Miranda Jane Richardson (born 3 March 1958) is an English actress and comedian. She made her film debut playing Ruth Ellis in Dance with a Stranger (1985) and went on to receive Academy Award nominations for Damage (1992) and Tom & Viv (1994). A seven-time BAFTA Award nominee, she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Damage. She has also been nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards, winning twice for Enchanted April (1992) and the TV film Fatherland (1994).
Miranda Jane Richardson
3 March 1958
|Alma mater||Bristol Old Vic Theatre School|
Richardson began her career in 1979 and made her West End debut in the 1981 play Moving, before being nominated for the 1987 Olivier Award for Best Actress for A Lie of the Mind. Her television credits include Blackadder (1986–89), A Dance to the Music of Time (1997), Merlin (1998), The Lost Prince (2003), Gideon's Daughter (2006), the sitcom The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle (2007), and Rubicon (2010). She was nominated for the 2015 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Narrator for Operation Orangutan.
Her other films include Empire of the Sun (1987), The Crying Game (1992), The Apostle (1997), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Chicken Run (2000), The Hours (2002), Spider (2002), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), The Young Victoria (2009), Made in Dagenham (2010), Belle (2013), and Stronger (2017).
Richardson enrolled at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where she studied alongside Daniel Day-Lewis and Jenny Seagrove, having started out with juvenile performances in Cinderella and Lord Arthur Savile's Crime at the Southport Dramatic Club.
Richardson has enjoyed a successful and extensive theatre career, first joining Manchester Library Theatre in 1979 as an assistant stage manager, followed by a number of appearances in repertory theatre. Her London stage debut was in Moving at the Queen's Theatre in 1981. She found recognition in the West End for a series of stage performances, ultimately receiving an Olivier Award nomination for her performance in A Lie of the Mind, and, in 1996, one critic asserted that she is "the greatest actress of our time in any medium" after she appeared in Orlando at the Edinburgh Festival. She returned to the London stage in May 2009 to play the lead role in Wallace Shawn's new play, Grasses of a Thousand Colours at the Royal Court Theatre. Richardson has said that she prefers new works rather than the classics because of the history which goes with them.
Film and television
In 1985, Richardson made her film debut as Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the United Kingdom, in the biographical drama Dance with a Stranger. Around the same time, Richardson played a comedic Queen Elizabeth I, aka Queenie, in the British television comedy Blackadder II.
Following Dance with a Stranger, Richardson turned down numerous parts in which her character was unstable or disreputable, including the Glenn Close role in Fatal Attraction. In this period, she appeared in Empire of the Sun (1987). In an episode of the TV series The Storyteller ("The Three Ravens", 1988), she played a witch. Meanwhile, she had returned in guest roles in one episode each in Blackadder the Third (1987) and Blackadder Goes Forth (1989). She returned to play Queenie in the Christmas special Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988) and, later, a special edition for the millennium Blackadder: Back and Forth.
Her portrayal of a troubled theatre goer in Secret Friends (BBC 2, 1990) was described as "a miniature tour de force... Miranda Richardson's finest hour, all in ten minutes" (The Sunday Times). Other television roles include Pamela Flitton in A Dance to the Music of Time (1997), Miss Gilchrist in St. Ives (1998), Bettina the interior decorator in Absolutely Fabulous, Queen Elspeth, Snow White's stepmother, in Snow White: The Fairest of Them All (2001), and Queen Mary in The Lost Prince (2003).
Richardson has appeared in a number of high-profile supporting roles in film, including Vanessa Bell in The Hours, Lady Van Tassel in Sleepy Hollow and Patsy Carpenter in The Evening Star. She also won acclaim for her performances in The Crying Game and Enchanted April, for which she won a Golden Globe. She received Academy Award nominations for her performances in Damage and Tom & Viv.
Richardson also appeared as Queen Rosalind of Denmark in The Prince and Me and as the ballet mistress Madame Giry in the film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom Of The Opera (2004). In 2005, she appeared in the role of Rita Skeeter, the toxic Daily Prophet journalist in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. She also did the voice for Corky in The Adventures of Bottle Top Bill and His Best Friend Corky (2005), an Australian animated series for children. In 2006, she appeared in Gideon's Daughter. She played Mrs. Claus in the film Fred Claus (2007).
Richardson appeared in the BBC sitcom, The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle. She appeared as a guest in A Taste of My Life.
In 2008, Richardson was cast in a leading role in original AMC pilot, Rubicon. She plays Katherine Rhumor, a New York socialite who finds herself drawn into the central intrigue of a think tank after the death of her husband.
