Rachel Griffiths

Rachel Anne Griffiths (born 18 December 1968)[lower-alpha 2] is an Australian actress and director. Raised primarily in Melbourne, she began her acting career appearing on the Australian series Secrets before being cast in a supporting role in the comedy Muriel's Wedding (1994), which earned her an AACTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. In 1997, she was the lead in Nadia Tass's drama Amy. She had a role opposite Julia Roberts in the American romantic comedy My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), followed by her role as Hilary du Pré in Hilary and Jackie (1998), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Rachel Griffiths
Rachel Anne Griffiths

(1968-12-18) 18 December 1968
ResidenceMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
OccupationActress, director
Years active1992–present
Andrew Taylor (m. 2002)

From 2001 to 2005, Griffiths portrayed masseuse Brenda Chenowith in the HBO series Six Feet Under, for which she earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 2002. She would subsequently appear on television as Sarah Walker Laurent on the ABC drama series Brothers & Sisters from 2006 to 2011, for which she was nominated for multiple Primetime Emmy Awards.

She has also had roles in the films Blow (2001), portraying the mother of George Jung; the historical drama Ned Kelly (2003); Step Up (2006), and the Julian Assange television biopic Underground: The Julian Assange Story (2012). In 2016, she appeared in a supporting role in Mel Gibson's biographical war drama Hacksaw Ridge, and in the docudrama miniseries When We Rise, written by Dustin Lance Black.

Onstage, Griffiths appeared in a Melbourne-based production of Proof in 2002, which earned her a Helpmann Award, and later made her Broadway debut in a 2011 critically acclaimed production of Other Desert Cities. In addition to acting, she made her directorial debut with the short film Tulip in 1998, and has directed several episodes of the Australian television series Nowhere Boys and the British drama series Indian Summers in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Early life

Griffiths was born on 18 December 1968 in Australia, where she spent her early childhood on the Gold Coast. She is the daughter of Anna and Edward Martin Griffiths.[11] She has two older brothers, Ben, and Samuel.[12][13] She moved to Melbourne at the age of five, with her mother and two older brothers. Griffiths was raised Roman Catholic,[14].[13] She recalled first being inspired to become an actress after watching the U.S. miniseries Roots as a child.[15]

She attended Star of the Sea College, a Catholic girls' high school in Brighton.[16] She earned a Bachelor of Education degree in drama and dance at Victoria College, Rusden.[17] After being rejected from the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Griffiths joined the Woolly Jumpers, a Geelong-based community theatre group.[1] In 1991, she wrote and performed the one-woman show Barbie Gets Hip, which played at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in 1991.[18]


1994–2000: Early work and critical recognition

Griffiths and Toni Collette were cast as best friends and fellow outcasts in the 1994 film Muriel's Wedding. Her performance won her critical acclaim and both the Australian Film Critics Award and the Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Supporting Actress. She followed in 1996 with the role of an earthy, ill-mannered pig farmer's daughter in Michael Winterbottom's Jude.

In 1997, Griffiths sparked a controversy after attending uninvited the opening of the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, while topless. She stated a wish to protest the views taken by the media and state government towards the new casino, inspired by the story of Lady Godiva.[19][20]

Griffiths joined forces again with Muriel's Wedding director P. J. Hogan for her American film debut, My Best Friend's Wedding, in 1997. That same year she starred in My Son the Fanatic, a British film in which she portrayed a tough Yorkshire prostitute who becomes involved with a considerably older Pakistani taxicab driver, played by Om Puri. Griffiths received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of real-life flautist Hilary du Pré opposite Emily Watson as her sister, famed cellist Jacqueline "Jackie" du Pre, in Hilary and Jackie (1998).[18] After the release of Hilary and Jackie, Griffiths was cast in the starring role in the Australian comedy Me Myself I (1999).[18]

2001–2011: American television and further acclaim

In 2001, Griffiths appeared opposite Natasha Richardson in the English comedy Blow Dry,[21] playing a lesbian hairdresser who enters a hairstyling competition with her lover, followed by the Ted Demme-directed Blow (2001) opposite Johnny Depp and Ray Liotta, in which she played the mother of Boston cocaine magnate George Jung.[22] Nick Nunziata of IGN was critical of Griffiths' performance in the film, writing: "the only performance that doesn't ring true is that of Rachel Griffiths as Jung's mother...she just doesn't connect."[22]

The same year Griffiths appeared in Blow, she was cast as one of the leads in the HBO drama series Six Feet Under. Her performance as emotionally-scarred massage therapist, Brenda Chenowith, earned her Golden Globe[23] and Screen Actors Guild Awards,[24][25] as well as two Emmy Award nominations[26] over the series' five season-run. In the third season, she missed four episodes due to her first pregnancy; her second pregnancy was written into the show's final season and she appeared in almost every episode of the series.[27]

