Date of Birth: April 29, 1970
Place of Birth: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Best Known For: Pulp Fiction, playing Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin, Kill Bill films
|Uma Thurman Biography
This daughter of a Columbia University professor and a former model-turned-psychotherapist is named after a Hindu goddess. Tall, sylph-like and solemn-eyed, Uma Thurman moved to NYC at age 16 and like her mother, began her career as a Click model, posing for numerous magazines. The blonde beauty segued to acting in 1987 with the independent feature Kiss Daddy Good Night, as a young seductress who entices men only to rob them. Thurman received wide attention as the perfectly buxom, virginal victim of John Malkovich's seduction in Stephen Frears' Dangerous Liaisons (1998) before furthering her visibility as the Goddess of Love in Terry Gilliam's madcap opus The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989).
Thurman's powerful performance as June, the controlling wife of Henry Miller in Philip Kaufman's Henry and June (1990), revealed her to be an actress with considerable depth and ability. She turned in another strong performance as a blind woman targeted by a serial killer in Bruce Robinson's dark Jennifer 8 (1992) and played an indentured servant to cop Robert De Niro and gangster Bill Murray in the unusual gangster romance Mad Dog and Glory (1993). Gus Van Sant's lumbering Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1994), a long-awaited but unsatisfying adaptation of the popular Tom Robbins novel, virtually wasted the actress in the leading role of hitchhiker Sissy Hankshaw. But these roles were merely warm-ups for her strong turn as a drug addicted gangster's wife in Quentin Tarantino's acclaimed Pulp Fiction (1994). After engaging in a twist with co-star John Travolta, her character overdoses and in a truly shocking and disturbing scene, Travolta is forced to plunge a needle in her chest. For her efforts, she was rewarded with a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
While Thurman garnered praise for her turn as a young coquette flirting with Edward Fox in John Irving's A Month by the Lake (1995), the film stumbled at the box office. She fared slightly better in Ted Demme's ensemble drama Beautiful Girls (1996), as an outsider visiting a small town. Thurman next played against type as a less than intellectual blonde helping friend Janeane Garofalo win a handsome beau in the comedy The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996). Shifting gears, she offered a scene-stealing turn as Poison Ivy to George Clooney's Dark Knight in Batman & Robin (1997). Thurman then returned to a more conventional role as the upright, somewhat frosty and passive worker in a futuristic space program who is romanced by a co-worker in the futuristic thriller Gattaca (also 1997). She followed with a highly-praised performance as Fantine in Bille August's 1998 remake of Les Miserables before teaming with Ralph Fiennes as Emma Peel to his John Steed in a big screen version of the hit 60s TV show The Avengers (also 1998), which was poorly received by critics and audiences alike.
There was a noticeable slowing down of Thurman's career as she settled into her new role as wife and mother. However, she did find time to take roles which appealed to her. She appeared to good effect in small roles in non-mainstream projects, both in Woody Allen's winning The Sweet and the Lowdown in 1999 and her husband Hawke's high-minded art film Chelsea Walls in 2001. In 2002, she received positive reviews for her role in the HBO film Hysterical Blindness. Thurman played successfully against type as a desperately insecure working-class girl from New Jersey who, along with her best friend from high school (Juliette Lewis), spends her nights patrolling the local bar for love and some kind of direction. By 2003, she was a media darling all over again, for both professional and personal reasons: shortly after her high-profile separation from Hawke, she returned to screens under the direction of Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (2004), the writer-director's bloody two-part magnum opus and tribute to the beloved exploitation films and Sergio Leone movies of his youth, based on a notion he and Thurman cooked up on the set of Pulp Fiction years earlier. Thurman, in a bravura performance, played The Bride, a nameless woman beaten and left for dead who arises from a coma to wreak ultra-violent vengeance on her betrayer and his martial artist minions. The actress never looked more beautiful or formidable on screen. In between Bill installments, Thurman also appeared opposite Ben Affleck in the John Woo-directed sci fi thriller Paycheck (2003).
Thurman looked resplendent as a one-time rock group costumer-turned-record exec who falls for John Travolta's Chili Palmer in Be Cool (2005), the entertaining sequel to Get Shorty--reunited with her Pulp Fiction co-star, Thurman enjoyed another on-screen dance sequence with Travolta--this time more sensual and romantic then frenetic, and equally compelling. Next she went toe-to-toe with Meryl Streep in the romantic comedy Prime (2005) as a 37-year-old woman reeling from a divorce working through intimacy issues with her therapist (Streep), reinvigorated by her affair with a much-younger man who happens to be her therapist's son. Then it was on to singing and dancing Mel Brooks-style alongside Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane in The Producers: The Movie Musical (2005) as the Broadway duo's sensual, leggy and English-challenged secretary Ulla. In July 2006, Thurman starred opposite of Luke Wilson in My Super Ex-Girlfriend. Thurman starred as a super-heroine named "G-Girl" who is dumped by her boyfriend and then takes her revenge upon him.
In 2008, Thurman will appear opposite Evan Rachel Wood in the dramatic thriller, Life Before Her Eyes, will star in The Accidental Husband with Colin Firth, and she will be seen in My Zinc Bed, a romance about a recovering alcoholic who becomes involved with his boss's wife, a former cocaine addict.Thurman was married to actor Gary Oldman from 1990-1992. On May 1, 1998, she married her Gattaca co-star, Ethan Hawke. They have two children together, a daughter, Maya Ray (born 7/8/98) and a son, Levon Roan (born 1/15/02). Thurman and Hawke split in 2003 and their divorce was finalized in 2004. She then dated New York hotelier Andre Balazs from 2004-2007. Since July 2007, she has been dating Arpad Busson, a French/Swiss financier, and the father of Elle Macpherson's children.
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