Minnie Driver

Amelia Fiona "Minnie" Driver (born 31 January 1970) is an English[1] actress and singer-songwriter.

Minnie Driver
Driver at the premiere of Barney's Version in January 2011
Amelia Fiona Driver

(1970-01-31) 31 January 1970
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationBedales School
Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art
OccupationActress, singer-songwriter
Years active1990–present
Known forGood Will Hunting, Speechless

Driver has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Screen Actors Guild Award in Gus Van Sant's Good Will Hunting (1997) for her role as Skylar, she was also nominated for both an Emmy Award (2007) and a Golden Globe Award (2008) for her work in the television series The Riches, and for an Emmy Award for her role as Maggie Royal in Return to Zero (2015). She has also been nominated by for the London Film Critics' Circle Award as British Supporting Actress of the Year on five occasions so far for Big Night and Sleepers (both in 1996), Good Will Hunting (1997) which she won, The Phantom of the Opera (2004), and Barney's Version (2010).

Her other film work includes Grosse Pointe Blank, Tarzan, Return to Me, Ella Enchanted, Conviction, and Beyond the Lights. On television, she starred as Fiona Bowa on the NBC sitcom About a Boy, has been an ongoing regular guest star on Will & Grace on NBC, and most recently starred as Maya DiMeo on the ABC sitcom Speechless.

Early life and education

Driver was born in Marylebone, London.[2] Her mother, Gaynor Churchward (née Millington), is a fabric designer and former couture model. Her father, Charles Ronald Driver (1921–2009), was born in Swansea, Wales, of English and Scottish descent;[3] he earned the Distinguished Flying Medal for his role in the Battle of Heligoland Bight[4] and was a director of London United Investments.[3][5][6]

Her parents never married,[4] as her father was married to another woman throughout his relationship with her mother. Her parents separated when Minnie was six years old.[7] She was sent to Bedales School, Hampshire, as a boarder.[7] Ronald Driver moved to Barbados, where Minnie spent her school holidays. She later attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art,[8] and Collingham College, an independent college in Kensington.[9] Minnie has an older sister, Kate, who is a film producer and manager, and two younger half-brothers: Charlie Driver from her father's subsequent marriage, and Ed Churchward from her mother's subsequent marriage.[7]



Driver's television debut was in a 1991 TV advertisement for Right Guard deodorant.[10] Driver also made her stage debut in 1991, supplementing her income by performing as a jazz vocalist and guitarist.[11] She appeared on British television with comedians Steve Coogan and Armando Iannucci, and had small parts in Casualty, The House of Eliott, Lovejoy and Peak Practice. Driver gained broader public attention when she played the lead role in Circle of Friends in 1995. She followed this with supporting roles in GoldenEye (1995), Sleepers (1996), Big Night (1996) and Grosse Pointe Blank (1997). She played opposite Matt Damon as Skylar in the drama Good Will Hunting (1997), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

In 1998, Driver starred in Sandra Goldbacher's film The Governess.[12] That same year, she co-starred opposite Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman in the action thriller Hard Rain. Driver has also worked on several animated features, voicing Jane in Disney's 1999 version of Tarzan and Lady Eboshi in the 1999 English-dubbed release of the Japanese film Princess Mononoke. In 2003 and 2004, she had a recurring role on Will & Grace as Lorraine Finster, the nemesis of Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) and daughter of Karen's lover, Lyle Finster (John Cleese).

In March 2007, Driver made her return to television in the FX Network show The Riches. She was nominated for an Emmy Award[13] and a Golden Globe Award as Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2007 and 2008, respectively.[14] She was scheduled to appear in The Simpsons Movie, although her appearance was cut from the final version. Driver appeared in the January 2010 episode of Modern Family entitled "Moon Landing".[15] She also starred in the television series The Deep[16] and appeared in Conviction, in the comedy-drama Barney's Version, winning a Genie Award for Best Supporting Actress.[17]

In October 2013, Driver started filming for The Crash,[18] released 13 January 2017.[19]

Driver landed the lead role in the ABC sitcom Speechless, playing the mother of three children, one of whom has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. The series debuted in the 2016–17 TV season. It was cancelled in May of 2019 after three seasons.[20]


Driver began making music at boarding school.[21] She was part of the Milo Roth Band, which received a recording contract when she was 19.[21] In 2001 she signed with EMI and Rounder Records and performed at the SXSW music festival.[22] The title song of Everything I've Got in My Pocket, her first album, reached No. 34[23] in the UK, and the song "Invisible Girl" peaked at No. 68. Driver wrote 10 of the 11 songs on the album. In 2004, Driver was the supporting act for the Finn Brothers on the UK portion of their world tour.[24]

In 2004, Driver played Carlotta Giudicelli in Joel Schumacher's film The Phantom of the Opera, based on the musical of the same name by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Driver sang "Learn to be Lonely", an original song written for the film by Lloyd Webber. However, because of her lack of opera experience, all her songs as Carlotta were dubbed by opera singer Margaret Preece. Driver released her second album, Seastories, in July 2007, featuring guest appearances by Ryan Adams, the Cardinals and Liz Phair.[25] Driver released a third album in October 2014 called Ask Me to Dance that includes songs by Elliott Smith, Neil Young and The Killers.[26]

