Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke (born 23 October 1986) is an English actress. She studied at the Drama Centre London, appearing in a number of stage productions, including one 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 medical 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).
Clarke at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con
23 October 1986
|Alma mater||Drama Centre London|
Clarke rose to international prominence for her breakthrough role as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones (2011–2019). 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 a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress 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) and Qi'ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). She has also starred in the romantic films Me Before You (2016) and Last Christmas (2019). Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019.
Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke was born on 23 October 1986 in London. She grew up in Oxfordshire. Her father was a theatre sound engineer from Wolverhampton, while her mother is the vice-president for marketing at a global management consultancy firm. She has an older brother. Her interest in acting was sparked at the age of three after seeing the musical Show Boat, on which her father was working. Clarke was educated at Rye St Antony School in Headington and at St Edward's School, Oxford, which she left in 2005. After RADA, LAMDA, and Guildhall rejected her, Clarke worked and travelled before entering Drama Centre London, from which she graduated in 2009.
Clarke stated in a 2018 interview that her maternal grandmother was the child of a secret affair between Clarke's great-grandmother and a man from the Indian subcontinent. Her grandmother wore light makeup to hide the darker complexion she had inherited from her father. Clarke credits this background for her family's having a "history of fighters", saying: "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."
Clarke's early work includes two plays at St. Edward's, ten plays at Drama Centre London, the 2009 Company of Angels production of Sense, and two 2009 commercials for Samaritans. One of her first film roles was for a University of London students' short film. 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.
Clarke gave herself a year to become successful as an actor. Nearing her deadline, she was cast in her third professional role 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. Clarke received the role in 2010 after fellow British actress Tamzin Merchant was replaced for undisclosed reasons. In an interview, Clarke stated that she did the funky chicken and robot dance during her audition. The show debuted in April 2011 to positive reviews and was quickly picked up by the network for a second season. She won the 2011 EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her role as Daenerys. In 2013, she was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. She was nominated again in the category in 2015 and 2016.
She has received widespread praise for her portrayal of Daenerys, which traces an arc from frightened girl to empowered woman. 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." Emily 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." In 2017, she reportedly became one of the highest paid actors on television, potentially earning £2 million per episode of Game of Thrones. In 2019 she said she had been uncomfortable acting nude in her first experience at age 23 of a large film set, but had since become "a lot more savvy" about what level of nudity is needed for a scene.
In 2012, she appeared in Spike Island, a film named after the location of The Stone Roses' seminal 1990 gig. From March to April 2013, she played Holly Golightly in a Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany's, a role requiring her to perform a nude scene. 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.
In May 2014, it was announced that she had joined the feature film Garden of Last Days alongside James Franco, but the movie was scrapped two weeks before production was due to begin. She was offered the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but turned down the part because of the nudity required. She played Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys (2015), opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney, and Jason Clarke (no relation). The film grossed over $400 million worldwide, but received generally unfavourable reviews from critics, although Clarke 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, she 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. The film was a commercial success, grossing over $200 million worldwide. 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.
In November 2016, she was cast as the female lead in Solo: A Star Wars Story, released worldwide on 25 May 2018. She is also attached to the films The Guns of August, opposite Helena Bonham Carter, and Above Suspicion, opposite Jack Huston.
In January 2017, she was cast as the lead in the upcoming English language adaptation of the 2015 Korean romantic comedy The Beauty Inside. In May 2019, it was announced that Clarke is set to play the English poet Elizabeth Barrett in the film Let Me Count the Ways, which The Wife director Bjorn Runge is set to direct.
In July 2016, her father died of cancer. Clarke was filming Above Suspicion in Kentucky at the time and was unable to be home for her father's final days. She wrapped the film 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. Referring to Brexit, to which she is opposed and the vote for which happened three weeks before her father died, she added that "those two things happening in quick succession threw me off balance and made me re-evaluate who I am".
In a March 2019 article she wrote for The New Yorker, she revealed she had a subarachnoid haemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm, in February 2011. She underwent urgent endovascular coiling surgery and subsequently suffered from aphasia; at one point she was unable to recall her own name. She had a second aneurysm surgically treated in 2013.
Clarke identifies as a feminist.
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. 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. She 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. In February 2018, she appeared at London's Centrepoint Awards, which celebrates the courage shown by homeless young people. In April 2018, she was named ambassador to the Royal College of Nursing.
