Catherine McCormack

Active - 1994 - 2020  |   Born - Jan 1, 1972 in Alton, Hampshire, England  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy Drama

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Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx

After making a memorable impression on audiences as Mel Gibson's doomed love in Braveheart, British actress Catherine McCormack emerged as one of the most promising of Britain's new wave of young actors. Born January 1, 1972, in Hampshire, England, McCormack trained at the Oxford School of Drama. Following some stage and television work, she made her film debut in Anna Campion's Loaded (1994), playing a member of a group of friends who go away for a fairly disastrous weekend retreat. After a turn in the obscure Tashunga (a 1995 film that was released a year later under the title of North Star), McCormack got her break in the epic Braveheart (1995). Although her role was secondary, the huge success of the film won McCormack widespread attention, paving the way for her lead role in the 1997 World War II drama The Land Girls (which also starred fellow up-and-comers Rachel Weisz and Anna Friel). The following year, the actress gained further prominence through the lead role in Dangerous Beauty, in which she played a Venetian courtesan. The same year, she also had a prominent part in Dancing at Lughnasa, a screen adaptation of Brian Friel's acclaimed play, starring Meryl Streep. In 1999, McCormack headlined yet another film, with her turn in the British comedy This Year's Love, in which she co-starred with fellow rising stars Dougray Scott, Jennifer Ehle, and Ian Hart. In the years to come, McCormack would remain active on screen, appearing in films like 28 Weeks Later, and starring on the series Lights Out.

Her onscreen career subsequently stalled by a series of weighty roles in such high profile but only moderately successfuls films as Shadow of the Vampire, The Tailor of Panama, and Spy Game, McCormack nevertheless managed to make an impression on stage in such efforts as the SoHo Theater production of Kiss Me Like You Mean It and the West End production of Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind. Later making her directorial debut with a West End production of Anna Weiss, McCormack was nominated for as Best Supporting Actress at the 2001 Oliver Awards for her memorable performance in a British National Theater production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons. In 2005 McCormack would go hunting for the fearsome baboonasaurus in the notorious flop A Sound of Thunder, with voice work in the visually extravagant 2006 sci fi action entry Renaissance marking the actress' first foray into the world of animation.

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  • Mother passed away from lupus when she was 6.
  • Her first stage performance was at 14, when she played a 60-year-old woman, the lead in Brecht's The Mother.
  • Her hero growing up was Mrs. Overall, a character played by actress Julie Walters in the BBC spoof Acorn Antiques; years later she and Walters appeared together in an Arthur Miller play.
  • Her breakthrough role came as Mel Gibson's love interest in his Oscar-winning Braveheart (1995).
  • In 2008, starred in British stage productions of A Doll's House and The Portrait of a Lady
  • The following year, she appeared in another British stage production, Six Characters in Search of an Author.
  • Has directed small films, and says that, had acting not panned out, she may instead have "been a film director in a different life" or owned "a small cinema somewhere where I could program my own seasons."