Nov. 5th, 1960
London, England, UK
Tilda Swinton's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Katherine Mathilda "Tilda" Swinton (born November 5, 1960) is a British actress and model known for both arthouse and mainstream films. She has appeared in a number of films, including Burn After Reading, The Beach, The Chronicles of Narnia, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performances in The Deep End and We Need to Talk About Kevin. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Michael Clayton in 2007.
Swinton was born in London. Her father is Major-General Sir John Swinton, KCVO, OBE, DL, and Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire from 1989 to 2000. Her mother, Judith Balfour, Lady Swinton (née Killen), was Australian. Her paternal great-grandfather was Scottish politician and officer-of-arms George Swinton, and her maternal great-great-grandfather was Scottish botanist John Hutton Balfour. The Swinton family is an ancient Anglo-Scots family that can trace its lineage to the Middle Ages.
Swinton attended three independent schools, Queen's Gate School in London, the West Heath Girls' School where she was a colleague of the future Princess of Wales Lady Diana Spencer, and also Fettes College for a brief period. In 1983, she graduated from New Hall (now known as Murray Edwards College) at Cambridge University with a degree in Social and Political Sciences. While at Cambridge, she joined the Communist Party; she later joined the Scottish Socialist Party.
Her early film work included several film roles for director Derek Jarman, notably War Requiem (1989) playing a nurse opposite Laurence Olivier as an old soldier. In 1991, Swinton won the Volpi Cup Best Actress award for her role in the postmodern film Edward II.
Her most notable performance of that period however comes from a non-Jarman film: For the title role in Orlando (1992), her nobleman character lives for 400 years while changing sex from man to woman. The film, which Swinton spent years assisting writer/director 'Sally Potter' develop and finance, continues to this day to have a worldwide devoted fan following.
Over the years she has preferred art to celebrity, opening herself to experimental projects with new and untried directors and mediums, delving into the worlds of installation art and cutting-edge fashion. Consistently off-centered roles in Female Perversions (1996), Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998), Teknolust (2002), Young Adam (2003), Broken Flowers (2005) have only added to her mystique.
The thriller The Deep End (2001), earned her a number of critic's awards and her first Golden Globe nomination. Such mainstream U.S. pictures as The Beach (2000) with 'Leonardo DiCaprio', fantasy epic Constantine (2005) with 'Keanu Reeves', her Oscar-decorated performance in Michael Clayton (2007) alongside 'George Clooney' and of course her iconic White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) have cemented her place as one of cinema's most outstanding women. Swinton later had cameos in Narnia's sequels,The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
She was cast for the role of Elizabeth Abbott in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) alongside 'Brad Pitt'.
Swinton lives in Nairn, overlooking the Moray Firth in the Highland region of Scotland with her twins and her partner Sandro Kopp, a German/New Zealand painter. John Byrne, father to their twins Honor and Xavier (born 1997), lives in Edinburgh with his partner Jeanine Davies.
In 2013, Swinton was named as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by The Guardian.
- Delivered the seminal State of Cinema Address in 2006 at the San Francisco International Film Festival, discussing the relationship of dreams, inarticulacy and film.
- Member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival in 1998.
- Her family is one of the oldest in Scotland.
- In her acceptance speech, she said she would give the Oscar she won for _Michael Clayton (2007)_ (qv) to her agent 'Brian Swardstrom' (qv).
- Performed live with 'Patti Smith (I)' (qv) on four nights of the 2005 London Meltdown Festival reading texts by 'Susan Sontag' (qv), 'Bertolt Brecht' (qv), 'William Blake' (qv) and 'William S. Burroughs' (qv).
- Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival 1988.
- Functioned as the muse and mascot of Dutch fashion designers Viktor and Rolf, who made an entire collection inspired by her (2003).
- Can trace her paternal ancestry back 35 generations, to the ninth century. Her father, Major-General Sir John Swinton, is the former head of The Queen's Household Division and Lord-Lieutenant of Berwickshire.