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Olivia Williams

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Basic Information

Olivia Williams

Date of Birth: 26 July 1968
Place of Birth: Camden Town, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Olivia Haigh Williams
Height: 5' 8½" (1.74 m)


Olivia Haigh Williams (born 26 July 1968) is an English film, stage and television actress who has appeared in British and American films.

Early life

Williams was born in Camden Town in London, England. Both her parents are barristers. She graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge with a degree in English literature, then studied drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for two years and spent three years at the Royal Shakespeare Company.


After graduation, Williams worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in both Stratford-upon-Avon and London and in 1995 toured the United States in a production of Shakespeare's Richard III starring Ian McKellen. Her first significant appearance before the cameras was as Jane Fairfax in the British TV film Emma (1996), based on Jane Austen's 1816 novel.

Williams made her film debut in 1997's The Postman, after doing a screen test for Kevin Costner. She later won the lead role of Rosemary Cross in Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998). She then starred as Bruce Willis' wife in the blockbuster The Sixth Sense (1999), a film she would later parody during her brief appearance in British sit-com Spaced. Since then, Williams has appeared in several British films, including Lucky Break (2001), The Heart of Me (2002), for which she won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress and An Education (2009). She also played Mrs. Darling in the latest film adaptation of Peter Pan. Williams was uncredited for her role as Dr. Moira MacTaggert in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand. On TV, Williams portrayed British author Jane Austen in Miss Austen Regrets (2008) and was cast as Adelle DeWitt in Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, which ran on Fox from 2009 to 2010.

In 2000 she wrote and read the short story The Significance Of Hair for BBC Radio.

Selected works


Year Film Role Notes
1997 Beck Karen Quinn
Gaston's War Nicky
The Postman Abby
1998 Rushmore Rosemary Cross
1999 The Sixth Sense Anna Crowe
2000 Four Dogs Playing Poker Audrey
Born Romantic Eleanor
Dead Babies aka Mood Swingers Diana
2001 The Body Sharon Golban
Lucky Break Annabel Sweep/Lady Hamilton in show Best Actress, Empire Awards (2002) (nominated)
The Man from Elysian Fields Andrea
2002 The Heart of Me Madeleine Best Actress, British Independent Film Awards (2003)
Below Claire
2003 To Kill a King Lady Anne Fairfax
Peter Pan Mrs. Darling
2005 Valiant Victoria voice
Tara Road Ria
Mockingbird Mother
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Moira MacTaggert Uncredited
2008 Flashbacks of a Fool Grace Scott
Broken Lines Zoe
2009 An Education Miss Stubbs Nominated - Best British Supporting Actress of the Year, London Film Critics' Circle
2010 The Ghost Writer Ruth Lang
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll Betty Dury
2011 Collaborator Emma Stiles



of appearance

Film or series Role Awards and nominations

(1 episode)

Van der Valk (1972–1973, 1977, 1991–1992)

"Still Waters"

Irene Kortman

(1 episode)

The Ruth Rendell Mysteries (1987–2000)

"The Speaker of Mandarin"

Jennifer Norris
1996 Emma Jane Fairfax

(2 episodes)

Friends (1994–2004)

"The One with Ross's Wedding: Part 1" and "The One with Ross's Wedding: Part 2"

Felicity - one of the bridesmaids
2000 Jason and the Argonauts Hera

(1 episode)

Spaced (1999, 2001)


Knocked-down Cyclist
2004 Agatha Christie – A Life in Pictures Agatha Christie
2006 Krakatoa – The Last Days Johanna Beijerinck
2007 Damage Michelle Cahill
2008 Miss Austen Regrets Jane Austen
2009–2010 Dollhouse Adelle DeWitt
2010 Terriers Miriam Foster



of appearance

Production Role Awards and nominations
1995 Richard III (c. 1591)

by William Shakespeare

2003 Love's Labour's Lost (c. 1595–1596)

by William Shakespeare Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London

The Princess
2003 The Hotel in Amsterdam (first performed 1968)

by John Osborne Donmar Warehouse, London

2006 The Changeling (1653)

by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley Cheek by Jowl production at the Barbican Centre, London


Personal life

On 2 November 2003, Williams married American stage actor and playwright Rhashan Stone. The couple have two children, Esmé Ruby (born 6 April 2004) and Roxana May (born 7 April 2007). She was once in a 3-years long relationship with Radosław Sikorski, the current Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. Sikorski left Poland in 1981, studied at Oxford, obtained British citizenship in 1984, and renounced it in 2006.

Williams practises Bikram Yoga and rides a bicycle to sets when working on films. After filming The Postman, she spent time in Bolivia studying spectacled bears in the rainforest. Since 2006, she has written occasional travel reports for the "Independent Traveller" section of the British newspaper The Independent on Sunday.


Further reading


  • Has an English degree from Newnham College, Cambridge.
  • Practices Bikram yoga.
  • Went to Bolivia to study bears in the rainforest after she wrapped The Postman (1997).
  • Her parents are lawyers.
  • Insists on bicycling to and from the set.
  • Has worked with Paul Bettany on several occasions, including Dead Babies (2000) and The Heart of Me (2002). Most frequently romantically involved.
  • Daughter: Esme Ruby, born on 6 April 2004.
  • Writes occasional travel reports for "The Independent Traveller" - part of The Independent on Sunday [UK] - since 2006.
  • Has two daughters with husband Rhashan Stone: Esme (born 2004) and Roxana (born 2007).
  • Father had a heart attack in 2001 while she was filming The Body (2001) with Antonio Banderas.
  • Had a 4 year relationship with Radek Sikorski (current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland).