Her redheaded character, FBI agent Dana Scully, was adored by millions. The role brought her fame, an army of devoted fans, and Emmy and Golden Globe awards. Gillian Anderson is a versatile actress, star of the theater scene, author of books and an active public figure.
This woman combines a lot. Despite this, in her personal life she is still in search of the one and only.
How does the TV star of the 90s live now? What was she arrested for as a teenager? How did the loss of a loved one affect her future life? Why does the star easily change her accent? And did Duchovny and Anderson actually have an affair? You will learn about this and even more today on the “Biographer” channel.
Get comfortable and we are starting! Childhood and youth
Gillian Leigh Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother, Rosemary Alice, was a computer analyst. Father – Homer Edward Anderson III – was engaged in film production.
Shortly after her birth, her parents moved from the United States to Puerto Rico for 15 months, and later to England. Edward studied film production at the London Film School in Covent Garden. Therefore, the girl spent the next 9 years of her childhood in the north of London – in Crouch End, where she went to Coleridge Primary School.
She was the eldest of three children in the Anderson family. Besides Gillian,
Rosemary and Homer raised a son, Aaron, and a daughter, Zoe, 14 years younger than her sister. Even as a child, Gillian showed a flair for drama, but was more of a tomboy who dreamt of becoming a marine biologist rather than a movie star.
Inset quote: “Somehow, I have no idea how the transition was made from wanting to be an archeologist or a marine biologist, to wanting to be an actress, but it just kind of happened” (Gillian).
When Anderson was 11 years old, her family returned to the United States and settled
in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the same time, they did not give up their apartment in London and spent their summers there. Anderson later said she had always intended to return to England.
Inset quote: “I’ve been asked whether I feel more like a Brit than an American and I don’t know what the answer to that question is. I know that I feel that London is home and I’m very happy with that as my home. I love London as a city and I feel very comfortable there”. (Gillian Anderson)
In Grand Rapids, she graduated from Fountain Elementary School, and her teenage years were spent at City High-Middle School for gifted students with a strong emphasis on the humanities.
Of course, growing up in England and then returning to the US was not easy. Her mother, Rosemary, mentioned that the contrast was just incredible. Plus Gillian missed all the friends she had grown up with in London. And her classmates all thought she talked funny because she didn’t have an American accent.
Gillian had to learn to speak like an American for the first time in her life, just to fit in. That’s why Anderson now speaks bilingually,
and is comfortable switching between American and British accents. However, she was bullied at school for her accent and background, so she didn’t feel like she belonged in the American environment. This is what prompted the girl to adopt a Midwestern accent.
Ridicule and rejection by classmates could not help but affect the character of the future star. So it’s not surprising that it was after moving to Grand Rapids that Anderson became a true rebel.
Later, the star admitted that she was angry during that period and it was her way of keeping people at a distance. The woman recalled that at that time she existed in her own little world and was often sent to the director’s office for not being able to keep her mouth shut when needed.
The girl’s romantic relationships were also far from ordinary. In an interview in 2012, Anderson said: Inset quote: I was in a relationship with a girl for a long time when I was in high school, and then I was in a relationship with a punk rock drug addict. You know, I’m old enough that I can talk about that.
(Gillian Anderson) Guillian had a real punk appearance. She dyed her hair different colors, shaved her temples, wore a nose piercing and switched to
an all-black wardrobe. Her favorite bands at that time were Dead Kennedys and Skinny Puppy.
And what were your favorite bands at school? Share with us in the comments. We would like
to know how many punk fans are watching us)) Among her classmates, Gillian gained a reputation
as the “class clown”, “the weirdest girl” and “the one most likely to get arrested”.
In an interview with TV Guide, the star admitted that she once taped the locks
on all of the lockers, and then she was even arrested during prom for breaking in her school.
Such behavior could not but cause an appropriate reaction,
so the girl was prescribed therapy sessions. Gillian’s life began to change for the better when
she decided to audition for the school play. Her mother recalled that her daughter showed a real
interest for drama from an early age and it was always her personality. But Rosemary was finally
convinced of her daughter’s talent when she was 14 years old and the teacher let her play the
scene on the balcony in “Romeo and Juliet”. Inset quote: “Gillian had no background in
Shakespeare, acting or anything remotely like it. Nobody on either side of our family had
any experience with acting. But she studied that scene and mastered it with no effort
whatsoever. When she performed it for me my jaw just dropped.” (Rosemary Alice).
Since then, the girl’s life has changed. Her grades have improved and she has been
recognized by her peers and teachers at school as she has shown significant growth and progress
in her academic performance, behavior and attitude. Anderson began to actively
participate in her school’s productions, and later in community theater. She was
also a student intern at the Grand Rapids Civic Theater & School of Theater Arts.
After graduating from high school in 1986, Gillian studied acting at The Theatre School at DePaul
University in Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. The summer after her freshman year,
Gillian was selected to participate in the National Theatre’s three-week summer
program at Cornell University. To support herself financially during her student years,
she worked at the “Goose Island Brewpub” in Chicago. After Anderson became famous,
the brewery named one of their beers after her – a Belgian-style farmhouse
ale called “Gillian”. “The Scully Effect”
Anderson moved to New York when she was 22 years old. She found an apartment in Greenwich Village,
went to auditions, had a relationship with a girl, and worked as a waitress at Dojo,
a Japanese health food restaurant in St. Mark’s Square. She earned little, and the money was
barely enough to cover the rent. Her first acting job, in fact,
was a commercial for a dermatology clinic. Six months after moving to the “Big Apple”,
Gillian got a chance to show herself on the stage of the Manhattan Theater Club. Her agent sent the
young actress to audition for Alan Ayckbourn’s production of “Absent Friends”. The girl
auditioned for the role of Evelyn, a gloomy young mother in a black comedy about a group
of friends who comfort their friend Colin after the death of his fiancée. Director Lynne Meadow
was impressed by Anderson’s performance, but did not immediately agree to give her that part. She
wanted to “make sure it wasn’t an accident.” Inset quote: “I didn’t realize we would find
someone quite this green. But it is one of those great stories,
where someone is cast purely on ability. Gillian’s background is improvisational and she took those
instincts and put them into the highly technical style Alan Ayckbourn writes in. (Lynne Meadow)
So, only after the second attempt, the actress was finally approved for
participation in the play. This was her first work in the theater. For this role in 1991,
the future star received the Theater World Award. Her next theater work was Christopher Hampton’s
play “The Philanthropist” at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut. Also,
Gillian made her debut in a low-budget film called “The Turning”, which was an adaptation
of Chris Ceraso’s play “Home Fires Burning”. The actress, together with her partner on the set,
starred in an intimate scene, which she later regretted very much. After becoming famous,
the actress hired lawyers to stop the DVD sale, but this attempt was not successful.
