Brenda Blethyn

Actor, Secretary, Personal assistant
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 ... Read more »
Born: 02/20/1946 in Kent, England, GB

Filmography

Actor (47)

Two Men In Town 2015 (Movie)

(Actor)

Lollipop 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Piccadilly Jim 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Mary and Martha 2012 - 2013 (TV Show)

Actor

Dead Man Running 2009 (Movie)

Nick's mother (Actor)

London River 2009 (Movie)

Elisabeth (Actor)

The Calling 2009 (Movie)

(Actor)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

Atonement 2007 (Movie)

Grace Turner (Actor)

Introducing the Dwights 2007 (Movie)

Jean Dwight (Actor)

On a Clear Day 2006 (Movie)

Joan (Actor)

Pooh's Heffalump Movie 2005 (Movie)

Mama Heffalump (Voice)

Pride & Prejudice 2005 (Movie)

Mrs Bennet (Actor)

Undertaking Betty 2005 (Movie)

Betty (Actor)

A Way of Life 2004 (Movie)

(Actor)

Beyond the Sea 2004 (Movie)

Polly Cassotto (Actor)

Blizzard 2003 (Movie)

Auntie Millie (Actor)

The Sleeping Dictionary 2003 (Movie)

Aggie (Actor)

Lovely & Amazing 2002 (Movie)

Jane Marks (Actor)

Pumpkin 2002 (Movie)

Judy Romanoff (Actor)

Sonny 2002 (Movie)

Jewel (Actor)

The Wild Thornberrys Movie 2002 (Movie)

Voice of Mrs Fairgood (Actor)

On the Nose 2001 (Movie)

Brendan's Wife (Actor)

Daddy & Them 2000 (Movie)

Julia (Actor)

Night Train 2000 (Movie)

Alice Mooney (Actor)

Saving Grace 2000 (Movie)

Grace Trevethan (Actor)

RKO 281 1999 (Movie)

Louella Parsons (Actor)

Remember Me? 1999 (Movie)

Shirley (Actor)

Little Voice 1998 (Movie)

Mari (Actor)

Music From Another Room 1998 (Movie)

Grace (Actor)

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Girls' Night 1997 (Movie)

Dawn Wilkinson (Actor)

In the Winter Dark 1997 (Movie)

Ida Stubbs (Actor)

The 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Secrets & Lies 1996 (Movie)

Cynthia (Actor)

A River Runs Through It 1992 (Movie)

Mrs Maclean (Actor)

The Buddha of Suburbia 1992 (Movie)

Margaret Amir (Actor)

The Witches 1990 (Movie)

Mrs Jenkins (Actor)

The Jim Henson Hour 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

A Story Short 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Death of an Expert Witness 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Grown Ups 1979 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Imitation Game 1979 (Movie)

Mary (Actor)

Anne Frank (TV Show)

Actor

The Yellow Bird (TV Show)

Actor

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.

Relationships

Alan Blethyn

Husband
Met while working for British Rail married in 1966 divorced in 1976

William Bottle

Father

Louisa Bottle

Mother
Died c. 1991

Michael Mayhew

Husband
British works for the National Theatre together since the 1980s married June 2010 at a registry office in south London

EDUCATION

Thanet Technical College

Kent

Guildford School of Acting

Guildford , Surrey 1974

Milestones

2008

Earned an Emmy nomination for her guest starring role on NBC's "Law and Order SVU"

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"

2006

Cast as Peter Mullan's loving wife in "On a Clear Day"

2005

Cast opposite Donald Sutherland and Keira Knightley in "Pride and Prejudice," an adaptation of the Jane Austen classic

2004

Portrayed Bobby Darin's (Kevin Spacey) mother in "Beyond the Sea" a biopic of the legendary signer Bobby Darin

2002

Played the mother of the title character, a former gigolo, in the film "Sonny," directed by Nicolas Cage

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"

2001

Portrayed Auguste Van Pels in the ABC movie "Anne Frank"; received Emmy nomination

2000

Appeared as a widow forced by circumstances into raising marijuana in the comedy "Saving Grace"

1999

Portrayed Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons in the HBO drama "RKO 281"

1999

Co-starred with John Hurt in the love story "Night Train"

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

1997

Teamed with Julie Walters for "Girls Night"

1996

Last stage appearance (to date), "Habeas Corpus" at the Donmar Theatre Warehouse

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

1993

Appeared in "The Buddha of Suburbia"

1992

Returned to the British stage in "An Ideal Husband" in Manchester

1992

Had small role as the family matriarch in the Robert Redford directed "A River Runs Through It"

1991

Appeared in the Off-Broadway production of "Absent Friends"

1990

Made full-fledged feature film debut in the US-produced film, "The Witches"

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

1988

Appeared in a British stage production of "Born Yesterday"

1984

Co-starred in the London staging of "Benefactors" by Michael Frayn

1984

Starred with Simon Callow in the British comedy series "Chance in a Million" (Channel Four/Thames)

1981

Had featured role in the British stage play "Steaming"

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"

1975

Joined England's National Theatre Company

Co-starred with Timothy Spall in the British comedy series "Outside Edge"

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

Bonus Trivia

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"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, Aug. 1, 2000

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"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 think 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, was quoted in The Los Angeles Times, Aug. 6, 2000

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"When I was growing up the oldest four had already gone, but there were still five of us at home, so in order to grab Mum's attention, or anybody's attention, you'd have to be dramatic." - Blethyn on getting noticed as the youngest of nine children, to Venice magazine, November 2005

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