Gillian Leigh Anderson (born August 9, 1968) is a film, television, and theatre actress whose credits include the roles of Special Agent Dana Scully in FOX Television's long-running and critically acclaimed drama series The X-Files, ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in Terence Davies' film The House of Mirth (2000), and Lady Dedlock in the successful BBC production of Charles Dickens' Bleak House.
After beginning her career on stage, Anderson achieved international recognition for her role as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully on the American sci-fi horror drama series The X-Files for all nine seasons (1993â"2002). Her film work includes The House of Mirth (2000), the dramas The Mighty Celt (2005), The Last King of Scotland (2006), Shadow Dancer (2012), Sister (2012) and two X-Files films: the science fiction-thriller The X-Files (1998) and the supernatural fiction-thriller The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008).
In 2013, Anderson was cast as serial killer Hannibal Lecter's psychotherapist, Bedelia Du Maurier, on the psychological thrillerâ"horror television series Hannibal. That same year, she began starring on the BBC/Netflix crime television series The Fall.
She has received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations (winning one), five Golden Globe Award nominations (winning one) and nine Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations (winning two).
Aside from film and TV, Anderson has taken on the stage and has received both awards and critical acclaim. Her stage work includes Absent Friends (for which she won a Theatre World Award for Best Newcomer), A Doll's House and A Streetcar Named Desire (both earned her Laurence Olivier Award nominations for Best Actress).
Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Rosemary Anderson (nÃ©e Lane), a computer analyst, and Homer Edward "Ed" Anderson III, who owned a film post-production company. She has Scottish, German, and Irish ancestry. Soon after her birth, her family moved to Puerto Rico for 15 months, then to England, where she lived until she was 11 years old. She lived for five years in London's Crouch End and 15 months in London's Stroud Green, so that her father could attend the London Film School. She was a pupil of Coleridge Primary School.
When Anderson was 11 years old, her family moved again, this time to Grand Rapids, Michigan. She attended Fountain Elementary and then City High-Middle School, a program for gifted students with a strong emphasis on the humanities, graduating in 1986. She is bidialectal. With her English accent and background, she was mocked and felt out of place in the American Midwest and soon adopted a Midwestern accent. To this day, her accent depends on her location; she spoke in an American accent for an interview on Live with Kelly and Michael, but shifted it for an interview with English broadcaster Michael Parkinson. Anderson also spoke with an English accent during her interview with host Jeremy Clarkson as the guest on Series 22, Episode 6 of Top Gear.
Anderson was interested in marine biology, but began acting in high school productions during her freshman year, and later in community theater, and served as a student intern at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre & School of Theatre Arts. She attended The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1990. She also participated in the National Theatre of Great Britain's summer program at Cornell University.
Anderson moved to New York when she was 22 years old. To support herself when she started her career, Anderson worked as a waitress. She began her career in Alan Ayckbourn's play, Absent Friends at the Manhattan Theatre Club alongside Brenda Blethyn; she won the 1990â"91 Theatre World "Newcomer" Award for her role. Her next theatrical role was in Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. Anderson moved to Los Angeles in 1992, spending a year auditioning. Although she had once vowed she would never do TV, being out of work for a year changed her mind. Anderson did Home Fires Burning for a cable station, as well as the audiobook version of Exit to Eden. She broke into mainstream television in 1993, with a guest appearance on the collegiate drama, Class of '96, on the fledgling Fox Network.
As a result of her guest appearance in Class of 96, Anderson was sent the script for The X-Files at the age of 24. She decided to audition because, "for the first time in a long time, the script involved a strong, independent, intelligent woman as a lead character." Producer Chris Carter wanted to hire her, but Fox wanted someone with previous TV exposure and greater sex appeal. Fox sent in more actresses, but Carter stood by Anderson, and she was eventually cast as Special Agent Dana Scully. Anderson got the part assuming it would run for 13 episodes, the standard minimum order for American TV networks. Filmed for the first five seasons in Vancouver before moving to Los Angeles, the series would run for nine seasons, and included two films, released in 1998 and 2008. During her time on The X-Files, Anderson won several awards for her portrayal of Special Agent Scully, including an Emmy Award, Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards for "Best Actress in a Drama Series." While filming, Anderson met assistant art director Clyde Klotz, whom she would eventually marry.