While starring on Six Feet Under, Griffiths continued to occasionally appear in the films, playing the supportive housewife of Dennis Quaid in the Walt Disney drama The Rookie (2002), and in the Australian biopic Ned Kelly (2003), opposite Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush, and Orlando Bloom.[28] In the spring of 2002,[29] she appeared in a Melbourne production of Proof by the American playwright David Auburn, for which she earned a Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Play.[30] In 2004, she played a key role in the Hallmark film adaptation of the Kent Haruf novel Plainsong. In 2006, she became part of the ensemble cast, co-starring alongside Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Balthazar Getty and Matthew Rhys, of the dramatic series Brothers & Sisters, in which she portrays Sarah Walker, who inherits control of the family business after her father's death. Griffiths received a 2007 Emmy nomination and a 2008 Emmy nomination for her work on the series,[31] followed by 2008 and 2009 Golden Globe nominations.[23] Griffiths starred on the series until its conclusion in 2011. Additionally, she appeared as Inez Scull in the 2008 miniseries adaptation of Larry McMurtry's Comanche Moon.

Griffiths made her Broadway debut in Other Desert Cities,[32] directed by Joe Mantello and co-starring Judith Light, Stockard Channing, and Stacy Keach, which began previews on 10 October 2011, opening on 3 November 2011 in Manhattan.[33][34] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter praised both Griffith's performance as well as the overall production, writing: "[The play] has acquired a riveting center in the raw performance of Rachel Griffiths, who makes a knockout New York stage debut. With discreet adjustments to the text and more penetrating characterizations all around from the sterling cast, the balance between comedy and intense family drama has been fine-tuned in richly satisfying ways".[35] Ben Brantley of The New York Times deemed her performance "a beautifully modulated Broadway debut".[36]

2012–2018: Return to Australia; directing

In 2012, Griffiths returned to live in her native Australia, after having lived and worked in the United States for a decade.[3] She expressed a desire to work less and spend more time with her children after having worked what she described as "80 hour-weeks" while appearing on Six Feet Under and Brothers & Sisters.[3]

In November 2013, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Griffiths was to play Julia Gillard in a television drama based on the book, The Stalking of Julia Gillard by Kerry-Anne Walsh.[37] But the project stalled as the proposal for the film was rejected by the Australian television networks.[38][39]

In 2015, she made her debut as a television director when she directed three episodes of the second series of the Australian teen drama Nowhere Boys.[40][41]

In 2016, Griffiths was cast opposite Guy Pearce and Mary-Louise Parker in the American miniseries When We Rise, a docudrama focusing on LGBT rights, in which she portrays a nurse during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.[42] The same year, she appeared in a supporting part opposite Hugo Weaving in the Mel Gibson-directed war drama Hacksaw Ridge,[43] which earned her an AACTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[44] In 2018, she appears in the SBS thriller miniseries Dead Lucky, which was sold for American distribution to the streaming service SundanceNow in April 2018.[45]

Other ventures

In 2017, Griffiths worked promoting the "No Robe" campaign for the Art Series Hotels, which invited hotel guests to pose for nude portraits in their rooms and have them brought to life by artists.[46] She also serves on the board of the Sydney Contemporary art fair.[47]

Personal life

Griffiths married Australian artist Andrew Taylor on 31 December 2002 in the chapel of her high school, Star of the Sea College, in Melbourne.[48][1] In 2003, she and Taylor had a son, Banjo, followed by a daughter, Adelaide, in 2005. In 2009, she gave birth to her third child Clem in Los Angeles;[49] Griffiths suffered a ruptured uterus giving birth.[50] She spent a total of three days undergoing surgery, and recovered from the condition.[51]

In 2002, Griffiths stated she was an atheist.[52] However, in a 2015 interview, she revealed she was again a practising Catholic, the faith in which she was raised.[53] In 2017, she spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage in Australia.[14] She has also supported the Global Charter of Basic Rights campaign for Oxfam Australia.[18] She considers herself a feminist.[15]

After having lived and worked in the United States for nearly a decade while appearing on the series Six Feet Under and Brothers & Sisters, Griffiths returned to live in her native Australia in 2012.[3]



Year Title Role Notes
1994Muriel's WeddingRhonda Epinstall
1996Children of the RevolutionAnna
1997My Son the FanaticBettina/Sandra
1997My Best Friend's WeddingSamantha Newhouse
1998Among GiantsGerry
1998Hilary and JackieHilary du Pré
1998AmyTanya Rammus
1998Divorcing JackLee Cooper
1998TulipN/AWriter and director
1999Me Myself IPamela Drury
2001Very Annie MaryAnnie Mary Pugh
2001BlowErmine Jung
2001Blow DrySandra
2002The Hard WordCarol
2002The RookieLorri Morris
2003Ned KellySusan Scott
2006Step UpDirector Gordan
2009Beautiful KateSally
2011Burning ManMiriam
2012Underground: The Julian Assange StoryChristine Assange
2013PatrickMatron Cassidy
2013Saving Mr. BanksAunt Ellie
2016Hacksaw RidgeBertha Doss
2016Science Fiction Volume One: The Osiris ChildGeneral Lynex
2017Don't TellJoy Conolly
2017The King's DaughterAbbessPost-production


