Julie Christie

Julie Christie
Julie Christie

Julie Christie at the Guadalajara International Film Festival in 1997
Born Julie Frances Christie
14 April 1941 (1941-04-14) (age 70)
Chabua, Assam,
British India
Occupation Actress
Years active 1961–present
Spouse Duncan Campbell (2007-present)
Partner Warren Beatty (1967-74)

Julie Frances Christie (born 14 April 1941) is a British actress. Born in British India to English parents, at the age of six Christie moved to England, where she attended boarding school.

In 1961, she began her acting career in a BBC television series, and the following year, she had her first major film role in a romantic comedy. In 1965, she became known to international audiences as the model "Diana Scott" in the film Darling. That same year she played the part of "Lara" in David Lean's Doctor Zhivago. A pop icon of the "swinging London" era of the 1960s, she has won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Awards.


Early life

Christie was born on 14 April 1941 in Singlijan Tea Estate, Chabua, Assam, India, then part of the British Empire. She is the eldest of two children of Rosemary (née Ramsden) and Frank St. John Christie.[1] Christie's father ran the tea plantation where Christie grew up, and her mother was a painter from Hove.[1] Christie has a brother, Clive, and an older half-sister, June from her father's relationship with an Indian woman, who worked as a tea picker on his plantation.[2][3] Christie's parents separated during her childhood. She was baptised in the Anglican church[2] and studied as a boarder at the independent Convent of Our Lady School in St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, from which she was later expelled. She then attended the independent Wycombe Court School in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, also living with a foster mother from the age of six.[4] After her parents' divorce, Christie spent time with her mother in rural Wales.[4] As a teenager at Wycombe Court School, she played the role of the Dauphin in a school production of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan.[citation needed] She later studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama[5] before getting her big break in 1961 in a science fiction series on BBC television, A for Andromeda.


Early career

Christie's first major film role was in The Fast Lady, a 1962 romantic comedy. She first gained notice as Liz, the friend and would-be lover of the eponymous Billy Liar (1963) played by Tom Courtenay. The director, John Schlesinger, cast Christie only after another actress - Topsy Jane[6] - dropped out of the film.

It was 1965 when Christie became known internationally. Schlesinger directed her in her breakthrough role, as the amoral model Diana Scott in Darling, a role which the producers originally offered to Shirley MacLaine.[citation needed] Christie appeared as Lara Antipova in David Lean's adaptation of Boris Pasternak's novel Doctor Zhivago (1965), and as Daisy Battles in Young Cassidy, a biopic of Irish playwright Seán O'Casey, co-directed by Jack Cardiff and (uncredited) John Ford. In 1966, the 25-year-old Christie was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role when she played a double role in François Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 and won the Academy Award for Best Actress and BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Darling Later, she played Thomas Hardy's heroine Bathsheba Everdene in Schlesinger's Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) and the lead character, Petulia Danner, (opposite George C. Scott) in Richard Lester's Petulia (1968).

In the 1970s, Christie starred in smaller films such as Robert Altman's postmodern western McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), with Warren Beatty, where her role as a brothel 'madam' gained her a second Best Actress Oscar nomination, The Go-Between (again co-starring Alan Bates, 1971), Don't Look Now (1973), Shampoo (1975), Altman's classic Nashville (also 1975, in an amusing cameo as herself opposite Karen Black and Henry Gibson), Demon Seed (1977), and Heaven Can Wait (1978), again with Beatty. She moved to Hollywood during the decade, where between 1967 and 1974 she had a high-profile but intermittent relationship with Warren Beatty, who described her as "the most beautiful and at the same time the most nervous person I had ever known."[4]

In 1979, she was a member of the jury at the 29th Berlin International Film Festival.[7]

Following the end of the relationship with Beatty, she returned to the United Kingdom, where she lived on a farm in Wales.[citation needed] Never a prolific actress,[citation needed] even at the height of her fame and bankability in the 1960s, Christie made fewer and fewer films in the 1980s. She had a major supporting role in Sidney Lumet's Power (1986), but generally avoided appearances in large budget films and appeared in non-mainstream films. She narrated the 1981 feature documentary The Animals Film (directed by Victor Schonfeld and Myriam Alaux), a campaigning film against the exploitation of animals.

