Jul. 12th, 1976
Rochdale, Lancashire, England, UK
Anna Friel's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
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Anna Louise Friel (born July 12, 1976) is an English actress. She has been acting since the age of 13, appearing in a number of British television programmes. She played Beth Jordache in the Channel 4 soap Brookside which had the first lesbian kiss in a British soap opera in January 1994. She made her West End stage début in London in 2001, and has subsequently appeared on stage in several productions, including an adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's and as Yelena in a 2012 production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.
Born in Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, the daughter of Julie (née Bamford), a special needs teacher, and Desmond "Des" Friel, a former teacher of French and owner of a web design company. Friel's Irish Catholic father, a former folk guitarist, was born in Belfast, and grew up in County Donegal. Her brother, Michael, starred in Hovis television adverts. He is now a doctor.
She attended Crompton House Church of England High School (in High Crompton), and later attended Holy Cross College (in Bury). She began her training as an actress at Oldham Theatre Workshop.
Friel made her film debut in 1998 in David Leland's Land Girls and has since made a number of films appearing with such notable co-stars as 'Christian Bale', 'Gerard Butler', 'Colin Farrell', 'Keira Knightley', 'Robert De Niro', 'Will Ferrell', and 'Rachel Weisz'. Outside of film, she is probably best known in the USA for her work as Charlotte "Chuck" Charles in the ABC comedy series Pushing Daisies for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 2008.
She is the recipient of a number of awards including National Television Award (1995), Drama Desk Award (1999), and the Royal Television Society Award (2009). She has also appeared in music videos and television and print media advertising campaigns and is the recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Bolton.
Friel is cast in the lead role of Sergeant Odelle Ballard in NBC's American Odyssey, which began in April 2015.
In 2001, Friel began a relationship with actor 'David Thewlis', after the pair met on a flight to Cannes (contrary to popular belief, however, the two never married). In the same year Friel collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, needing emergency surgery and two blood transfusions for a ruptured ovarian cyst. It was later discovered that she suffers from endometriosis and would have great difficulty conceiving. However, she became pregnant and gave birth to Gracie Ellen Mary Thewlis (born July 9, 2005) at Portland Hospital in London. Gracie was named after Gracie Fields, who was also from Rochdale, and her mother's grandmothers, Ellen and Mary. She has appeared along with her mother in the film Bathory.
In 2008, Friel began supporting the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
In December 2010, Friel and Thewlis separated after almost ten years together. Since 2011, Friel has been in a relationship with Welsh actor 'Rhys Ifans'.
In 2014 she campaigned on behalf of the WWF wildlife charity.
She lives in Frome, Somerset.
- Made her American stage debut at New York City's Music Box in 1999 as Alice in 'Patrick Marber' (qv)'s "Closer".
- Made her British stage debut in off-West End London production of "Lulu" by 'Frank Wedekind' (qv) in 2001.
- Ranked #21 in Wizard magazine's Sexiest Women of TV list (March 2008).
- Has one daughter named Gracie Ellen Mary.
- Dated 'Darren Day (I)' (qv).
- Was one of People Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People in the world (2008).
- Living with partner actor 'David Thewlis' (qv)
- (9 July 2005) Gave birth to a baby girl, named Gracie Ellen Mary. This is her first child with actor 'David Thewlis' (qv). Gracie was born at London's Portland Hospital and weighed 7lb 4oz.