In 1992, Anderson decided to move to Los Angeles
to pursue a film career. Inset quote: “First of all,
I swore I’d never move to Los Angeles, and once I did, I swore I’d never do television. It was only
after being out of work for almost a year that I began going in [to auditions] on some stuff that
I would pray that I wouldn’t get because I didn’t want to be involved in it.” (Gillian Anderson)
She broke into television in 1993, acting in the college drama “Class of ’96” on the new
Fox Network. She appeared there only in the eighth episode called “The Accused”,
but thanks to this appearance, the young actress was noticed, she was sent the script
of “The X-Files” and invited to audition. The idea for the series came to the mind of
producer Chris Carter after he read a real report by Harvard professor John Mack about the abduction
of people by aliens. The document stated that 3.7 million Americans believe they have been abducted
by extraterrestrial civilizations. After some time, Carter brought this idea to the
Fox channel and after a little negotiation, “The X-Files” was given the green light.
The series revolved around FBI agents Fox Mulder, the character of David Duchovny and Dana Scully,
played by Gillian Anderson, who investigated unsolved cases related to paranormal phenomena.
It was considered that women tended to believe in the supernatural, while men trusted only
facts and logic. Screenwriters went against stereotypes. Mulder here was an avid supporter
of the supernatural and a conspiracy theorist who believed in the existence of paranormal phenomena,
while Scully was a doctor and skeptic tasked to scientifically analyze her partner’s findings.
It is interesting that in life actors have diametrically opposite views than their
screen characters. In 1994, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gillian admitted that she
thought it quite likely that there were other planets inhabited by living organisms somewhere
in the universe. On the contrary, in one of the television programs, Duchovny talked about how,
at the dawn of his popularity, he answered letters from people who allegedly survived abductions by
aliens. He felt sorry for them, because, in his opinion, the poor people were out of their minds.
Do you believe in supernatural and alien creatures? Share your thoughts
with us in the comments. We read them all! So how did our future star get on the show?
Gillian was 24 when she decided to audition for the role of Dana Scully. Chris Carter immediately
wanted to hire Anderson, but the producers demanded to choose a girl with a brighter
and more model-like appearance, to attract the audience and increase interest in the TV show.
Chris did not want the main character of the series to be a brainless blonde,
whom Mulder would have to fall in love with, and saw her as a serious, moderately attractive woman.
David Duchovny, by the way, had a vision of a girl who could play Scully. Actress and former model
Jennifer Beals, in his opinion, would perfectly fit into this image. But his choice did not
impress the producer. Carter supported Anderson, and she was eventually cast in the role.
The prototype of Scully was Clarissa Starling, the character of the 1991 psychological thriller
“Silence of the Lambs”. Red hair, bob cut, strict suits and seriousness in behavior – these features
were also characteristic of Fox’s partner. Besides, Dana had a boyfriend in the pilot
series. It was planned that she, unlike the obsessed loner Mulder, would lead a
completely normal life. Ethan Minette, Scully’s boyfriend, lasted only one episode, but the
show’s creators still decided to remove him. The authors allowed the performers of the main
roles to participate in the work on the series. As a result, some episodes were completely directed
by David Duchovny, and one, called “All Things”, was written and filmed by Anderson herself.
The first five seasons were filmed in Vancouver. There are many forests here,
which are ideal for filming mysterious places. Later, David Duchovny refused to shoot in Canada,
demanding the filming transfer to Los Angeles. The main reason was that the actor did not want to be
constantly away from his wife, actress Tea Leoni. The relationship between the on-screen couple of
FBI agents developed gradually, but in real life, David and Gillian did not immediately get along.
At first there was contempt and rejection. Inset quote: “We used to argue about nothing.
We couldn’t stand the sight of each other.” (David Duchovny)
Now the actors are friends and jokingly mention Vancouver and curious incidents during filming.
For example, about the fact that the humid Canadian climate always ruined Scully’s hair,
so the actress had to blow dry it after each filmed scene. Mulder’s cynical jokes were
usually impromptu by Duchovny himself, who in real life also has a peculiar sense of humor.
And there is this big difference in height. Did you know that Anderson is almost 8 inches
shorter than David? That is why, when filming the dialogues between the main characters,
the cameramen put the actress on a special box, which was nicknamed “the Gillyboard”.
In one of the old interviews, the actress admitted that sometimes during serious scenes,
she forgot that she was standing on the box, turned to the camera and fell.
Initially, the producers set conditions for Gillian: in the shot, the actress should
usually stand behind David Duchovny. Thus, Agent Mulder was literally coming to the fore. For the
first three seasons, the actress was paid half as much as her colleague on the set. Anderson
was able to achieve equal pay with David only after having a big Skully’s fanbase. She spent
her first fee for filming in “The X-Files” on a lithograph by the British artist David Blackburn.
The actress still collects works of art, and is also fond of architecture and interior design.
As often happens, the tabloids began to suspect Anderson and Duchovny having an
affair. But the actress repeatedly denied these rumors. “I actually don’t know very
much about David,” Anderson said in an interview in 2018, “And it’s a funny thing.