In 2019, following the announcement of the brain aneurysms she suffered in 2011 and 2013, Clarke launched SameYou. The charity aims to broaden neurorehabilitation access for young people after a brain injury or stroke. On 26 September 2019, she co-hosted a YouTube live stream with Irish YouTuber Jacksepticeye that raised over $250,000 for SameYou.
|2012||Spike Island||Sally Harris|
|2013||Dom Hemingway||Evelyn Hemingway|
|2015||Terminator Genisys||Sarah Connor|
|2016||Me Before You||Louisa Clark|
|2017||Voice from the Stone||Verena|
|2018||Solo: A Star Wars Story||Qi'ra|
|2019||Above Suspicion||Susan Smith|
|2009||Doctors||Saskia Mayer||Episode: "Empty Nest"|
|2010||Triassic Attack||Savannah Roundtree||Television film|
|2011–2019||Game of Thrones||Daenerys Targaryen||Main role|
|2013||Futurama||Marianne (voice)||Episode: "Stench and Stenchibility"|
|2016||Robot Chicken||Bridget (voice)||Episode: "Joel Hurwitz Returns"|
|2017||Animals||Lumpy (voice)||Episode: "Rats."|
|2017||Thunderbirds Are Go||Doyle (voice)||Episode: "Rigged for Disaster"|
|2019||Saturday Night Live||Herself||Episode: "Kit Harington / Sara Bareilles"|
Awards and nominations
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- "Emilia Clarke's Solo Flight". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 1 June 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
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- "Celebrity birthdays for the week of Oct. 21-27". The Associated Press. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
Oct. 23: ... Actress Emilia Clarke ('Game of Thrones') is 32.
- Roberts, Kayleigh (23 October 2016). "The 'Game of Thrones' Crew Threw Emilia Clarke a Very Unconventional 30th Birthday Party". Elle. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
Emilia Clarke ... turns 30 today.
- "Emilia Clarke was born". The Baltimore Sun. Maryland, U.S. n.d. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
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- "Emilia Clarke Was Born to Rule". Elle. 26 July 2017. Archived from the original on 29 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
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- "OSE to star in new HBO drama". St Edward's School. 14 February 2011. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011.
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- "Spotlight: Emilia Clarke". Spotlight. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
- Lowman, Rob (26 May 2016). "'Game of Thrones' star Emilia Clarke leaves dragons behind for 'Me Before You'". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
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- Lisa's Story (YouTube). Samaritans. 16 November 2009. Archived from the original on 28 August 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
- Emilia Clarke rare short filmed by University of London student (Motion picture).
- "Emilia Clarke Was Not the First Choice to Play Daenerys Targaryen on 'Game of Thrones'". Yahoo!. 30 March 2013. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- Kevin, Patrick (20 March 2014). "Did the Funky Chicken land Emilia Clarke her 'Game of Thrones' role?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
- "HBO Re-commissions 'Game of Thrones'". IFTN. 19 April 2011. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
- "EWwy Awards 2011: Meet Your Winners!". Entertainment Weekly. 19 September 2011. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- "Emmy Nominees Full List: Breaking Bad, Homeland, Downton Abbey Dominate 2013 Awards". HuffPost. 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 14 January 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- Hipes, Patrick (16 July 2015). "Emmy Nominations 2015 – Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- Gilbert, Matthew (28 March 2013). "Fantasy gets real on 'Game of Thrones'". Boston Globe. John W. Henry. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
- VanDerWerff, Emily. "A Golden Crown" (for experts)". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- Parker, Mike (25 April 2017). "Game of Thrones season 7: Stars set to earn £2 Million per episode". Daily Express. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- Hooton, Christopher (25 April 2017). "Game of Thrones season 7: Actors 'set to earn £2million per episode', making them highest-paid ever". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- "Emilia Clarke: Game of Thrones nude scenes were 'terrifying'". The Guardian. 20 November 2019. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- "Lesley Manville and Emilia Clarke Travel to 'Spike Island' With The Stone Roses". Thefilmstage.com. 9 February 2012. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Breakfast at Tiffany's Coming to Broadway with Emilia Clarke". Broadway Tour. BroadwayTour.net. 13 October 2012. Archived from the original on 12 March 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- "Dom Hemingway Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 27 December 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
- "Dom Hemingway (2013) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 1 August 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
- Loading... (2 May 2013). "Games of Thrones Star Emilia Clarke Cast in New Film Garden of Last Days Alongside James Franco". Entertainmentwise. Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "'Game of Thrones' Star Emilia Clarke Turned Down 'Fifty Shades of Grey'". HuffPost. 25 March 2015. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "'Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke Set For 'Terminator' In Sarah Connor Role". Deadline Hollywood. 13 December 2013. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
- "Terminator Genisys". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- Alexander, Bryan (3 February 2016). "Trailer reveal: Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin in 'Me Before You'". USA Today. Archived from the original on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
