing many different selves.[14] In 2012, she starred alongside Tyler Perry in the romantic drama film Good Deeds. In 2013, Newton starred in Rogue, the first original drama series for DirecTV's Audience Network.[15] She left Rogue during the third season. In 2015, she starred in the US miniseries The Slap.

In 2016, Newton began portraying Maeve Millay in HBO science fiction drama series Westworld, for which she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, among other accolades. In 2017, she served as a narrator for the documentary entitled Bill Cosby: Fall of an American Icon, an expose on the sexual assault charges laid on Cosby, which aired on BBC One. Newton appeared as Val in the Star Wars film Solo: A Star Wars Story, which was released in May 2018.

Personal lifeEdit

Newton married English writer, director, and producer Ol Parker in 1998. They have three children: daughters Ripley (b. 2000) and Nico (b. 2004), and son Booker Jombe (b. 2014).[16] Newton had home births with all three of her children.[16] She is vegan and was named PETA's "Sexiest Vegan of 2014" in the UK.[17]

In 2006 Newton contributed a foreword to We Wish: Hopes and Dreams of Cornwall's Children, a book of children's writing published in aid of the NSPCC. In it, she wrote vividly about her childhood memories of growing up in Cornwall, and the way in which the county's cultural heritage made it easy for her to "enrich every situation with layers of magic and meaning."[18]

In 2007 Newton sold her near-new BMW X5 and replaced it with a Toyota Prius after Greenpeace stuck a "This gas-guzzling 4x4 is causing climate change" sticker on her BMW.[19] In 2008 Newton visited poverty-stricken Mali, describing it as a "humbling experience." She visited the village of Nampasso in the Ségou Region of the country.[20] In 2013 Newton led the One Billion Rising flash mob in London, for an end to violence, and for justice and gender equality.[21]

David Schwimmer (who directed Run Fatboy Run) called the actress "the queen of practical jokes."[22] Newton has expressed an affinity for Buddhism.[23][24]

In 2016, Newton stated she had been the victim of a director who repeatedly showed his friends a video of her in a sexually-graphic audition which she made as a teenager.[25][26] Newton cited this experience as being a part of why she had taken the Westworld role, which involved substantial nudity, as it mirrored the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse while also asking moral questions about the meaning of humanity and what it means to be humane.[26] In 2018, Newton spoke against Time's Up, a movement against sexual harassment, saying her disappointment at not being involved in the movement stemmed from the fact she was previously “ostracised” for speaking out about alleged sexual abuse by a director.[27]

She was ranked one of the best dressed women in 2018 by fashion website Net-a-Porter. [28]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Flirting Thandiwe Adjewa
1993 The Young Americans Rachael Stevens
1994 Loaded Zita
1994 Interview with the Vampire Yvette
1995 Jefferson in Paris Sally Hemings
1995 The Journey of August King Annalees
1996 The Leading Man Hilary Rule
1997 Gridlock'd Barbara "Cookie" Cook
1998 Besieged Shandurai Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actress
1998 Beloved Beloved Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
2000 Mission: Impossible 2 Nyah Nordoff-Hall Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favourite Female - Newcomer
Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actress
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress
2000 It Was an Accident Noreen Hurlock
2002 The Truth About Charlie Regina Lambert Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actress
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
2003 Shade Tiffany
2004 The Chronicles of Riddick Dame Vaako
2004 Crash Christine Thayer BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Empire Award for Best Actress
Hollywood Film Festival Award for Ensemble of the Year
London Film Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Motion Picture
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated – BET Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Black Movie Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
2006 The Interrogation of Leo and Lisa The Mona Lisa Short film
2006 The Pursuit of Happyness Linda Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
2007 Norbit Kate Thomas
2007 Run Fatboy Run Libby
2008 RocknRolla Stella
2008 How to Lose Friends & Alienate People Herself
2008 W. Condoleezza Rice
2009 2012 Laura Wilson
2010 Huge Kris
2010 Vanishing on 7th Street Rosemary
2010 For Colored Girls Tangie Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actress
2011 Retreat Kate
2012 Good Deeds Lindsey Wakefield
2013 Half of a Yellow Sun Olanna
2018 Gringo Bonnie Soyinka
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story Val
2018 The Death and Life of John F. Donovan Audrey Newhouse