We’ve spent so much time with each other over the years that I’ve probably been together with him
more than in any other relationship I’ve had.” During the filming of the first season
of “The X-Files”, Gillian met the assistant art director Clyde Klotz.
The couple quickly developed an affair. Inset quote: “It wasn’t quite love at first
sight. It was Clyde’s smile that first attracted me. He was very quiet, rugged and cool, but I soon
realized he had a lot to say and that he was a very intelligent man .” (Gillian Anderson)
On New Year’s Eve, Gillian and Clyde flew to Hawaii and got
married on the 17th pole of the golf course. Apart from the newlyweds,
there was only a Buddhist monk who conducted the ceremony. The couple decided not to invite
their parents. They only sent a letter to Rosemary and Edward with this news.
They reacted positively and were not offended that they were not invited to the wedding.
Gillian returned to filming the first season of “The X-Files” two days later. A few months later,
she learned that she would soon become a mother. Although the contract with the studio did not
prohibit pregnancy, this fact was shocking news for Fox executives. Anderson herself admitted
that she “didn’t fully think in advance about the consequences of this decision.”
When Gillian found out she was pregnant, the first person she told the news on the phone
was not her husband or the director, but her partner in the series, David Duchovny. He was
silent for a minute, then said to the woman: “Of course, give birth. The TV series is not
important.” The show creators already wanted to reshoot the material with another actress,
but Chris Carter stood up for Gillian again and refused to cast the new Scully. He justified this
by the fact that “part of the success of the show is the audience’s investment in these characters.”
As a result, the role of Scully was Anderson’s, but her husband was fired from the X-Files team.
So until the end of the season, the actress was filmed so that her belly was not visible.
And at the beginning of the second season, Chris rewrote the script especially for her.
According to the plot, the agent was abducted by aliens, and due to this, Gillian did not appear
on screen long enough to have time to give birth and take her 10-day maternity leave.
Her daughter Piper was born on September 25, 1994. The actress had to undergo an unexpected
cesarean section, because of which she spent the next six days in the hospital. Four days later,
Gillian returned to the filming of the episode “One Breath”.
Later Anderson was telling about this experience: Inset quote: “During the first season,
I didn’t know who the hell I was, let alone who this character was. I feel stronger as a
person in the world now. I remember, after going through the birthing process, feeling that no cut,
no abrasions, no knock on the head will make me whine again.”(Gillian Anderson)
A happy mother could no longer imagine her life without Piper. And Chris, thanks to whom Gillian
stayed in the series, became her daughter’s godfather and named one of the episodes of the
show in honor of his goddaughter – “Piper Maru”. And one more interesting fact about family ties:
Gillian’s younger sister, Zoe, played 14-year-old Dana Scully
in one of the episodes of “The X-Files”. After the first season, the series gained
huge popularity all over the world. At the end of the 90s, when TV viewers were not yet
spoiled by a large amount of quality content, “The X-Files” became a guide to the world of
fantastic and incredible for many people. The investigations conducted by Fox Mulder
and Dana Scully were fascinating and made you believe that the truth was really “out there”.
The iconic characters even appeared in “The Springfield Files”, an episode of the popular
“The Simpsons” series. In the plot, agents arrived in Springfield after Homer claimed to have seen an
alien in the woods. Anderson and Duchovny voiced their characters there. The showrunners of “The
X-Files” also made a complementary gesture. And in one of the episodes of the series, the sleeping
worker in the nuclear plant was called Homer. And is there a person who does not remember
the mysterious “whistling” melody that sounds at the beginning of each episode?
Even those who were not fans of the TV show in the 90s knew it. In fact, the soundtrack
was created by the composer after he listened to the song “How Soon is Now” by The Smiths,
known to many for the TV series “Charmed”. When the “whistle” was ready, Snow accidentally touched
the reverb control, which resulted in an echo effect. The composer liked the result so much that
he decided to keep this version of the melody. As a result, the theme turned out to be energizing
and inspired thoughts about the supernatural. After the release of the show’s first season,
club remixes of the X-Files tune broke into the music charts of the UK, France and Australia, and
climbed up there all the way to the second place. The popularity of the series in America has
skyrocketed. The record figure was 30 million. That’s how many viewers gathered around TV screens
at the same time for each episode only in the United States. Unbelievably, despite the love
and undeniable recognition, critics’ opinions about “The X-Files” were initially negative.
After the release of the first episodes, Entertainment Weekly published an article,
calling them a stupid TV show, doomed in advance to failure. However, after the overwhelming
success of the first season, this tabloid has become one of the most loyal fans of the on-screen
FBI agents. And in 2012, the magazine put “The X-Files” on the 4th place in the list of “25
best cult television shows of the last 25 years.” To be fair, it should be noted that not only film
critics did not believe in such a breakthrough on television, but also the show creators and
its main stars. David Duchovny admitted in an interview that after the first reading of the
script, he concluded that such a show would not find many fans, but decided
to take a risk by agreeing to participate in it. The series itself lasted for 11 seasons. However,
only five of them were initially planned. The creators did not want to drag out the project,
fearing that it would become another “soap opera”. At the end of the fifth season,
it became clear that the ratings were too high and it was necessary to continue the work.
And do you like this legendary series? If so, tell us about your favorite episode! It will be
interesting to hear your opinion! During her time on “The X-Files”,
Anderson won numerous awards for her portrayal of Special Agent Scully, including an Emmy Award and
a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Saturn Award. Anderson
is the first actress to win an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a SAG Award in one year.
Besides Anderson’s character in “The X-Files” started a phenomenon called “the Scully Effect”.
After all, the doctor and FBI agent inspired many young women to pursue careers in science,
medicine and law enforcement. This contributed to the increase in the number of women in
these spheres. New heights
In 1996, Anderson became the voice-over for the television documentaries “Spies Above” and “Why
Planes Go Down”. While hosting the BBC documentary series “Future Fantastic”, she was blown away by
the show’s musical accompaniment by electronic duo Hal. The star supported the group in the creation
of their electronic music album “Future: A Journey Through The Electronic Underground” for Virgin
Records, which was praised by European music critics. Anderson also recorded spoken vocals
and starred in the music video for Hal’s single “Extremis”, which was often broadcast on MTV.
