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Stars That Died

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who is Olivia Haigh Williams?

Who is Olivia Haigh Williams? The acting world knows her as Olivia Williams, she is an English film, stage and television actress who has appeared in British and American films. As of 2009 she stars in the Joss Whedon sci-fi drama Dollhouse.

Williams was born 26 July 1968 in Camden Town, London, England.[1] Both her parents are barristers.[2] She graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge with a degree in English literature,[1] then studied drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for two years.

After graduation, Williams worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in both Stratford-upon-Avon and London and in 1995 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, which aired in the US on the A&E Network.

Williams made her film debut in 1997's The Postman, after doing a screen test for Kevin Costner. She later won the lead role of Rosemary Cross in Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998).[3] She then starred as Bruce Willis' wife in the blockbuster The Sixth Sense (1999). Since then, Williams has appeared in several British films, including Lucky Break (2001) and The Heart of Me (2002), for which she won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress. She also played Mrs. Darling in the latest 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 currently stars as a principal character in Joss Whedon's new show Dollhouse, which premiered on February 13, 2009 on Fox.[4]

In 2000 she wrote and read the short story The Significance Of Hair for BBC Radio.

On 2 November 2003, Williams married American stage actor and playwright Rhashan Stone.[9][10] The couple have two children, Esmé Ruby (born 6 April 2004)[1][11] and Roxana May (born 7 April 2007).[10]

Williams practises Bikram Yoga and rides a bicycle to sets when working on films.[1][12] After filming The Postman, she spent time in Bolivia studying spectacled bears in the rainforest.[13][14] Since 2006, she has written occasional travel reports for the "Independent Traveller" section of the British newspaper The Independent on Sunday.[1]

Selected works


Year Film Role Awards and nominations
1997 Beck Karen Quinn
Gaston's War Nicky
The Postman Abby
1998 Rushmore Rosemary Cross
1999 The Sixth Sense Anna Crowe
2000 Four Dogs Playing Poker Audrey
Born Romantic Eleanor
Dead Babies aka Mood Swingers Diana
2001 The Body Sharon Golban
A Knight's Tale Phillipa Chaucer (uncredited)
Lucky Break Annabel Sweep/Lady Hamilton in show
The Man from Elysian Fields Andrea
2002 The Heart of Me Madeleine
Below Claire
2003 To Kill a King Lady Anne Fairfax
Peter Pan Mrs. Darling
2005 Valiant Victoria (voice)
Tara Road Ria
Mockingbird Mother
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Moira MacTaggert (uncredited)
2008 Flashbacks of a Fool Grace Scott
Broken Lines Zoe
2009 An Education Miss Stubbs
2010 The Ghost Ruth Lang
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll TBA

Some information in this table was obtained from "Olivia Williams : Filmography". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved 2007-09-23.


of appearance
Film or series Role Awards and nominations
(1 episode)
Van der Valk (1972–1973, 1977, 1991–1992)
"Still Waters"
Irene Kortman
(1 episode)
The Ruth Rendell Mysteries (1987–2000)
"The Speaker of Mandarin"
Jennifer Norris
1996 Emma Jane Fairfax
(2 episodes)
Friends (1994–2004)
"The One with Ross's Wedding: Part 1" and "The One with Ross's Wedding: Part 2"
2000 Jason and the Argonauts Hera
(1 episode)
Spaced (1999, 2001)
Knocked-down Cyclist
2004 Agatha Christie – A Life in Pictures Agatha Christie
2006 Krakatoa – The Last Days Johanna Beijerinck
2007 Damage Michelle Cahill
2008 Miss Austen Regrets Jane Austen
2009 Dollhouse Adelle DeWitt

Some information in this table was obtained from "Olivia Williams : Filmography". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved 2007-09-23.


of appearance
Production Role Awards and nominations
1995 Richard III (c. 1591)
by William Shakespeare

2003 Love's Labour's Lost (c. 1595–1596)[6]
by William Shakespeare

Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London

The Princess
2003 The Hotel in Amsterdam (first performed 1968)[7]
by John Osborne

Donmar Warehouse, London

2006 The Changeling (1653)[8]
by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley

Cheek by Jowl production at the Barbican Centre, London


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