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Richardson, Miranda (I) Biography




biography of Richardson, Miranda (I)

Miranda Jane Richardson
3 March 1958, Southport, Lancashire, England, UK
5' 5"
Miranda Richardson was born in England on March 3, 1958. She comes from Southport in Lancashire (near Liverpool), and has one sister, eight years her senior. Her parents and sister are not involved in the performing arts. At an early age she performed in school plays, having shown a talent and desire to "turn herself into" other people. She has referred to it as "an emotional fusion; you think yourself into them". This mimicry could be of school friends or film stars. She left school (Southport High School for Girls) at the age of 17, and originally intended becoming a vet. She also considered studying English literature in college, but decided to concentrate on drama and enrolled at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (as did many well-known British actors). After three years she graduated and moved into repertory theatre. She became affiliated with the Library Theatre in Manchester in 1979, where she became an assistant stage manager. She obtained her Equity card, and after several regional productions, first appeared on the London stage (Moving at Queens Theatre) in 1981. British television roles soon followed, and then film. Since then, Miranda has moved into the international arena, and has made films in America, France and Spain. Television work (on both sides of the Atlantic) continues, as does some stage work. Her roles are diverse, but powerful and engaging. She has been quoted as stating "what I basically like is doing things I haven't done before" and this continually comes through in the variety of roles she has played in her career. She is also selective in the roles she takes, being uninterested in performing in the standard Hollywood fare, and preferring more offbeat roles. She was approached to play the 'Glenn Close' (qv) role in _Fatal Attraction (1987)_ (qv), but found it "regressive in its attitudes". Her attitude is summed up by a quote from an interview that appeared in the New York Times (Dec 27 1992): "I would rather do many small roles on TV, stage or film than one blockbuster that made me rich but had no acting. And if that's the choice I have to make, I think I've already made it". According to "1994 Current Biography Yearbook", she resides in South London with her two Siamese cats, Otis and Waldo. She has now moved to West London. Her hobbies include drawing, walking, gardening, fashion, falconry, and music. She, by her own admission, is a loner and lives rather modestly. An actor who studied with Ms Richardson at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre in the late 1970s described her as "a strong minded, specially gifted, rather pretty young woman who enjoys wearing jewelry. She wore toe rings, which in the late 1970s and especially in England, were a rarity and considered rather racy." He also remarked on her drive, even then, to be an actress of the highest caliber.
Michael G Hebert



-   Turned down the role, subsequently taken by 'Glenn Close' (qv), in _Fatal Attraction (1987)_ (qv)

-   Played roles in four unrelated movies in which her character was in charge of having heads cut off: _Alice in Wonderland (1999) (TV)_ (qv), as the Queen of Hearts; _Sleepy Hollow (1999)_ (qv), as Lady Van Tassel; _"Black-Adder II" (1986)_ (qv), as Queen Elizabeth; and _Chicken Run (2000)_ (qv), as Mrs. Tweedy.

-   Attended Southport High School for Girls (Southport, England)

-   Father: William Alan Richardson (Marketing Executive). Mother: Marian Georgina Richardson. Sister: Lesley Richardson (Chiropodist, born in 1949).

-   Gave up smoking after being hypnotised.

-   Grew up in Southport, Merseyside

-   Wanted to become a vet.

-   One critic wrote that "Miranda Richardson has a face like an English sky".

-   In one of the sketches on _"Saturday Night Live" (1975)_ (qv) (20 March 1993), The Rain People, her character tells 'Phil Hartman (I)' (qv)'s character that she draws inspiration for a particularly emotional scene from a childhood experience. She awoke after a bad crash, saw her father's face, and told him that she was alright. Then, she saw that it was just her father's severed head in her lap. This makes both actors cry, and produces a great scene for which 'Phil Hartman (I)' (qv)'s character wins the Oscar. He takes credit for the scene and claims the story as his own (and messes up the details). Miranda's character is so angry she screams, "I want his severed head in my lap!" several times.

-   Cast, ironically, as Rita Skeeter, one of Hermione Granger's least favorite people, in _Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)_ (qv), after she did an impersonation of Hermione in "Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot of Azibaijan", a Comic Relief sketch, in 2003.

-   She trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the late seventies with 'Daniel Day-Lewis' (qv), 'Amanda Redman' (qv), 'Jenny Seagrove' (qv) and 'Greta Scacchi' (qv).

-   When Richardson was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in _Tom & Viv (1994)_ (qv) she was seen as the least likely nominee to actually win. She was so unlikely and the film was so seldom heard of that a TNT public telephone poll cited her film as "Tom and Vic".

