Lia Williams

Lia Williams (26 November 1964) is an English actress, known for stage, film, and television appearances. She has also worked as a director.

Lia Williams
Born (1964-11-26) 26 November 1964
OccupationActor, director
Years active1984–present
Spouse(s)Guy Hibbert

Theatre career

Williams's breakthrough performance came in 1991 when she appeared in The Revengers' Comedies. In 1993, she created the role of Carol in the London production of David Mamet's Oleanna. In 1997, Williams appeared in London's West End and on Broadway in David Hare's Skylight. In 2001, Williams appeared again in the West End and on Broadway in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming.

Other theatre performances include Mappa Mundi for the National Theatre (2002), Rosalind in As You Like It for the RSC (2005), The Hothouse for the English National Theatre (2007), Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular (2007), the role of Ellida Wangel in Henryk Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea (2008), and alternating in the roles of Anna and Kate in Pinter's Old Times in 2013. In 2019, she played the role of Hannah Jelkes in the West End theatre production of Tennessee Williams' The Night of the Iguana at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Williams appeared at the Gate Theatre in Dublin in 2013 as Blanche du Bois in a production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.

Film and television

In 1993, Williams made her film debut in Michael Winner's Dirty Weekend. Winner chose her after seeing her in an Alan Ayckbourn play.[1] Subsequent film appearances have included supporting roles in Firelight (1997), Shot Through the Heart (1998), The King Is Alive (2000), Girl from Rio (2001), and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (2007).

Williams' first major TV series was Seaforth (1994), a nine-part series set starring Williams and Linus Roache.

In 2001, Williams appeared opposite Sheila Hancock in the TV serial The Russian Bride.

Other recent television appearances include supporting roles in the Agatha Christie adaptations Sparkling Cyanide (2003) and By the Pricking of My Thumbs (2006), and guest roles in series such as Casualty (1989), Silent Witness (2002), Heartbeat (2002), The Last Detective (2005), A Touch of Frost (2005), and Midsomer Murders (2015).

In September 2009, Williams joined the cast of the ITV comedy drama series Doc Martin.

In 2016, she appeared in the second series of The Missing as Nadia Herz.

In 2016, she played the part of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor in the Netflix series The Crown.

In 2017, she starred in Kiri, a Channel 4 series, alongside Sarah Lancashire and Steven Mackintosh.


Williams has been directing short films since 2002, her debut being Feathers (2002), which was based on a short story by Raymond Carver. In 2008, her short film The Stronger (2007) was nominated for the Best Short Film Award at the BAFTA Film Awards. In 2009, Williams directed Dog Alone, a dialogue-free short film which was broadcast as part of British Sky Broadcasting's Ten Minute Tales season.

She has also directed for the stage.

Personal life

Williams lives in West Hampstead with her second husband, writer/producer Guy Hibbert, and her son from a former marriage, Joshua James. She and her husband also run their own production company, Tilting Ground Productions.


Selected stage credits

Year Play Role Awards and Nominations
1991 The Revengers' Comedies Karen Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer
1993 Oleanna Carol
1996 Skylight[2] Kyra Hollis Theatre World Special Award for Best Ensemble Performance (shared with Michael Gambon and Christian Camargo)
Nominated – Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Nominated – Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
2001 The Homecoming Ruth
2005 As You Like It Rosalind
2007 Absurd Person Singular Eva
2008 The Lady from the Sea Ellida Wangel
2009 God of Carnage Véronique
2010 Earthquakes in London Sarah
2013 Old Times Kate/Anna
2014 The Father Anne
2015 Oresteia Clytemnestra
2016 Mary Stuart Queen Elizabeth I / Mary, Queen of Scots
2018 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Jean Brodie
2019 The Night of the Iguana Hannah Jelkes

Selected television credits

Year Title Role Awards and Nominations
1992 Nightingales Mary
1993 Mr Wroe's Virgins Joanna
1994 Seaforth Paula Longman
1997 The Uninvited Melissa Gates
2001 The Russian Bride Natasha Cherniavskaya Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels Award for Best Actress
2003 Sparkling Cyanide Ruth Lessing
2004 May 33rd Ella Wilson Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Royal Television Society Award for Best Actress
2006 Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs Nellie Bligh
2009 Doc Martin Edith Montgomery Series Regular, Season 4
2012 Secret State Laura Duchenne
2013 Lewis Emma Barnes Guest Star, 2 episodes
2015 Midsomer Murders Maggie Markham Guest Star, 1 episode
2016 The Crown Wallis, Duchess of Windsor
2016 The Missing Nadia Herz
2019 The Capture DSU Gemma Garland

Selected filmography

Year Title Role
1993 Dirty Weekend Bella
1996 Different for Girls Defence Solicitor
1997 The Fifth Province Diana de Brie
Firelight Constance
1998 Shot Through the Heart Maida
2000 The King is Alive Amanda
2001 Chica de Rio Cathy
2007 Blanche-Neige, la suite Sleeping Beauty
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey Joan Tyler


  1. Winner Takes All: A Life of Sorts by Michael Winner, p.269.
  2. "Skylight". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
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