In 1997 Anderson worked on the independent film Chicago Cab. In 1998 she starred in the film Playing by Heart with Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, Ellen Burstyn and Anthony Edwards. Anderson also had a supporting role in the film, The Mighty with Gena Rowlands, Harry Dean Stanton, James Gandolfini and Sharon Stone. In 1999, Anderson had a supporting role in the English-language release of Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, where she voiced the character of Moro. Anderson is a fan of Miyazaki's work. She also took part in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.
In 2000, Anderson starred in the film The House of Mirth with Eric Stoltz, an adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel of the same name, where she won such awards as the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress, also British Independent Film Award for Best Actress and Village Voice Film Poll Best Lead Performance. When The X-Files ended in 2002, she moved to London for a complete change of pace and the opportunity to return to the stage. She performed in several stage productions and worked on various film projects.
In 2005, she appeared as Lady Dedlock in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickensââ'â novel Bleak House, had a starring role in the Irish film The Mighty Celt (for which she won an IFTA award for Best International Actress) and performed in A Cock and Bull Story, a film version of the novel Tristram Shandy. In 2006, Anderson was nominated for a British Academy Television Award (BAFTA) for Best Actress and won the Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Award for Best Actress for her role in Bleak House. Anderson also received an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie" for her performance as Lady Dedlock. She was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Bleak House and came in second place in the Best Actress category of the 2005 BBC Drama website poll for her performance as Lady Dedlock (Billie Piper came in first and Anna Maxwell Martin came in third).
During 2006 and 2007, Anderson appeared in two British films: The Last King of Scotland with James McAvoy (2006) and Straightheads with Danny Dyer (2007). Anderson hosted Masterpiece Theatre during the Jane Austen series. From December 2007 to March 11, 2008, Anderson filmed The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Anderson portrayed Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Donmar Warehouse in London's West End during a limited engagement which ran from May 14, 2009 until July 18, 2009. Anderson had a nomination for Best Actress in the Laurence Olivier Awards 2010, for productions which opened in the 2009 calendar year for her portrayal of Nora. In April 2011 she starred in the BBC adaptation The Crimson Petal and the White as Mrs. Castaway.
Anderson appears as the head of MI7, Pamela Thornton, in Johnny English Reborn, which opened internationally in Australia on September 15, 2011. She starred as Miss Havisham in a three-part BBC adaptation of Great Expectations that aired in late December 2011. In May 2013, Anderson appeared in the lead role in The Fall, a drama serial for BBC Two and RTÃ ONE. Since 2013, she has played Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal Lecter's psychiatrist, in the NBC series Hannibal. In 2014, Anderson was promoted from a recurring character during the first two seasons, to a series regular for the third season. In 2015, Anderson won a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Favorite Supporting Actress on Television, for her role as Du Maurier.
In July 2014, Anderson gained critical acclaim for her performance as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams at the Young Vic Theatre in London, for which she won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress and received her second nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award. The production became the fastest-selling show in the theatre's history and the run was extended by two weeks due to the demand for tickets. In the first collaboration between the Young Vic Theatre and National Theatre Live, the show was broadcast live to over 1100 venues on 16 September 2014. Anderson will reprise the role of Blanche DuBois in the play at St. Ann's Warehouse in New York City in the spring of 2016.
In March 2015, it was announced that Anderson would once again portray Agent Dana Scully a six-episode revival of The X-Files.
On March 10, 2015, it was announced The Fall will return for a third series with Anderson in the lead as DSI Stella Gibson. Shooting of the third series begins in November 2015.
Anderson married her first husband, Clyde Klotz, The X-Files series assistant art director, on New Year's Day 1994, in Hawaii in a Buddhist ceremony. They had a daughter, Piper Maru (born September 1994), for whom Chris Carter named the X-Files episode of the same name, and divorced in 1997. In December 2004, Anderson married Julian Ozanne, a documentary filmmaker, on Lamu Island, off the coast of Kenya. Anderson announced their separation on April 21, 2006. Anderson and former boyfriend, Mark Griffiths, have two sons: Oscar, born November 2006 and Felix, born October 2008. She ended their relationship in 2012. In March 2012, Anderson told Out magazine about her past relationship with a girl while in high school. Anderson "...said she first experimented with women during her rebellious teenaged years, when she moved from England to the United States."