Year Title Role Notes
1993–1994Secrets (Australian TV series)Sarah Foster13 episodes
1994JimeoinVarious8 episodes
1995Police RescueShelleyEpisode: "Breaking Strain"
2001–2005Six Feet UnderBrenda Chenowith60 episodes
2004Kath & KimHerselfEpisode: "The Mango Espadrille"
2005Angel RodriguezNicoleTelevision movie
2006–2011Brothers and SistersSarah Walker110 episodes
2008Comanche MoonInez Scull3 episodes
2010RakeEddie LanghornEpisode: "R v Langhorn"
2013Paper Giants: Magazine WarsDulcie Boling2 episodes
2013CampMacKenzie Granger10 episodes
2014House HusbandsBelleRecurring role
2016Indian SummersSirene3 episodes
2016BarracudaSamantha Taylor4 episodes
2017When We RiseDiane JonesMiniseries
2018Dead LuckyGrace GibbsMiniseries
2019 Total Control Rachel Anderson Main cast
As director
Year Title Notes
2015Nowhere BoysSeries 2, episode 8
Series 2, episode 9
Series 2, episode 10
2016Indian SummersSeries 2, episode 4
2019Ride Like a GirlAlso producer

Stage credits

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1987 Macbett Victoria College Rusden Campus Drama [29]
1988 Two Gentlemen of Verona Victoria College Rusden Campus Drama [29]
1988 The Inspector Victoria College Rusden Campus Drama [29]
1989 A Chaste Maid in Cheapside Victoria College Rusden Campus Drama [29]
1990 A Fantasy in Three Dreams Victoria College Rusden Campus Drama [29]
1991 Skin Deep Victoria College Rusden Campus Drama [29]
1991 Barbie Gets Hip Also writer; one-woman show performed at Melbourne Fringe Festival [18]
1992 Wednesday With theatre group The Woolly Jumpers, Melbourne [29]
1994 The Grapes of Wrath Melbourne Theatre Company [54]
1994 The Sisters Rosensweig Melbourne Theatre Company [29]
1996–97 Sylvia Sylvia Melbourne Theatre Company [55]
1998 A Doll's House Nora Melbourne Theatre Company [56]
2002 Proof Catherine Melbourne Theatre Company [57]
2011–12 Other Desert Cities Brooke Wyeth Broadway debut; 261 performances [58]
2012 8 Exclusive two night-run; readings in Melbourne and Sydney [29]

Awards and nominations


  1. Sources reporting on Griffiths' place of birth are conflicting: some, such as TV Guide[1] and AllMovie[2] claim she was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, while others, such as The Courier-Mail,[3] and The Age,[4] and Screen World[5] claim she was born in Melbourne.
  2. Sources differ in regard to Griffith's exact date of birth, though they share in common the birth year of 1968. Rotten Tomatoes,[6] Playbill,[7] and The Boston Globe,[8] among others, list her birthdate as 18 December. Alternate sources claim 20 February[9][10] and 4 June.[2][5]


