Kristin A. Scott Thomas, OBE (born 24 May 1960) is a highly acclaimed Olivier Award- and BAFTA-winning, two-time Golden Globe, Academy Award, and Cesar Award nominated British actress with French citizenship. She gained international recognition in the 1990s for her roles in Roman Polanski's Bitter Moon; Four Weddings and a Funeral; and the late Anthony Minghella's The English Patient.
She has recently gravitated toward French cinema in works such as the thriller Tell No One and Philippe Claudel's two-time Golden Globe-nominated I've Loved You So Long, said to be the greatest performance of her career. She has lived in France since she was nineteen, has raised her three children in Paris, and considers herself French. She has been a member of the Legion d'honneur since 2005.
Scott Thomas was born in Redruth, Cornwall. Her mother, Deborah (née Hurlbatt), was raised in Hong Kong and Africa, and studied drama before marrying Scott Thomas' father. Her father, Lieutenant Commander Simon Scott Thomas, was a pilot for the British Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm who died in a flying accident in 1964. She is the older sister of actress Serena Scott Thomas, the niece of Admiral Sir Richard Thomas (who was a Black Rod in the House of Lords), and a more distant grand niece of Capt. Robert F. Scott, the ill-fated explorer who lost the race to the South Pole. Her last name is an amalgam of the last names of those two families.
Scott Thomas' childhood home was Dorset, England. Her mother remarried, to another Royal Navy pilot, who also died in a flying accident six years after the death of her father. Scott Thomas was educated at the private schools, Cheltenham Ladies' College and St. Antony's Leweston School for Girls, in Dorset, and on graduation, she moved to Hampstead, London, and worked in a department store. She then began training to be a drama teacher at the Central School of Speech and Drama. On being told she would never be a good enough actress, she left at the age of 19 to work as an au pair in Paris. Speaking French fluently, she studied acting at the École nationale supérieure des arts et techniques du théâtre (ENSATT) in Paris, and on graduation was cast opposite pop star Prince as Mary Sharon, a French heiress, in the film Under the Cherry Moon.
She was awarded an OBE in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours list, and was also awarded the Légion d'honneur by the French government in 2005.
Scott Thomas is a frequent subject on the British motoring programme Top Gear. She was used as a standard of reference for "good taste," such as during the "Cool Wall" segment of the programme. Presenter Jeremy Clarkson would rate a car's coolness based mostly on what he thinks Scott Thomas' level of distaste for it would be. She made her long-awaited appearance as the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" on the episode broadcast on 25 February 2007. On this episode, amid excessive kowtowing from Clarkson and joking from Richard Hammond and James May because Clarkson has shown much affection for her in the past, she proceeded to rubbish most of the decisions Clarkson had made over the past years of the Cool Wall. She also ridiculed the car that he had just ordered, a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. She completed her lap in a time of 1min 54secs, placing her just above Phillip Glenister, although still near the bottom of the leaderboard.
In early 2007, she played Arkadina in a London production of Chekhov's The Seagull, for which she won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress on 9 March 2008. She reprised the role in New York in September 2008.
In 2006, she played the lead role of Hélène, in French, in Ne le dis à personne (Tell No One), by French director Guillaume Canet
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