Helena Bonham Carter (see more)

Helena Bonham Carter

In the late 1990s, Helena Bonham Carter seemed poised to embark on the next phase of her career, moving from capable actress to compelling star. Audiences and critics had long been enchanted by her delicate beauty, evocative of another time and place; in 1997, she showed that she was more than a pretty face and a skilled line-reader, with her performance in "The Wings of the Dove," for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Born in Golders Green, London, on May 26, 1966, Bonham Carter achieved early success in films. In the first part of her career, she became a staple in what can be seen as an offshoot of the British Heritage industry, starring in well-received adaptations of British or Anglo-American novels.
At 19, she scored her first lead, in director James Ivory's tasteful adaptation of E.M. Forster's novel "A Room With a View" (1985), only her second film. She followed this with a strong performance as the uncrowned Queen of England in "Lady Jane."

She appeared in three other productions under the Merchant-Ivory banner (director Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala; "Howards End" (1992) was the last film she made with them. Some have suggested that her success in those period pieces was partly the result of her pedigreed background: She is descended from British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith.

Although Bonham Carter hasn't catapulted to superstardom, she has given many memorable performances, most of which have taken her far from her Merchant-Ivory roots, such as Marla in "Fight Club," or have expanded on them tremendously (for example, in "Wings," she appears what is arguably the most explicit nude scene ever shared by an Oscar-nominated actress). Bonham Carter has proved herself to be a gifted and imaginative actress. - IMDb Mini Biography By: h7

Trade Mark 

Often works with director Tim Burton, Timothy Spall and Johnny Depp
Often plays eccentric characters
Often plays pre-20th century characters
Curvaceous, buxom figure
Wild messy hair and dark makeup
Unique offbeat style of dress with lots of black clothing


(1994 - September 1999) Lived with Kenneth Branagh.
Carter is descended from a very distinguished family. She is the great-granddaughter of H.H. Asquith, British Prime Minister (1908-1916) and her great-grandmother is Violet Bonham Carter, a British activist who was, at one time, engaged to one of her father's protégées, Winston Churchill

When Churchill decided to marry his ultimate wife Clemintine, Violet was involved in a fall off a cliff, the circumstances of which have been questioned for a century. However, she did survive and went on to a distinguished political career, including advisor to Churchill. 
Carter is also the grand-niece of distinguished British director Anthony Asquith.
She is a first cousin of Baroness Jane Bonham-Carter, and only a distant cousin of Crispin Bonham-Carter: Crispin's father, Peter Malcolm Bonham-Carter, is a third cousin of Helena Bonham Carter. 
The first ancestors that Crispin and Helena have in common, are John Bonham-Carter (1788-1838) and his wife Joanna Maria Smith (1791-1884).
Her father was severely paralyzed by botched brain surgery in the 1980s.
Speaks French fluently.

She was denied admission to King's College, Cambridge University, not because of her grades or her test scores but because school officials were afraid that she would leave mid-term to pursue her acting career. Because of Cambridge's rejection, Helena decided to concentrate fully on acting.

She is the granddaughter of Violet Bonham Carter, a Life Peeress in her own right, and the niece of Mark Bonham-Carter, who was created a Life Peer in his own right as well. Her half-Spanish mother 'Elena Propper de Callejon' is niece of Baroness Liliane de Rothschild, née Fould-Springer.
Planned to return to the West End with an appearance in "Rubenstein's Kiss"; however, the play was delayed because of her busy schedule. 

The production, also set to star Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet fame, was due to open in November 2004 but has now been postponed.
In 2005, her voice appeared in two stop-motion animated films. They were La novia cadáver (2005) and Wallace & Gromit. La maldición de las verduras (2005). Both films were nominated for the Academy award for best animated film. The award went to Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

In May 2006, she launched her own fashion line, "The Pantaloonies," with swimwear designer Samantha Sage. Their first collection, called Bloomin' Bloomers, is a Victoriana style selection of camisoles, mop caps and bloomers. The duo are now working on Pantaloonies customized jeans which Helena describes as "a kind of scrapbook on the bum.".
Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.
Turned down the role of Bess in Rompiendo las olas (1996) due to the sexual content. The role went to Emily Watson who was nominated for an Oscar for that role.