It was after the music video release that Gillian was named the “Sexiest Woman in the
World” in two well-known magazines. The actress herself at that time was going
through a divorce with her husband Clyde Klotz. Despite family troubles, the actress continued
to act in movies. In 1997, she appeared in the independent film “Chicago Cab” with Paul Dylan,
John Cusack and Julianne Moore. The film was about a taxi driver and his passengers. Despite the
vividness of the story, the film was criticized for the unrealistic extraordinary life stories
of the main character’s fellow travelers. The next year was one of the most eventful
years of her career. “The X-Files” made the jump to the big screen with
the summer blockbuster “The X-Files: Fight the Future”. In the fall of the same year,
Gillian played supporting roles in two more films: “Playing By Heart” with Sean Connery and Angelina
Jolie and “The Mighty” with Sharon Stone. The screen images of those years were far from the
already familiar image of Dana Scully. However, this was exactly what the actress was trying
to do – not to become a hostage of her role. Inset quote: What I’ve done so far has been very
different. I played kind of a Southside Chicago chick, in her early 20s, in a movie called Chicago
Cab and then a middle-aged vintage biker-alcoholic in a movie called The Mighty. I tend to steer away
from those that are similar to Scully at all and, hopefully, will pull it off.”(Gillian Anderson)
Being a huge fan of anime, “Studio Ghibli” and the work of Hayao Miyazaki, Anderson voiced
the character Moro in the English-language version of Princess Mononoke. Looking ahead,
let’s say that this will not be her only cooperation with the studio.
The following year, Gillian played the main role in Terence Davies’ film “The House of Mirth” – a
film adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel of the same title. From the first minutes, the viewer
immerses into the atmosphere of the 20th century. Women in chic dresses, men in suits, amazingly
chosen shooting locations – all this realistically reflected the features of the past era.
Anderson’s character, Lily Bart, an attractive woman who took a prominent place in society,
faced the reverse side of success – her beauty and charm caused unhealthy interest and envy.
And while Lily looked for a rich man to meet society’s expectations, she lost true love.
The star later described her character: Inset quote: “What fascinates me most about
Lily Bart is the journey that she goes on. No matter how many times I read the script,
tears came to my eyes. There was just something about it that was so tragic”. (Gillian Anderson)
On the one hand, Lily was a spoiled girl who was used to being supported by her aunt. She
was more interested in gambling and flirting with men. And material well-being was more important
than mutuality. On the other hand, viewers saw that she was capable of strong feelings.
This film was about love and hatred, loyalty and betrayal, true friendship and hypocrisy;
wealth and poverty, life and death. The movie was included in the 10 best films
of 2000 according to the critics of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Film Comment,
Newsday, New York Daily News, Village Voice and New York Press. Gillian received critical acclaim
for her role in this drama, British Independent Film Award for Best Actress and Village Voice
Film Poll Best Lead Performance. The crazy shooting schedule left
the star with almost no time for her daughter and personal space.
“A lot of the decisions that I have made, and purposely have not made, have been as a
result of the schedule with my daughter,” Anderson said. – She is a child of divorce and there is a
schedule. It has actually worked extraordinarily well, but it has been very important for me
that my work takes away from my time with her as little as possible. Unfortunately,
it is not always possible. Something that you have already committed to gets moved. But it
is a good place to start…always putting time with her first. It has caused some hassle here
and there and it has been something that I have really had to stick to my guns with.”
Therefore, after the end of the then final season of “X-Files” in 2002, she moved to London in order
to slow down the pace of life a little and get the opportunity to return to the theater stage.
Inset quote: “I loved being in London. But what I loved the most, I think,
and what I learned from the most, was about the ‘moment to moment’ focus that takes place in
live theater.”(Gillian Anderson) In the West End, the same year,
Anderson made her debut in Michael Weller’s play “What The Night Is For” at the Comedy Theatre.
In addition to working on the stage, the star also participated in public initiatives. Gillian
supported the South African AIDS Cure Campaign at a demonstration in London. She advocated for
greater access to medicines to reduce the effects of HIV and prevent new diseases.
Anderson later became a board member of Artists for a New South Africa and an activist for ACTSA:
Action for Southern Africa. The actress also supported the charity fund Diskaid aimed to
help young black musicians in South Africa. Changes have also taken place in the star’s
personal life. On December 29, 2004, she got married for the second time. Her spouse was
the documentarian Julian Ozanne. The wedding took place on the island of Lamu off the coast
of Kenya. Only close relatives and a few friends were present at the event. However,
even this marriage did not pass the time test. After 16 months, the couple divorced.
Despite this, the actress’ career grew and every year there were more and more successful roles.
Anderson appeared as Lady Dedlock in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel “Bleak
House”. For this project, she was nominated for four prestigious awards, including an Emmy and
a Golden Globe, and won the Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Award for Best Actress.
Perhaps it was the performance in this film that inspired the star to become a patron of
the Charles Dickens Statue Fund in 2013 and participate in securing funding for the first
Dickens statue in the UK, located in Portsmouth. In the same year, the actress played the main
role in the little-known Irish film “The Mighty Celt”. Written and directed by Pearse Elliott,
the film was a modern coming-of-age tale set in the world of greyhound racing. Gullian’s
character became a single mother who was trying to establish a relationship with her former lover,
whom she had not seen for 15 years. The actress spoke warmly about the work on this movie, noting,
however, that the Irish accent was the most difficult part of the staging process for her.
For the role, Anderson won the IFTA Award for Best International Actress.