Christie has turned down many leading roles in films such as They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Anne of the Thousand Days and The Greek Tycoon.[citation needed] Christie also signed on to play the female lead in American Gigolo opposite Richard Gere, however when Gere dropped out and John Travolta was cast in the role, Christie too dropped out from the project. Gere changed his mind and took back the role, however it was too late for Christie as her part was already taken by Lauren Hutton.

Later work

Christie appeared as Gertrude in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. Her next critically acclaimed role was the unhappy wife in Alan Rudolph's domestic comedy-drama Afterglow, which gained her a third Oscar nomination.

Christie made a brief appearance in the third Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, playing Madam Rosmerta. That same year, she also appeared in two other high-profile films: Wolfgang Petersen's Troy and Marc Forster's Finding Neverland, playing Kate Winslet's mother. The latter performance earned Christie a BAFTA nomination as supporting actress in film.

Christie portrayed the female lead in Away from Her, a film about a long-married Canadian couple coping with the wife's Alzheimer's disease. Based on the Alice Munro short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain", the movie was the first feature film directed by Christie's sometime co-star, Canadian actress Sarah Polley. She took the role, she says, only because Polley is her friend.[8] On her part, Polley said that Christie liked the script but initially turned it down as she was ambivalent about acting. It took several months of persuasion by Polley before Christie finally accepted the role, which was written with her in mind.[citation needed]

Debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival on 11 September 2006 as part of the TIFF's Gala showcase, Away from Her drew rave reviews from the trade press, including the Hollywood Reporter, and the four Toronto dailies. The critics singled out the performances of Christie and her co-star, Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent, and Polley's assured direction. Her luminous performance generated Oscar buzz, leading the distributor, Lions Gate Entertainment, to buy the film at the festival to release the film in 2007 in order to build up momentum during the awards season.[citation needed] On December 5, 2007, Christie won the Best Actress Award from the National Board of Review for her performance in Away from Her.[9] She also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role and the Genie Award for Best Actress for the same film. On January 22, 2008, Christie received her fourth Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role at the 80th Academy Awards. She appeared at the ceremony wearing a pin calling for the closure of the prison in Guantanamo Bay.[citation needed]

In 2008, Christie narrated Uncontacted Tribes, a short film for the British-based charity Survival International, featuring previously unseen footage of remote and endangered peoples.[10] Christie has been a long-standing supporter of the charity,[11] and in February 2008, was named as its first 'Ambassador'.[12]

Christie then appeared in a segment of the 2008 film New York, I Love You, written by Anthony Minghella, directed by Shekhar Kapur and co-starring Shia LaBeouf, as well as in Glorious 39, a film about a British family at the beginning of World War II. In 2011, she played a "sexy, bohemian" version of the grandmother role in Catherine Hardwicke's gothic retelling of Red Riding Hood.[13]

Personal life

In the early 1960s, Christie dated actor Terence Stamp. She became engaged to Don Bessant, a lithographer and art teacher, in 1965,[14] before dating actor Warren Beatty (1967–1974). In November 2007, aged 66, Christie quietly married[15] The Guardian journalist Duncan Campbell, her partner since 1979. She has owned a farm in Montgomeryshire, Wales, since the late 1970s, where she spends most of her time, when not 'at home' she splits her time between north London and Louth, Lincolnshire.[citation needed] She is active in various causes, including animal rights, environmental protection, and the anti-nuclear power movement and is also a Patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign[16] and Reprieve.[17]

She was ranked 9th in FHM magazine's "100 sexiest women of all time". She is fluent in Italian and French.[citation needed]