-   Nominated for the 1987 Olivier Award for Actress of the Year for her work in "A Lie of the Mind."

-   Graduated from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

-   Had a childhood obsession with 'John Wayne (I)' (qv).

-   She won successive Spoken Word Awards in 2002 and 2003 for her reading of 'Francesca Simon (II)' (qv)'s "Horrid Henry" in the audio books of the same name.

-   Turned down a major role in the second series of _"Desperate Housewives" (2004)_ (qv) because it "snowballed into something that would be so disruptive" for her.

-   Not related to actresses 'Joely Richardson' (qv) and 'Natasha Richardson' (qv).

-   (1998) Involved, along with 'Sherilyn Fenn' (qv), 'Kate Winslet' (qv), 'Rufus Sewell' (qv) and 'Paul McGann (I)' (qv) in the 1998 film project "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline". The film was to be executive produced by 'Emma Thompson (I)' (qv), and written and directed by 'Fay Efrosini Lellios' (qv). The shooting was set to start in June 1998 in New Hampshire. The film was canceled due to financial withdrawal.


-   (1996) Appeared in the title role of "Orlando" in the one-woman show produced and directed by 'Robert Wilson (I)' (qv) at the 50th Edinburgh International Festival

-   (1999) She played Aunt Dan, alongside 'Glenne Headly' (qv), in "Aunt Dan and Lemon" at the Almeida Theatre, London

-   (2005) She provided the voices of the Girl and the Pig in a WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) on-line animated short, "Crouching Ox Crowing Rooster".

-   (1988) Appeared in the role of "Beatrice-Joanna" at the Royal National Theatre in their production of 'Thomas Middleton (I)' (qv) and 'William Rowley' (qv)'s "The Changeling".

-   (1988) Played the "Young Woman" in the stage debut of 'Harold Pinter' (qv)'s "Mountain Language" at the Royal National Theatre, alongside 'Michael Gambon' (qv), 'Eileen Atkins' (qv) and 'Julian Wadham' (qv).

-   (1990) She appeared as "Etta Jenks" in the Royal Court Theatre production of the play by Marlene Meyers.

-   (1983) Played Madame in 'The Maids', a theatre production at the Bristol New Vic Theatre.

-   (1983) Played Honey in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf', a theatre production at the Bristol New Vic Theatre.

-   (1983) Played Katie Wyld in 'The Table of the Two Horseman', a theatre production at the Bristol Theatre Royal.

-   (1981) Made her West End stage debut as Jane Gladwin in 'Moving' at the Queen's Theatre, London

-   (1983) Played the Actress in 'Insignificance', a theatre production at the Bristol New Vic Theatre.

-   (1987) Played Beth in the theatre production of 'A Lie of the Mind' at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

-   (2005) Took part in the charity theatre production of "One Knight Only" at the Theatre Royal in London, alongside the likes of 'Helen Mirren' (qv), 'Judi Dench' (qv), 'Joan Plowright' (qv), 'Antony Sher' (qv), 'Diana Rigg' (qv) and 'Patrick Stewart (I)' (qv).

-   (2002-3) Starred in two series of the radio comedy 'Wild Things!' as Ample.

-   (1984) Appeared in the Dukes Playhouse theatre production "Life of Einstein", directed by 'Mike Newell (I)' (qv).

-   (1985) Played Glenna in the theatre production of 'Edmond' in Newcastle.

-   (1985) Starred as Helen Schlegel in the radio adaptation of 'Howard's End'.

-   (1991) Starred as Olivia Presteign in the radio production 'Tiger! Tiger!'

-   (1996) Played Judy in the theatre production of 'The Designated Mourner' at the National Theatre in London.

-   (2002-3) Was a surprise celebrity guest in three 'The Play What I Wrote' shows at Wyndhams Theatre, London

-   (2006) Championed the Asian elephant in the TV series _"Extinct" (2006)_ (qv), shown in the UK.

-   2006 TV commercial for Danacol yogurt

-   (2006) Starred in the radio production of 'Plenty' as Susan.

-   Narrates the hugely successful 'Horrid Henry' audio books.

