On 26 May, City Connect celebrates the birthday of English actress Helena Bonham Carter CBE who was born on this day in 1966. She is known for her roles in films such as Merchant-Ivory’s A Room with a View and The Wings of the Dove as well as for frequently collaborating with director and domestic partner Tim Burton in films such as Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows.
A two-time Academy Award nominee for her performances in The Wings of the Dove and The King’s Speech, Bonham Carter’s acting has been further recognised with six Golden Globe nominations, an International Emmy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to drama.
Bonham Carter’s first starring film role was as Lady Jane Grey in Lady Jane (1986), which was given mixed reviews by critics. Her breakthrough role was Lucy Honeychurch in A Room with a View, which was filmed after Lady Jane, but released beforehand. These early films led to her to being typecast as a “corset queen,” and “English rose,” playing pre- and early 20th century characters, particularly in Merchant-Ivory films. She played Olivia in Trevor Nunn’s film version of Twelfth Night in 1996. One of the high points of her early career was her performance as the scheming Kate Croy in the 1997 film adaption of The Wings of the Dove which was highly acclaimed internationally and it netted her first Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.
Bonham Carter played villainess Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series. Bonham Carter received positive reviews as Lestrange, described as a “shining but underused talent”. She then played Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd’s (Johnny Depp) amorous accomplice in the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The film was directed by Tim Burton and Bonham Carter received a nomination for the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her performance.
Bonham Carter joined the cast of partner Tim Burton’s 2010 film, Alice in Wonderland as The Red Queen. Bonham Carter’s role was an amalgamation of two roles, The Queen of Hearts and The Red Queen.
In early 2009, Bonham Carter was named one of The Times newspaper’s top 10 British Actresses of all time. Bonham Carter appeared on the list with fellow actresses Julie Andrews, Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Audrey Hepburn.
In 2010, Bonham Carter played Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in the film The King’s Speech. As of January 2011, Bonham Carter had received numerous plaudits for her performance, including winning her first BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and receiving a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Bonham Carter starred as author Enid Blyton in the BBC Four television biopic, Enid. It was the first depiction of Blyton’s life on the screen, and Bonham Carter received her first Television BAFTA Nomination for Best Actress, for the biopic. In 2012 she starred in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and she will be taking on the role of Miss Havisham in Mike Newell’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel, Great Expectations.
In April 2012, Bonham Carter appeared in Rufus Wainwright’s music video for his single “Out of the Game“, featured on the album of the same name.
In 2001, Bonham Carter began her current relationship with director Tim Burton, whom she met while filming Planet of the Apes. Burton has taken to casting Bonham Carter in his films, including Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows. They live in Belsize Park, London.
Bonham Carter is known for her unconventional sense of fashion, which has been described as “shabby chic”. Despite her often controversial fashion choices, Vanity Fair named her on its 2010 Best-Dressed List and she was selected by Marc Jacobs to be the face of his autumn/winter 2011 advertising campaign. She cites Vivienne Westwood and Marie Antoinette as her main style influences.
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