- Gillian Leigh Anderson
August 09, 1968 (age 53)
- Actor, Voice Actor, Activist
- Clyde Klotz (m. 1994; div. 1997) Julian Ozanne (m. 2004; div. 2006)
- Edward Anderson, Rosemary Anderson
Gillian Leigh Anderson, OBE (born August 9, 1968) is an American-British film, television and theatre actress, activist and writer. Her credits include the roles of FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in the long-running series The X-Files, ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in Terence Davies' film The House of Mirth (2000), and DSU Stella Gibson on the BBC crime drama television series The Fall. Among other honours, Anderson has won a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. She has resided in London since 2002, after earlier years divided between the United Kingdom and the United States.
After beginning her career on stage, Anderson achieved international recognition for her role as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully on the American sci-fi drama series The X-Files. Her film work includes the dramas The Mighty Celt (2005), The Last King of Scotland (2006), Shadow Dancer (2012), Viceroy's House (2017) and two X-Files films: The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998) and The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008). Other notable television credits include: Lady Dedlock in Bleak House (2005), Wallis Simpson in Any Human Heart (2010), Miss Havisham in Great Expectations (2011), Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier on Hannibal (2013–2015), and Media on American Gods (2017).
Aside from film and television, Anderson has taken on the stage and received both awards and critical acclaim. Her stage work includes Absent Friends (1991) – for which she won a Theatre World Award for Best Newcomer, A Doll's House (2009) – that earned her a Laurence Olivier Award nomination, and a portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (2014, 2016) – for which she won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress and received her second Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress. Anderson is the co-writer of The Earthend Saga novel trilogy and the self-help guide book WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere.
Anderson has been active in supporting numerous charities and humanitarian organizations. She is an honorary spokesperson for the Neurofibromatosis Network and a co-founder of South African Youth Education for Sustainability (SAYes). Anderson was appointed an honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2016 for her services to drama.
Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Rosemary "Posie" Alyce (née Lane), a computer analyst, and Homer Edward "Ed" Anderson III, who owned a film post-production company. She is of English, German, and Irish ancestry. Soon after her birth, her parents moved to Puerto Rico for 15 months, then to London. The family relocated so that her father could attend the London Film School. During her childhood, she lived in north London's Crouch End and Harringay. She was a pupil of Coleridge Primary School. When Anderson was 11 years old, her family returned to the United States, settling in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They continued to keep a flat in London, and spent their summers there. Anderson later said that she has always intended to return to England. In Grand Rapids, she attended Fountain Elementary and City High-Middle School, a program for gifted students with a strong emphasis on the humanities.
We were in a small Republican town. There were only six punks there. We were weird. It's not like London.
—Anderson on her teenage years in Grand Rapids
Following the move to Grand Rapids, Anderson went through a rebellious stage as a teenager; experimenting with drugs, dating a much older boyfriend, and cultivating a punk appearance (dyeing her hair various colors, shaving the sides of her head, sporting a nose piercing and an all-black wardrobe). She was put in therapy at the age of 14. Anderson listened to bands such as Dead Kennedys and Skinny Puppy. She was voted by her classmates as "class clown", "most bizarre girl" and "most likely to be arrested". She was arrested on graduation night for breaking and entering into her high school in an attempt to glue the locks of the doors. She later managed to reduce the charges to trespassing.
At an early age Anderson was interested in marine biology, but after becoming interested in theatre during her teenage years, she began acting in high school productions during her first year and later in community theatre. She also served as a student intern at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre & School of Theatre Arts. After graduating from high school in 1986, she attended The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1990. Anderson also participated in the National Theatre of Great Britain's 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, simply called "Gillian".
Anderson is the eldest of three siblings. Her brother Aaron – who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis – died in 2011 of a brain tumor, at the age of 30. Aaron was a DJ, a mentor, and a practicing Buddhist. He was in his second year of a PhD program in Developmental Psychology at Stanford University when he was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2008. Her sister Zoe is a ceramicist, whom Anderson calls "an exceptional artist". Zoe is openly gay and is married to her partner.