- "Me Before You (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 17 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- McNary, Dave (16 June 2014). "'Game of Thrones' Star Emilia Clarke Set for Thriller 'Voice From the Stone'". Variety. Archived from the original on 10 February 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
- Boone, John (13 January 2017). "Exclusive: Emilia Clarke Is a Long Way From Westeros in First Look at 'Voice From the Stone'". Entertainment Tonight. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
- Carbone, Gina (18 November 2016). "Emilia Clarke Joins Han Solo Movie as Female Lead". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
- Ge, Linda (19 May 2014). "Emilia Clarke Joins WWI Drama 'The Guns of August' Opposite Helena Bonham Carter". Up and Comers. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- Ford, Rebecca (27 January 2017). "Emilia Clarke to Star in 'The Beauty Inside' for Fox 2000, Temple Hill". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 27 January 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- Clarke, Stewart (8 May 2019). "Emilia Clarke to Star in Bjorn Runge-Directed Love Story 'Let Me Count the Ways'". Variety. Archived from the original on 8 May 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
- Markovitz, Benjamin (13 October 2015). "The Gorgeous Balance of Emilia Clarke, Sexiest Woman Alive 2015". Esquire. Archived from the original on 14 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- "Emilia Clarke Purchases Venice Beach Mansion". la.curbed.com. 13 October 2016. Archived from the original on 16 October 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- Sharkey, Joe (12 August 2018). "That elusive release date for Above Suspicion, which wrapped 2 years ago in Kentucky". joesharkey.com. Archived from the original on 7 January 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
- McGurk, Stuart (25 July 2016). "Emilia Clarke uses gangster rap to get into character". GQ.
- Feldman, Kate (29 June 2017). "Emilia Clarke, 'Game of Thrones' star, says being a woman in Hollywood is like 'dealing with racism'". New York Daily News.
- Theodosi, Natalie (16 May 2018). "In Cannes, Emilia Clarke talks 'Star Wars' and keeping the #MeToo momentum alive". The Los Angeles Times.
- "Emilia Clarke Voted Most Desirable Woman". worldenow.com. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "The Gorgeous Balance of Emilia Clarke, Sexiest Woman Alive 2015". Esquire. 13 October 2015. Archived from the original on 1 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
- "Emilia Clarke wows brokers at annual BGC Charity Day!". The SMA Trust. 12 September 2015. Archived from the original on 15 April 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- "Emilia and Riz join Open Door!". Open Door. 30 August 2017. Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- Wagmeister, Elizabeth (6 January 2018). "Brad Pitt Bid $120,000 to Watch 'Game of Thrones' With Emilia Clarke". Variety. Archived from the original on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- Fowler, Brandi (9 February 2018). "First the Iron Throne, Now Emilia Clarke Is Coming for the Seat in Kensington Palace". InStyle. Archived from the original on 15 April 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- "Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke launches fundraising campaign as nursing ambassador". Royal College of Nursing. 19 April 2018. Archived from the original on 15 April 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- "SameYou Charity". SameYou. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
- McNally, Kelby (4 October 2012). "Demian Bichir, Emilia Clarke Cast Opposite Jude Law in 'Dom Hemingway'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- Hibberd, James (13 December 2013). "'Game of Thrones' star Emilia Clarke cast as Sarah Connor in 'Terminator' reboot". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Fleming, Mike (2 September 2014). "'GOT's Emilia Clarke, 'Hunger Games' Sam Claflin To Star in MGM's 'Me Before You'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
- Siegel, Tatiana (16 June 2014). "Emilia Clarke to Star in Indie Psychological Thriller 'Voice From the Stone'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
- "Emilia Clarke Joins the Han Solo Stand-Alone Film". StarWars.com. 18 November 2016. Archived from the original on 29 January 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- "Cannes: Emilia Clarke, Jack Huston to Star in Thriller 'Above Suspicion'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- Ford, Rebecca (18 September 2018). "Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding to Star in 'Last Christmas'(Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 20 December 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
- "WATCH: Emilia Clarke's First Appearance on TV". BBC America. 1 April 2015. Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
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- "Game of Thrones: Cast". HBO. Archived from the original on 1 September 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
- "Futurama: "Stench and Stenchibility"". The A.V. Club. 28 August 2013. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- "'Game of Thrones' Star Emilia Clarke Shares Secret on Overcoming The Downsides of Fame". Movienewsguide.com. 16 June 2016. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
- Nguyen, Hanh (1 March 2017). "'Animals' Trailer: Season 2 Throws Down With Emilia Clarke, Judy Greer, Rupaul and Dan Harmon". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
- Westbrook, Caroline (18 July 2017). "David Tennant and Emilia Clarke have signed up for Thunderbirds Are Go". Metro. Archived from the original on 21 July 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
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