She is the daughter of a prominent British banker and the great-granddaughter of Asquith, the Liberal prime minister.
Her brother Edward is married to TV presenter Victoria Studd.
Is close friends with Johnny Depp, who often works with her fiancé, Tim Burton. In fact, Depp is the godfather of her child with Burton, Billy Ray.
Was cast as Bellatrix Lestrange after Helen McCrory became pregnant, and would have been nearly full-term when her scenes were shot. She returned to the role for one scene in Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (2009), opposite McCrory as her sister Narcissa Malfoy. Ironically, Carter was able to be in this scene because it was scheduled to be filmed after she gave birth to her own child.

Ranked #99 on the 2008 Telegraph's list "the 100 most powerful people in British culture".
Given indefinite leave from the set of Terminator Salvation in New Mexico after her relatives were on a South African safari holiday on Wednesday, 20 August, 2008, when the minibus they were travelling in spun out of control and flipped after a tyre burst. Helena's cousin, Fiona Bonham Carter, 51, escaped with a broken shoulder but Fiona's son Marcus Egerton-Warburton, 14; mother Brenda, 74; stepfather Francis Kirkwood, 75; and sister-in-law Kay Boardman, 54, all died.

Tested for the role of Nancy Spungen in Sid y Nancy (1986).
She based her performance of Marla Singer in El club de la lucha (1999) on Judy Garland in the later stages of her life. To help her get into the mindset, director David Fincher would often call her Judy on-set.
A fight between her and Gary Oldman in Harry Potter y la orden del Fénix (2007) was cut from the final film. She had been training for three weeks for the fight.
Describes her character in the Harry Potter films, Bellatrix Lestrange, as a sadist and a racist, obsessed with blood purity.

Wears fake teeth in 6 four of her films - El planeta de los simios (2001), Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate (2005) and the four Harry Potter films.
Underwent extensive vocal lessons and studied baking in preparation for her role in Sweeney Todd, el barbero diabólico de la calle Fleet (2007).
Was originally going to appear as a cyborg in Terminator Salvation (2009) which would match her former choices of eccentric characters. However, the script was leaked online and her character got rewritten and her screen time significantly cut down, and her character changed.

Returned to work two months after giving birth to her daughter Nell in order to begin filming Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (2009).
Returned to work eight months after giving birth to her son Billy Ray in order to begin filming Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate (2005).
Became romantically involved with her director Tim Burton after their El planeta de los simios (2001) wrapped. Instead of moving in with her in her Hampstead home in London, Burton bought two next-door houses which the couple both share today (2010).

In 1992, she was starring in "Trelawny of the Wells" on stage, when the Independent theatre critic Paul Taylor said that he would have been able to have appreciated her performance more from a restricted-viewing seat. Bonham Carter calmly wrote him a letter suggesting that the next time he came to see her he ought to let her know, so she might ensure that was the case.
In 2009, The Times named her one of the Top 10 British Actresses of all-time.
Close friends with Liberal Democrat leader and politician Nick Clegg since their days at Westminster School, London, England.

Spent 2010/11 New Year's Eve with her husband Tim Burton at England's Premier David Cameron home Chequers, the official country residence of British Prime Ministers since 1921.
Was two months pregnant with her daughter Nell when she completed filming on Sweeney Todd, el barbero diabólico de la calle Fleet (2007).

Her father was of English ancestry. Her maternal grandfather, Eduardo Propper de Callejon, was a half-Jewish/half-Catholic Spanish diplomat who helped thousands of Jews to escape Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Her maternal grandmother, Hélène Fould-Springer, was from a Jewish family (from Germany, Austria, France, Bohemia, and Ukraine).
Was a potential candidate for the role of Sarah in Labyrinth (1986) before the role went to Jennifer Connelly.

Her grandmother, Violet Bonham Carter, was friends with Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In El discurso del rey (2010), Helena acts opposite Churchill, as played by Timothy Spall.
Became the fifth actor to appear in 2 films to gross $1 billion with Alice in Wonderland (2010), and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011). She is the first woman to achieve this feat.

