English actress Helena Bonham Carter was born on May 26, 1966 in Golders Green, London. Despite her fame, she didn’t have any formal acting training. In 1979, she won a national writing contest and used the money to enter the actors directory “Spotlight.” At the age of 16, she made her first acting debut in a television commercial, which was followed by a minor role in 1983’s TV film A Pattern of Roses.
Helena Bonham Carter then scored a lead role in the James Ivory-directed adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel A Room With a View in 1985. Playing Lucy Honeychurch in that film became her breakthrough role, earning her Oscar recognition. She followed this up playing the title role in Lady Jane which had mixed reviews. She has also appeared in two episodes of Miami Vice and was in The Vision, both in 1987.
In 1992, she played Helen Schegel in Howard’s End, and her presence in the film made it a success. This was the last film she made for the Merchant-Ivory banner. She is also fluent in French, and has starred in the film Portraits chinois in 1996. It was in 1997’s Wings of the Dove that earned her an Oscar nomination, and won her several awards. Her earlier roles led her to being typecast as a “corset queen” and “English rose,” leading her to expand her range of characters to play. She then appeared in other high-budget films like Fight Club in 1999, 2001’s Planet of the Apes and Novocaine. Helena Bonham Carter also played the role of Jenny and the Witch in 2003’s Big Fish, as well as Mrs. Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, both films by her husband, director Tim Burton. She has lent her voice to characters like Lady Campanulla Tottington in Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and to the title character in Corpse Bride, both in 2005. Two years later, she played the mad Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She was also cast alongside Johnny Depp, as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Her performance in that film, along with her role in Conversations with Other Women in 2005, earned her the Best Actress Award in the 2007 Evening Standard British Film Awards.
In 2008, she signed on to portray the character Serena in the 2009 action flick, Terminator Salvation. Her co-stars include Christian Bale, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood and Bryce Dallas Howard. She has also been slated to return for the final Harry Potter films, reprising her role as Bellatrix Lestrange.
Golders Green, London, England, UK
Lived with Kenneth Branagh. [1994 - September 1999]
Speaks French fluently.
She was denied admission to King's College, Cambridge University, not because of her grades or her test scores but because school officials were afraid that she would leave mid-term to pursue her acting career. Because of Cambridge's rejection, Helena decided to concentrate fully on acting.
Turned down the role of Bess in Breaking the Waves (1996) due to the sexual content. The role went to Emily Watson who was nominated for an Oscar for that role.
Is close friends with Johnny Depp, who often works with her fianc?, Tim Burton. In fact, Depp is the godfather of her child with Burton, Billy Ray.
Was cast as Bellatrix Lestrange after Helen McCrory became pregnant, and would have been nearly full-term when her scenes were shot. She returned to the role for one scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), opposite McCrory as her sister Narcissa Malfoy. Ironically, Carter was able to be in this scene because it was scheduled to be filmed after she gave birth to her own child.
Tested for the role of Nancy Spungen in Sid and Nancy (1986).
Nominated for Oscar. Another 18 wins & 21 nominations.
1998: (nominated) Oscar
Best Actress in a Leading Role
for: The Wings of the Dove (1997)
I hate this image of me as a prim Edwardian. I want to shock everyone.
I should get a few ribs taken out, because I'll be in a corset for the rest of my life.
[On breast-feeding her baby]: People say, "You're still breast-feeding, that's so generous". Generous, no! It gives me boobs and it takes my thighs away! It's sort of like natural liposuction. I'd carry on breast-feeding for the rest of my life if I could.
He's very cool. Whatever Johnny does, there's something cool about it. He's very hip. It's emotional and vulnerable, too, which makes it touching. - on her friend and colleague Johnny Depp.
Engaged to director Tim Burton (2001 - present)
Delivered her first child, a boy, Billy Ray, with partner Tim Burton on October 4, 2003.
She gave birth to a baby girl, Nell Burton, on December 15th, 2007.
Great-granddaughter of H.H. Asquith, British Prime Minister (1908-1916).
She is a first cousin of Baroness Jane Bonham-Carter, and only a distant cousin of Crispin Bonham-Carter: Crispin's father, Peter Malcolm Bonham-Carter, is a third cousin of Helena Bonham Carter. The first ancestors that Crispin and Helena have in common, are John Bonham-Carter (1788-1838) and his wife Joanna Maria Smith (1791-1884).
She is the granddaughter of Violet Bonham Carter, a Life Peeress in her own right, and the niece of Mark Bonham-Carter, who was created a Life Peer in his own right as well.
Her brother Edward is married to TV presenter Victoria Studd.
Given indefinite leave from the set of Terminator Salvation in Mexico after her relatives were on a South African safari holiday on Wednesday, 20 August, 2008, when the minibus they were travelling in spun out of control and flipped after a tyre burst. Helena's cousin, Fiona Bonham Carter, 51, escaped with a broken shoulder but Fiona's son Marcus Egerton-Warburton, 14; mother Brenda, 74; stepfather Francis Kirkwood, 75; and sister-in-law Kay Boardman, 54, all died.