Anderson is bidialectal. With her English accent and background, she was mocked and felt out of place as a teenager in the American Midwest and soon adopted a Midwestern accent. To this day, she easily shifts between her American and English accents. In May 2013, during an interview with BlogTalkRadio, Anderson addressed the matter of her national identity: "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. In terms of identity, I'm still a bit baffled."
Anderson moved to New York when she was 22 years old. To support herself as she started her career, she worked as a waitress. She began her career in Alan Ayckbourn's play Absent Friends at the Manhattan Theatre Club alongside Brenda Blethyn; for her role she won the 1990–91 Theatre World Award for "Best Newcomer". Her next theatrical role was in Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.
Anderson moved to Los Angeles in 1992, and spent a year auditioning. The same year, she appeared in her first feature-length film, The Turning, starring Karen Allen and Tess Harper. The film drama is an adaptation of the play Home Fires Burning.
Although she had once vowed she would never do television work, being out of work for a year changed her mind. Anderson recalled: "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." She broke into mainstream television in 1993, with a guest appearance on the collegiate drama, Class of '96, on the fledgling Fox Network.
As a result of this guest appearance, Anderson was sent the script for The X-Files. She was 24 when she decided to audition because, "for the first time in a long time, the script involved a strong, independent, intelligent woman as a lead character." Producer Chris Carter wanted to hire her, but Fox wanted someone with previous television exposure and greater sex appeal. Fox sent in more actresses, but Carter stood by Anderson, and she was eventually cast as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully. Anderson got the part assuming it would run for 13 episodes, the standard minimum order for American television networks. Filmed for the first five seasons in Vancouver, British Columbia, before moving to Los Angeles, the series ran for nine seasons. Two related films were also produced, released in 1998 and 2008. During her time on The X-Files, Anderson won numerous awards for her portrayal of Special Agent Scully, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama, two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series and a Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television. Anderson is the first actress to win an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a SAG Award in the same year. For the role, she received a total of four Emmy nominations, four Golden Globe nominations and nine SAG nominations.
Anderson was the first woman to write and direct an episode of the X-Files ("all things"). During The X-Files run – between the fifth and sixth seasons – Anderson co-starred in The X-Files: Fight the Future, a 1998 motion picture that continued The X-Files storyline. Anderson also provided the voice for a parody of her Scully character in "The Springfield Files", an episode of the animated comedy television series The Simpsons. While filming the X-Files, she met assistant art director Clyde Klotz, who became her first husband. Anderson's character on X-Files initiated a phenomenon referred to as "The Scully Effect"; as the medical doctor and the FBI Special Agent inspired many young women to pursue careers in science, medicine and law enforcement. It contributed to the increase in the number of women in those fields. "The Scully Effect" remains a subject of academic inquiry.
In 1996, Anderson narrated the television documentaries Spies Above and Why Planes Go Down. While hosting the BBC documentary series Future Fantastic, she became impressed by the theme music of the show, by the electronic duo Hal and initiated a collaboration with them. In 1997, Anderson provided spoken word vocals and starred in the music video for their single "Extremis", which was frequently aired on MTV. She also helped to assemble an album of electronic music, Future: A Journey Through The Electronic Underground, for Virgin Records, which won praise from European music critics.
In 1997, Anderson appeared in the independent film Chicago Cab. In 1998, she starred in the film Playing by Heart with Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, Ellen Burstyn and Jon Stewart. Anderson also had a supporting role in the film The Mighty with Gena Rowlands, Harry Dean Stanton, James Gandolfini and Sharon Stone. In 1999, Anderson had a supporting role in the English-language release of Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, where she voiced the character of Moro. Anderson is a fan of Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki's work. She also took part in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.
In 2000, Anderson starred in the film The House of Mirth with Eric Stoltz – Terence Davies' adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel of the same name – for which she won critical acclaim and awards such as the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, Village Voice Film Poll Best Lead Performance, and a nomination for the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress.
When The X-Files ended in 2002, she moved back to London for a complete change of pace and the opportunity to return to the stage. In 2002, Anderson made her West End debut in Michael Weller's play What The Night Is For at the Comedy Theatre. In 2004, Anderson starred in the Royal Court Theatre's production of Rebecca Gilman's play The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, as artist Dana Fielding who assumes the personality of the troubled baseball player Darryl Strawberry – a role for which she earned rave reviews.