In a relationship with Tim Burton [2001-present; 2 children].
Gave birth to her first child at age 37, a son Billy Raymond Burton on October 4, 2003. Child's father is her boyfriend, Tim Burton.
Gave birth to her second child at age 41, a daughter Nell Burton on December 15, 2007. Child's father is her boyfriend, Tim Burton.
She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2012 Queen's New Years Honours List for her services to drama.
A distant cousin of Kate Middleton.
She lived with her parents in the family home until her early thirties. She claimed it was simply because she had a very good relationship with them.
She and her partner Tim Burton were amazed at the ability for football their son Billy displayed at a very young age as neither of them is particularly athletic.
She has played the mothers of both England's Queen Elizabeths. She played Anne Boleyn in the TV production of "Henry VIII" and then Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother, in the 2010 film "The King's Speech". British actress Natalie Dormer also played both these parts in different productions.
She has played two Tudor queens who were decapitated for treason. Lady Jane Grey in Trevor Nunn's film about the tragic nine day queen, "Lady Jane" and later Anne Boleyn, in the TV production of "Henry VIII" in 2003.
Hampstead, London, England [December 2011]
Attended school at Westminster.

Personal Quotes 

I hate this image of me as a prim Edwardian. I want to shock everyone.
I should get a few ribs taken out, because I'll be in a corset for the rest of my life.
[on breast-feeding her baby]: People say, "You're still breast-feeding, that's so generous". Generous, no! It gives me boobs and it takes my thighs away! It's sort of like natural liposuction. I'd carry on breast-feeding for the rest of my life if I could.

He's very cool. Whatever Johnny does, there's something cool about it. He's very hip. It's emotional and vulnerable, too, which makes it touching. - on her friend and colleague Johnny Depp.
I'm drawn to emotionally damaged characters because there is more to unlock.

[on being awarded the CBE] I am thrilled though not sure that I deserve it. I always thought my father deserved a medal for facing 25 years of chronic disability with quiet daily heroism so I am delighted to accept such a wonderful honor in his memory.

[on witnessing your completed performance] You think you've transformed and then you see the bloody thing and you go, 'It's so me'. You think you've taken a holiday away from yourself and of course you haven't traveled an inch. It's painful, it's absolutely painful. But I've gotten better at recognizing those feelings and not getting involved in them. The first time you see your own film you want to slit your wrists.

Elzabeth was about dress-up. She loved her jewels. There's part of her that didn't grow up much. I love people who are still in touch with delight. I got to wear the jewels. The problem about it was that they weren't real..I did insist on having friends of mine do the wigs and the makeup because i didn't want to look like a man in drag.

[on playing opposite Dominic West as Richard Burton] He was so good. You really have to suspend your disbelief as an actor. They always talk about suspension of disbelief for the audience. How are you going to go, 'Am I really Elizabeth Taylor?' Who gives a fuck. If the person opposite you is doing such a good job as Burton, then you go, yeah I can do Elizabeth Taylor. It was like holding someone's hand and jumping off a cliff. 
We were terrified and both thought it could be a stupid decision. Bit it was really fun. She still hasn't gone. The voice comes back and it drives my family up the wall. It's the drawwwwwl. Sometimes I'm like, 'Am I channeling Elizabeth or Rufus Wainwright?'
Very early on you figure out that you put your self-esteem in the hands of strangers. There's a different commodity. There's the Helena Bonham Carter that everyone thinks they know, who really has nothing to do with me. But you just have to let that go.

[on undertaking the role of Elizabeth Taylor] My mother said, 'Don't do it. You're trespassing on other people's dreams'. And I said, 'Well, I know mom but the script's so good'. Good writing is very rare. And there are so many facets to her, that I couldn't say no to her personality. There was a hell of a lot to it. I had a massive file. Tim Burton was like, 'Jesus, it looks as if you're writing a book. I said, 'Well, I have a lot of responsibility'. I read so many books, I'm sure I could pass an exam on her. 

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