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1 of 10

Janet McTeer Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: May 8, 1961
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

Although British audiences had been familiar with her work since the mid-'80s, it wasn't until Janet McTeer's Oscar-nominated performance in 1999's [[Feature~V176013~Tumbleweeds~tumbleweeds]] that American filmgoers also began to take notice. A Newcastle native whose versatile physical features compliment her ability to truly realize a character (no matter how foreign), McTeer made her film debut opposite screen siren [[Performer~P75144~Sigourney Weaver~sigourneyweaver]] in the 1986 feature [[Feature~V21297~Half Moon Street~halfmoonstreet]]. Though her looks and talent for intense personal drama made comparisons to veteran star [[Performer~P59206~Vanessa Redgrave~vanessaredgrave]] common, McTeer soon distinguished herself on the London stage with roles in The Grace of Mary Traverse and Greenland, small-screen parts in [[Feature~V142797~Precious Bane~preciousbane]] (1989) and [[Feature~V274337~Portrait of a Marriage~portraitofamarriage]] (1990) proved that her talent transferred outside the theater, as well. Critics also singled out her performance in the 1992 adaptation of [[Feature~V154158~Wuthering Heights~wutheringheights]]. That same year, McTeer stepped into the shoes of super-sleuthing professor Loretta Lawson in the made-for-TV mystery A Masculine Ending, and she reprised the role in the following year's Don't Leave Me This Way. It was her turn as a determined prison warden in the popular U.K. series The Governor, however, that found McTeer truly coming into her own on television. Her imposing (six foot-one inch) frame and emotional vulnerability worked in perfect harmony to create a compelling character, and McTeer began to become a familiar face to PBS viewers in the U.S. thanks to roles in such efforts as [[Feature~V142797~Precious Bane~preciousbane]] (1989) and [[Feature~V124058~The Black Velvet Gown~catherinecooksonstheblackvelvetgown]] (1991).

After winning both Olivier and Tony awards in 1997 for her performance in the stage version of A Doll's House, McTeer began to work almost exclusively in films. Just a year after she made a vocal impression on stateside audiences as the narrator of [[Performer~P93836~Todd Haynes~toddhaynes]]' glam rock-tribute [[Feature~V158899~Velvet Goldmine~velvetgoldmine]] in 1998, American audiences were offered a face to accompany the voice (though thanks to her masterful Southern accent, they may not have recognized it) with the release of the mother/daughter road drama [[Feature~V176013~Tumbleweeds~tumbleweeds]]. Cast as a nomadic, free-spirited mother, McTeer's Oscar-nominated performance left quite an impression, even if the film itself ultimately didn't. The actress followed this film with three titles in 2000: [[Feature~V184312~Waking the Dead~wakingthedead]], [[Feature~V187081~Songcatcher~songcatcher]], and [[Feature~V201766~The King Is Alive~thekingisalive]]. She then took a two-year break from the screen before returning with 2002's [[Feature~V276384~The Intended~theintended]], which she also co-wrote.

McTeer continued to work steadily on the stage, on TV, and in movies, but her next big awards splash came in 2011 when her supporting work in the gender-bending drama Albert Nobbs garnered her nominations from the Academy, the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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