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Pirate Prince Becky Newton Television film
1997 In Your Dreams Clare Television film
2003–2009 ER Makemba "Kem" Likasu Recurring role
2006 American Dad! Makeva Episode: "Camp Refoogee"
2013–2015 Rogue Grace Travis Main role
2015 The Slap Aisha Main role
2016–present Westworld Maeve Millay Main role
Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2016, 2018)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2018)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2016, 2018)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2017)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (2016)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2016)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television (2016)
2017 Line of Duty DCI Roseanne "Roz" Huntley Lead role
Nominated—British Academy Television Award for Best Actress

Music videoEdit

Year Artist Song Ref.
2017 Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé "Family Feud"

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Graydon, Nicola; "Thandie Newton on becoming Condoleezza Rice". Archived 15 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine The Times (London), 7 September 2008
  2. ^ Carty, Ciaran; "When Thandie met Condi". Archived 22 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine Sunday Tribune (Dublin), 21 September 2008
  3. ^ "New Year Honours List 2019". The London Gazette. 29 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  4. ^ Barton, Laura; "'I was so incredibly self-conscious'" Guardian.co.uk, 28 May 2008
  5. ^ Lewis, Sian; "Thandie Newton: 'Condi was my hardest role ever'" Independent.co.uk, 31 October 2008
  6. ^ "Thandie Newton Biography" Yahoo! Movies
  7. ^ Williams, Kam; "Sweet as Thandie" KamWilliams.com, 24 March 2008
  8. ^ A Taste of My Life, Series 4 (BBC Two, 4 June 2008) Thandie Newton – Quote: "Nigel Slater (host): You were born in London but you didn't stay here for long did you? You went down to Cornwall? Thandie Newton (answers): Actually I don't know how my mum and dad managed to do this. But we lived in Zambia, and my mum was pregnant with me. And I was born on a two-week trip back to London, and then we went back to Zambia and my brother was born there. And we ended up coming to England finally when I was three years old. So my dad could help out with the family antique business."
  9. ^ "Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself". Ted.com. July 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  10. ^ "News and Events: Downing alumna Thandie Newton wins BAFTA award" Archived 22 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine Dow.Cam.ac.uk
  11. ^ Thandie's Mission, Evening Standard, she also starred in the Guy Ritchie film "Rock n' Rolla" as a michivious accountant. 22 July 2005. Quote: ...but turned down the Lucy Liu role in Charlie's Angels in favour of making It Was An Accident, a minor film by her scriptwriter husband Ol Parker.
  12. ^ "Doctor Who poised for radio panto" News.BBC.co.uk, 15 December 2006
  13. ^ Needham, Alex; "Live Earth: The live blog, part 2" Guardian.co.uk, 7 July 2007
  14. ^ Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself, TED, 15 July 2011'
  15. ^ "Rogue to Debut on AUDIENCE Network in April". directv.com. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  16. ^ a b Eggenberger, Nicole (5 March 2014). "Thandie Newton welcomes baby boy Booker Jombe Parker in home birth". Us Weekly. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Thandie Newton named PETA's sexiest vegan". Toronto Sun. 23 December 2014.
  18. ^ "We Wish – Hopes and dreams of Cornwall's children". WeWish.org.uk. 30 November 2006. Archived from the original on 6 December 2006.
  19. ^ McLean, Craig (7 January 2007). "Telling it like it is". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007.
  20. ^ "Thandie Newton humbled by Mali trip". Contact Music. 4 February 2009.
  21. ^ "Thandie Newton joins women's protest". CNN. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  22. ^ "Actress Newton admits to pranks". BBC News Online. 4 September 2007.
  23. ^ "Buddha Buzz: Mindfulness and Being a Buddhist Woman". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  24. ^ "A Body in Motion: The For Colored Girls Interview with Kam Williams". Pittsburgh Urban Media. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  25. ^ "Thandie Newton On Why She's Drawn to Tough Roles". W magazine. 5 July 2016. Archived from the original on 9 December 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  26. ^ a b Nededog, Jethro (2 October 2016). "Westworld star Thandie Newton defends her decision to play a brothel madam". Business Insider. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  27. ^ Oppenheim, Maya (25 April 2018). "Thandie Newton explains why she thinks the Time's Up movement didn't want her involved". The Independent. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Best Dressed 2018". Net a.

External linksEdit