Tilda Swinton

Biography

Tilda Swinton (born Katherine Mathilda Swinton, 5.11.1960)

Tilda Swinton is a British actress who has found success both in mainstream and art house films. Swinton won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Michael Clayton.

Tilda Swinton: Childhood

Tilda Swinton was born in London, to Judith Balfour and Major-General Sir John Swinton. Her mother is Australian and her father is Scottish.

Tilda attended West Heath Girls' School (and was in the same class as Diana, Princess of Wales), then Fettes College, briefly. She graduated from New Hall, at Cambridge University in 1983, with a degree in Social and Political Sciences. Swinton also has two honorary doctorates, from Napier University in Edinburgh and from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Tilda Swinton: Acting Career

Early on in her career, Tilda Swinton worked in Edinburgh with the Traverse Theatre, as well as working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Then, in 1986, Tilda Swinton played Julia in the mini-series Zastrozzi: A Romance.

One of Swinton's earliest film roles was in Derek Jarman's War Requiem, in 1989. The film also starred Laurence Olivier, playing the role of an old soldier.

Two years later, Swinton won the Volpi Cup's Best Actress Award, and then she starred in Edward II. In the late 1990s, Tilda Swinton took part in a number of projects outside of her usual film projects. She was on display for a week, encased in a glass cabinet, at the Serpentine Gallery, for her artist friend Joanna Scanlan. Swinton then appeared in Orbital's music video for 'The Box' as well as collaborating with the fashion designers Viktor and Rolf.

Around the turn of the century, Tilda Swinton started appearing in more mainstream movies, such as her lead role in The Deep End. Swinton was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her appearance in the film, which also starred Josh Lucas and Jonathan Tucker.

Swinton then went on to star in The Beach, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, followed by a role in Vanilla Sky in 2001, opposite Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz. Tilda Swinton then appeared in a number of British films, including 2003's The Statement, with Michael Caine and Jeremy Northam and Young Adam, the same year, with Ewan McGregor, Emily Mortimer. In 2004, Swinton was selected to sit on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival.

2005 saw Tilda Swinton star as the White Witch Jadis in the movie version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The film was directed by Andrew Adamson and also starred James McAvoy, Dawn French and Liam Neeson. That same year, she had a lead role in Mike Mills' adaptation of the novel Thumbsucker.

2007 became a pivotal year for Tilda Swinton's career, as she starred in Michael Clayton alongside George Clooney and Sidney Pollack. She won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

Swinton's next major role after winning the award was an appearance in the Coen brothers' movie Burn After Reading, which also starred George Clooney, as well as Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand and John Malkovich.

Tilda Swinton and Brad Pitt then shared screen time once more, in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which also starred Cate Blanchett and Julia Ormond.

2008's Julia drew another fine performance from Tilda Swinton, with many critics arguing that she should have been awarded another Oscar, despite its limited release.

Tilda Swinton: Personal Life

Tilda Swinton lives with the Scottish painter John Byrne, along with their twins, Xavier and Honor. She travels, however, with another partner, Sandro Kopp, also a painter, with Byrne's blessing. Though she is aware of the unusual nature of her relationship, she has publicly commended the two men involved for making it work.

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7th January 2009

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