In 2005, she appeared as Lady Dedlock in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel Bleak House. She had a starring role in the Irish film The Mighty Celt, for which she won an IFTA award for Best International Actress. The same year she also appeared in A Cock and Bull Story with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon – a film version of the novel Tristram Shandy. In 2006, Anderson won the Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Award for Best Actress for her role in Bleak House. She was nominated for a British Academy Television Award (BAFTA) for Best Actress, she also received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, a nomination for a Golden Globe, a Satellite Award nomination, and came in second place in the Best Actress category of the 2005 BBC Drama website poll for her portrayal of Lady Dedlock in the adaptation.
During 2006 and 2007, Anderson appeared in two British films: The Last King of Scotland with Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy, (2006) and Straightheads with Danny Dyer (2007). In 2008, Anderson hosted Masterpiece Theatre during the Jane Austen series; she was the first woman to host the series since it began in 1971. The same year, Anderson starred in the second X-Files film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe and appeared alongside Simon Pegg in the British comedy film How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. In 2009, she starred in the British comedy film Boogie Woogie with Alan Cumming, Danny Huston and Stellan Skarsgård.
She portrayed Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Donmar Warehouse in London's West End during a limited engagement which ran from May 14, 2009, until July 18, 2009. Anderson received a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress, for productions which opened in the 2009 calendar year, for her portrayal of Nora.
In November 2010, Anderson portrayed Wallis, Duchess of Windsor in Any Human Heart – a television adaptation of William Boyd's novel of the same name, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress on Television. In April 2011, she starred in the BBC adaptation The Crimson Petal and the White as Mrs. Castaway, for which she was nominated for the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress. In August 2011, she appeared in the television miniseries Moby Dick based on Herman Melville's 1851 novel, as Elisabeth, Ahab's wife. The same year, Anderson appeared as the head of MI7, Pamela Thornton, in the British comedy Johnny English Reborn. She starred as Miss Havisham in a three-part BBC adaptation of Great Expectations that aired in late December 2011. For her portrayal in the adaptation she won the Artistic Excellence Award, was nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries and for the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress.
In 2012, Anderson appeared in a Swiss drama film, Sister, and in Shadow Dancer – a British-Irish drama film based on the novel of the same name, about the Irish republican movement. Anderson voiced the character of Dr. Miki Hokuto in the English-language version of Studio Ghibli's From Up on Poppy Hill, which was released in March 2013. The same year, she starred in the Canadian techno-thriller I'll Follow You Down and appeared in Mr. Morgan's Last Love with Michael Caine.
In May 2013, Anderson began starring as DSU Stella Gibson in The Fall, a critically acclaimed crime drama series for BBC Two and RTÉ One. Anderson was praised for her portrayal of the cool, self-assured Gibson, and was nominated for several awards. She also became an executive producer for the programme from its second series. Between 2013 and 2015, Anderson played Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal Lecter's psychiatrist, on the NBC series Hannibal. In 2014, Anderson was promoted from a recurring character during the first two seasons, to a series regular for the third season. In 2014, Anderson starred in the British independent science fiction film Robot Overlords alongside Sir Ben Kingsley. That year, she also appeared in Jeffrey D. Brown's drama Sold, portraying Sophia, a character based on the humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine. The film presents the issues of child trafficking and sexual slavery in India, and is based on Patricia McCormick's novel of the same name.
In July 2014, Anderson gained critical acclaim for her stage performance as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams at the Young Vic Theatre in London. She won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress and received her second Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress. The production became the fastest-selling show in the theatre's history, and the run was extended by two weeks due to the demand for tickets. In the first collaboration between the Young Vic Theatre and National Theatre Live, the show was broadcast live to over 1100 venues on September 16, 2014. Thus far, it has been screened in more than 2000 venues. In February 2015, Anderson directed and starred in a short film prequel to A Streetcar Named Desire, titled The Departure, written by novelist Andrew O'Hagan. This is part of the Young Vic's short film series, which is produced in collaboration with The Guardian.
