Thandie Newton

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Thandie Newton
Thandie Newton 2, 2010.jpg
Newton at the 10 Downing Street visit in 2010.
BornThandiwe Melanie Newton
(1972-11-06) 6 November 1972 (age 41)
London, England[1]
Years active1991–present
Spouse(s)Ol Parker (m. 1998)
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Thandie Newton
Thandie Newton 2, 2010.jpg
Newton at the 10 Downing Street visit in 2010.
BornThandiwe Melanie Newton
(1972-11-06) 6 November 1972 (age 41)
London, England[1]
Years active1991–present
Spouse(s)Ol Parker (m. 1998)

Thandiwe Melanie "Thandie" Newton[2] (born 6 November 1972) is an English actress.[3][4] She has appeared in a number of British and American films, including The Pursuit of Happyness, Mission: Impossible II, Crash, Run Fatboy Run, W., 2012, Norbit and For Colored Girls.

Early life[edit]

Newton was born in London, England, the daughter of Nyasha, a Zimbabwean health-care worker, and Nick Newton, an English[5][6] laboratory technician and artist.[7]

Her birthplace has been incorrectly reported to be Zambia in some biographies,[8] but she has confirmed in interviews that she was born in London.[9][10][11] The name "Thandiwe" means "beloved"[12] in Ndebele, Zulu, Xhosa or Swazi, and "Thandie" is pronounced /ˈtændi/ TAN-dee in English. According to Newton, her mother is a Shona princess.[13][14]

Regarding her childhood, Newton remarked at a TED conference: "From about the age of 5, I was aware that I didn't fit. I was the black, atheist kid in the all-white, Catholic school run by nuns. I was an anomaly."[15] Brought up in London and Penzance, Cornwall, she studied dance at the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts and at sixteen, while recovering from a back injury, she successfully auditioned for her first film role.[16] She then went on to study social anthropology at Downing College, Cambridge, from 1992 to 1995, where she achieved a 2:1.[17]


Newton made her film debut in Flirting (1991). She played the role of Brad Pitt's maid Yvette in Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994).

Newton at the 2007 BAFTAs

She gained international recognition in the Merchant Ivory production of Jefferson in Paris as Sally Hemings, which led to her being cast in Jonathan Demme's Beloved (1998), in which she played the title character with co-stars Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. She played the female lead Nyah Hall in the film Mission: Impossible II. She was originally expected to play Alex Munday in the film Charlie's Angels, but turned it down to appear in the low-budget film It Was an Accident.[18] Lucy Liu was ultimately given the part.

Between 2003 and 2005, Newton played Makemba "Kem" Likasu, the love interest, and later wife of Dr. John Carter on the American television series ER. She reprised the role once more for the series finale in 2009. In 2004 also appeared in The Chronicles of Riddick and Crash. In the latter, she played Christine Thayer, a wealthy black woman who, along with her husband, finds herself the target of a racist policeman (played by Matt Dillon), who sexually assaults Thayer but then later saves her life after he is the first on the scene at a car crash. Newton was honoured with a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress in 2006 for her role in Crash. She also played Chris Gardner's wife, Linda Gardner, in The Pursuit of Happyness. In addition to her film and television credits she played the title role in a 2006 radio pantomime version of Cinderella.[19]

In 2007, she starred with Eddie Murphy in the comedy Norbit as his love interest, and opposite Simon Pegg as his ex-girlfriend in the comedy Run Fat Boy Run. Newton next portrayed U.S. National Security Advisor-turned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in W., Oliver Stone's film biography of President George W. Bush. The film was released 17 October 2008.

Newton was an introducer at Wembley Stadium on 7 July 2007 for the UK leg of Live Earth. She was due to introduce Al Gore to the concert, but he was delayed, leaving Newton to tell jokes in an attempt to entertain the audience.[20] Newton next portrayed the United States President's First Daughter Laura Wilson in 2012, a disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich and released 13 November 2009.

In July 2011, Newton delivered a TED Talk on "Embracing otherness, embracing myself". In it, she discussed finding her "otherness" as a child growing up in two distinct cultures, and as an actress playing with many different selves.[21] In 2012, she starred alongside Tyler Perry in the romantic drama film Good Deeds. In 2013, Thandie starred in Rogue, the first original drama series for DirecTV's Audience Network.[22]

Personal life[edit]

She married English writer/director/producer Ol Parker in 1998. The couple have two daughters: Ripley, born in 2000, and Nico, born in 2004. Her daughters were named after the character Ellen Ripley in the Alien films and the singer Nico. On September 8, 2013, Newton's rep confirmed their third child was on the way.[23]

In 2006, she contributed a foreword to We Wish: Hopes and Dreams of Cornwall's Children, a book of children's writing published in aid of the NSPCC. In it, she writes vividly about her childhood memories of growing up in Cornwall and the way in which the county's vibrant cultural heritage made it easy for her to "enrich every situation with layers of magic and meaning".[24] In 2008, Newton visited poverty-stricken Mali, describing it as a "humbling experience". She visited the village of Nampasso in the Ségou Region of the country.[25] Newton swapped her BMW X5 for a Toyota Prius after protesters bombarded the car with eggs at the gates of her daughters’ school. She then wrote to her celebrity friends, asking them to join her in switching to more environmentally sound cars.[26]