-   (2010) TV commercial for Boots No 7 cosmetic range

-   (January 1988 to June 1988; August 1988 to December 1988) She acted in the British National Theatre Repertoire Season at the Cottesloe Theatre, Lyttelton Theatre, and Olivier Theatre in London, England in John Ford's play, "'Tis A Pity She's A Whore;" Alan Ayckbourn's play, "A Small Family Business;" Athol Fugard's play, "A Place with the Pigs;" William Shakespeare's plays, "Antony and Cleopatra," "Cymbeline," "The Tempest," and "The Winter's Tale;" Ben Jonson's play, "Bartholomew Fair;" Tennessee Williams's play, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof;" play, "Countrymania;" A.R. Gurney's play, "Entertaining Strangers;" David Hare's plays, "Fanshen," and "Secret Rapture;" Brian Friel's plays, "Fathers and Sons," and "Making History;" Lope De Vega's play, "Fuente Ovejuna;" Adrian Mitchell's play, "Love Songs of World War III;" Harold Pinter's play, "Mountain Language;" Nicholas Wright's play, "Mrs Klein;" Arnold Wesker's play, "Roots;" Caroline Chapmans' play, "Russell of the Times;" Alan Bennett's play, "Single Spies;" Thomas Middleton's play, "The Changeling;" August Strindberg and John Osborne's play, "The Father;" the play, "The Magic Olypmical Games;" David Wood's play, "The Pied Piper;" the play, "The Shaughraum;" Nick Ward's play, "The Strangeness of Others;" Nick Darke's play, "Ting Tang Mine;" and Samuel Beckett's play, "Waiting for Godot;" with Polly Adams, John Alderton, Francesca Annis, Eileen Atkins, Robin Bailey, Jill Baker, David Bamber, Jim Barclay, Gillian Barge, Alan Bennett, Richard Bonneville, Jim Broadbent, Michael Bryant, David Burke, Simon Callow, Ian Charleson, Garry Cooper, Jonathan Cullen, Judi Dench, Sally Dexter, Paola Dionisotti, Russell Dixon, Lindsay Duncan, Nick Dunning, Robert Eddison, Ralph Fiennes, Susan Fleetwood, Mick Ford, Clive Francis, Michael Gambon, Henry Goodman, Rupert Graves, George Harris, Tony Haygarth, Guy Henry, Anthony Hopkins, Colin Jeavons, Barbara Jefford, Paul Jesson, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Mark Lockyer, Steven Mackintosh, Maggie McCarthy, Alec McCowen, Sylvester McCoy, Sarah Miles, Stephen Moore, Richard Pasco, Tim Pigott-Smith, Eric Porter, Stephen Rea, Moira Redmond, Anton Rodgers, Mark Rylance, Leslie Sands, Prunella Scales, Paul Shelley, Kate Spiro, Alison Steadman, Ken Stott, Sian Thomas, Niall Tobin, Bridget Turner, Philip Voss, Julian Wadham, Zoe Wanamaker, John Wells, Penelope Wilton and Peter Woodward in the cast.


-   I like people to be surprised by the turn of events. I don't want things just to be pat and formulaic. If there's some sort of internal combustion in the character or a desire to change the way things are going, that makes for conflict, which is the essence of drama.

-   Why did I not stop to have children? I suppose because the opportunity didn't present itself. Yes, many women feel they are not complete without having children, but I have different creative outlets.

-   I would rather do many small roles on TV, stage or film than one blockbuster that made me rich but had no acting.

-   Somebody referred to me as a ringleader, which I wouldn't have classed myself as, but anyway, there you go.

-   You can have a laugh in Los Angeles, or you can weep in Los Angeles, depending on your attitude towards it.

-   "Once the vodka gets flowing, you never know quite what's going to happen really." (on the Golden Globes)


-   "Parade" (USA), 23 February 2003, pg. 18, by: James Brady, "In Step With: Miranda Richardson"

-   "Epsilon" (Greece), 27 October 2002, Iss. 603, pg. 98-102, by: Ninos Fenek Mikelidis, "I alithini zoe den einai i dimossiotita"


-   "Radio Times" (UK), 25 February 2006, Vol. 328, Iss. 4273, pg. 15-18, by: Andrew Duncan, "The Mystery That Is Miranda"

-   "TV Guia" (Portugal), 1996, Iss. 929, pg. 104-105


-   "Mayfair" (UK), July 1997, Vol. 32, Iss. 7, pg. 20, by: staff, "Queenie Comes Good!"

-   "Celebrity Sleuth" (USa), 1995, Vol. 8, Iss. 2, pg. 68-69, by: staff, "Encore Performance: Miranda Richardson"

-   "Celebrity Sleuth" (USA), 1992, Vol. 5, Iss. 7, pg. 22-23, by: staff, "Dance With a Stranger"


-   "Radio Times" (UK), 25 February 2006, Vol. 328, Iss. 4273

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