In October 2014, Anderson published her first book, A Vision of Fire, co-authored with Jeff Rovin. The book is the first novel of what has developed as The Earthend Saga trilogy. The publisher describes it as "a science fiction thriller of epic proportions". In December 2015, Anderson and Rovin published their second novel of the trilogy, A Dream of Ice. In January 2016, Anderson portrayed Anna Pavlovna Scherer in BBC One's television adaptation War & Peace. The same month, she returned to portray FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in the six-episode tenth season of The X-Files. Anderson has fought and succeeded in securing equal pay with her male co-star on The X-Files in the '90s and again in 2015, when negotiating her salary with the network. She has been outspoken about the ongoing issue throughout the years.
From April 23, 2016 through June 4, 2016, Anderson reprised her role of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire on stage at the new St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York City. On September 13, 2016, Anderson and Rovin published The Sound of Seas; their third and final novel of The EarthEnd Saga trilogy. The same month, she returned to portraying DSU Stella Gibson in the third series of The Fall. Anderson is the narrator of the English dub of Ronja the Robber's Daughter – Studio Ghibli's anime, which began streaming on Amazon Prime in January 2017. In February 2017, Anderson portrayed Edwina Mountbatten in Gurinder Chadha's Partition drama film Viceroy's House (2017).
On March 7, 2017, Anderson and the journalist-activist Jennifer Nadel published their self-help guide book for women, titled WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere. Anderson stated that 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." In April 2017, she played goddess Media in the first season of American Gods – a television series adaptation of Neil Gaiman's science fiction novel of the same name. Following the departure as showrunners of the show's creators, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, Anderson stated she would not return to the show. In October 2017, Anderson appeared alongside Glenn Close and Christina Hendricks in Crooked House – a film adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel of the same name. In January 2018, she was back playing FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in the eleventh season of The X-Files. In January 2018, she confirmed that she would be leaving The X-Files after the end of the season. Anderson is set to portray the role of Captain MacLaren in Star Citizen's single-player component Squadron 42. In May 2018, she was cast in the upcoming Netflix dramedy Sex Education. In February 2019, Anderson will portray Margo Channing in a stage production of All About Eve at the Noël Coward Theatre.
Anderson is an avid art collector. She spent her first paycheck from the X-Files to purchase an art piece, a David Blackburn lithograph. Her collection includes work by artists such as Diane Arbus, Helen Levitt, Cindy Sherman, Francesco Clemente, Alexis Rockman and Kiki Smith. Anderson enjoys architecture and interior design; she periodically works on floor and house planning projects. She has also expressed a desire to pursue mixed media ventures in the future.
Anderson identifies as a feminist. In an August 2014 interview with Glamour magazine, Anderson said: "I have feminist bones and when I hear things or see people react to women in certain ways I have very little tolerance." Anderson has several tattoos; all of them, as she described, are in some way about "peace of mind, right mind, right action". She practices meditation daily.
Relationships and children
Anderson married her first husband, Clyde Klotz, an X-Files assistant art director, on New Year's Day 1994, in Hawaii in a Buddhist ceremony. Their daughter, Piper Maru, was born on September 25, 1994. Showrunner Chris Carter, Piper's godfather, named the X-Files episode of the same name after her. Anderson and Klotz divorced in 1997. On December 29, 2004, Anderson married Julian Ozanne, a documentary filmmaker, on Lamu Island, off the coast of Kenya. Anderson announced their separation on April 21, 2006. Anderson and former boyfriend, businessman Mark Griffiths, have two sons: Oscar, born on November 1, 2006 and Felix, born on October 15, 2008. She ended their relationship in 2012.
In March 2012, Anderson told Out magazine about her past relationships with women. Anderson identifies as heterosexual. In an interview with the London Evening Standard in December 2014, she stated: "I am an actively heterosexual woman who celebrates however people want to express their sexuality." In an interview with The Daily Telegraph in March 2015, Anderson said that she was not closed to the idea of entering another same-sex relationship, adding: "To me a relationship is about loving another human being; their gender is irrelevant."
Anderson resides with her three children in London, where she has lived since 2002. She has been in a relationship with screenwriter and dramatist Peter Morgan since 2016.