David Schwimmer (who directed Run Fatboy Run) called the actress "the queen of practical jokes".[27] Newton has expressed an affinity with Buddhism.[28][29] In 2013, Thandie led the One Billion Rising flash mob in London, for an end to violence, and for justice and gender equality.[30]


1991FlirtingThandiwe Adjewa
1991Pirate PrinceBecky NewtonTelevision film
1993Young Americans, TheThe Young AmericansRachael Stevens
1994Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire ChroniclesYvette
1995Jefferson in ParisSally Hemings
1995The Journey of August KingAnnalees
1996Leading Man, TheThe Leading ManHilary Rule
1997Gridlock'dBarbara "Cookie" Cook
1997In Your DreamsClareTelevision film
1998BesiegedShanduraiNominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actress
1998BelovedBelovedNominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
2000Mission: Impossible IINyah Nordoff-HallNominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favourite Female - Newcomer
Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actress
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress
2000It Was an AccidentNoreen Hurlock
2002Truth About Charlie, TheThe Truth About CharlieRegina LambertNominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actress
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
2004Chronicles of Riddick, TheThe Chronicles of RiddickDame Vaako
2004CrashChristineBAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Empire Award for Best Actress
Hollywood Film Festival Award for Ensemble of the Year
London Film Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Motion Picture
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated – BET Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Black Movie Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
2006The Interrogation of Leo and LisaThe Mona LisaShort film
2006American Dad!Makeva"Camp Refoogee"
2006Pursuit of Happyness, TheThe Pursuit of HappynessLindaNominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
2007NorbitKate Thomas
2007Run Fatboy RunLibby
2008How to Lose Friends & Alienate PeopleHerself
2008W.Condoleezza Rice
2003–2009ERMakemba "Kem" Likasu
20092012Laura Wilson
2010Vanishing on 7th StreetRosemary
2010For Colored GirlsTangieBlack Reel Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actress
2012Good DeedsLindsey Wakefield
2013RogueGrace TravisTV series
2013Half of a Yellow SunOlannaIn production


  1. ^ Thandie Newton Biography - Birth place
  2. ^
  3. ^ Graydon, Nicola; "Thandie Newton on becoming Condoleezza Rice" The Times (London), 7 September 2008
  4. ^ Carty, Ciaran; "When Thandie met Condi", 21 September 2008
  5. ^ Daily Mail interview
  6. ^ Barton, Laura; "'I was so incredibly self-conscious'", 28 May 2008
  7. ^ Lewis, Sian; "Thandie Newton: 'Condi was my hardest role ever'", 31 October 2008
  8. ^ "Thandie Newton Biography" Yahoo! Movies
  9. ^ Williams, Ka; "Sweet as Thandie", 24 March 2008
  10. ^ Williams, Kam; "Sweet as Thandie", 24 March 2008
  11. ^ A Taste of My Life, Series 4 (BBC Two, 4 June 2008) Thandie Newton – Quote: "Nigel Slater (host): You were born in London but you didn't stay here for long did you? You went down to Cornwall? Thandie Newton (answers): Actually I don't know how my mum and dad managed to do this. But we lived in Zambia, and my mum was pregnant with me. And I was born on a two-week trip back to London, and then we went back to Zambia and my brother was born there. And we ended up coming to England finally when I was three years old. So my dad could help out with the family antique business."
  12. ^ "Thandiwe | Name Meaning & Origin | Boy or Girl Name Thandiwe | Baby Names World". Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  13. ^ Sullivan, Chris; "Why Newton favours gravity over fluff", 5 October 2006
  14. ^ "Thandie Newton: How do you feel about being mixed-race?". Daily Mail. 10 April 2009. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  15. ^ "Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself". July 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Thandie Newton part 2". YouTube. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  17. ^ "News and Events: Downing alumna Thandie Newton wins BAFTA award"
  18. ^ Thandie's Mission, Evening Standard, 22 July 2005. Quote: ...but turned down the Lucy Liu role in Charlie's Angels in favour of making It Was An Accident, a minor film by her scriptwriter husband Ol Parker.
  19. ^ "Doctor Who poised for radio panto", 15 December 2006
  20. ^ Needham, Alex; "Live Earth: The live blog, part 2", 7 July 2007
  21. ^ Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself, TED, 15 July 2011'
  22. ^ "Rogue to Debut on AUDIENCE Network in April". January 7, 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "Thandie Newton Expecting Third Child". people. 9/08/2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "We Wish – Hopes and dreams of Cornwall's children", 30 November 2006.
  25. ^ "THANDIE NEWTON HUMBLED BY MALI TRIP", 4 February 2009.
  26. ^ McLean, Craig; "Telling it like it is", 7 January 2007.
  27. ^ "Actress Newton admits to pranks", 4 September 2007.
  28. ^ "Buddha Buzz: Mindfulness and Being a Buddhist Woman". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  29. ^ "A Body in Motion: The "For Colored Girls" Interview with Kam Williams". Pittsburgh Urban Media. Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Thandie newton joins women's protest". CNN. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 

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