- Thandiwe Nashita Newton
November 06, 1972 (age 47)
- Actor, Voice Actor
- Ol Parker (m. 1998)
- Nyasha Newton, Nick Newton
Melanie Thandiwe "Thandie" Newton (born 6 November 1972) is an English actress. She has appeared in several British and American films, and is known for roles such as Linda in The Pursuit of Happyness, Nyah Nordoff-Hall in Mission: Impossible 2 and Christine in Crash, for which she received a number of awards, including a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
As of 2016, she plays the sentient android, the madam Maeve Millay in the HBO science fiction-Western television series Westworld, which earned her a Critics' Choice Award, and Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy Award nominations. She also portrayed DCI Roz Huntley in Series 4 of the BBC One police procedural series Line of Duty.
Newton was born in Westminster, London, England, the daughter of Nyasha, a Zimbabwean, and Nick Newton, an English laboratory technician and artist. Her birthplace has been incorrectly reported to be Zambia in some biographies, but she has confirmed in interviews that she was born in London. The name "Thandiwe" means "beloved" in Ndebele, Zulu, Xhosa or siSwati, and "Thandie" is pronounced /ˈtændi/ in English. According to Newton, her mother is a Shona princess.
Regarding her childhood, Newton remarked at a TED conference, "From about the age of 5, I was aware that I didn't fit. I was the black, atheist kid in the all-white, Catholic school run by nuns. I was an anomaly." Newton was brought up in London and Penzance, Cornwall and studied dance at the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. Between 1992 and 1995, Newton attended Downing College, Cambridge, where she studied social anthropology. She graduated with a 2:1.
At 16, she began a six-year relationship with the Australian film director John Duigan, who subsequently cast her in the film Flirting, a sequel to Duigan's 1987 film The Year My Voice Broke, starring Ben Mendelsohn and Noah Taylor.
After the film Flirting (1991), Newton played a faithful house slave "Yvette" in the Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise film Interview with the Vampire (1994). Newton next appeared in the Merchant Ivory production of Jefferson in Paris as Sally Hemings, followed by Jonathan Demme's drama Beloved, based on Toni Morrison's novel (1998), in which she played the title character, the ghost of a young slave girl whose mother murders her to save her from slavery. The film also starred Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. Newton then starred as Nyah Hall, again opposite Cruise, in Mission: Impossible 2. Her next role was in the low-budget film It Was an Accident, written by her husband, screenwriter Ol Parker.
Between 2003 and 2005, Newton played Makemba "Kem" Likasu, love interest and later wife of Dr. John Carter on the American television series ER. She reprised the role for the series finale in 2009. In 2004, she also appeared in The Chronicles of Riddick and Crash. Newton won a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress in 2006 for her role in Crash. She played Chris Gardner's wife, Linda Gardner, in The Pursuit of Happyness. Also in 2006, Newton performed on radio in a pantomime version of Cinderella.
In 2007, Newton co-starred with Eddie Murphy in the comedy Norbit as his love interest, and then opposite Simon Pegg as his ex-girlfriend in the 2008 comedy Run Fatboy Run. Newton next portrayed US National Security Advisor-turned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in W., Oliver Stone's film biography of President George W. Bush. The film was released 17 October 2008.
Newton was an introducer at Wembley Stadium on 7 July 2007, for the UK leg of Live Earth. She was due to introduce Al Gore to the concert, but he was delayed, leaving Newton to tell jokes in an attempt to entertain the audience. Newton next portrayed fictional US First Daughter Laura Wilson in 2012, a disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich and released 13 November 2009.
In July 2011, Newton delivered a TED Talk on "Embracing otherness, embracing myself." She discussed finding her "otherness" as a child growing up in two distinct cultures, and as an actress playing many different selves. In 2012, she starred alongside Tyler Perry in the romantic drama film Good Deeds. In 2013, Newton starred in Rogue, the first original drama series for DirecTV's Audience Network. She left Rogue during the third season. In 2015, she starred in the US miniseries The Slap. In 2016, Newton began portraying Maeve Millay in HBO's Westworld. Newton is set to appear in the upcoming Untitled Han Solo film which is due for release in May 2018.
Newton married English writer, director, and producer Ol Parker in 1998. They have three children: daughters Ripley (b. 2000) and Nico (b. 2004), and son Booker Jombe (b. 2014). Her daughters were named after the character Ellen Ripley in the Alien films and the singer Nico. Newton had home births with all three of her children. She is vegan and was named PETA's "Sexiest Vegan of 2014" in the UK.
In 2006 Newton contributed a foreword to We Wish: Hopes and Dreams of Cornwall's Children, a book of children's writing published in aid of the NSPCC. In it, she wrote vividly about her childhood memories of growing up in Cornwall, and the way in which the county's cultural heritage made it easy for her to "enrich every situation with layers of magic and meaning."
In 2007 Newton sold her near-new BMW X5 and replaced it with a Toyota Prius after Greenpeace stuck a "This gas-guzzling 4x4 is causing climate change" sticker on her BMW. In 2008 Newton visited poverty-stricken Mali, describing it as a "humbling experience." She visited the village of Nampasso in the Ségou Region of the country. In 2013 Newton led the One Billion Rising flash mob in London, for an end to violence, and for justice and gender equality.
David Schwimmer (who directed Run Fatboy Run) called the actress "the queen of practical jokes." Newton has expressed an affinity for Buddhism.
In 2016, Newton stated she had been the victim of a director who repeatedly showed his friends a video of her in a sexually-graphic audition which she made as a teenager. Newton cited this experience as being a part of why she had taken the Westworld role, which involved substantial nudity, as it mirrored the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse while also asking moral questions about the meaning of humanity and what it means to be humane.