Olivia Williams

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Olivia Williams
Olivia Williams July 9, 2014 (cropped).jpg
Williams in July 2014
BornOlivia Haigh Williams
(1968-07-26) 26 July 1968 (age 46)
Camden Town, London, England
Years active1992–present
Spouse(s)Rhashan Stone (m. 2003)
ChildrenEsmé Ruby, Roxana May
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Olivia Williams
Olivia Williams July 9, 2014 (cropped).jpg
Williams in July 2014
BornOlivia Haigh Williams
(1968-07-26) 26 July 1968 (age 46)
Camden Town, London, England
Years active1992–present
Spouse(s)Rhashan Stone (m. 2003)
ChildrenEsmé Ruby, Roxana May

Olivia Haigh Williams (born 26 July 1968) is an English film, stage and television actress who has appeared in British and American films and television series.

Early life[edit]

Williams was born in Camden Town,[citation needed] London. Both of her parents are barristers. Williams was educated at South Hampstead High School, an independent school for girls in Hampstead in North London, followed by Newnham College at the University of Cambridge, from which she graduated with a degree in English literature. She then studied drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for two years and spent three years at the Royal Shakespeare Company.[1]


After graduation, Williams worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in both Stratford-upon-Avon and London. In 1995, she toured the United States in a production of Shakespeare's Richard III starring Ian McKellen. Her first significant appearance before the cameras was as Jane Fairfax in the British TV film Emma (1996), based on Jane Austen's 1816 novel.[1]

Williams made her film debut in 1997's The Postman, after doing a screen test for Kevin Costner.[1] She later won the lead role of Rosemary Cross in Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998).[2] She then starred as Bruce Willis' wife in the blockbuster The Sixth Sense (1999), a film she would later parody during her brief appearance in the British sitcom Spaced. Since then, Williams has appeared in several British films, including Lucky Break (2001), The Heart of Me (2002), for which she won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress,[3] and An Education (2009). She played Mrs. Darling in the 2003 film adaptation of Peter Pan. Williams was uncredited for her role as Dr. Moira MacTaggert in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand.

On TV, Williams portrayed British author Jane Austen in Miss Austen Regrets (2008) and was cast as Adelle DeWitt in Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, which ran on Fox from 2009 to 2010.[4]

In 2010, she won acclaim for her performance as Ruth Lang in Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer, winning the National Society of Film Critics Award, London Critics Circle Film Award for best supporting actress and was runner-up for best supporting actress at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 2010.

In Hanna (2011), she played Rachel, a bohemian mother travelling across North Africa and Europe, who comes into contact with the eponymous teen assassin, who is on the run. The film starred Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett, and was a critical and sleeper hit. In 2014, Williams co-starred in David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, a dark comic look at Hollywood excess.[5]

In 2000, Williams wrote the short story "The Significance Of Hair" for BBC Radio, and read it on the air.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Williams had a seven-year relationship and then engagement to the actor Jonathan Cake which ended two weeks before their planned wedding. In 2003, she married the actor and playwright Rhashan Stone, with whom she has two daughters.[7]

After filming The Postman, she spent time in Bolivia studying spectacled bears in the rainforest.[8][9] Since 2006, she has written occasional travel reports for the "Independent Traveller" section of the British newspaper The Independent on Sunday.[citation needed]

Selected works[edit]

Williams at the Berlin Film Festival 2010


1997BeckKaren Quinn
1997Gaston's WarNicky
1997The PostmanAbby
1998RushmoreRosemary Cross
1999The Sixth SenseAnna Crowe
2000Four Dogs Playing PokerAudrey
2000Born RomanticEleanor
2000Dead BabiesDianaaka Mood Swingers
2001The BodySharon Golban
2001Lucky BreakAnnabel Sweep/Lady Hamilton in show
2001The Man from Elysian FieldsAndrea
2002The Heart of MeMadeleine
2003To Kill a KingLady Anne Fairfax
2003Peter PanMrs. Darling
2005ValiantVictoria (voice)
2005Tara RoadRia
2006X-Men: The Last StandMoira MacTaggertUncredited
2008Flashbacks of a FoolGrace Scott
2008Broken LinesZoe
2009An EducationMiss Stubbs
2010The Ghost WriterRuth Lang
2010Sex & Drugs & Rock & RollBetty Dury
2011CollaboratorEmma Stiles
2012Anna KareninaCountess Vronskaya
2012Now Is GoodMother
2012Hyde Park on HudsonEleanor Roosevelt
2013The Last Days on MarsKim Aldrich
2013Justin and the Knights of ValourQueen (voice)
2014SabotageInvestigator Caroline Brentwood
2014Maps to the StarsCristina Weiss
2014Altar - The Ritual Has BegunKickstarter Funded
2014Man UpFilming
2015Seventh SonPost-Production


