Lena Olin

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Lena Olin
Lena Olin and Lasse Hallström at the Berlin International Film Festival 2013.jpg
Olin and husband Lasse Hallström in 2013
BornLena Maria Jonna Olin
(1955-03-22) 22 March 1955 (age 59)
Stockholm, Sweden
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)Lasse Hallström (m. 1994)
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Lena Olin
Lena Olin and Lasse Hallström at the Berlin International Film Festival 2013.jpg
Olin and husband Lasse Hallström in 2013
BornLena Maria Jonna Olin
(1955-03-22) 22 March 1955 (age 59)
Stockholm, Sweden
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)Lasse Hallström (m. 1994)

Lena Maria Jonna Olin (born 22 March 1955) is a Swedish actress. She has been nominated for several acting awards, including a Golden Globe for The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) and an Academy Award for Enemies, A Love Story (1989). Other well-known films in which she has appeared include Chocolat (2000), directed by her husband Lasse Hallström, Queen of the Damned (2002), Casanova (2005) and The Reader (2008). Olin was also a main cast member in the second season (and a recurring guest star in later seasons) of the TV series Alias. Olin is currently starring in new Swedish sitcom Welcome to Sweden.


Olin was born the youngest of three children, in Stockholm, Sweden. She is the daughter of actress Britta Holmberg and the director Stig Olin.[1] She studied acting at Sweden's National Academy of Dramatic Art.

She was crowned Miss Scandinavia 1975 in Helsinki, Finland in October 1974.[2]

Olin worked both as a substitute teacher and as a hospital nurse before becoming an actress. Olin performed for over a decade with Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theatre-ensemble (1980–1994) in classic plays by William Shakespeare and August Strindberg, and appeared in smaller roles of several Swedish films directed by Bergman and in productions of Swedish Television's TV-Theatre Company.

Ingmar Bergman cast Olin in Face to Face. Later she acted at the national stage in Stockholm in several productions directed by Bergman, and with Bergman's production of King Lear (in which Olin played Cordelia) she toured the world—Paris, Berlin, New York, Copenhagen, Moscow and Oslo, among others. Critically acclaimed stage performances by Olin at Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theatre included the leading part as The Daughter in A Dream Play by Strindberg, Margarita in the stage adaption of The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters, Ann in Edward Bond's Summer, Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson's The Alchemist, the title role in Ingmar Bergman's rendition of Strindberg's Miss Julie and her neurotic Charlotte in the contemporary drama Nattvarden (The Last Supper) by Lars Norén.

In 1980 she was one of the earliest winners of the Ingmar Bergman Award,[3] initiated in 1978 by the director himself, who was also one of the two judges.[4]

Olin's international debut in a lead role on film was in Bergman's After the Rehearsal (1984). Two years earlier, she had appeared in a small role in the same director's Fanny and Alexander. In 1988, Olin starred with Daniel Day-Lewis in her first major part in an English speaking and internationally produced film, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, followed by Sydney Pollack's Havana (1990), Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate (1999) and many others.

In 1989, she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Enemies: A Love Story, in which she portrayed the survivor of a German Nazi camp. In 1994 Olin starred in Romeo Is Bleeding and played what is perhaps her most extreme character to date; the outrageous hit woman Mona Demarkov—still one of the actress's most popular portrayals on film.

Olin and director Lasse Hallström collaborated on the 2000 film Chocolat, which received five Academy Award nominations, and on Casanova (2005). From 2002 to 2006, she appeared opposite Jennifer Garner in her first American television role ever; on the second season of the successful television series Alias. For her work on the series as Irina Derevko, Olin received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2003. She received good reviews for her part in Alias—particularly her chemistry with Victor Garber, who played her former husband and sometime-enemy Jack Bristow—and was rumored to have been offered a salary in excess of $100,000 per episode to remain part of the cast.[citation needed] She left the show after her first and only season; this was, however, to spend more time with her family in New York.

In May 2005, Olin returned to Alias for a two-episode appearance at the end of the show's fourth season, and subsequently appeared again in the fifth season, initially in a cameo in December 2005, and then following a four-month hiatus she appeared again in April 2006, and for the finale on 22 May 2006. An upcoming project is supposedly Daughter of the Queen of Sheba (which is to be directed by Hallström). She had a small but significant role in 2008's Oscar-nominated film The Reader, playing a Jewish survivor of the Auschwitz death march in a trial in the 1960s and the woman's daughter twenty years later.

In 2005 she returned to Sweden for a brief period of filming and starred in a supporting role in Danish director Simon Staho's film Bang Bang Orangutang (with a punk music soundtrack by, among others, The Clash and Iggy Pop).

Personal life[edit]

Olin and Lasse Hallström in 2008

Olin was for many years (mid 1970s – end 80s) partner of Swedish actor and Royal Dramatic Theatre colleague Örjan Ramberg.[citation needed] They had a son, Auguste Rahmberg, in 1986. The relationship ended in the late 1980s.[citation needed]

Olin met film director Lasse Hallström in Sweden in 1992.[citation needed] Two years later they married in Hedvig Eleonora Church in Stockholm.[citation needed] In 1995 they had a daughter, Tora.[citation needed] Olin lives in New York with her husband and children.[citation needed]


1976Face to FaceShop Assistant
1977Friaren som inte ville gifta sigGypsy WomanTV movie
1977TabooGirl (uncredited)
1978The Adventures of PicassoDolores
1982Som ni behagarTV movie
1982Fanny and AlexanderEkdahlska huset – Rosa
1984After the RehearsalAnna Egerman (older)TV movie
1985Wallenberg: A Hero's StoryMartaTV movie
1986GlasmästarnaLady with DogTV movie
1986Flight NorthKarin
1986A Matter of Life and DeathNadja Melander
1987KomedianterAnnTV movie
1988The Unbearable Lightness of BeingSabinaNominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
1989S/Y GlädjenAnnika Larsson
1989Enemies, A Love StoryMashaNew York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
1990HebrianaLenaTV movie
1990HavanaBobby Duran
1993Romeo Is BleedingMona DemarkovNominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
1993Mr. JonesDr. Elizabeth Bowen
1995The Night and the MomentThe Marquise
1996Night Falls on ManhattanPeggy Lindstrom
1998Polish WeddingJadzia
1999Mystery MenDr. Anabel Leek
1999The Ninth GateLiana Telfer
2000ChocolatJosephine MuscatNominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated—European Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2001IgnitionJudge Faith Mattis
2002Queen of the DamnedMaharet
2003The United States of LelandMarybeth Fitzgerald
2003Hollywood HomicideRuby
2005Bang Bang OrangutangNina
2007AwakeLilith Beresford
2008The ReaderRose Mather / Ilana Mather
2009Devil You KnowKathyn Vale
2010Remember MeDiane Hirsch
2012The HypnotistSimone Bark
2013Night Train to LisbonOlder Estefânia
2002–2006AliasIrina Derevko27 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2003)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Television Series (2003, 2004)
2010Law & Order: Special Victims UnitIngrid BlockEpisode: "Confidential"
2014Welcome to SwedenViveka Börjesson


  1. ^ Lena Olin Biography (1955-)
  2. ^ LENA OnLINe :: Press Archive
  3. ^ "Lena Olin". Swedish Film Institute. 8 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Ingmar Bergman Prize. Retrieved 2011-10-18

External links[edit]