In 2006 and 2007, Anderson starred in two more British films: “Straightheads” and “The Last King
of Scotland”. While filming the latter, Anderson founded a charity project that helped Alinyiikira
School in Kampala, Uganda, and ran it until 2011. At the same time, she was already in a
relationship with businessman Mark Griffiths and was carrying their
first-born son Oscar. The star informed her fans about this joyful news this way:
Inset quote: “Oh by the way, I am pregnant; which I have no doubt many of you know from
the ridiculous tabloids around the globe but it so happens to be the one thing out
of so much nonsense that is true. And I am very excited. And I am very fat.” (Gillian Anderson)
When her son was born, Anderson said, he needed her attention all the time. And he was constantly
eating and never seemed to be full. “He doesn’t cry so much”, she said, “but when he is upset
he just kind of yells at us. It is really funny.” The young mother slept little and was very tired,
so she had to say goodbye to her usual crazy work schedule and slow down the filming pace.
However, the very next year, Anderson appeared in the continuation of the legendary X-Files,
called “The X-Files: I Want to Believe.” Gillian came to the premiere pregnant
with Mark’s second child, son Felix. Despite the fact that it grossed $68.4
million worldwide on a $30 million budget, the film received generally
negative reviews. Although critics praised the chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson,
they were disappointed by the storyline. Also this year, the star appeared in the
British comedy “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People” together with Megan Fox,
Kirsten Dunst and Jeff Bridges. The film also received mostly negative reviews.
Despite the busy filming schedule, Gillian also did not forget to engage in
social activities. She co-founded SAYes, an organization that trains mentors to support
and motivate youngsters in South Africa. This non-profit organization provides young people
leaving orphanages with counseling that enables them to develop their skills,
continue their education, become independent adults and actively participate in society.
However, the actress did not forget to appear on the theater stage. In 2009, in the play “A Doll’s
House” by Henrik Ibsen, Gillian portrayed Nora Helmer – the mother of three children,
who she was in real life. Her character embodied the ideal wife of the 19th century. Anderson,
on the other hand, was not married to the father of her sons. For this performance,
the star was nominated for the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress.
The following years also seemed very busy. During this period, Anderson mostly starred in
screen adaptations of novels. So, in 2010, she played Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor
in the miniseries “Any Human Heart”. This is the life story of writer Logan Mountstewart,
with its ups and downs, triumphs and defeats, successes and failures in the 20th century.
Despite mixed reviews from critics regarding the high number of clichés in the storyline, the cast
was rated quite highly. And for her Countess Guillian was nominated for a BAFTA for Best
Supporting Actress on Television. The following year, the audience saw her in a supporting role
in the novel adaptation of “The Crimson Petal and the White” and as Elizabeth, Ahab’s wife,
in the miniseries “Moby Dick”. Anderson also appeared as Miss Havisham in the BBC’s three-part
adaptation of Great Expectations, for which she received an Artistic Excellence Award.
Then the star stopped portraying historical figures for a while, and starred in the
comedy “Johnny English Reborn” with the British comedian Rowan Atkinson, known to us as Mr. Bean.
By the way, would you like to know more about this actor?
Write in the comments and we will definitely consider your wishes.
Gillian, who played MI7 chief Pamela Thornton in the movie, raved about her co-star’s performance
and admitted that it was very difficult to hold back laughter during filming.
However, the actress will no longer want to laugh next year. A tragic event in the Anderson family
will make all its members forget about fun for a long time. And all because the actress’s younger
brother, Aaron, who had been diagnosed with neurofibromatosis three years before,
died at the age of thirty from a brain tumor. He used to be a family favorite and was about
to get a degree in developmental psychology from Stanford University. Apart from it,
Aaron was a DJ, a mentor and a Buddhist. His death was a great shock for the whole family.
Inset quote: “Because he was who he was and he had very strong Buddhist practice, he made it
an extraordinary experience for all of us because he embraced it, so to speak. It was what it was,
and he lived the last few years of his life with incredible grace and it brought us all closer
together”. (Gillian Anderson) Even
before her brother’s death, Gillian appealed to the US government and Congress to increase
funding for research into this disease. She also became an honorary representative of the
Neurofibromatosis Association, and took an active part in the work of the foundation,
holding charity auctions. Anderson also supported the organization “Children with Tumors” and the
“Global Genes” movement, which dealt with helping children with neurofibromatosis.
Having just come to terms with her brother’s loss, Gillian had to let go of another important
person in her life. Her six-year relationship with businessman Mark Griffiths also ended.
In order to distract herself from sad events, the actress got herself occupied with work. She
starred in the Swiss crime drama “Sister”, the British-Irish film “Shadow Dancer”,
the Canadian techno thriller “I’ll Follow You Down” and the melodrama
“Mr.Morgan’s Last Love” with Michael Caine. Anderson also voiced the character of the
doctor Miki Hokuto in the English version of the Studio Ghibli anime “From Up on Poppy Hill”,
which was released in March 2013. That same year, Anderson began starring
in the BBC psychological thriller “The Fall”, about the lives of two hunters:
a serial killer hunting victims in and around Belfast and a female detective hunting him.
Jamie Dornan became her partner on the set and the main antagonist in the movie.
Unlike usual thrillers, the main intrigue of which is “Who is the killer?”, in “The Fall”
the audience is introduced to the anti-hero right away. The series focuses on another question:
“Why does someone who can be considered a normal person with a job, wife and children, kill?”
Stella Gibson is Anderson’s most beloved character,
even more than Scully from “The X-Files”. Inset quote: “She is enigmatic, cold,
intelligent, professional, strong, all of those things. There is vulnerability there
and a sensitivity that comes out in fits and spurts. When her raw patches are touched she
is not infallible. But at the same time she is slightly scary.”(Gillian Anderson)
For her role as a cold, self-confident female detective, Anderson received critical acclaim
and was nominated for several awards. The series lasted only three seasons,
but it became very successful and popular. The Guardian named it the 10th best TV show of 2013.
