Date of Birth
13 May 1977, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, UK
5' 3" (1.60 m)
Samantha Morton has established herself as one of the finest actors of her generation, winning Oscar nominations for her turns in Woody Allen's Sweet and Low Down" (1999) and Jim Sheridan's "In America" (2002). She has the talent to become one of the major performers in the cinema of this young century.
Samantha Morton was born May 13, 1977 in Nottingham, England to parents who divorced when she was three years old. Peter and Pamela Morton took other spouses and made Samantha part of a mixed family of 13: She has eight brothers and sisters. She turned to play-acting early in her life, while she was a school-girl.
At 13, she left regular school to train as an actress at the Central Junior Television Workshop, where she learned her craft for three years. It was at the end of her training then that she decided that a life as a professional actress was for her.
She honed her skills in television roles, working her way up from series television to TV-movies and prestigious mini-series, such as Emma (1996) (TV) and Jane Eyre (1997) (TV). Her first major film role, Under the Skin (1997), won her the Best Actress Award from the Boston Film Critics Society. Woody Allen cast her as Hattie, the "dumb" (unspeaking) lover of Sean Penn's caddish jazz guitarist in Sweet and Lowdown (1999), a beautiful performance in a role that could have flummoxed a less-talented performer. Penn was Oscar-nominated for his performance, but it was Morton's Hattie that was central to the success of the film, Allen's last unqualified success. She provided the moral and narrative center of the film. It was quite a remarkable performance for a 21-year old as she had to do all her acting with her face, having been shorn of her voice. The role of Hattie won Morton a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination.
Ironically, Morton had never seen a Woody Allen movie before. (She grew up watching the TV and listening to the radio.) She agreed to do the film after reading the script (as she says, well-written roles for women are hard to find), and the movie made her a hot commodity in Hollywood after she won the Oscar nomination. (She lost out to the ultra-hyped Angelina Jolie.) Morton was offered many roles, but was very choosy as she was not in acting as a game with a payoff of stardom and money.
She had consolidated her reputation by following the Allen film up with work in indie features that showed that she was not only talented, but quite courageous as a performer. She played a heroin addict in the underrated Jesus' Son (1999) and gave a brilliant performance in Morvern Callar (2002), the story of a Scottish supermarket clerk coping with her boyfriends suicide.
Steven Spielberg cast her opposite superstar Tom Cruise as the clairvoyant in Raport special (2002), in which she more than held her own opposite Cruise and the special effects. (She took the role as Cruise and Speilberg are favorites of hers). As good as she was, Morton was better served by Irish director Jim Sheridan, Sheridan cast her as a character modeled after his wife in an autobiographical picture more in line with persona and that made better use of her talents. Her performance as the young Irish mother coping with life in New York City in In America (2003) won her numerous critics' awards and another Oscar nod, this time as Best Actress.
At this point, one feels that the odds of her winning the Oscar are even or better. Samantha Morton continues to deliver fine work in provocative films such as Michael Winterbottom's Code 46 (2003), though she is branching out towards the mainstream, taking a role in the remake of that perennial family favorite, Lassie (2005).
IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood
Born in Nottingham, England and trained at the Central Junior Television Workshop, Samantha's first television work came at the age of 13. Since then, she has played many minor TV roles in such dramas as "Cracker" (1993), "Peak Practice" (1993), "Boon" (1986), "Soldier Soldier" (1991) and "Medics" (1990), before reaching the big time with major roles in such TV movies and mini-series as "Band of Gold" (1995), Emma (1996) (TV), Jane Eyre (1997) (TV) and "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" (1997).
Daughter, Esme, born 5 February 2000 in London. Father is actor Charlie Creed-Miles.
Has eight siblings.
Dropped out of school at 13.
Moved to London from Nottingham at 16.
Born in a Nottingham council estate.
Turned down the role of Lisa in Girl, Interrupted (1999).
Turned down the title role in Iris (2001/I).
Wanted a role in Love Actually (2003) but was turned down in favor of Martine McCutcheon and Keira Knightley.