  1. "Rachel Griffiths Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  2. Marx, Rebecca Flint. "Rachel Griffiths Biography". AllMovie. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  3. NewsCore (25 May 2012). "Rachel Griffiths coming back to Australia to be 'normal person' again". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. "Short film award to Rachel Griffiths". The Age. 11 August 2002. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  5. Willis, John; Monush, Barry (2006). Screen World Film Annual. 57. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 369. ISBN 978-1-557-83706-6.
  6. "Rachel Griffiths". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  7. "Rachel Griffiths". Playbill. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  8. "This day in history". The Boston Globe. 17 December 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  9. Mr. Skin's Skincyclopedia. Macmillan. 2004. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-312-33144-3.
  10. "Rachel Griffiths". AlloCiné (in French). Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  11. "Rachel Griffiths Biography (1968–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  12. Lee, Linda (2 April 2000). "A NIGHT OUT WITH: Rachel Griffiths; Aussies in Town". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  13. "Rachel Griffiths Biography". Metacritic. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  14. Anderson, Stephanie Marie (3 March 2017). "Rachel Griffiths on Tony Abbott, marriage equality, and 'When We Rise'". SBS. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  15. Spring, Alexandra (28 February 2017). "Rachel Griffiths: 'I think I have been a very poor and bad feminist'". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  16. Clohesy, Bernadette (15 December 2012). "Two of us: Kate Kennedy and Rachel Griffiths". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  17. Walden, Celia (20 March 2016). "Rachel Griffiths: 'I've never been beautiful enough not to be taken seriously'". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  18. Ojumu, Akin (2 July 2000). "Rachel Griffiths". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  19. "Crown protest led to naked ambition". Melbourne Herald Sun. 27 April 2007. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  20. Feinstein, Howard (18 December 1998). "The Rachel capers | Culture &#124". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  21. Falk, Ben (3 April 2001). "Review – Blow Dry". BBC. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  22. Nunziata, Nick (27 August 2001). "Blow". IGN. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  23. "Rachel Griffiths". GoldenGlobes.com. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  24. "The 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". SAG Awards. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  25. "The 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". SAG Awards. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  26. Neal, Rome (16 July 2003). "'Six Feet Under' On Top of Emmys". CBS News. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  27. McWhirter, Erin (22 May 2007). "Family comes first". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  28. "Another shot at justice for Ned Kelly". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 June 2002. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  29. "Performer: Rachel Griffiths". AusStage. Retrieved 20 April 2018 via Ausstage.edu.au.
  30. "Past nominees and winners". Helpmann Awards Official Site. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  31. Mitchell, Peter (15 October 2009). "Rachel Griffiths misses out on Emmy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  32. Healy, Patrick (7 October 2011). "Rachel Griffiths joining 'Other Desert Cities'". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  33. Gans, Andrew; Hetrick, Adam (21 July 2011). "Rachel Griffiths and Judith Light Will Join Stockard Channing in Broadway's Other Desert Cities".
  34. Lunden, Jeff (24 December 2011). "A Homecoming For Rachel Griffiths on Broadway". National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  35. Rooney, David (3 November 2011). "Other Desert Cities: Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  36. Brantley, Ben (3 November 2011). "Painful Family Secrets Laid Bare". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  37. The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 November 2013 - Rachel Griffiths to play Julia Gillard in TV drama By Jessica Wright and Christine Sams
  38. Australian Business Review, 8 June 2015 - Networks reject Julia Gillard TV drama starring Rachel Griffiths
  39. The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 2015 - Networks reject Julia Gillard telemovie starring Rachel Griffiths because 'everyone hates' the former PM By Michael Lallo
  40. Mathieson, Craig (13 November 2014). "Nowhere Boys: Rachel Griffiths directs in ABC3's second season". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  41. "Nowhere Boys: Episodes 8–13 Guide (Series 2)". Australiantelevision.net. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  42. Wagmeister, Elizabeth (21 March 2016). "Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Rachel Griffiths to Star in ABC Gay Rights Miniseries 'When We Rise'". Variety. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  43. Maddox, Garry (21 October 2016). "Rachel Griffiths on Hacksaw Ridge film role: 'He beat me and he drank'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  44. SBS Movies Staff (27 October 2016). "Mel Gibson's 'Hacksaw Ridge' leads AACTA Awards nominations". SBS. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  45. "SBS drama Dead Lucky sells to Sundance". TV Tonight. 7 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  46. "Rachel Griffiths poses for intimate hotel artwork". 9 News (Australia). 9 May 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  47. Taylor, Andrew (16 August 2015). "Why marriage cramps Rachel Griffiths' art collection". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  48. "Griffiths gets hitched". Los Angeles Times. 3 January 2003.
  49. People Staff (4 August 2009). "Rachel Griffiths' Sweet Clementine". People. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  50. Fenton, Andrew (4 June 2014). "House Husbands actress Rachel Griffiths grabs second chance at life after nearly dying in childbirth". News.com.au. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  51. Griffiths, Rachel (November 2016). "Jackie Frank Meets Rachel Griffiths". Marie Claire Australia (Interview). Frankly Speaking. Interviewed by Jackie Frank. |access-date= requires |url= (help) Video on YouTube
  52. "Although I'm not a Christian, I was raised Christian. I'm an atheist, with a slight Buddhist leaning." Allen Smith, Warren (2002). Celebrities in Hell: A Guide to Hollywood's Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Free Thinkers, and More. Barricade Books Inc. p. 130. ISBN 1-56980-214-9.
  53. "'Haunted house on the hill': Rachel Griffiths describes abuse history at destroyed Melbourne church". ABC. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  54. "The Grapes of Wrath (1994)". AusStage. Retrieved 20 April 2018 via Ausstage.edu.au.
  55. Schmebri, Jim (6 January 1997). "Relishing a dog of a role". The Age. p. 17 via Newspapers.com.
  56. Watson, Russell (28 April 1998). "Griffiths to Play Nora in Melbourne Doll's House". Playbill. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  57. Roberts, Jo (26 May 2003). "Actress misses party". The Age. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  58. "Other Desert Cities". Playbill. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
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