Personal life

Driver was engaged to Josh Brolin in 2001.[27] On 5 September 2008, Driver gave birth to a son, whom she named Henry,[28][29] from a brief relationship with television writer and producer Timothy J. Lea (CSI: NY, Lie to Me, Unforgettable).[30]

In 2013, Driver appeared on an episode of the documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?, in which she searched for information about her late father and found that he had a brother, Leslie, who became an actor in repertory theatre.[31]

On 11 October 2016, Driver revealed she was sexually assaulted at the age of 17 while on holiday in Greece.[32][33]

On 21 December 2017, Driver became an American citizen.[34][35][36][37]



Year Title Role Notes
1992 The Zebra Man Emily Ashdown Short
1995 Circle of Friends Bernadette "Benny" Hogan
1995 GoldenEye Irina
1996 Big Night Phyllis
1996 Sleepers Carol Martinez
1997 Grosse Pointe Blank Debi Newberry
1997 Good Will Hunting Skylar Satenstein
1998 Hard Rain Karen
1998 The Governess Rosina da Silva
1998 At Sachem Farm Kendal
1999 An Ideal Husband Miss Mabel Chiltern
1999 Princess Mononoke Lady Eboshi (voice) English dub
1999 Tarzan Jane Porter (voice)
1999 South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Brooke Shields (voice)
2000 Return to Me Grace Briggs
2000 Beautiful Mona Hiburd
2000 Slow Burn Trina McTeague
2000 The Upgrade Constance Levine Short
2001 High Heels and Low Lifes Shannon
2001 D.C. Smalls Waitress Short
2003 Owning Mahowny Belinda
2003 Hope Springs Vera Edwards
2004 Ella Enchanted Mandy
2004 Portrait Donna Short
2004 The Phantom of the Opera Carlotta
2006 The Virgin of Juarez Karina Danes
2007 Take Ana Nichols
2007 Ripple Effect Kitty
2009 Motherhood Sheila
2010 Conviction Abra
2010 Barney's Version Mrs. P
2011 Hunky Dory Vivienne Mae
2012 Goats Shaman Uncredited
2013 I Give It a Year Naomi
2014 Return to Zero Maggie Royal
2014 Stage Fright Kylie Swanson
2014 Beyond the Lights Macy Jean
2015 Unity Narrator (voice) Documentary
2017 The Crash Shannon Clifton
2017 The Wilde Wedding Priscilla Jones
2017 Laboratory Conditions Marjorie Cane Short
2018 Spinning Man Ellen Birch


Year Title Role Notes
1990 God on the Rocks Lydia TV Movie
1991 The House of Eliott Mary Episode #1.4
1991 Casualty Zena Mitchell Episode: "The Last Word"
1992 Lovejoy Sarah Episode: "Kids"
1992 Kinsey Louise Kinsey 3 episodes
1993 Maigret Arlette Episode: "Maigret and the Night Club Dancer"
1993 Mr. Wroe's Virgins Leah 4 episodes
1993 Screen One Sally Episode: "Royal Celebration"
1994 The Day Today Mila Milandrovicz/Lally Sampson 2 episodes
1994 Peak Practice Sue Keel Episode: "Enemy Within"
1994 Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge Daniella Forrest Episode #1.2
1994 That Sunday Rachel Short
1995 My Good Friend Ellie 7 episodes
1995 The Politician's Wife Jennifer Caird 3 episodes
1996 Cruel Train Flora Mussell Movie
1996 Murder Most Horrid Sgt. Cole Episode: "Confess"
2000 The X-Files Cinema Audience Uncredited; episode: "Hollywood A.D."
2003; 2004; 2017 Will & Grace Lorraine Finster 7 episodes
2003 Absolutely Fabulous Herself Episode: "Panickin'"
2007–08 The Riches Dahlia Malloy 20 episodes
2010 Modern Family Valerie Episode: "Moon Landing"
2010 The Deep Frances Kelly 5 episodes; miniseries
2011 Hail Mary Mary Beth Baker Movie
2012 Lady Friends Jennifer Rensen Movie
2012 Web Therapy Allegra Favreau 3 episodes
2012 QuickBites Ellen Episode: "Food for Thought"
2012 Web Therapy Allegra Favreau 2 episodes
2013 Hollywood Game Night Herself Episode: "The Office Party"
2014 Hell's Kitchen Herself Episode: "7 Chefs Again"
2014 The Red Tent Leah 2 episodes
2014–2015 About a Boy Fiona Bowa Main role; 33 episodes
2014 Peter Pan Live! Narrator / Adult Wendy Darling TV special
2015 Undateable Ally's Friend Episode: "A Live Show Walks Into a Bar: Part 1"
2016–2019 Speechless Maya DiMeo Lead role; 63 episodes
2018–2019 SuperMansion Debby Devizo (voice) 5 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Revisioned: Tomb Raider Lara Croft (voice) 9 episodes

