Date of Birth
12 July 1976, Rochdale, Lancashire, England, UK
Anna Louise Friel
5' 2" (1.57 m)
Anna Louise Friel (born 12 July 1976) is an English actress. She rose to fame in the UK as Beth Jordache on the Channel 4 soap Brookside.
Friel was born in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, the daughter of Julie, a special needs teacher, and Des Friel, a former teacher of French and owner of a web design company. Friel's Irish Catholic father, a former folk guitarist, was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Donegal, Ireland. Her brother Michael starred in Hovis television adverts.
She attended Crompton House Church of England High School, in High Crompton, Shaw and Crompton. She then attended Holy Cross College in Bury. Friel became interested in acting at an early age and received frequent praise for her work at local talent shows.
At the age of 13, she was hired for her first professional acting job in the Channel 4 drama serial G.B.H., as the daughter of Michael Palin's character. Her performance led to a series of appearances on various British television shows, including Emmerdale. In 1992, she was added to the cast on the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, where she gained greater exposure in the role of Beth Jordache. She stayed on the programme for two years. Friel's lesbian on-air kiss was the first in British soap history. In 1995, Friel won the National Television Award for Most Popular Actress for her work on Brookside.
In 1996, Friel courted further controversy when she appeared in the television film The Tribe by Stephen Poliakoff, which included nudity and a much discussed ménage à trois sex scene between characters played by Friel, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jeremy Northam.
In 2001, she made her West End stage debut in London in a fringe production of Lulu, which also transferred to Broadway.
Friel's film credits include playing Nick Leeson's wife Lisa in Rogue Trader opposite Ewan McGregor; David Leland's The Land Girls, which also starred Rachel Weisz and Catherine McCormack; Adam Collis Sunset Strip as Tammy Franklin, opposite Jared Leto, Simon Baker and Nick Stahl; All for Love with Richard E. Grant; A Midsummer Night's Dream as Hermia, opposite Christian Bale, Dominic West and Calista Flockhart; Timeline as Gerard Butler's object of affection; Me Without You opposite Michelle Williams; and Goal! and Goal! 2: Living the Dream....
Her television work includes the short lived The Jury for the Fox and ITV1's Watermelon which was based on the novel by Marian Keyes. In 2007 she started playing Charlotte "Chuck" Charles in Pushing Daisies, a new television series from the creator of Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls, on the American network ABC. Although popular with critics, in November 2008, creator Bryan Fuller stated that it had been cancelled due to poor ratings. The show ran for two seasons.
In the pilot season following the cancellation of Pushing Daisies, Friel was offered six pilots but declined all six roles in favour of focusing on her movie career.
In November 2006, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Bolton for contributions to the performing arts.
She has also been seen as the face of Pantene Pro-V Ice shine in the United Kingdom, appearing in both television advertisement and print advertising. She has also appeared in adverts on television for 3 Mobile and Virgin Atlantic Airways.
In September 2009, Friel starred in a West End adaptation of the novel Breakfast at Tiffany's at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
In April 2010, she was cast in the psychological thriller film The Dark Fields (now entitled Limitless and released in March 2011). In November 2010, Friel starred in London Boulevard alongside Ray Winstone, Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley and her then partner David Thewlis.
Friel appears in the video for the Manic Street Preachers' September 2010 single "(It's Not War) Just the End of Love" opposite Welsh actor Michael Sheen, with whom she co-starred in the 2003 film Timeline.
In January 2011, Friel appeared in a episode of the BBC series Come Fly with Me as a fictionalised version of herself. In the show she is bald and has lost her wig.
In 2001, Friel began a relationship with actor David Thewlis, whom she met on a flight to Cannes. Their daughter, Gracie Ellen Mary Friel, was born on 9 July 2005, at Portland Hospital in London. In December 2010, Friel and Thewlis ended their relationship.
In 2008, Friel began supporting the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, alongside fellow celebrities, Alan Carr, Angela Griffin, Natalie Imbruglia, Edith Bowman, and Twiggy.
Friel advocates the work of the Burma Campaign UK, an NGO committed to bringing about change in the nation.
Made her British stage debut in off-West End London production of "Lulu" by Frank Wedekind in 2001.
Made her American stage debut at New York City's Music Box in 1999 as Alice in Patrick Marber's "Closer".
She and ex-boyfriend David Thewlis became The Faces Of Mulberry for Spring 2002.
Caused a major controversy with her Lesbian screen kiss with Nicola Stephenson on the set of "Brookside" (1982) in 1994.
Is of Irish descent.
Lobbied for the role of "Nymphadora Tonks" in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), after the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, revealed that "Tonks" was romantically involved with "Remus Lupin", who is played by her real-life boyfriend, David Thewlis.
Ranked #21 in Wizard magazine's Sexiest Women of TV list (March 2008).
Was one of People Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People in the world (2008).
Was in a relationship with actor David Thewlis from 2001 - 2010. They have one daughter, Gracie Ellen Mary Thewlis, born on July 9, 2005.
Gave birth to her daughter Gracie Ellen Mary Thewlis in London's Portland hospital, fathered by David Thewlis, having been in a relationship with him from 2001 until December 2010 (9 July 2005)
Was the runner up for Helena Bonham Carter's role in Fight Club (1999).
"Some producer suddenly grabbed my doughnut out of my hand. Then he said, 'Anna, you really shouldn't be doing that'. He said, 'your tummy's not looking right on screen'. If it's just about that they should have hired a model. I mean, we're not talking about a big f**king tummy here!"
Where Are They Now
(December 2004) Announced she is expecting a child with partner David Thewlis.
(June 2009) Currently starring as Holly Golightly on the British stage adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's.