Jennifer Ehle | Biography
Jennifer Ehle’s fans will always remember her as Elizabeth Bennet of the 1995 BBC revival of Jane Austen’s prized novel, Pride & Prejudice. However the forty something actress has been putting out a series of fine performances in both film and stage since her portrayal of the outspoken heroine in the epic romance classic. Jennifer was born on December 29, 1969 but she doesn’t look a day older than thirty.
Jennifer’s mother is the Academy Award nominated actress Rosemary Harris and her father John Ehle is the celebrated American writer. She was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and has German and Romanian heritage. In 1973, when she was a toddler, her mother got her to appear on Broadway in A Streetcar Named Desire. She was also raised in the United Kingdom. She is a mother to her son and daughter and wife to author Michael Ryan. She and Ryan wedded on November 29, 2001. She also famously dated British heartthrob Colin Firth with whom she had an epic romance on screen in Pride & Prejudice.
The established actress trained in drama from the Central School of Speech and Drama and the North Carolina School of the Arts. She has also studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy. She made a theatre debut with Tartuffe in 1991 and placed second at the Ian Charleson Awards. She appeared with her mother in the same role for 1992’s The Camomile Lawn miniseries. They also appeared in same roles but at different ages in Sunshine in 1999. Pride & Prejudice is arguably the highlight of Jennifer’s extensive film career. She appeared opposite Colin Firth in the BBC television series in 1995 as the female lead Elizabeth Bennet. Her portrayal was awarded with a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award. She has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company which promoted her to a major part in Paradise Road. She was awarded the highest honor in Broadway, the Tony Award, for The Real Thing in 2000. She also received a Theatre World Award. Her second Tony Award was for The Coast of Utopia. She appeared in The Philadelphia Story in 2005 and starred as Lady Macbeth in the Shakespeare novel adaptation, Macbeth, in 2006. She also appeared in Before the Rains, Pride and Glory and The Russell Girl. It was reported in 2009 to much hype for the actress that she would be starring as Catelyn Stark of the House of Stark in the Game of Thrones series however she retreated from the series to take of her newly born daughter after the pilot was filmed. She remains a devoted fan of Game of Thrones nonetheless. The role went to Michelle Fairley. In 2010, she appeared on the Second Stage Theatre stage for Mr. and Mrs. Fitch. Her role in the Colin Firth starring The King’s Speech is also applauded by the critics. In 2011, she starred in Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion and appeared in the supernatural medical CBS drama, A Gifted Man. Most recently she appeared in Zero Dark Thirty, Robocop and is playing the role of mother of the female lead Anastasia Steele in the highly awaited film series of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Jennifer might have turned down the role of Catelyn Stark in Game of Thrones but what a hard decision it must have been as it turns out that the actress is a huge fan of the Game of Thrones book series authored by George R. R. Martin. She read her the first book during her pregnancy with her daughter and even got her midwife hooked on the addictive novel.
Tony Award winning actress and mother of two, Jennifer Ehle looks commendably youthful for her forty three years. Even when she might have been considered a little old for the role in Pride & Prejudice, her appearance gave nothing away being the amazingly radiant actress that she is.