Video games

Year Title Voice role Notes
1998 Jurassic Park: Trespasser Anne



Year Album US Heat Label
2004 Everything I've Got in My Pocket 43 Zoë
2007 Seastories 25
2014 Ask Me to Dance 11 Rounder


Year Single Album
2004 "Invisible Girl" Everything I've Got in My Pocket
2005 "Everything I've Got in My Pocket"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1995 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Most Promising Actress
Circle of Friends
1996 London Film Critics' Circle Award British Supporting Actress of the Year
Big Night
1997 Academy Award Best Supporting Actress
Good Will Hunting
London Film Critics' Circle Award British Supporting Actress of the Year Won
Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
1998 MTV Movie Award Best Kiss (shared with Matt Damon) Nominated
1999 Annie Award Voice Acting in a Feature Production
2004 Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
The Phantom of the Opera
London Film Critics' Circle Award British Supporting Actress of the Year Nominated
2007 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Drama
The Riches
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress – Drama Series Nominated
Satellite Award Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
California Independent Film Festival Award Best Actress
Phoenix Film Festival Best Acting Ensemble Won
Tiburon International Film Festival Award Best Actress Won
2010 Genie Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Barney's Version
London Film Critics' Circle Award British Supporting Actress of the Year Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award Best Supporting Actress in a Canadian Film Nominated
2015 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries
Return to Zero
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
2017 People's Choice Awards Favorite Actress in a New TV Series
2018 FilmQuest Best Supporting Actress
Laboratory Conditions
Best Supporting Actress - Short Won


  1. "Cranky Critic StarTalk: Minnie Driver". Crankycritic.com. Archived from the original on 31 January 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  2. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  3. "Minnie Driver: Series 10". Who Do You Think You Are?. BBC. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  4. "Minnie Driver: A Hollywood actress with a fascinating history that could be straight from a film plot..." The Genealogist.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  5. Hutchinson, Clare (20 August 2010). "Hollywood star calls for Wales' only lido to be opened". WalesOnline. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  6. Winters, Laura (2 August 1998). "Film; When the Character Calls, Minnie Driver Listens". The New York Times.
  7. Mears, Jo (24 September 2010). "Minnie Driver: My family values – The actress talks about her family". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  8. Lane, Harriet (3 August 1997). "Minnie the minx: She used to be an English public school mouse; now she's a Hollywood babe". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  9. "Home - Collingham College". www.collingham.co.uk.
  10. "UK TV Adverts 1991 (part 3)". YouTube. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  11. "Minnie Driver Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  12. Matthews, Tom Dewe (10 September 1997). "Minnie the mix: How has Hampshire-bred actress Minnie Driver come to be a big success in Hollywood? By going native". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  13. "Minnie Driver". Emmys. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  14. "Minnie Driver – Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  15. Abrams, Natalie (12 November 2009). "Minnie Driver to Guest-Star on Modern Family". TV Guide. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  16. "James Nesbitt, Minnie Driver and Goran Visnjic star in new BBC One drama serial, The Deep". BBC. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  17. Vlessing, Etan (3 October 2011). "'Incendies' Takes Top Prize at Canadian Film Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  18. Justin Kroll. "'The Butler' Producer Sets up Next Pic Starring Frank Grillo and Minnie Driver (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  19. Kroll, Justin. "'The Butler' Producer Sets up Next Pic Starring Frank Grillo and Minnie Driver (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  20. Swift, Andy (10 May 2019). "Speechless Cancelled at ABC". TVLine. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  21. Barnett, Laura (12 May 2008). "Portrait of the artist: Minnie Driver, actor and musician". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  22. Petridis, Alexis (2 September 2004). "'I've taken a pounding'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  23. "(Everything I've Got in My Pocket> Charts & Awards> Billboard Albums)". AllMusic. 5 October 2004. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  24. "Minnie Drives at Musical Success With Finn Brothers Tour". Contact Music. 8 October 2004. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  25. "Phair, Ryan Adams Enhance Minnie Driver Sophomore Set". Billboard. 16 March 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  26. Roy Trakin (28 July 2014). "Minnie Driver to Release 'Ask Me to Dance,' Cover Album". The Hollywood Reporter.
  27. "Minnie Driver Breaks Off Engagement". ABC News. 4 October 2001. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  28. Jordan, Julie; Chi, Paul (8 September 2008). "Minnie Driver Welcomes a Son!". People Magazine. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  29. Conner, Megan (18 February 2012). "Minnie Driver: 'Oh, I'm being so naughty …'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  30. Elliot, Claire. "Revealed: Father of Minnie Driver's son named as television producer Timothy J Lea". Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  31. Pearson, Jennifer (27 August 2014). "Minnie Driver unravels the truth about her father's double life and says she did it for son Henry in sneak peek for Who Do You Think You Are". Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  32. Delbyck, Cole (12 October 2016). "Minnie Driver Shares Deeply Personal Story About Teenage Sexual Assault". Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  33. Bitette, Nicole (12 October 2016). "Minnie Driver reveals she was sexually assaulted as a teenager, says it happens to all women". New York Daily News. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  34. California News Wire Services, News Partner (22 October 2017). "Minnie Driver Sworn in As US Citizen in LA Ceremony". Patch. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
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