1992Van der ValkIrene Kortman1 episode: "Still Waters"
1992The Ruth Rendell MysteriesJennifer Norris1 episode: "The Speaker of Mandarin"
1998Friends3 episodes
2000Jason and the ArgonautsHera
2001SpacedKnocked-down Cyclist1 episode: "Help"
2004Agatha Christie – A Life in PicturesAgatha Christie
2006Krakatoa – The Last DaysJohanna Beijerinck
2007DamageMichelle Cahill
2008Miss Austen RegretsJane Austen
2009–2010DollhouseAdelle DeWitt
2010TerriersMiriam Foster
2011–2012Case SensitiveDS Charlie Zailer
2014Salting the BattlefieldBelinda Kay
2014ManhattanLiza Winter


1995Richard III
2003Love's Labour's Lost[10]The PrincessOlivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London
2003The Hotel in Amsterdam[11]AnnieDonmar Warehouse, London
2006The Changeling[12]Beatrice-JoannaCheek by Jowl production at the Barbican Centre, London
2011In a Forest, Dark and Deep[13]BettyVaudeville Theatre, London

Awards and nominations[edit]

NominatedEmpire Award for Best Actress

WonBritish Independent Film Award for Best Actress

NominatedLondon Film Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year
NominatedScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

WonLondon Film Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year
WonNational Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
NominatedEmpire Award for Best Actress
NominatedLos Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress


  1. ^ a b c Gilbert, Gerard (15 November 2009). "Olivia Williams: 'I just do what I'm told'". The Independent (London). Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  2. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (2001-01-20). "Dead good : Returning from Hollywood to star in British movies would be a step back for most, but Sixth Sense star Olivia Williams was tempted by sex, drugs and cruelty". London: The Guardian. 
  3. ^ British Independent Film Awards - 2003 Winners
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2008-04-03). "Olivia Williams cast in 'Dollhouse'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  5. ^ "Mia Wasikowska & More Join David Cronenberg's 'Maps To The Stars,' Some Story Details Revealed". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Opening Lines
  7. ^ Costa, Maddy (9 January 2008). "Maddy Costa talks to actor Olivia Williams". The Guardian (London). 
  8. ^ Hoggard, Liz (2003-04-13). "How we met? Olivia Williams & Susanna Paisley". The Independent on Sunday (republished on LookSmart). 
  9. ^ Ojumu, Akin (1999-07-04). "Everyone's talking about... Olivia Williams". London: The Observer. 
  10. ^ Bassett, Kate (2003-03-02). "Love's Labour's Lost, NT Olivier, London; Honour, NT Cottesloe, London; The Green Man, Bush, London; Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Donmar Warehouse, London : Parting is such sugary sorrow". The Independent. 
  11. ^ Bassett, Kate (2003-09-21). "The Hotel in Amsterdam, Donmar Warehouse, London; A Woman of No Importance, Haymarket Theatre Royal, London; The Recruiting Officer, Garrick, Lichfield : Charming, funny... and totally vile". The Independent.  Taylor, Paul (2003-09-22). "The Hotel In Amsterdam, Donmar Warehouse, London : Lounging around can be highly entertaining". The Independent. 
  12. ^ Williams, Olivia (2006-05-04). "Diary of a nervous star : Olivia Williams, star of 'The Sixth Sense', is appearing on stage in 'The Changeling'. In her tour diary, she says it's scarier than Hollywood". London: The Independent.  Coveney, Michael (2006-05-17). "The Changeling, Barbican, London". The Independent.  Bassett, Kate (2006-05-21). "The Changeling, Barbican, London : Lost in the labyrinth". The Independent. 
  13. ^ Paddock, Terri (2010-11-22). "Matthew Fox Gets Lost in LaBute Forest". whatsonstage.com. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]