- Katherine Mathilda "Tilda" Swinton
November 05, 1960 (age 59)
- Actor, Film Producer, Model, Voice Actor
- Sandro Kopp
- Judith Balfour, John Swinton
Katherine Mathilda "Tilda" Swinton (born 5 November 1960) is a British actress and fashion muse known for both arthouse and mainstream films. She has appeared in a number of films, including Burn After Reading, The Beach and The Chronicles of Narnia, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her lead performances in The Deep End and We Need to Talk About Kevin. In 2007 she won both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as lawyer Karen Crowder in Michael Clayton.
Swinton was born in London, England. Her father is Major-General Sir John Swinton, KCVO, OBE, DL, and Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire from 1989 to 2000. Her mother, Judith Balfour, Lady Swinton (née Killen), was Australian. Her paternal great-grandfather was Scottish politician and officer-of-arms George Swinton, and her maternal great-great-grandfather was Scottish botanist John Hutton Balfour. The Swinton family is an ancient Anglo-Scots family that can trace its lineage to the Middle Ages. The Swinton family is one of only three families (along with the Arden Family and the Berkeley Family) that can trace its unbroken land ownership and lineage to before the Norman Conquest.
Swinton attended three independent schools, Queen's Gate School in London, the West Heath Girls' School and also Fettes College for a brief period. In 1983, she graduated from New Hall (now known as Murray Edwards College) at Cambridge University with a degree in social and political sciences. While at Cambridge, she joined the Communist Party; she later joined the Scottish Socialist Party.
Swinton worked with the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, starring in Mann ist Mann by Manfred Karge, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, before embarking on a career in film in the mid-1980s. She appeared as Julia in the 1986 television mini-series Zastrozzi: A Romance based on the Gothic novel by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her early film work included several film roles for director Derek Jarman, notably War Requiem (1989) playing a nurse opposite Laurence Olivier as an old soldier. In 1991, Swinton won the Volpi Cup Best Actress award for her role in the postmodern film Edward II.
Recent years have seen Swinton move towards more mainstream projects, including the leading role in the American film The Deep End (2001), in which she plays the mother of a gay son she suspects of killing his boyfriend. For this performance she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She appeared as a supporting character in the films The Beach (2000), featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Vanilla Sky (2001) with Tom Cruise and, as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine (2005) with Keanu Reeves. Swinton has also appeared in the British films The Statement (2003) and Young Adam (2003), and sat on the jury of the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2005, Swinton performed as the White Witch Jadis, in the film version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and as Audrey Cobb in the Mike Mills film adaptation of the novel Thumbsucker. Swinton later had cameos in Narnia's sequels, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Swinton lives in Nairn, overlooking the Moray Firth in the Highland region of Scotland with her twins and her partner Sandro Kopp, a German/New Zealander painter. John Byrne, father to their twins Honor and Xavier (born 1997), lives in Edinburgh with his partner Jeanine Davies.
In 2013, Swinton was named as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by The Guardian.