- Jennifer Ann "Jenny" Agutter
December 20, 1952 (age 68)
- Actor, Voice Actor
- Johan Tham
- Derek Brodie Agutter, Catherine Lynam Agutter
Jennifer Ann "Jenny" Agutter OBE (born 20 December 1952) is an English film and television actress. She began her career as a child actress in the mid-1960s, appearing in television and film adaptations of The Railway Children and the film Walkabout, before taking adult roles and moving to Hollywood.
She played Jessica 6 in Logan's Run, Jill Mason in Equus, Alex Price in An American Werewolf in London and Joanne Simpson in Child's Play 2. Since the 1990s she has worked in sound recording and is a patron of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. After a break from acting she has appeared in several television series since 2000, including the British series Spooks. Since 2012, she has starred in the popular BBC drama Call the Midwife.
Agutter was born in Taunton, England. She is the daughter of Catherine (née Lynam) and Derek Brodie Agutter, a former British Army officer and entertainment organiser. As a child, she lived in Singapore, Dhekelia (Cyprus) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaya). She was discovered at Elmhurst Ballet School, a boarding school she attended aged 8–16, when a casting agent looked for a young English-speaking girl for a film. She did not get the part but he recommended her to the producers of East of Sudan (1964).
Television and film
Agutter came to television audiences as Kirsty in the twice-weekly BBC series The Newcomers. The character Kirsty was the daughter of the new managing director of Eden Brothers, the fictional firm that was at the centre of the series. Agutter could appear only during school holidays. At this stage of her career she was listed in credits as Jennifer. In 1968, she was featured in the lavish big-budget 20th Century Fox film musical Star! with Julie Andrews as Gertrude Lawrence. In that motion picture, Agutter played Lawrence's neglected daughter Pamela.
Later she played Roberta in a BBC adaptation of The Railway Children (1968) and played the same part in Lionel Jeffries's 1970 film of the book. She followed this with a more serious role in the thriller I Start Counting (1969). She also won an Emmy as supporting actress for her television role as Fritha, in a British television film of The Snow Goose (1971).
Agutter moved into adult roles, beginning with Walkabout (1971), playing a teenage schoolgirl lost with her younger brother in the Australian outback. She auditioned for the role in 1967 but funding problems delayed filming until 1969. The delay meant Agutter was 16 at the time of filming, which allowed the director to include nude scenes. Among them was a five-minute skinny-dipping scene, which was cut from the original US release. She said at the 2005 Bradford Film Festival at the National Media Museum that she was shocked by the film's explicitness but remains on good terms with director Nicolas Roeg.
Agutter moved to Hollywood at 21 and appeared in a number of films over the next decade, including The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Logan's Run (1976), Equus (1977, for which she won a BAFTA as Best Supporting Actress), Sweet William (1980) and An American Werewolf in London (1981).
Agutter has stated that the innocence of the characters she played in early films, combined with the costumes and nudity in later adult roles such as Logan's Run (1976), Equus (1977) and An American Werewolf in London (1981), are "perfect fantasy fodder".
Agutter has appeared in numerous theatre productions since her stage debut in 1970, including stints at the National Theatre in 1972–73, the title role in a derivation of Hedda Gabler at the Roundhouse in 1980 and with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982–83. In 1987–88, Agutter played the role of Pat Green in the Broadway production of the Hugh Whitemore play Breaking the Code, about computer pioneer Alan Turing. In 1995 she was in an RSC production of Love's Labour's Lost staged in Tokyo. She is also a patron of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children in the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres.
At an arts festival in Bath, Somerset, Agutter met Johan Tham, a Swedish hotelier who was a director of Cliveden Hotel in Buckinghamshire. They married on 4 August 1990. Their son Jonathan was born on 25 December 1990. They live in London. Agutter has a keen interest in Cornwall and once owned a second home in the county at The Lizard.
She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for charitable services.
In August 2014, Agutter was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum, 2014.