Richardson was cast as Queen Ulla in Maleficent, where she was to play the titular character's aunt, but her role was cut from the film during post-production. In 2015, she played Sybil Birling in Helen Edmundson's BBC One adaptation of J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls.
Richardson has never married and has no children. She is interested in falconry.
- Savage Amusement (Hazel) – Derby Playhouse, Lancaster
- Stags and Hens (Linda) – Derby Playhouse, Lancaster
- All My Sons (Ann) – Derby Playhouse, Lancaster
- Sisterly Feelings (Brenda) – Derby Playhouse, Lancaster
- Ten Times Table (Phillipa) – Library Theatre, Manchester
- Whose Life Is It Anyway? (Kay Sadler) – Library Theatre, Manchester
- Play It Again, Sam (Linda Christie) – Library Theatre, Manchester
- Tom Jones (Sophie Western) – Library Theatre, Manchester
- Educating Rita (Rita) – Haymarket Theatre, Leicester
- Moving (Jane Gladwin) – Queen's Theatre (1980/1)
- The Table of the Two Horseman (Katie Wyld) – Bristol Theatre Royal (9 March 1983/2 April 1983)
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Honey) – Bristol Theatre Royal (6 April 1983/30 April 1983)
- The Maids (Madame) – Bristol New Vic (27 September 1983/22 October 1983)
- Insignificance (The Actress) – Bristol New Vic (25 October 1983/19 December 1983)
- Life of Einstein – The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster (1984)
- Edmond (Glenna) – Newcastle (1985)
- A Lie of the Mind (Beth) – Royal Court Theatre, West End (1987)
- The Changeling (Beatrice-Joanna) – (Lyttelton) National Theatre, West End (1988)
- Mountain Language (Young Woman) – (Lyttelton) National Theatre, West End (1988)
- Etta Jenks (Etta Jenks) – Royal Court Theatre, West End (1990)
- The Designated Mourner (Judy) – Royal National Theatre, West End (1996)
- Orlando (Orlando) – 50th Edinburgh International Festival (11/21 August 1996)
- Aunt Dan and Lemon (Aunt Dan) – Almeida Theatre, Islington, London (5 May/5 June 1999)
- The Play What I Wrote (Herself) – Wyndham's Theatre, West End (30 January 2002, 5 May 2002, 2 January 2003)
- Comic Aid 2005 – (Herself – Asia Tsunami Aid) – Carling Apollo, West End (22 February 2005)
- One Knight Only – (Herself – Asia Tsunami Aid) – Theatre Royal, Haymarket, West End (20 March 2005)
- Grasses of a thousand colours (Cerise) – Royal Court Theatre (May 2009)
|1981||Agony||Gudrun||TV series (1 episode: "From Here to Maternity")|
|1982||The Further Adventures of Lucky Jim||Chrissie Collin||TV series (1 episode)|
|1983||The Hard Word||Polly Wood||TV series (5 episodes)|
|Crown Court||Susan Palmer||TV series (1 episode: "A Matter of Trust")|
|1984||Sorrell and Son||Lola||TV episode|
|A Woman of Substance||Paula McGill Amory||TV miniseries (2 episodes)|
|1985||The Death of the Heart||Daphne Heccomb||TV film|
|1986||Blackadder II||Queenie||TV series (6 episodes)|
|Saturday Live||"Third Man" Actress||TV series (1 episode)|
|Shades of Darkness||Gina||TV series (1 episode: "The Demon Lover")|
|Unnatural Causes||Anne Forrest||TV series (1 episode: "Lost Property")|
|1987||After Pilkington||Penny||TV film
Nominated—BAFTA Television Award for Best Actress
|The South Bank Show||Mary Shelley||TV series (1 episode: "Frankenstein and Dracula")|
|Blackadder the Third||Amy Hardwood||TV series (1 episode: "Amy and Amiability")|
|1988||Sweet as You Are||Julia Perry||TV film|
Royal Television Society Award for Best Performance – Female
|A Night of Comic Relief||Woman with Phone||TV special|
|The Master Builder||Hilde Wangel||TV film|
|The Storyteller||Witch||TV series (1 episode: "The Three Ravens")|
|Mountain Language||Young Woman||TV version of stage play|
|Blackadder's Christmas Carol||Queen Elizabeth I/ Queen
|1989||A Night of Comic Relief 2||"Fatal Overacting" Actress||TV special|
|Blackadder Goes Forth||Nurse Mary Fletcher-Brown||TV series (1 episode: "General Hospital")|
|Cracking Up||Mary Wollstonecraft||TV series (1 episode: "The Rights of Man and the Wrongs of Woman")|
|Ball Trap on the Cote Sauvage||Early Bird||TV film|
|Smith and Jones||Meryl Catty||TV series (3 episodes)|
|1990||10x10||Olivia||TV series (1 episode: "Secret Friends")|
|Die Kinder||Sidonie Reiger||TV series (6 episodes)|