Not straying far from her roles as Scully and Gibson, Anderson played Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier,
Hannibal Lecter’s psychiatrist, on NBC’s “Hannibal” from 2013-2015. Though in the
first two seasons the star did not appear in all episodes, in the third one her character became
one of the most significant in the series. The star also appeared in Jeffrey D. Brown’s
social drama “Sold”, where she played Sophia, a character based on a real person, photographer
Lisa Christine. The film dealt with the issues of child trafficking and sexual slavery in India and
was based on Patricia McCormick’s novel. The film won five awards and was well received by critics.
Inset quote: ‘Sold’, is a must watch film which raises a clarion call for action. If
it saves girls from being sold into sexual slavery, it will go down in the annals of
cinematic history as a film which made a mighty difference. (The American Bazaar)
At the same time, Anderson was not leaving the theater stage. She received critical
acclaim for her performance as Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”
at the Young Vic Theatre in London. The star had dreamt of this role since she was 2, and finally
her dream came true. The production became the fastest-selling show in the theater’s history,
and the run was extended for two weeks due to demand for tickets. As part of the first
collaboration between the Young Vic Theater and National Theater Live, on 16 September 2014 the
show was broadcast live to over 1,100 venues. Inset quote: “It was bloody intense! A
three-and-a-half hour play, for however many performances we did
a week. I got injured…” (Gillian Anderson) However, the cut on her leg was only a small
inconvenience before the real recognition of her talent. Gillian won the Evening Standard Theater
Award for Best Actress and her second Laurence Olivier Award nomination. In February 2015,
Anderson became the director and starred in the prequel of “A Streetcar Named Desire”,
short film called “The Departure”, written by novelist Andrew O’Hagan.
The actress also noted that the film felt like an interesting character study in a
certain time period, and that it was designed to maintain a “theatrical feel” and capture an
element of “magical realism” that was present in Williams’ work.
Critics noted a very peculiar, rather specific directorial and cameraman
approach. With the help of light and space, the film clearly shows hopelessness, longing,
despair and the monotony of the main character’s life. It was also noted that this short film,
despite the lack of dynamics, scenes and plan changes, could tell a lot, and the gaze
would be glued to the screen for all 17 minutes captivating the attention until the last moment.
Star’s busy work schedule did not prevent her from trying herself in writing. In October 2014,
Anderson published her first book, “A Vision of Fire”, co-authored with Jeff Rovin. This book is
the first novel in “The Earthend Saga” trilogy. It can be described as a “science fiction thriller of
epic proportions.” In the center of the plot is child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara, who
investigates the strange behavior of teenagers. As these cases spread around the world, Caitlin
begins to think that it has something to do with the supernatural. She does everything she can
to uncover the unexplainable connections between these seemingly unrelated cases to not only save
her patient Maanik, but possibly the entire world from disaster. The plot of the book is really
fascinating and deserves a screen adaptation. The author has repeatedly admitted that she also
thought about it while writing the novel. The very next year, Rovin and Anderson
published their second novel, “A Dream of Ice”, and a year later,
the last part of the trilogy, “A Sound of Seas”. Soon Anderson returned to her usual role of Dana
Scully and played her in six episodes of the tenth season of “The X-Files”. The actress
again received the same fee as her co-star David Duchovny. As she always spoke openly about her
struggle for equal pay for men and women, this time she also managed to defend her own rights.
Also that year, not betraying her active public position, Anderson, together with
journalist Jennifer Nadel, published a self-help guide for women called “WE:
A Manifesto for Women Everywhere”. Inset quote: “[The book is a] call-out
to all women around the world – and by women I include girls, transgender,
anyone who identifies themselves as being intrinsically female.” (Gillian Anderson)
She wanted women to feel that they were not alone. “Getting honest is really important. I think,
had I not found tools to help me out of that pain, or to show me that there were people out there
who were on a similar journey, the combination of those two things most certainly have contributed
to me still being on the planet,” Gillian said. The actress is a supporter of various women’s
organizations and social movements, such as the Feminist Majority Foundation and V-Day,
which aims to end violence against females. She has also attended events aimed at ending
gender apartheid in Afghanistan and has been a passionate supporter of Afghan women’s rights.
She also supported the Refuge charity, which provides specialized support to women and
children who have experienced domestic violence. At this time a new man appeared in Gillian’s
personal life. This time it was a British screenwriter and playwright Peter Morgan,
six years older than his girlfriend. As “Page Six” reported, the couple had met on the set of
the TV series “Sexual Education”. Since then, they had been one of those progressive couples
who lived in separate houses. As Anderson said in an interview with the Sunday Times:
Inset quote: ‘My partner and I don’t live together. If we did, that would be the end of us.
It works so well as it is and it feels so special when we do come together.'(Gillian Anderson)
As the actress and the screenwriter raised their own children (by the way,
Peter has five!), they decided not to mix romantic relationships with taking care of their kids.
At the same time, Anderson’s career did not stop for a moment.
She played the goddess Media in the first season of “American Gods” – an adaptation
of Neil Gaiman’s science fiction novel. The role was small, but still remarkable.
Also the actress appeared in the movie “Crooked House”, the adaptation of Agatha
Christie’s book where she shared the set with Glenn Close and Christina Hendricks.
In January 2018, she again played Special Agent Scully in the eleventh and final season of “The
X-Files”. And if the previous season had everyone wondering “What was that?”, the finale one,
on the contrary, showed everything the audience once loved about Mulder and Scully’s adventures.
In the new season, the variety of genres pleased both critics and ordinary viewers. There were:
cyberpunk, a mystical thriller like “Supernatural,” a bloody “horror
about maniacs,” and even a dystopia and an ironic “revolt of machines”
statement like in “Black Mirror” series. The quirky sense of humor, bright characters,
and unexpected ending were what made season 11 a hit on Netflix. Even Anderson was pleasantly
surprised by the number of The X-Files fans: “We know that the fans are still there. The surprising
thing was that there are new fans”, the star said. “There’s a whole other generation of fans
who discovered it through Netflix and I think to be met still by 13 year olds who are talking about
how they have seen all the episodes or they just started watching a year ago and they obsess and
they can’t wait for the new season. The show has a longevity beyond what we had ever imagined”.
