Patricia Colleen "Kate" Nelligan (born March 16, 1951) is an award-winning Canadian stage, film and television actress.
Nelligan, the fourth of six children, was born in London, Ontario, the daughter of Josephine Alice (née Deir), a schoolteacher, and Patrick Joseph Nelligan, a factory repairman and municipal employee in charge of ice rinks and recreational parks. Her mother, whom Nelligan has described as "very powerful, very brilliant and very, very crazy", suffered from alcohol abuse and other psychological problems, and was subsequently institutionalized. Nelligan attended South Secondary School in London, Ontario, then studied at the University of Toronto but did not graduate. Instead, she switched to studies at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, United Kingdom.
In 1973 she made her professional stage debut, in Bristol, England, while appearing in a regular role on the British television series The Onedin Line. In 1974 she was invited to London to play the part of Jenny in David Hare's play Knuckle at the Comedy Theatre, followed by a season with the National Theatre Company: Ellie in Heartbreak House and Marianne, opposite Stephen Rea, in Tales from the Vienna Woods. 1975 saw her appear opposite Anthony Hopkins in the televised play, The Arcata Promise followed by the televised theatrical version of The Count of Monte Cristo that featured an all-star cast of British and American actors. That same year her first feature-length film The Romantic Englishwoman was released. In 1977 she played the part of Rosalind in As You Like It, directed by Terry Hands, opposite Charles Dance, in Stratford-upon-Avon and the following year in London. This she followed with Plenty, another play from David Hare, at the National Theatre, for which she received the 1978 Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a New Play. The winner was Joan Plowright in Filumena. She was cast in a similar role, playing against Bill Paterson, in Hare's BAFTA award-winning companion play, Licking Hitler, for BBC television.
Again on screen, in 1978 she played the part of Isabella in the BBC Television Shakespeare production of Measure for Measure that led the New York Times to described her as "the image of idealized faultlessness. In 1979 she was the female lead with Frank Langella and Laurence Olivier in Dracula. In 1981, she starred opposite fellow countryman Donald Sutherland in Eye of the Needle, a wartime espionage thriller based on the Ken Follett best-selling novel. Two years later, Nelligan moved to New York City where she earned four Tony Award "Best Actress" nominations between 1983 and 1989 from the five Broadway plays she appeared in. For her performance in the 1991 film, The Prince of Tides, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Between 1990 and 2004 she was nominated for five Gemini Awards for her performances on Canadian television mini-series and films.