|The Comic Strip Presents...||Various characters||TV series (4 episodes)|
|1991||Redemption||Valerie Paris||TV film|
|Old Times||Anna||TV film|
|1992||Mr. Wakefield's Crusade||Sandra||TV series (1 episode)|
|The True Adventures of Christopher Columbus||Queen Isabella||TV miniseries (4 episodes)|
|1993||Saturday Night Live||Host||TV series (1 episode: "Miranda Richardson")|
|1994||Fatherland||Charlie Maguire||Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film|
|Absolutely Fabulous||Bettina||TV series (2 episodes)|
|1996||Saint-Ex||Consuelo de Saint Exupery||TV film|
|1997||A Dance to the Music of Time||Pamela Flitton||TV miniseries (2 episodes)|
Nominated—BAFTA Television Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Royal Television Society Award for Best Performance – Female
|1998||The Scold's Bridle||Dr Sarah Blakeney||TV miniseries (2 episodes)|
|Merlin||Queen Mab / Lady of the Lake||TV miniseries (2 episodes)|
|Ted and Ralph||Henrietta Blough-Pendleton||TV special|
|1999||St. Ives||Miss Gilchrist||TV film|
|Alice in Wonderland||Queen of Hearts / Society Woman||TV film|
|The Big Brass Ring||Dinah Pellarin||TV film|
|2001||The Fantastic Flying Journey||Lucretia Moore||TV series (13 episodes)
|Snow White: The Fairest of Them All||Queen Elspeth||TV film|
|2003||The Lost Prince||Queen Mary||TV miniseries (2 episodes)
Nominated - BAFTA Television Award for Best Actress
|Comic Relief: The Big Hair Do||Hermione Granger||TV special|
|The Adventures of Bottle Top Bill||Corky the Horse||TV series (26 episodes)
|2006||Gideon's Daughter||Stella||TV film|
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
|Merlin's Apprentice||Lady of the Lake||TV miniseries (2 episodes)|
|2007||The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle||Helena||TV series (6 episodes)|
|2010||Rubicon||Katherine Rhumor||TV series (13 episodes)|
|2012||Dead Boss||Jo||TV series (1 episode)|
|Parade's End||Mrs. Wannop||TV miniseries (5 episodes)|
|World Without End||Mother Cecilia||TV series (6 episodes)|
|2014||Psychobitches||Enid Blyton||TV series (1 episode)|
|The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm||Miss Blitherington||TV special|
|Mapp and Lucia||Miss Elizabeth Mapp||TV miniseries (3 episodes)|
|2015||Casanova||Marquise d'Urfe||TV pilot|
|An Inspector Calls||Sybil Birling||TV film|
|And Then There Were None||Miss Emily Brent||TV miniseries (2 episodes)|
|2016||Walliams and Friend||Various||TV series (1 episode: "Miranda Richardson")|
|Danger Mouse||Queen of Weevils||TV series (2 episodes)
|2018||Girlfriends||Sue Thackery||TV series (6 episodes)|
|2019||Good Omens||Madame Tracy||TV miniseries|
Awards and nominations
- "Miranda Richardson Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica.
- "Miranda Richardson Biography (1958–)". Filmreference.com. 3 March 1958. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Past Graduates". Archived from the original on 25 September 2009.
- "The Society of London Theatre, Olivier Winners 1987". Officiallondontheatre.co.uk. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "Royal Court Theatre website". Royalcourttheatre.com. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Kira Cochrane "Miranda Richardson: 'I hate our sneering attitude to success", The Guardian, 20 April 2013
- "Hollywood Reporter article". Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2 January 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Singh, Anita (16 May 2009). "Sally Hawkins to star in strike film We Want Sex". Telegraph. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
- Bibbiani, William (27 May 2014). "Maleficent: Director Robert Stromberg on True Love and Reshoots". CraveOnline. craveonline.com. Archived from the original on 2 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "BBC – David Thewlis to lead cast of BBC One's adaptation of JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls – Media Centre".
- Duncan, Andrew (29 December 2014). "Miranda Richardson discusses her new role as Miss Elizabeth Mapp". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- "Walliams and Friend: Miranda Richardson". BBC.
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