Despite the good reviews from critics and the fans’ excitement,
Gillian still confirmed that she will not return to her famous character Dana Scully.
“I think this will be it for me,” Anderson told reporters. Of course, one can always
hope that she will change her mind. However, for her vivid role as an FBI agent,
the actress received a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. And it was in the
same year that the last season of “The X-Files” was released. In her speech,
Anderson credited her big break more to luck than ambition. “I was so green at the beginning,
and so young, and I was just exploring,” she said. “I showed up and hit my mark and learned
my lines and was pulled into this vortex of this hit show. It was my first professional,
proper gig, and it was a cannon of sorts.” Gillian also noted that she would always be
very grateful to Scully for the impact she had had on both her own career and a number
of young women around the world, many of whom decided to have a career in science
or law enforcement after watching the show. It is interesting that before receiving her
own star, the actress was not very positive about the concept of the Walk of Fame. She
thought it looked more like a cemetery. And when her partner in the series, David Duchovny,
received his star there two years earlier, she did not come to support him at the ceremony. Instead,
she wrote on Twitter: “Congrats @davidduchovny! I’ll be right beside you when I die too.”
She seemed to know something. After all, later her star was located next to his. David also could not
keep silent, and posted a photo on Instagram of a smiling Anderson on the Walk of Fame writing:
“You said you’d be right next to me when you died, too. You were right. But this isn’t death. It’s a
beginning. So much more for you. I hope that some kind soul builds a Gilly ramp from your square to
mine. Friends, partners, and now neighbors. Congratulations @GillianA! Love David.”
By the way, if you want to learn more about other celebrities who are lucky owners of stars on the
Walk of Fame, do not forget to subscribe to our channel. Here we talk about the best
of the best. And click on the bell to receive notifications about the release of new stories.
From “Sex Education” to “The Crown” 2019 was a significant year for Anderson
in the final change of usual role. After all, the controversial youth series “Sex Education”
was released on the Netflix streaming platform. This British comedy drama created by Laurie Nunn
follows the lives of the students, staff and parents of the fictional Moordale High School.
The plot mainly focuses on Otis, played by Asa Butterfield, the teenage son of a famous sex
therapist played by Gillian Anderson, who talks openly about all aspects of sexuality, often
embarrassing her son. However, in the future, this mother’s approach turns out to be useful, because
Otis, together with his friend Maeve, establishes a sexual counseling clinic
at school. A wide range of topics important to young people, from the attitude to their bodies
to abortion and homophobia, which are covered in the show, became a real hit among viewers.
However, Anderson was not in a hurry to become a part of this show at first. At
the first reading of the script, she did not like its plot at all.
To better prepare for her role, Gillian read Nancy Friday’s book My Secret Garden, which was
published during the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and became a hit.
Although Gillian did not appear so often in the first season, she definitely became the star of
the series in the second one. In an interview with VOGUE, the actress shared her thoughts about her
character. She noted that what she liked about Jean was that she was quite shameless when it
came to being intimate, unless she was actually having something with a potential partner. She
was boundless, unrestrained and inappropriate, but at the same time full of contradictions.
There were a lot of things in Jean’s house that looked a lot like genitalia. Therefore,
the actress took many photos and posted them on her Instagram with the hashtags #YoniofhteDay and
PenisofttheDay. Her social networks assistant warned the star that she could be banned for
this. No one was sure that such controversial posts would not harm Anderson’s career. She even
blocked her younger children on her page so that they would not see what their mother was posting.
However, contrary to expectations, fans liked the idea so much that people started sending
her in DMs everything that could be signed with Gillian’s hashtags – plants, buildings, food.
In the second season, Jean starts working at Otis’ school and talking to her son’s classmates
about sex. And this becomes a real test for him. Anderson was very worried about whether
such a change would suit her character. After all, everyone is used to seeing her as strange,
funny and sexy. But, in the end, everything turned out very organically. Jean is just
a person who shows the full range of human weaknesses, and that’s great. She is not perfect,
and the audience sympathizes with that. Inset quote: “I felt like even though my
character obviously is very open, sometimes too open, incredibly liberal and sexually free and
I feel like… there’s nothing that usually shocks me. But there were moments where
I thought ‘can we say that? Really?’… God bless Netflix.”(Gillian Anderson)
However, such frankness of the series often differed from the actress’ personal
principles. That is why, when the first season of “Sex Education” was released,
Anderson forbade her children to watch it. And although she is sure that they
have not listened to her, she “lives happily in denial”, pretending that this is not the case.
This comedy drama became a breath of fresh air for the audience, because the topics raised in
it were considered shameful and taboo for a long time. Gillian also noted that everything covered
in the series was a part of our everyday life, but people pretended that it didn’t exist. Why?
Perhaps because they awakened too many feelings or revealed too many aspects of ourselves. However,
it was this extraordinary approach to “forbidden” topics that became the highlight of the show.
It is still worth noting that many intimate scenes in the series could not but shock the average
viewer. And the actors themselves were not always comfortable acting in them. For this purpose,
“intimacy” specialists were invited to the set, special latex suits were used in nude scenes,
and props replaced intimate parts of the body with believable artificial ones.
“Sex Education” received critical acclaim for its cast, script, direction, performance and
mature enlightenment of topics. The show was also a success with viewers: over 40 million
watched the first season after its debut. Gillian did not stop at playing a sex
therapist in a teenage drama and in the same year appeared on TV screens in an opposite,
but also very remarkable role. This time, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the
fourth season of Netflix’s historical drama series “The Crown”. By the way, Anderson
is the second American actress (after Meryl Streep) to play Thatcher in a major production.
Gillian prepared in advance for the role of the Iron Lady.