Was actually the third choice to play Agatha in Raport special (2002); Cate Blanchett and Jenna Elfman both turned it down.
Attended The West Bridgford Comprehensive School, Loughborough Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham. The school has a book containing newspaper cuttings of her achievements in the reception.
Was originally cast as Diane Arbus in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006) and as Harper Lee in Infamous (2006).
Engaged to Ian Holm's son, Harry Holm.
Turned down the role of Ophelia in Hamlet (2000) due to scheduling conflicts with Sweet and Lowdown (1999). In The Libertine (2004) , she played the actress Elizabeth Barry who, in the movie, played a stunning Ophelia on stage.
Parents split up when she was three. The children stayed with their father
Gave birth to a baby girl on the 4th January 2008 and named her Edie. Edie weighed 7lb 8oz and was born in a London hospital.
Cousin of the actor Daniel Morton yet they have never worked together.
She has stated that, if she weren't an actress, she might work in social care or politics, and intends to combine her acting work with it some day.
She has a reputation for being difficult on set, by her own admission: in an interview given with The Guardian Weekend magazine in 2009, she stated that it was fair enough to tell crew members to shut it if they were chatting away while she was giving it her all - she works hard and expects others to do so, too.
In 2006, a piece of 17th century plaster fell on her head, causing a stroke. She spent time in physical and speech therapy, learning how to walk and remaster her speaking skills. She went straight from therapy into filming Synecdoche, New York (2008). She reports "I still have a slight dis-fluency, sentences are spaced differently, but I was given a clean bill of health.".
Returned to work four months after giving birth to her daughter Edie in order to begin filming The Messenger (2009/I).
Her parents split up when she was just three and she lived with her father until she was eight when she was made a ward of court, because neither of her parents could take care of her and her siblings. Her father was an abusive alcoholic and the mother trapped in a violent relationship with her second husband.
Has two siblings, a brother and a sister. Beothe Marcus (born 1971) is a Royal Marine, sister Penny (born 1972) works with children with learning disabilities.
Parents' names are Peter and Pamela.
At 14, she was convicted of making threats to kill and sentenced to 18 weeks at an attendance center. She was originally charged of attempted murder. The incident occurred at a children's home in Nottingham during a riot.
Was homeless for almost a year, sleeping at friends' houses or in bus shelters between the ages 13 - 14.
Had a serious drug problem from age 14 onwards.
My foster mother died and I did not have a relationship with my real parents. I know who they are. It's not upsetting; it's just the way it is. You cannot change things. My childhood isn't like an albatross around my neck.
"With publicity, you have to retain a level of privacy. For me, work and my life shouldn't be one and the same."
"Acting and music are self indulgent professions and they are a luxury unless you love what you do. I have a love/hate relationship with what I do. I think, 'Where's the relevance of this? I'm not a doctor, I'm not an aid worker.' But then I think you only have one life and I am a vessel for stories to be told."
"Woody Allen makes Woody Allen comedies and they are all about him. Steven Spielberg likes to tell someone else's story and it is not only about him. Fine direction such as Spielberg's is rare. You have to be very confident to direct actors. Too many directors merely know where to point the camera."
"In films, it's just that one minute you're strong, then you're told you're difficult. The minute you say, 'No, I won't take my top off' or 'No, I won't work overtime', you're bloody difficult."
I think people found me unnervingly truthful without any filter in my mouth, and this was deemed very bad, especially for a woman. You are not meant to tell somebody to fuck off if they are being rude - you are meant to find a political, tactical way to get out of a situation. When I was younger if I thought somebody was abusing me I would point it out immediately. I think you just grow up.
The more you do, the more your name stands up and what's for you won't pass you. Besides, Hollywood frightens me. Selling yourself in order to work. Giving a pound of your flesh. Good stories need good actors to make them believable. The more you see someone on magazine covers or selling shampoo, the less you can relate to them as that character.
That first Oscar nomination did incredible things for me in the States. I'm grateful for that. It means that I'm able to get an independent movie financed. My name can raise money on a small-budget film. It means I'm able to support the industry.