Anna Friel (12.7.1976)
Anna Friel is a British actress. She rose to fame working on the UK soap opera Brookside but has more recently found fame in the US.
Anna Friel: Childhood
Anna Friel was born in Rochdale, near Manchester, in England. Her mother, Julie Friel, teaches students with special needs and her father, Des Friel, is a former French teacher and owns a web design company. Des is Irish and used to perform as a folk guitarist. Anna's brother Michael once starred in TV adverts for Hovis.
Anna Friel attended Crompton House Church of England High School in High Crompton, followed by Holy Cross College, a Catholic Sixth form in Bury.
Friel became interested in acting at an early age and was often praised for performances in local talent shows.
Anna Friel: Acting Career
When Anna Friel was 13, she landed her first professional acting role in the Channel 4 drama series G.B.H. She played the daughter of Michael Palin's character and the series also starred Robert Lindsay, Lindsay Duncan and Julie Walters, with music from Elvis Costello and Richard Harvey.
Anna's performance led to a number of small performances on British TV shows, including Emmerdale.
In 1992, Anna Friel was cast in another soap opera, Brookside, set in Liverpool, playing the role of Beth Jordache. The cast included the likes of Claire Sweeney, Ricky Tomlinson, Lisa Faulkner and Jennifer Ellison. Despite being on the programme for only two years, her character became one of the soap's most notorious, largely due to the much-publicised lesbian kiss featuring Beth Jordache. In 1995, Anna Friel won the 'Most Popular Actress' award at the National Television Awards for her role on Brookside.
When Anna Friel appeared in Stephen Poliakoff's film The Tribe, she courted even more controversy. The film included some stark nudity, as well as a ménage a trois sex scene between Friel's character and those played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jeremy Northam.
1998 saw Anna Friel performing in a Broadway run of Patrick Marber's play Closer. She won a drama Desk award for her performance. Amongst Friel's other stage performances, she made her West End stage debut in a fringe production of Lulu.
In November 2006, Anna Friel was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for performing arts by the University of Bolton.
Anna Friel has made appearances in a number of movies. She played the wife of Nick Leeson's character in Rogue Trader, which also starred Ewan McGregor. In The Land Girls, she worked alongside Catherine McCormack and Rachel Weisz. In 1998, she appeared in St Ives, also known as All For Love, with Richard E. Grant and Miranda Richardson.
Friel also appeared as Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream, opposite Calista Flockheart, Dominic West and Christian Bale. In Timeline, she played the object of Gerard Butler's affection and in Me Without You, she stars opposite Michelle Williams (the ex-partner of the late Heath Ledger).
In 2007, Anna Friel was cast as Charlotte 'Chuck' Charles in Pushing Daisies, an American TV series that airs on the ABC network. The series also stars Lee Pace, Chi McBride and Field Cate. The following year, however, the show was cancelled after only two seasons, due to poor ratings, despite being popular with critics.
In September 2009, Friel starred in a West End run of a stage adaptation of Breakfast At Tiffany's, opposite Joseph Cross. The film (itself an adaptation of a Truman Capote novel) stars Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. It was also announced that she would appear in a film the following year entitled London Boulevard, starring David Thewlis (her partner), Keira Knightley, Colin Farrell and Ray Winstone.
Anna Friel: Personal Life
Anna Friel began dating David Thewlis in 2001, after meeting on a flight to Cannes. They have a daughter together, Gracie Ellen Mary Friel, born in July 2005.
Friel is an advocate of the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer appeal, along with Natalie Imbruglia, Edith Bowman, Twiggy, Alan Carr and Angela Griffin. She is also a supporter of Burma Campaign UK, which aims to bring about change in the troubled nation.