Film credits
Title Year Role Notes
Fast Lady, TheThe Fast Lady 1962 Claire Chingford
Crooks Anonymous 1962 Babette LaVern
Billy Liar 1963 Liz Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best British Actress
Darling 1965 Diana Scott
Doctor Zhivago 1965 Lara Antipova
Young Cassidy 1965 Daisy Battles
Fahrenheit 451 1966 Clarisse / Linda Montag Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best British Actress
Far from the Madding Crowd 1967 Bathsheba Everdene
Tonite Let's All Make Love in London 1967 Herself
Petulia 1968 Petulia Danner
In Search of Gregory 1969 Catherine Morelli
Go-Between, TheThe Go-Between 1970 Marian - Lady Trimingham Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
McCabe & Mrs. Miller 1971 Constance Miller Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Don't Look Now 1973 Laura Baxter Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Shampoo 1975 Jackie Shawn Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nashville 1975 Herself
Demon Seed 1977 Susan Harris
Heaven Can Wait 1978 Betty Logan
Memoirs of a Survivor 1981 'D'
Return of the Soldier, TheThe Return of the Soldier 1982 Kitty Baldry
Les Quarantièmes rugissants 1982 Catherine Dantec
Heat and Dust 1983 Anne
Gold Diggers, TheThe Gold Diggers 1983 Ruby
Separate Tables 1983 Mrs. Shankland TV movie
Champagne amer 1986 Betty Rivière
Miss Mary 1986 Mary Mulligan
Power 1986 Ellen Freeman
Dadah Is Death 1988 Barbara Barlow TV movie
Fools of Fortune 1990 Mrs. Quinton
Railway Station Man, TheThe Railway Station Man 1992 Helen Cuffe
Hamlet 1996 Gertrude
Dragonheart 1996 Queen Aislinn
Afterglow 1997 Phyllis Mann
Miracle Maker, TheThe Miracle Maker 2000 Rachael Voice Only
Belphégor - Le fantôme du Louvre 2001 Glenda Spender
No Such Thing 2001 Dr. Anna
I'm with Lucy 2002 Dori aka Autour de Lucy (France)
Snapshots 2002 Narma
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2004 Madam Rosmerta
Finding Neverland 2004 Mrs. Emma du Maurier Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Troy 2004 Thetis
Garbo 2005 Narrator
Cycle of Peace 2005 Narrator
Secret Life of Words, TheThe Secret Life of Words 2005 Inge
Away from Her 2006 Fiona Anderson
New York, I Love You 2009 Isabelle
Glorious 39 2009 Elizabeth
Hello Darkness 2011 Rachel
Red Riding Hood 2011 Grandmother


  • Cries From The Heart (2007)

Royal Court Theatre

  • Old Times (1995)

Wyndhams Theatre & Theatr Clywd

  • Suzanna Andler (1997)

Chichester Festival Theatre (and on tour, Bath, Oxford, Richmond and Guildford)

  • Uncle Vanya (1973)


  • The Comedy of Errors (1964)


Frinton Repertory of Essex (1957)


  1. ^ a b "The secret Indian sister who haunts actress Julie Christie" 11 February 2008, Daily Mail
  2. ^ a b miamimedia.com[dead link]
  3. ^ "Christie's Secret World" 17 February 2008, Wales Online
  4. ^ a b c Adams, Tim (2007-04-01). "The divine Miss Julie". The Guardian (London). http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2047296,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  5. ^ Sirota, David (2001-06-12). "Salon.com People | Julie Christie". Archive.salon.com. http://archive.salon.com/people/bc/2001/06/12/julie_christie/index.html. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  6. ^ Barton, Laura (2010-09-01). "Billy Liar – still in town". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2010/sep/01/billy-liar-tom-courtenay-julie-christie. 
  7. ^ "Berlinale 1979: Juries". berlinale.de. http://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/1979/04_jury_1979/04_Jury_1979.html. Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  8. ^ Olsen, Mark (November 14, 2007).Julie Christie is good at being picky. Los Angeles Times, The Envelope
  9. ^ "National Board of Review of Motion Pictures :: Awards". Nbrmp.org. http://www.nbrmp.org/awards/awards.cfm?award=William%20K%2E%20Everson%20Award%20For%20Film%20History. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  10. ^ "Uncontacted Tribes". Survival International. http://www.survival-international.org/campaigns/uncontactedtribes. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  11. ^ Audio - Survival International[dead link]
  12. ^ "Julie Christie named ‘Survival ambassador’ - News from". Survival International. http://www.survival-international.org/news/3061. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  13. ^ "More Casting News - Catherine Hardwicke's The Girl With the Red Riding Hood". Dreadcentral.com. 2010-04-23. http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/37129/more-casting-news-catherine-hardwickes-the-girl-with-red-riding-hood. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  14. ^ Julie Christie, Anthony Hayward (Robert Hale, 2000)
  15. ^ "In brief: Julie Christie gets married". The Guardian (London). 2008-01-30. http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2249161,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  16. ^ "Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Patrons". Palestine Solidarity Campaign. n.d.. http://www.palestinecampaign.org/Index5b.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=2&l2_id=12. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  17. ^ Reprieve Patron list at web site

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