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Anna Louise Friel was born 12 July 1976. She is an English actress. Born in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England, she has been acting since the age of 13, appearing in a number of British television programmes.
Anna Friel Biography
Friel was born in Rochdale, in Greater Manchester. Her mother Julie is a special needs teacher, and her father Desmond “Des” Friel was a French teacher who now owns a web design company. Friel’s father is Irish Catholic, born in Belfast and growing up in County Donegal. He is a former folk guitarist.Her brother Michael is a physician, who in his youth did television advertising work for Hovis.
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.
At age 13, she was joined for her first professional acting job in the Channel 4 drama serial G.B.H., as the daughter of Michael Palin’s character. Her performance led to a series of appearances on various British television shows, including Emmerdale. In 1992, she was added to the cast on the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, where she increased her exposure in the role of Beth Jordache. She stayed on the programme for two years. Friel’s on-air lesbian kiss with Nicola Stephenson was the first in British soap history, but not – as is often claimed – the first on British television, which occurred on the BBC 2 in 1974. In 1995, Friel won the National Television Award for Most Popular Actress for her work on Brookside.
In 1996, Friel gained even greater exposure when she appeared in the television film The Tribe by Stephen Poliakoff, which included nudity and a much discussed ménage à trois sex scene between characters played by Friel, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jeremy Northam.
Friel co-starred in the critical and box office flop 2009 film Land of the Lost.
In September 2009, Friel starred in a West End adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. It was particularly noted for now including a nude scene which was not part of the original Breakfast at Tiffany’s performance.
In April 2010, she was cast in the psychological thriller film The Dark Fields (now entitled Limitless and released in March 2011). In November 2010, Friel starred in London Boulevard alongside Ray Winstone, Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley and her then partner David Thewlis.
Friel appears in the video for the Manic Street Preachers’ September 2010 single “(It’s Not War) Just the End of Love” opposite Welsh actor Michael Sheen, with whom she co-starred in the 2003 film Timeline.
In January 2011, Friel appeared in an episode of the BBC series Come Fly with Me as a fictionalised version of herself. In the show she is bald and has lost her wig.In December of that year, she played the star role (Ellie Manning) in ITV’s series drama Without You. That same month, she starred as Captain Elizabeth Bonny in the SyFy network’s production of Neverland, a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic story Peter Pan.
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 on 9 July 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.
A staple of British soap operas before she was even out of her teens, Anna Friel experienced the type of fame encouraged by tabloids and Internet shrines before getting a chance to prove her talents on the stage and screen. Born in Rochdale, Lancashire on July 12, 1976, Friel began acting as a teenager, performing with theatres across Britain. In 1990, she made her television debut with a role on the BBC series In Their Shoes, and was soon appearing in a number of popular TV series, including Coronation Street and Emmerdale. She received her greatest amount of notice to date when she was cast on the soap opera Brookside in 1993; the resulting popularity of her role on the show made the waifish, saucer-eyed actress something of a celebrity in her native country.
In 1997–two years after leaving Brookside–Friel made her film debut in The Land Girls. A World War II drama, it featured Friel, Rachel Weisz and Catherine McCormack as its titular heroines. Although the film was virtually unheard of outside the UK, it received generally favorable reviews. The following year, Friel appeared in two more films, The Stringer and Rogue Trader, the latter of which had her starring opposite Ewan McGregor. That same year, she won great acclaim on the London stage for her performance in Patrick Marber’s Closer. A trenchant commentary on love and sex, it featured the young actress as an enigmatic stripper, and allowed her to work alongside such performers as Natasha Richardson, Ciaran Hinds and Rupert Graves. The play proved to be so successful that it moved to Broadway the next year, where it continued to win accolade after accolade. Friel herself won a Drama Desk award for Best Supporting Actress for her work. That same year, she continued to broaden her resume and fan base with starring roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Sunset Strip, the former of which featured her as Hermia, and the latter of which saw her experiencing the ups and downs of life in 1972 Los Angeles. Following roles in The War Bride and Me Without You (both 2001) Friel continued to develop her onscreen persona, and with Richard Donner’s time travel adventure Timeline (2003) the actress remained poised for the role that would provide her with her widest exposure to date.
In 2005, Friel appeared in the sports drama Goal!, about a Los Angeles teenager with dreams of becoming a professional soccer player. She also appeared alongside Kevin Pollak in the drama Niagra Motel, which found a group of seemingly disparate strangers connecting when they pass through the same motel. Then in 2007, Friel joined the cast of the new series Pushing Daisies, about a man who falls in love with a deceased woman after he discovers he can communicate with the dead. Over the next several years, the actress would remain active ons creen, appearing memorably in films like Limitless and London Boulevard.
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