Anderson's brother died in 2011 of a brain tumor, at the age of 30.
Activism and charity work
Anderson is an honorary spokesperson for the Neurofibromatosis Network. Her brother Aaron died from the disease and was diagnosed when Gillian was just a teenager. She also supports the Children with Tumours organisation. a new UK group devoted to helping children with NF. She is a member of the board of directors for Artists for a New South Africa and a campaigner for ACTSA: Action for Southern Africa. She is an active member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and supports animal rights. She also supports tribal rights charity Survival International leading to her performance in a London stage fundraiser in early 2010.
Anderson is the co-founder of the SA-YES organisation, aiding the empowerment of marginalised young people in South Africa through youth mentoring.
In late 2010, Anderson and other celebrities joined a campaign to boycott Botswana diamonds over the government's treatment of the Kalahari San. In February 2011, Anderson narrated a short film about recent footage of an uncontacted tribe. The Amazon Indians were spotted from the air on the Brazil-Peru border. Anderson has said, "What comes across powerfully from this amazing footage is how healthy and confident these people appear. I hope they can be left alone â" but that will only happen if the loggers are stopped." In June 2011, Anderson became an ambassador for Survival. Anderson has also been active in the LGBT community, particularly with youth. In 2013, Anderson also joined the Fishlove campaign, urging to fight unsustainable fishing practices that harm the marine ecosystem.
For International Women's Day 2014, Anderson is one of the artist signatories of Amnesty International's letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron campaigning for women's rights in Afghanistan.
Anderson participated in Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, including a stage performance on February 14, 1999. She is also an advocate for reproductive rights. In 2001, she attended the "Rock for Choice" concert fundraiser along with singers Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, Melissa Etheridge as well as actresses Helen Hunt, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, and Kathy Najimy. The concert supported reproductive options for unplanned pregnancies, including the morning after pill.
In 2015, Anderson became a supporter of the International Literacy Centre (European home of Reading Recovery).
- Wrote X-Files episode "All Things", which aired in 2000.
- Her first book A Vision of Fire, co-authored by Jeff Rovin, was published in October 2014. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1471137709. It is described as "a science fiction thriller of epic proportions".
- Directed X-Files episode "All Things", which aired in 2000.
- Directed "The Departure", a short film prequel to A Streetcar Named Desire. It is part of the Young Vic's short film series, which is produced in collaboration with The Guardian. The piece was written by novelist Andrew O'Hagan
- Executive producer of the second season of The Fall.
- Provided the voice for the ship's computer, E.V.E. (Enhanced Virtual Entity), in the 1996 video game Hellbender by Terminal Reality and Microsoft.
- Appeared in two X-Files games, The X-Files Game and provided her voice and likeness for The X-Files: Resist or Serve.
- Read books Exit to Eden and The X-Files: Ground Zero.
- Narrated a film about the release of footage of uncontacted Indians on the Brazil-Peru border, as part of Survival International's campaign to protect some of the world's last uncontacted tribes (2011).
- Narrated the audiobook for her novel "A Vision Of Fire" (2014).
- Narrator of BBC Radio 4's on-going series "A History of Ideas" (2015).
- Provided a voice recording of reading Virginia Woolf's suicide note for The Royal Ballet production, "Woolf Works" (2015).
Awards and nominations
In 1996, Anderson was voted the "Sexiest Woman in the World" for FHMâââ'ââs 100 Sexiest Women poll. In 1997, she was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. Askmen listed her at No. 6 on their Top 7: '90s Sex Symbols. In 2008, she was listed 21st in FHM's All Time 100 Sexiest Hall of Fame.
In 2010, Anderson was named Honorary Associates of The London Film School (LFS).
- Hal Featuring Gillian Anderson â" Extremis (Virgin Records America â" 1997)
- Official website
- Gillian Anderson on Twitter
- Gillian Anderson at the Internet Movie Database
- Gillian Anderson at the Internet Broadway Database
- Gillian Anderson at the Notable Names Database
- Gillian Anderson at AllMovie
- Works by or about Gillian Anderson in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Gillian Anderson at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Gillian Anderson collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Gillian Anderson at Emmys.com