Many fans have been impressed by how similar the screen Thatcher-Anderson is compared to the real
one from the video chronicles. It’s a miracle of acting transformation! However, Anderson does
not hide a large part of this miracle. She had to wear a wig and a special jumpsuit imitating
Thatcher’s figure. Jumpsuit not only thickens, it repeats the shape of the stomach, breasts and
hips of the legendary prime minister. It was certainly not easy to walk in such a thing.
Makeup artists also had to work on Anderson’s face. The fact is that the series creators
were confused by how much younger Gillian looks than her character, although the age
difference between women is only five years. Of course, there was the question of changing
the jaw shape for more similarity. However, the actress rejected the idea of silicone overlays,
because it was more important for her to preserve natural facial expressions.
Anderson learned to copy the speaking manner with a slight breath so that the copy did not turn into
a parody. “She had a very, very high voice and I had to make some decisions early on not to turn
away too many audience members with too high of an interpretation of what she was doing and find some
kind of a middle ground with it,” said Anderson. To “become Thatcher”, she also had to
learn her walk as it was very specific. Transformation into the Iron Lady was not
the only difficulty for Gillian in working on “The Crown”. After all, during the shooting, she had to
cooperate with her boyfriend. For many couples, such cooperation did not end well, but Anderson
and Morgan (the showrunner of “The Crown”) found a solution. The lovers agreed that Gillian would
not say anything about the script, and Peter would not comment on Gillian’s performance. Such mutual
agreements should probably be adopted by many couples who “work together” even at home!
Despite all the difficulties in the filming process, the star repeatedly said that she was
happy to be able to join the cast and crew of “The Crown” and to have the opportunity to play the
role of such a complex and controversial woman. Of course, the audience couldn’t help but have
a question – to what extent does she agree with Thatcher and does she share her beliefs? Gillian
replied that as an actress, she had to get to a point where her own opinion on the subject
didn’t matter. There were only the motives of the character. As a mother. As a political figure.
Anderson is generally as cautious as possible in her assessments of Thatcher’s actions:
Inset quote: “It’s a blessing to play such a complex and contradictory character. She was, of
course, a formidable woman, but I wanted to show other sides of her as well. After I got acquainted
with her biography, got used to the image, I sincerely fell in love with her. You can treat
her differently, but you can’t help but admit that she created an entire era.” (Gillian Anderson)
Critics were delighted with this image of Iron Lady. So, according to the reviewer
of “The Independent”, the actress managed to “present her not as a historical character,
but as a real person.” And in “The Washington Post” it was about the “accuracy” of conveying
the image of the conservative prime minister, and it was also noted that Anderson played Thatcher
better than Meryl Streep, who received an Oscar for “The Iron Lady” in 2011.
For portraying her character Anderson won “Emmy” and “Golden Globe” awards. After
the award ceremony, the actress was presented with a huge phallic-shaped chocolate cake with
the inscription “Congrats on a BIG one!”. In November 2021, Anderson voiced the cat
in the Christmas short animation “Robin Robin”, about a bird raised by mice. It
dared to steal a shining star and prove to her family and evil cat that it could be a really
good mouse. “Robin Robin” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
In the same year, Anderson played Joanna, the mother of Catherine the Great,
in the second season of the series “The Great”. The actress also portrayed another historical
personality in the series “The First Lady” on the streaming service Showtime. The series chronicles
the lives and family events of three first ladies of the United States: Eleanor Roosevelt, played
by Anderson, Betty Ford, portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, and Michelle Obama – by Viola Davis.
Interestingly, there is a scene in one of the first seasons of The X-Files where Mulder asks
Scully what historical figure she would like to be if she could choose. Dana, without thinking for a
long time, answered: “Eleanor Roosevelt.” Gillian hesitated whether she could
truthfully portray the First Lady. Despite the star cast and team of professionals
who worked on the show, the series received mixed reviews. Audiences praised Pfeiffer and
Anderson’s performance, as well as the costumes and set design, but criticized the pacing, plot,
and Davis’ performance. In August 2022, the series was canceled after the first season.
In the same year, the American mystical thriller called “The Pale Blue Eye” was
released. This time Christian Bale became Anderson’s partner on the set. However,
reviews from critics were mixed again. Also the actress received the Variety
Icon Award for outstanding achievements in acting. Gillian really deserved it, because
her performance had always delighted both critics and fans – in films, on television and on stage.
What does our star do now? Gillian launched her first audio show called “What Do I Know?!”. The
biweekly psychological podcast explores “deeply human stories about social issues,
sexual freedom and phenomenal people.” Besides, the star announced her project called
“Dear Gillian”, where she asked women to write her letters about sexual fantasies and stories,
which she will turn into a book. Perhaps it has been the role in “Sex Education” that inspired
her to implement this idea. On her Instagram, Anderson wrote: “Our deepest most intimate
fears and fantasies remain locked away inside of us. Until someone comes along with the key. Well
here is your key.” She urged her admirers to be open in their letters,
regardless of age and sexual preferences. Gillian’s book plans to reveal what women
really think about intimate life, because “sex is about womanhood and motherhood,
infidelity and exploitation, consent and respect, fairness and egalitarianism,
love and hate, pleasure and pain.” Since the release of “Sex Education”,
the star has been often asked about whether women trust her with their sexual secrets and problems.
“Well, they don’t,” she said. “Which ultimately is what gave me the idea for a book – a ‘My
Secret Garden’ for the 21st century, so to speak – that would be revelatory and
profound, and inclusive across the board.” As you can see, the life of our today’s star
is boiling. She never gives up, tries new roles, engages in social activities. She brings up her
three children and gives joy and positivity to everyone who talks to her. Anderson is fun and
quirky, controversial and enigmatic. However, she never forgets her roots and the people who helped
her on the way to worldwide recognition. By the way, don’t forget that our channel
has a lot of inspiring stories about famous personalities in the film and music industry.
You can find little-known facts from their lives, interesting incidents from the movie
sets and much more by clicking on the video that appeared on your screen.
We hope that we have answered all the questions that you might be interested
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