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James Badge Dale

Jeff Daniels

Ethan Hawke

Paul Rudd

Ben Kingsley

Conan O'Brien

Andy Garcia

Leonardo DiCaprio

Emily Mortimer Biography

Home > Actresses > M > Mortimer, Emily > Biography

Birth Name: Emily Mortimer
Born: 12/01/1971
Birth Place: London, England, GB

Born on Dec. 1, 1971 in London, England, Mortimer was raised by her father, John, a playwright and novelist who wrote the popular mystery series Rumpole on the Bailey, and her mother, Penelope. Though she liked to mimic television commercials as a child, Mortimer had no early predilections for becoming an actress. But while attending St. Paul's Girls' School in London, Mortimer took her first steps into performing with several stage productions. She also began falling in love with Russian culture and language, particularly after a trip to the country when she was 17. In 1990, Mortimer went to Lincoln College at Oxford University, where she was a double major in English literature and Russian, and spent two terms studying acting at the Moscow Arts Theater Drama School. She performed in several school productions at Oxford, then acted in "The Lights" at London's Royal Court Theatre and "The Merchant of Venice" at Edinburgh's Lyceum Theatre. Mortimer first gained professional consideration when a classmate's mother - also an agent at William Morris - saw her in a play and began sending her on auditions.

Making her television debut, Mortimer had a small role in an adaptation of Dame Catherine Cookson's "The Glass Virgin" (1995). After playing a young nun who escapes Napoleon's marauding army in "Sharpe's Sword" (ITV, 1995), she played Val Kilmer's wife in the uninspired African adventure "The Ghost and the Darkness" (1996). That same year she was featured in the sweet 1977-set Irish romance "The Last of the High Kings," playing Romy, the unattainable dream girl of a love-struck virgin (Jared Leto). Mortimer teamed up with Kilmer again with a cameo role in "The Saint" (1997). In 1998, the actress took a featured role in the A&E mystery special "The Killings at Badger's Drift." She was impressive in Shekhar Kapur's historical epic "Elizabeth" (1998), after which she returned the following year to American television screens with an appropriately haunting turn as a beautiful, but tormented young woman in "Cider With Rosie"(PBS, 1999), a Masterpiece Theatre presentation penned by her father. Meanwhile, her capable turn as Esther in the event miniseries "Noah's Ark" (NBC, 1999) broadened her audience considerably.

After another small supporting role, this time in the popular romantic comedy "Notting Hill" (1999), Mortimer finally landed a more visible role in "Disney's The Kid" (2000), playing Bruce Willis' feisty British love interest. She surprised audiences with her next career move, playing Angelina Tyler in Wes Craven's "Scream 3" (2000), which introduced her to an entirely new audience and eventually led to the opportunity to play Neve Campbell's hard-to-kill Sidney in the horror-flick-within-a-horror-flick "Stab 3." While taking the role was an interesting and courageous move for the actress, many found her miscast and otherwise wasted. Moving on, she was featured as Katherine in Kenneth Branagh's 1930s-set Busby Berkeley-esque musical take on the Shakespeare comedy "Love's Labour's Lost" (2000). While her acting was without fault, segments of the film required her to sing, proving that skill was not one of her strong suits. Mortimer next had a featured role in the 1920s-set romantic comedy "Sleeping Dictionary" (2000) and followed by co-starring with Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater in "Windtalkers" (2001), John Woo's disappointing World War II drama.

Mortimer did the best she could in the formulaic actioner "Formula 51" (2002), playing a detached, but abrasive hit-woman who locks horns with an American master chemist (Samuel L. Jackson) looking for his last payday by introducing a designer drug to the European market. She stepped back from the action genre to settle into the ensemble comedy "Lovely & Amazing" (2002), in which she took the bold step of appearing fully nude - an act that helped transform her prim and proper image. More importantly, however, Mortimer earned an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female. After appearing in the straight-to-video period romance, "The Sleeping Dictionary" (2003), she delivered a fine performance as a young television journalist acting as a translator between two brothers (Tim Blake Nelson and David Arquette) and potential Russian brides in the dark comedy, "A Foreign Affair" (2003). Following a turn as the betrothed daughter of a colonel (Peter O'Toole) in Stephen Fry's "Bright Young Things" (2003), Mortimer appeared in the little seen "Young Adam" (2004), an erotic drama about a young drifter (Ewan McGregor) who engages in a passionate, but ultimately cruel relationship with a downtrodden woman (Tilda Swinton), all the while hiding a similar affair with another woman (Mortimer).

After some voiceover work for the American edition of the anime adventure, "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004), she portrayed a young mom always on the move with her nine-year-old son (Jack McElhone) to avoid the boy's abusive father in the heartwarming family drama, "Dear Frankie" (2004). Mortimer was unfortunately underutilized in Woody Allen's otherwise compelling "Match Point" (2005), in which she played the wife of an ex-tennis pro (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) too desperate in trying to get pregnant that she fails to notice her husband's passionate affair with a struggling American actress (Scarlett Johansson). Mortimer next co-starred in "The Pink Panther" (2006), an inexplicable remake starring Steve Martin as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau - a part once performed to perfection by the incomparable Peter Sellers. She took a turn to offbeat independent features with "Lars and the Real Girl" (2007), playing the loving wife of a man (Paul Schneider) whose brother (Ryan Gosling) forms a bond with a blow-up doll. After turns in less-heralded fare like "Number Thirteen" (2007), "Redbelt" (2008) and "Transiberian" (2008), as well as a three-episode run as the fragile, bird-boned love interest of TV exec Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) on the Emmy-winning sitcom, "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006- ), Mortimer reprised Inspector Clouseau's love interest, Nicole, in the ill-fated sequel "The Pink Panther 2" (2009).