Gillian Anderson

Active - 1992 - Present  |   Born - Aug 9, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Science Fiction, Comedy

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

When actress Gillian Anderson landed the role of Agent Scully for the Fox television series X-Files (1993- ) she could not have foreseen that within two years she would become an internationally known cult phenomenon. She was born in Chicago, but moved to London at age two and remained there until she was in her early teens. She and her family then moved to Grand Rapids, MI, where she rebelliously got heavily into the punk rock scene complete with spiky, brilliantly colored hair and body piercings with safety pins. When she was 14, she became romantically involved with a 20-year-old punk singer and occasionally sang in his band. Her punk period lasted through high school. Following graduation, she got involved in local theater and from there studied fine arts at the Goodman Theater School of Drama at Chicago's DePaul University. Following graduation, she moved to New York where she waited tables and appeared in off-Broadway plays, most notably in Absent Friends, in which she had a starring role that won her a Theater World Award. Anderson made her film debut in 1992 with the low-budget drama The Turning. She then appeared in a theatrical production of The Philanthropist and after that moved to Los Angeles. Though she was frequently courted for television roles, Anderson disdained the medium until the X-Files audition came along. Though the producers were looking for a brainy version of a Baywatch girl, the beautiful but more natural looking (having long passed her outrageous days) Anderson got the role thanks to the insistence of the show's creator Chris Carter. The show became a smash hit within two seasons and Anderson found herself an international star, as did her co-star David Duchovny, the subject of numerous pages on the Internet, and the recipient of such awards as a Golden Globe, an Emmy, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. In addition to continuing work on the X-Files, Anderson hosted a couple of television specials, including More Secrets of the X-Files and the BBC documentary series Future Fantastic. She also lent her voice as a documentary narrator on Spies Above and as animated characters on shows like The Simpsons and Reboot and films like the English version of Princess Mononoke.

Anderson would spend the next several years working extensively in British television, starring in series like Bleak House, Any Human Heart, Moby Dick, and The Fall, as well as appearing in numerous UK films, like The Last King of Scotland and Shadow Dancer.

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  • Wanted to be a marine biologist as a youth.
  • Spent much of her childhood (ages 2 to 11) in London's North End, before her family returned to the U.S. and settled in Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Studied with a National Theatre of Great Britain training class at Cornell University.
  • Won a Theatre World Award in 1991 for her role in Absent Friends.
  • Received her last unemployment check the same day she was cast in the pilot episode of The X-Files; was cast on the series at the insistence of show creator Chris Carter after the Fox network initially resisted hiring her.
  • Wrote and directed the 2000 X-Files episode "All Things."
  • In 2009 appeared in an acclaimed version of A Doll's House in London.
  • Devotes much of her free time to charities around the world.